Breaking News

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

 

Sherman Park youth earn stipend for cleaning up neighborhood

By Andrea Waxman- Milwaukee neighborhood News Service

Vaun Mayes (left) talks to several teens riding bikes in the neighborhood about joining the Sherman Park Youth Stipend Program. Volunteer mentor Derrick Madlock (second from left) looks on. (Photo by Andrea Waxman)

Vaun Mayes (left) talks to several teens riding bikes in the neighborhood about joining the Sherman Park Youth Stipend Program. Volunteer mentor Derrick Madlock (second from left) looks on. (Photo by Andrea Waxman)

On a recent Saturday morning, about 30 teens assembled at the edge of the playground at the Mary Ryan Boys & Girls Club in Sherman Park. Under a sparkling blue sky and vibrantly colored trees, the hoodie-clad youth picked up gloves, rakes and garbage bags and headed east to 41st Street.

The young men and women from Program the Parks, a grassroots Sherman Park youth initiative started early last summer, together with adult and teen volunteers from Running Rebels, raked leaves from the lawns of the tidy bungalows lined up across from the park and piled them in the street.

Niekale Steward, 16, comes to Program the Parks activities more than once a week to help out. He said his friends come and he has made new friends through the program.

Steward said that Vaun Mayes, founder of Program the Parks, is like a big brother to him. “He’s a strong leader. (He always wants) me to do something with my life, not just be like everybody else; not be out here stealing cars and stuff like the other teens,” Steward said.

Mayes started working with young people congregating in Sherman Park when he heard about fights taking place there early last summer. Since then he has attracted a group of volunteers and donors and has developed a schedule of activities for youth that includes free meals, games, social gatherings and skill-building sessions. People who want to donate can do so through their PayPal account.

Read the full article here

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The KKK Is Working To Get Out The Vote — For Donald Trump, Of Course

By Nick Wing, The Huffington Post

With just a week until Election Day, the Ku Klux Klan appears to be ramping up its effort to get GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump into the White House. 

KKK fliers left in Madison Alabama, neighborhood solicit votes for Trump. Photo by Christina Ailsworth in her tweet.

KKK fliers left in Madison Alabama, neighborhood solicit votes for Trump. Photo by Christina Ailsworth in her tweet.

Residents in Alabama, Georgia, Kansas and Louisiana have all reported finding fliers from the KKK outside their homes in recent days. The materials contain calls for people to vote and join the organization as it tackles hot-button social issues with exactly the level of contemplation you might expect from a racist hate group.

“Please join and help us take our country back,” reads a flier recently distributed in Madison, Alabama. “Black Lives Matter Black Panthers are telling followers to kill white people and police officers in the name of justice for the killing of Negro’s (sic) by policemen in the line of duty. These Negro’s (sic) were not innocent. They were thugs breaking the law, and standing up against police.” …

[A] KKK newspaper officially endorsed Trump last month, with a column borrowing the Republican’s campaign slogan….Louisiana Senate candidate David Duke, a former KKK leader who has repeatedly embraced Trump’s mantle, released an ad last week calling for supporters to vote for Trump on Election Day….

The KKK's newspaper endorses Trump for president.These are just the latest examples of white supremacists seizing on the Trump movement in hopes of getting more visibility for their own causes, said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit that tracks hate groups.

“They feel that their message is more palatable now that, in their view, a major political candidate is virtually saying the same things,” Potok said.

But while these groups may be getting more attention, they’re still fringe compared to Trump, who has the support of more than 40 percent of Americans, according to recent polling.

“The Klan and other groups have probably grown thanks to Trump,” Potok said. “But the claims that they’ve recruited thousands and thousands and thousands of people as a result of Trump’s candidacy and the whole politics of the last year are clearly false.”

Trump’s campaign pushed back on the KKK newspaper’s endorsement, saying in a statement late Tuesday that “their views do not represent the tens of millions of Americans who are united behind our campaign.

Full story here.

More Breaking News here.

 

Chicago’s Grim Era of Police Torture

By The Editorial Board, New York Times

Andrew Wilson, victim of torture by Chicago Police Dept., taken while in custody. Courtesy of the Chicago Torture Archive.

Andrew Wilson, victim of torture by Chicago Police Dept., taken while in custody. Courtesy of the Chicago Torture Archive.

Americans who think of officially sanctioned torture as something that happens in other countries will be shaken when they confront the grim holdings of the Chicago Torture Archive, an online research repository set to open early next year. The archive — which includes testimony and documents from criminal trials and civil rights cases — was collected by the People’s Law Office, which represented numerous survivors of police torture. The trove will give researchers chilling insight into the grisly period from the 1970s to the 1990s when the Chicago Police Department’s infamous torture crew rounded up more than 100 African-American men who were shocked with cattle prods, beaten with telephone books and suffocated with plastic bags until many confessed to crimes.

Darrell Canon in Chicago in 2008. Credit Scott Olson/Getty Images

Darrell Canon in Chicago in 2008. Credit Scott Olson/Getty Images

The materials, made available by the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights at the University of Chicago, contain nightmarish stories, like that of Darrell Cannon. In 1983, three Chicago police officers arrested Mr. Cannon in connection with a murder case, drove him to a desolate area and tortured a confession out of him. Mr. Cannon explains in court documents that he refused to confess after the officers forced the barrel of a shotgun into his mouth and repeatedly pulled the trigger. He finally gave in, he said, after they shocked his genitals with a cattle prod….

Mr. Cannon served 24 hellish years in prison — nine of them at a supermax facility. But by the time state prosecutors finally dismissed his criminal case, it had become clear that his torture story was no exaggeration and that a cover-up had been undertaken to hide this period of police abuse from view.

Jon Burge, a former commander of the Chicago Police Department. Credit Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune, via Associated Press

Jon Burge, a former commander of the Chicago Police Department. Credit Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune, via Associated Press

By then, Jon Burge, the commander who had overseen the torture squad, had been fired after he was connected to a torture case. But statutes of limitation shielded him from prosecution for the abuses themselves.By then, Jon Burge, the commander who had overseen the torture squad, had been fired after he was connected to a torture case. But statutes of limitation shielded him from prosecution for the abuses themselves….

The Chicago City Council confronted the torture era head-on last year when it approved a measure that has paid reparations to scores of police torture victims. The legislation also provides substance abuse treatment, counseling and other services to victims and their immediate family members, as well as free tuition at city colleges. A memorial will be built and this history will be taught in city public schools…

Read the full article here.

More Breaking News here.

 

 

“Always In Season” Film on Lynching and Restoration to Screen in Milwaukee

A scene from the film showing the annual lynching re-enactment at Moore's Ford Bridge in Georgia.

For almost a century, tens of thousands of men, women, and children attended the lynchings of more than 4,000 African Americans that often included torture, mutilation and photography. This form of racial violence occurred in every state across the U.S. but four, and for reasons as arbitrary as sheer boredom. Lynchings were at times highly organized and akin to the sport of hunting, and blacks were “always in season.”

Independent filmmaker Jacqueline (Jackie) Olive produced and directed "Always in Season" as a part of her transmedia project about lynching – its healing and prevention.

Independent filmmaker Jacqueline (Jackie) Olive produced and directed “Always in Season” as a part of her transmedia project about lynching – its healing and prevention.

Always in Season is a film with Danny Glover by ABHM friend and colleague Jacqueline Olive (producer/director). It will be shown on PBS (public television) channels around the country in early 2017.

Always in Season will be the centerpiece of ABHM’s 2017 Founder’s Day Gathering for Racial Repair and Reconciliation on February 25, 2017. Director Jackie Olive and representatives of the communities featured in the film  will show the movie and answer audience questions in a talkback. Then they and local activists doing similar work will meet with participants in small breakout groups to dialogue about the issues raised by their healing community projects to commemorate lynchings. For more info about this event, contact dr.fran@abhmuseum.org.

Why is it important to talk about lynching today?

Always in Season is a transmedia documentary project that ties the facts of lynching to the present with a feature film that encourages viewers to consider where their own family stories intersect with this difficult chapter in American history. With intimate stories of relatives of the perpetrators, victims, and others–along with the collection of photographs spectators took with the victims called Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in AmericaAlways in Season shows how lynching still impacts Americans and follows the efforts of descendants and others in four communities who are seeking justice and healing as they work to acknowledge the victims, repair the damage, and reconcile.

Descendants of lynching victims and perpetrators work together for repair and healing at the memorial in downtown Duluth MN. This plaza acknowledges the lynching of three young black men there.

Descendants of lynching victims and perpetrators work together for repair and healing at the memorial in downtown Duluth MN. This plaza acknowledges the lynching of three young black men there.

  • In Laurens, SC, Rev. David Kennedy fights to shut down a KKK shop while seeking acknowledgement of the 1913 lynching there of his great uncle.
  • In Monroe, GA, Cassandra Greene helps organize an annual reenactment of a 1946 lynching with a multiracial group of amateur actors and works to bring the perpetrators, still living there, to justice.
  • In Duluth, MN, Warren Read unravels the secret of his great-grandfather’s involvement in a 1920 lynching and seeks reconciliation with relatives of the victims and others, while reexamining his very identity and working to help heal the community.
  • And in Bladenboro, NC, the FBI is currently investigating the suspicious death of 17-year old Lennon Lacy, who had been dating a white woman before he was found hanging by a belt from a swingset in a white mobile home park on August 29, 2014.

These stories demonstrate the impact of past and current racial terrorism on our country today.

Ever wonder about the choices you’d make if you lived during this time in history?

Always in Season Island uses an immersive, role-playing virtual world environment to give users an experiential look at the choices and circumstances that brought 10,000 men, women and children out in Marion, Indiana to watch the 1930 lynching of Abe Smith, Thomas Shipp, and the 16-year old who narrowly escaped, James Cameron. Not only will this interactive 3D environment give visitors insights into the multiple perspectives of many of the people involved in the events in Marion, but they can also learn how their actions can contribute to or prevent racism and violence in a safe, facilitated virtual world space. To learn more about Always in Season Island, click here.

To fund the completion of  this project or to find out more, click here.

To read more Breaking News, click here.

 

Dr. Cameron’s Memoir To Be Presented at SE Wisconsin Festival of Books 11/4/16

tot-cover-wippy-seal“Have you ever watched one man die and then another, knowing that your turn was next? Have you ever looked into ten thousand angry faces whose open mouths screamed for your blood? Have you ever felt yourself in the hands of such a mob whose sole purpose was to destroy you?

All of these things and more happened to me several years ago. This I acknowledge not boastfully but humbly, for the fact that I am alive to tell this story is due to a power greater than myself or any man.

It is an established fact that people learn a great deal quickly when caught in traumatic events. The things I believed I learned, as well as the unforgettable events themselves, are the reasons why this book has been written.”

Thus begins the extraordinary memoir, A Time of Terror: A Survivor’s Story, written by the only person ever to survive a lynching. Just as Anne Frank’s Diary reveals the intimate personal experiences of a teenager trying to make sense of Nazi terror, James Cameron’s book shares his journey growing up during the Jim Crow era, living through its worst forms of racial violence, and retaining his faith in the promise of America.

Fran Kaplan (L) and Reggie Jackson (R) accepting the Silver IPPY medals on May 10, 2016, in Chicago. They are two of four authors who contributed the additional materials included in A Time of Terror's 3rd edition.

Fran Kaplan (L) and Reggie Jackson (R) accepting the Silver IPPY medals on May 10, 2016, in Chicago. They are two of four authors who contributed the additional materials included in A Time of Terror’s 3rd edition.

This uplifting story of a life courageously and well lived has been re-released in a greatly expanded 3rd edition by LifeWrites Press, the publishing imprint of the nonprofit Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation. Proceeds from the book’s sales support the Foundation and its educational programs, including America’s Black Holocaust Museum.

Authors who contributed to the award-winning new edition – Dr. Robert S. Smith, Reggie Jackson, and Dr. Fran Kaplan – will talk about the book and the life and legacy of its late author, a civil rights pioneer and the founder of ABHM.

PLACE: Southeastern Wisconsin Festival of Books – University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, Room N125

DATE/TIME: Saturday, November 5, 2016, from 4:00-5:00pm. Book signing and sale follows the talk in the same room from 5:00-5:30pm.

The panel presentation, also featuring author and photographer, Mark Speltz, and civil rights activist and poet, Margaret Rozga, is called Up North: Images and Incidents in the African American Freedom Struggle.

Read excerpts from A Time of Terror here. Purchase the book online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as at independent booksellers like Milwaukee’s Boswell Books.

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Hundreds Dedicate Lynching Marker to Anthony Crawford in Abbeville, South Carolina

By the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) – October 24, 2016

This weekend, community members, college students, and supporters from near and far gathered in Abbeville, South Carolina, to commemorate and reflect upon the 100th anniversary of a tragic event: the lynching of Anthony P. Crawford.

On Friday, hundreds gathered in Abbeville’s Jefferson Davis Park for a Freedom School, during which students from Kenyon College and Clemson University, activists, and leaders led discussions about our country’s history of racial injustice and its contemporary legacies. Those present included more than 100 of Anthony Crawford’s descendants, who wore black armbands and buttons in his memory, as well as members of the families of Emmett Till, Ida B. Wells, and Malcolm X, who came to lend support and words of encouragement.

The plaque, dedicated October 24, 2016, commemorating lynching victim Anthony Crawford, in Abbeville, South Carolina.

The day’s events culminated with a ceremony during which family members collected soil from the site where Mr. Crawford was lynched, and a consecration service in the Abbeville town square led by the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference in anticipation of the unveiling of a historical marker commemorating the lynching. The soil collection for Mr. Crawford was part of EJI’s Community Remembrance Project, a campaign to recognize the victims of lynching by collecting soil from lynching sites and creating a memorial that acknowledges the horrors of racial injustice in America.

A century ago, a white mob beat, stabbed, shot, and hung Mr. Crawford, a 56-year-old black farmer, in the Abbeville town square, after he dared to argue with a white merchant over the price of cottonseed. The patriarch of a large, multi-generational family, and the owner of 427 acres of land, Mr. Crawford was a successful farmer and leader whose murder had long-reaching effects. [Visit the commemoration of Anthony Crawford’s life in ABHM’s Memorial to the Victims of Lynching here.]

The gruesome public murder, though committed openly, did not lead to prosecution or conviction for any members of the mob.  Days after the lynching, Abbeville’s white residents “voted” to expel the Crawford family from the area and seize their property. When South Carolina’s governor declared himself powerless to protect the family from violence, most of the surviving relatives fled to destinations as distant as New York and Illinois, fragmenting the once strong and close-knit family.

Soil collected from the site of the lynching of Anthony Crawford, as part of the commemoration project of the Equal Justice Initiative.

Soil collected from the site of the lynching of Anthony Crawford, as part of the commemoration project of the Equal Justice Initiative.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It would take ongoing efforts over generations to begin to repair and reconnect those bonds through family reunions and the persistence of family elders who ensured that the younger generations saw Grandpa Crawford’s photograph at family gatherings and knew the story of both his life and death. This weekend, descendants of Anthony Crawford from as far as California, Washington, D.C., Illinois, Texas, and New York – as well as some who remain in Abbeville today – gathered for a powerful commemoration event.

Doria D. Johnson, descendant of Anthony Crawford, is a public historian and a 2016 Nelson Mandela Fellow.

Doria D. Johnson, descendant of Anthony Crawford, is a public historian and a 2016 Nelson Mandela Fellow.

Doria Johnson was born in Chicago, 45 years after her great-great-grandfather’s lynching forced her family to flee north with Doria’s young grandmother wrapped in newspaper to shield her from the cold. Addressing the crowd in Abbeville this weekend, Ms. Johnson recalled how the beautiful photo of Grandpa Crawford and the painful story of his death shaped a curiosity and determination that stayed with her. As a young woman, she called the Abbeville church where Anthony Crawford had been a leader before his death, and found herself speaking to Phillip Crawford, a cousin she’d never known she had. From there, she helped lead more conversations, and research led to advocacy, publicity, and a push for public recognition that has now come to fruition.

[Ms. Johnson will keynote ABHM’s 2017 Founder’s Day Gathering for Racial Repair and Reconciliation, exploring the ethics and impacts of memory work and commemoration of traumatic events on victims, witnesses, perpetrators and descendants. For more information about the event, write info@abhmuseum.org)…

EJI is honored to partner with the descendants of Anthony Crawford to sponsor the historical marker and essay contest for high school students in Abbeville as part of our Lynching Marker Project. EJI continues to seek opportunities to work with communities where lynchings occurred to raise public awareness and erect historical markers.

Read the full article here.

More Breaking News here.

 

After 100 Years Of Challenges, The 1st Nat’l Black History Museum Is Here

 By Rahel Gebreyes, Huffington Post Black Voices

“Nothing has been easy. Everything has had to be earned.”

The National Museum of African American History and Culture rises in a place of honor: the last museum to be built on the National Mall in our nation's capital.

Black history is finally taking its rightful place within the Smithsonian Institution with the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s grand opening on Saturday.

While the museum is now opening to considerable fanfare ― the ceremony includes a three-day festival and a dedication led by President Barack Obama to mark the historic occasion ― getting the project off the ground was anything but easy.

A group of black Civil War veterans first advocated for the idea of a national African-American history museum in the early 1900s. Decades later, a group of congressmen led by civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) took the fight for the museum to Capitol Hill. Lewis introduced legislation to fund the museum every year for 15 years, but it was defeated every time.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said the museum faced plenty of challenges, from “overt bigotry” to “lack of prioritization.”

“In many ways, it itself is reminiscent or reflective of the African-American experience. Nothing has been easy. Everything has had to be earned,” he said.

 

Some representatives who opposed the museum said the project was too costly. Others, like Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), warned the museum would set a dangerous precedent and open the floodgates for additional museums dedicated to other racial minorities.

“Every other minority will give thought to asking the taxpayers to pony up for a special museum for them,” Helms said in 1994.

Lonnie G. Bunch III, the visionary director of the NMAAHC, has worked tirelessly for over a decade to bring this new national treasure into existence.

Lonnie G. Bunch III, the visionary director of the NMAAHC, has worked tirelessly for over a decade to bring this new national treasure into existence.

In 2001, President George Bush created a commission to explore the need for the museum and develop a plan of action. After much debate over the location for the museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture Act was finally signed into law in 2003, establishing the 19th Smithsonian museum.

But the project still faced another hurdle: funding. It would ultimately cost $540 million and the federal government was only going to cover half.

Bunch said the funding situation was “unusual.” According to The New York Times, government funds have covered all or most of the building costs for every other Smithsonian museum.

Organizations including the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation contributed millions to the project. The museum also found support from the black community. According to The Washington Post, 74 percent of individuals who donated $1 million or more to the project were African-American.

The museum’s three-tiered building, which sits on the National Mall alongside the Washington Monument, is inspired by Yoruban caryatid ― a slender wooden column with a crown at the top. The museum is filled with everything from historical artifacts of the days of slavery to pop culture relics.

“In essence what you will find in this museum is a tension. A tension between difficult moments and a tension between moments that are full of happiness hope and resiliency,” Bunch said.

And with Obama’s dedication on Saturday, the journey for the museum has truly come full circle. Booker said the presence of the first black president coupled with the museum’s opening will mark “spiritual culmination” of sorts.

“I mean these two moments in history have met up in a beautiful way, almost as if it were sort of ordained by the spirits, like the heavens are sort of rejoicing,” he said. “I just think it’s a wonderful exclamation point on the journey of this museum.

Take a virtual tour of the new museum.

Watch the full Dedication Ceremony.

At the Dedication Ceremony, the crowd listens as President Obama explains that the museum tells of both "suffering and delight." (Photos by Brad Pruitt, America's Black Holocaust Museum)

At the Dedication Ceremony, the crowd listens as President Obama explains that the museum tells of both “suffering and delight.” (Photos by Brad Pruitt, America’s Black Holocaust Museum)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Restoring Black History

By Henry Louis Gates, Jr., New York Times

logo-nmaahcWith the ringing of a bell and a speech from President Obama, the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington is to officially open its extraordinary collection to the public on Saturday. But the museum can claim another, equally important achievement: helping resolve the protracted debate about the contributions of black people to American history and, indeed, about whether they had a history worth preserving at all. Those questions were at the heart of the nation’s original debate about whether, and how, black lives matter.

For years, the issue was whether black people were fit to be more than slaves. “Never yet could I find that a black had uttered a thought above the level of plain narration; never see even an elementary trait of painting or sculpture,” Thomas Jefferson wrote. “I advance it, therefore, as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind.”…

gww_negroraceinamerica_2_cropIn the 1880s, George Washington Williams, whom the historian John Hope Franklin called “the first serious historian of his race,” published the “History of the Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880”; he confessed that part of his motivation was “to call the attention to the absurd charge that the Negro does not belong to the human family.”

About a decade later, W.E.B. Du Bois became the first black person to earn a Ph.D. (in history) at Harvard, followed by Carter G. Woodson, a founder of Negro History Week, who wanted to make history by writing it. “If a race has no history,” he wrote, “it stands in danger of being exterminated.” Arthur A. Schomburg, the famous bibliophile, posited a solution: “The American Negro must remake his past in order to make his future.” History “must restore what slavery took away.”

Representative Leonidas C. Dyer, a Missouri Republican, introduced legislation to create a monument to black veterans. One hundred years later, the effort he and the veterans began has finally born fruit.

Representative Leonidas C. Dyer, a Missouri Republican, introduced legislation to create a monument to black veterans. One hundred years later, the effort he and the veterans began has finally born fruit.

This mandate to rewrite the status of the race by writing the history of its achievements was too broad to be contained only in books. Public history mattered, too. In 1915, Woodson and several of his friends established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, in part to popularize the study of black history. That same year, black leaders called for a memorial to honor black veterans. And a year later — exactly a century ago — Representative Leonidas C. Dyer, a Missouri Republican, introduced legislation to create a monument in their honor. After decades of resistance, that effort took a giant leap forward in 2003, when Congress passed bipartisan legislation to build the museum that was signed by President George W. Bush.

Some $540 million later, the first black president will open the museum’s doors…We can only imagine the triumph that the pioneers of black history would feel had they lived to see this occasion.

The new NMAAHC repudiates the long and dismal tradition of objectifying black people in museums, as exemplified here by the famous display of the "Venus Hottentot," Saartjie Bartman, in the European freak shows of the 19th century.

The new NMAAHC repudiates the long and dismal tradition of objectifying black people in museums, as exemplified here by the famous display of the “Venus Hottentot,” Saartjie Bartman, in the European freak shows of the 19th century.

More than a museum, the building on the National Mall is a refutation of two and a half centuries of the misuse of history to reinforce a social order in which black people were enslaved, then systematically repressed and denied their rights when freed. It also repudiates the long and dismal tradition of objectifying black people in museums….

[The NMAAHC] reinscribes race at a symbolically central place in American culture, on the National Mall, where we celebrate our collective public histories, ensuring that a mountain of evidence about black contributions to America will be on permanent display. It does this on the same mall shared by those symbols of the founding fathers’ hypocritical slaveholding past, the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial, which the new museum, brilliantly designed by David Adjaye, complements and also deconstructs.

Read the Gates’ full opinion piece here.

More Breaking News here.

 

Upcoming Film Festivals Featuring Black Filmmakers’ Movies

Below are the dates and sites of upcoming film festivals around the country and samples of the movies by and about African Americans that you can expect to see there:

BronzeLens 2016-08-25 19.04.38

Service To Man won the American Black Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize in Miami in June 2016. It will screen this weekend in both the BronzeLens Film Festival in Atlanta and the Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham AL.

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MFF 2016-08-25 19.13.25Milwaukee Film Festival’s Black Lens Program

 

 

Nine Rides was shot on an iPhone!


static1.squarespace.comNew York City’s UrbanWorld Film Festival celebrates its 20th Anniversary!

The fest’s line up of movies will be announced soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Museum’s Response to Milwaukee’s Recent Unrest

Because America’s Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM) is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, visitors to ABHM online have inquired about our response to the recent unrest in a predominantly black neighborhood in our city. Though not immediately apparent on the ABHM website, our museum’s principal spokesperson has been helping local, national, and international press explain these events by supplying interviews and articles. (See links to several of these below.)

Maria Cunningham (center) listens intently to a group member during "Hidden History," ABHM's 2015 film/dialogue series.

Maria Cunningham, ABHM facilitator (center), listens intently to a group member during “Hidden History,” ABHM’s 2015 film/dialogue series.

For twenty-eight years, ABHM has provided a safe place where people of all backgrounds can learn about America’s racial history and talk straightforwardly about race and racism. Online, our museum tells many of the stories seldom told in American history books and documents how that history affects our society today. Offline, we present frequent talks and facilitate interracial dialogs in this community and beyond.

The morning after angry youth burned several businesses following the police killing of a young black man, neighbor residents came out to clean up.

The morning after angry youth burned several businesses following the police killing of a young black man, neighbor residents came out to clean up.

When a group of young people took out their anger and frustrations with local policing and poverty by setting fire to a police car and three businesses, many people seemed surprised. We were not. This was a combustible situation. That car and those establishments represented the complex set of debilitating conditions that have hurt Milwaukee’s African American community for generations. During the 1960’s struggle for civil rights here, there were calls to find remedies for institutional discrimination. Fifty years later, those remedies remain largely unimplemented.

The UN General Assembly proclaimed 2015-2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent with the goal of achieving “recognition, justice and development.” Can we achieve these in the USA? We believe that ABHM can be part of the solution.

Dr. James Cameron, lynching survivor, addresses US Senators and descendants of lynching victims, Washington DC, 2005.

Dr. James Cameron, lynching survivor, addresses US Senators and descendants of lynching victims, Washington DC, 2005.

Our museum’s founder, Dr. James Cameron, worked all his life to educate Americans about the ways that ongoing racial injustice prevents America from living up to its stated ideals of liberty and justice for all. Despite being lynched as a teenager, he always dreamed that Americans would come together to form “one single and sacred nationality.”

ABHM is a Site of Conscience, member of a coalition of memorial museums and sites in active and post-conflict zones around the world. As such, we help our compatriots understand how America’s racial history affects our country today and how, together, we can create a bright and fair tomorrow for all America’s children.

If you would like to further understand the issues that sparked the fires of August 13, 2016, please follow links below – and then explore seldom-told stories in American history in ABHM’s galleries.

Residents protest the decades of disinvestment in the Sherman Park area that ignited the recent turmoil.

Residents protest the decades of disinvestment and joblessness in the Sherman Park area that ignited the recent turmoil.

“Milwaukee Shooting: Curfew Imposed in Hopes of Restoring Calm” by Madison Park, Holly Yan and Ray Sanchez, CNN

“Evidence of Things Unknown” by Reggie Jackson, Milwaukee Independent

“Complex Issues Contributed to Recent Milwaukee Unrest” – Central Time Show on Wisconsin Public – Radio Interview with ABHM Head Griot Reggie Jackson

“What It’s Like to Be Black in Milwaukee” by Ray Sanchez, CNN

“After decades of segregation, anger boils over in Milwaukee” by Brendan O’Brien, Reuters

“Why Sherman Park Media Coverage Was Out of Focus” by Reggie Jackson, Milwaukee Independent

“Community Leaders Reject WEDC’s Jobs Claims for Sherman Park Area” by Matthew Brusky, Milwaukee Independent

“Teenage girl stands as park peacemaker despite any tensions” by Shateria Wiley, YouthRise Milwaukee