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

 

Debunking a Myth: The Irish Were Not Slaves, Too

By

Nytimes.com

This 1908 photograph of fishermen in the parish of St. John, Barbados, is often used to illustrate memes that falsely claim Irish people were slaves in colonial America. Courtesy nytimes

It has shown up on Irish trivia Facebook pages, in Scientific American magazine, and on white nationalist message boards: the little-known story of the Irish slaves who built America, who are sometimes said to have outnumbered and been treated worse than slaves from Africa.

But it’s not true.

Historians say the idea of Irish slaves is based on a misreading of history and that the distortion is often politically motivated. Far-right memes have taken off online and are used as racist barbs against African-Americans. “The Irish were slaves, too,” the memes often say. “We got over it, so why can’t you?”

A small group of Irish and American scholars has spent years pushing back on the false history. Last year, 82 Irish scholars and writers signed an open letter denouncing the Irish slave myth and asking publications to stop mentioning it. Some complied, removing or revising articles that referenced the false claims, but the letter’s impact was limited.

Read the entire article here

Read more Breaking News here

 

Netflix’s Dear White People digs into everyday racism

By

Vox.com

Netflix

Justin Simien’s new Netflix show — the TV version of his 2014 movie of the same name — doesn’t take shortcuts. After breaking down the basics of what makes Winchester tick, Dear White People drops us right into the middle of the particularly messy aftermath of a “Dear Black People” party, which started with students in blackface and ended with royally pissed off black students giving them hell for it. Campus radio host Sam White (Logan Browning) — who helms the blistering “Dear White People” show that the party was mocking in the first place — immediately sets about trying to galvanize the school’s black students into taking a stand the administration can’t ignore.

With that, the show immediately throws us right into Winchester’s sprawling conflicts and interlocking drama. It spits banter so sharp and quick that it slices through even the tensest scenes with laser precision. It digs into the personal wreckage caused by institutional racism with humor, depth, and straightforward clarity.

With heart and humor and a steady gaze, Dear White People makes sure to portray its characters as whole individuals and not just human embodiment of their beliefs. No one is ever reduced to a walking talking point, but given the time and space to reveal who they are, how they got there, and what makes them special — which is, in turn, what makes the show special, too.

Read the entire article here

Read more Breaking News here

 

 

Canadian lawyers are pushing courts to consider systemic racism

By Tamara Khandaker

Vice News Canada

Defense lawyers in Ontario want to start pushing judges to consider how systemic racism may have contributed to the criminal activity of black offenders they are sentencing.

Image courtesy of CBC News

While courts in the province have long recognized the relevance of race and racism when meting out punishment, what has been lacking is a specific mechanism to deal with the issue, argued Wayne van der Meide, a regional manager for Legal Aid Ontario.

The proposed cultural assessment — much like the Gladue report that judges, defense lawyers and Crown counsel can request when sentencing Aboriginal offenders —  would give judges expert evidence on how the person’s environment, as well as the history of racism in Canada, may have contributed to his or her criminal activity.

Read the entire article here

Read about America’s incarceration problem here

Read more Breaking News here

 

Highly Valued ABHM Exhibit Saved for Future Generations

Griot: Dr. Fran Kaplan

A young visitor to ABHM in 2005 inside the replica cargo hold of a slave ship in the Middle Passage exhibit.

When visitors to America’s Black Holocaust Museum’s former facility (1988-2008) are asked “what are your strongest memories of your visit?,” they most often mention two:

  • Meeting Dr. Cameron, ABHM’s founder and listening to the story of the lynching he barely survived as a teenager, and
  • Standing inside the slave ship cargo hold and listening to a Griot (oral historian/docent) describe the conditions of the Middle Passage.

Sadly, Dr. Cameron is no longer with us to tell his powerful story in person. And this week we almost lost the impactful slave ship exhibit as well.

Fortunately, Dr. Cameron gave many interviews during his lifetime – and left us a wonderfully detailed memoir of his experiences growing up under Jim Crow, including the lynching and his subsequent incarceration. And thanks to the generosity of the company in charge of demolishing our former museum building, the valuable slave ship exhibit was spared the wrecking ball and bulldozer.

On April 21, 2017, just days before demolition was to begin, Greenfire Management Services sent three of their demolition workers to do something extraordinary: spend four hours carefully disassembling the large replica piece by piece so that it could be moved to a safe storage facility to await the completion of our new museum facility in 2018.

The replica of the ship was not removed from the building when ABHM was forced to abandon it in 2008, because there was insufficient time and funds to arrange for disassembly. All other exhibits not built into the walls, floors, and ceilings were moved to storage, but the ship, along with murals representing African life before captivity, had to be left behind. The abandoned building was subsequently vandalized and repeatedly flooded. All the walls and murals became covered in mold – with the miraculous exception of the walls, murals, and timbers inside the slave ship!

(L to R) ABHM’s Brad Pruitt and Dr. Fran Kaplan with movers David, Dave, and Frenchy, prepare to take the slave ship to a safe harbor.

ABHM consultant Brad Pruitt, who has for several years worked closely with Maures Development on the Historic Garfield Redevelopment Project where our new museum will be housed, directed the disassembly and moving teams in the successful effort to save the ship.

One of the movers, Frenchy, vividly remembered his visits to the museum as a young person. As he and the other men lovingly carried each piece from the ruined building to the truck, Frenchy said, with tears in his eyes, “I’m saving a piece of our history!”

Now in storage, the slave ship’s many pieces will eventually be reassembled like a puzzle, refurbished, and restored.

Visitors young and old to ABHM’s new facility will again be able to see, hear, visualize, and clearly understand the torment and deeply admire the strength and resilience of the African ancestors brought to this land in chains.

Please note: In order to return as a bricks-and-mortar museum, to restore its exhibits and create new ones, ABHM must raise $1.5 million by Spring 2018. If you wish to help, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution here.




Photo Gallery: The Rescue of ABHM’s Middle Passage Exhibit

A Voyage to Slavery: The Story of the Middle Passage

As if two simple words could contain the horror, the journey was called the Middle Passage. It was the middle let of a terse and efficient trade triangle where human torture and suffering were unimaginable.

Nearly 20 million Africans were captured during the largest forced migration in human history – spanning over 3 centuries. They were shacked two-by-two and herded onto vessels where as many as 600 other captives awaited the horrors of the voyage. It is impossible to determine how many people lost their lives during the crossing. Current estimates range from 1 million to 2.2 million.

Listen for the spirits of the ancestors. Their sad voices tell us how their story began.

 

The entrance to the Middle Passage exhibit as it appeared in the ruined museum building on April 21, 2017. Visitors walked up a ramp made to resemble a pier, which was once lined with barrels and other cargo. They then entered the replica cargo hold. A curtain at each end once closed them in, as they stood between the shelves on which the captives were stacked.

 

 

 

Workmen carry parts of the slave ship roof and floor past the ruins of the ruined mural of life in Africa before captivity that visitors passed and discussed before entering the Middle Passage exhibit.

Sadly this extensive and beautiful depiction of daily life in pre-colonial Africa was covered in mold and could not be saved.

Three days later, the hall where the Middle Passage exhibit had been was demolished.

 

How Do We Fight Back Against Trump and His Fake News?

From: The Root

By: Monique Judge

Amidst the drama and craziness surrounding the Trump presidency, the concept known as “Fake News” has been at the heat of President Donald Trump’s frustration. Monique Judge defines what fake news really is as she writes, “fake news is something that is created intentionally to deceive; that it not happening in any legitimate mainstream media I can see.” Judge clarifies that news that someone does not agree with is not considered fake news, and this may be where the President is confused.

Judge further explains the definition of fake news and its misrepresentation by the President. In order to fight back against the President and his propaganda against media Judge advises the following,

“Not only do we have to present the truth, we have to do so repeatedly in order for those facts to stick. The same way in which Trump is repeating his “fake news/fake media” mantra to get it to stick in people’s heads is the same way in which we need to come forth with facts that debunk the propaganda he is putting out there.”

 

To read more about this article follow here.

To read more of ABHM’s Breaking News look here.

 

ABHM Co-Sponsors “Racial Justice: The Courage to Act” with Head Griot Reggie Jackson Speaking on Segregation in Milwaukee

Written by: Keith McAllister

Edited by: Zak Morse

Full house!

 

 

April 1st fell on a Saturday this year, and community members from more than 20 different churches and organizations around Milwaukee gathered at Alverno College to engage in the impactful social justice event, Racial Justice: The Courage to Act. The event left attendees with much to think about in the struggle for justice. It also illustrated efforts to build coalitions across organizations committed to racial justice in Milwaukee, including the YWCA Southeast Wisconsin, Rid Racism Milwaukee, and Unitarian Universalists (UUs) for Black Lives Matter.

For a full list of co-sponsors, visit the event page; for insights about the day’s program, check out the hashtag #Courage2Act on Twitter and Instagram.


Among the co-sponsors was
America’s Black Holocaust Museum. ABHM’s Head Griot Reggie Jackson delivered the opening address, which described the impact of  racism in Milwaukee and the struggle for justice in Milwaukee’s past and present. Jackson’s address set the tone early on for serious engagement by addressing directly the scope and severity of the city’s racial injustices.

Reggie Jackson speaking on segregation in Milwaukee.

Jackson described how Milwaukee is the most racially segregated major city in the U.S. “Milwaukee’s issues are literally killing black people.” Wisconsin is the “only state in the U.S.” where the life expectancy gap is not improving, and two thirds of the distressed population in the state is concentrated here in Milwaukee. Facts like these—and many more shown in the speaker’s presentation—are indicative of wider social and economic disparities.

The conference left us with the resoundingly clear message: more action is needed for racial justice. In light of events like Racial Justice: Courage to Act, there is a need for community members to ask hard questions, articulate lived experiences, and help reconcile historical injustices to promote justice in today’s Milwaukee.

For more about the organizations involved, explore the event’s Facebook page.

To learn more about America’s Black Holocaust Museum, please explore the virtual museum galleries.

Read more Breaking News here.

 

 

After Changing the Rules of Engagement, Senate Republicans Vote Neil Gorsuch Onto the U.S. Supreme Court

From: Colorlines

By: Deepa Iyer

In the article “After Changing the Rules of Engagement, Senate Republicans Vote Neil Gorsuch Onto the U.S. Supreme Court,” contributing writer Deepa Iyer talks about the reaction of racial justice, women’s rights, and LGBTQ organizations to the confirmation of the 113th justice, Neil Gorsuch.

She writes:

“Democrats filibustered the nomination yesterday, denying Gorsuch supporters the 60 votes they needed to move to a final vote. In a move observers and individual lawmakers have characterized as the death knell of any possible bipartisanship in the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) changed the body’s rules of Supreme Court nominations, using what is called the “nuclear option.””

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 20: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) (back to camera) swears in Judge Neil Gorsuch during the first day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gorsuch was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy left on the court by the February 2016 death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

She continues:

“Civil society organizations have consistently opposed Gorsuch’s nomination for his conservative viewpoints on reproductive rights, LGBTQ equality, and criminal justice.”

Read More About Past Supreme Court Decisions That Changed History here. 

Visit our Breaking News Page here. 

 

 

 

Civil Rights Era Poet Shares How to Create Civility in Today’s Society

From:Huffington Post- Black Voices

Written By: Kristina Puga

Writer and activist Eugene Ethelbert Miller discussed his love for writing and history by stating:

“I wanted to be involved in every aspect of writing about it,” says Miller about the politically-charged time, as sharply and energetically as if it were just yesterday. “It was just like now – with the Woman’s March and Black Lives Matter…”

Miller, who goes by “Ethelbert” spent his college years immersed in black history. 

He attended college (Howard University) in the same year that Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. This, among other events (such as the assassination of Robert Kennedy, and the Vietnam war) led him to began a career as a poet. He explained:  “I wrote many love poems,” says Miller. “I wanted to leave behind poems that were similar to Pablo Neruda’s work.”

Millers’ family consisted of a postal working Father, and a seamstress mother. He explained that college was “a strain financially.” Therefore announcing that he would be a writer to his parents was a bit of a misunderstanding. He later explained all of the different opportunities his writings afforded him: “When I look back on my writing, it took me to places that I couldn’t have gone otherwise,” says the poet, mentioning the U.S. State Department sponsored some of his trips. “I went to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, people would send me to all sorts of places.”

Miller continues with more inspiring anecdotes for writers of all backgrounds leaving us with this piece of life advice:

“I think what I’ve learned now are two things: We have to practice deep listening. We have to understand what [people] are afraid of, what they’re suffering from. Then the next level is compassion.”  

Read the full article here

Follow Miller’s work here

Read more Breaking News here

 

 

Help Bring ABHM Home! Museum’s New Space Rises in Bronzeville

 

 On Juneteenth Day 1988, America’s Black Holocaust Museum opened its facility in Milwaukee’s historic Bronzeville district. Thousands of schoolchildren and adults from around the world learned African American history within its walls. After its building was forced to close in 2008, ABHM reinvented itself as an online museum serving millions of global visitors each year. And now…

The Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation* is pleased
to announce
its
$1.5 Million Capital Campaign to


 •  RESTORE ABHM 


in a new building
on the site of its original location
at
4th and North Avenue in Milwaukee.

Please help us bring ABHM home!

 

flyers auction blk

A visitor reads the bills advertising slave auctions near the museum’s auction block.

Your donation – large or small –  to our Building Fund will make a big difference.

(All donations are tax-deductible.)

To make a major donation, please contact our Board President, Tyanna McLaurin, at tyannacmm at yahoo dot com.

To make smaller donations, click here:




Donations to our Capital Campaign (Building) Fund will be used for:

  • Design and Construction
  • Exhibit Design and Installation
  • Program Development 

The Griot, an apartment building named for ABHM founder Dr. James Cameron, will open in Spring 2018 on the very site of ABHM’s former facility (1988-2008). ABHM’s new museum space will grace The Griot building’s ground floor.

ABHM’s new museum space will feature:

  • History Exhibits
  • Interactive Displays
  • Guided Tours
  • Traveling Exhibits from Other Museums
  • A Museum Café, Gift Shop and Gallery
  • Community Events Space

 

 

 

Please join us for the Groundbreaking Ceremony – April 4, 2017!

 The celebration will be held on Tuesday, April 4th behind the Garfield School building (2215 N. 4th Street) in the Bronzeville Neighborhood from 11:00am-1:00pm.

The program will feature Mayor Tom Barrett, Alderwoman Milele Coggs, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, WHEDA Director Winston Wyman, as well as several Milwaukee artists.

Virgil Cameron, the son of ABHM Founder Dr. James Cameron, will also speak.


 

About ABHM as Part of the Revitalization of Milwaukee’s Historic Bronzeville

Maures Development Group, LLC, the only female and minority-owned development business in Wisconsin, is redeveloping almost an entire block of abandoned buildings. The $17.4 million project will transform the site into a vibrant mixed-use campus as a catalyst for the reestablishment of the historically black Bronzeville neighborhood’s culture and entertainment district.

The Bronzeville community was once a thriving African American economic and cultural hub. In the 1960s, however, hundreds of homes and businesses were demolished for the proposed Park West Freeway, which was never built. Subsequently, the once-thriving commercial corridor deteriorated, as property values plummeted and buildings fell into disrepair.

The historic former Garfield school building will be redeveloped for 30 units of high-quality, mixed-income housing.

In Phase I, the school building will be reborn as the Historic Garfield Redevelopment Project, comprised of 30 units of high-quality, mixed-income housing. In Phase II, the adjoining vacant properties will be demolished and developed as the The Griot, a newly constructed building with 41 residential units and 8,000 square feet of commercial space.

The commercial space will house America’s Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM), one of Milwaukee’s most revered cultural institutions, which shares the African American story as part of U.S. history and supports racial repair and reconciliation. The museum will re-open its doors in Spring 2018, and is projected to bring over 10,000 visitors annually into the Bronzeville neighborhood.

“The Garfield project and the re-emergence of the America’s Black Holocaust Museum are certain to be catalytic for the Bronzeville Cultural, Arts and Entertainment District,” stated Alderwoman Milele Coggs. The City of Milwaukee first identified the Garfield Project in its 2005 Bronzeville Cultural & Entertainment District Plan.

Alderwoman Milele Coggs (L) and Maures Development Group’s Melissa Goins proudly announced the historic redevelopment project in May 2016.

Located just a mile from major downtown investments, including the new Bucks Arena, the Historic Garfield redevelopment will help connect downtown’s growth to the Bronzeville neighborhood. The project is forecasted to create over 115 jobs through construction, property management and the museum. In addition, 40 city residents will receive on-the-job training through an innovative partnership with Employ Milwaukee and the Northcott Neighborhood House.

Maures Development Group, LLC, is a commercial real estate firm that has developed a reputation for innovative projects focused on historically neglected neighborhoods. From the onset, the company’s holistic strategies of combining new construction, sustainable features and social partnerships with neighborhood organizations have delivered Maures a multitude of praises for community impact.


*America’s Black Holocaust Museum is a program of the nonprofit Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation.

 

School Tries To Censor BLM Article. These Students Had The Final Say.

From: HuffPost Black Voices

Written by: Zahara Hill

In a recent post, “School Tries To Censor BLM Article. These Students Had The Final Say” Zahara Hill sheds light on young black voices taking a stand for racial injustice when two high school students’–Vanessa Mewborn and Ariana Coleman– yearbook article titled “Celebrating being American: Clarity on Black Lives Matter” was stripped of anything remotely related to Black Lives Matter.

She writes:

“The article was titled “Celebrating being American: Clarity on Black

Photo Credit: Sarah Auch

Lives Matter” and led with the question: “How do you feel about the Black Lives Matter movement?” The article included a picture of Mewborn, Coleman and two other young women with their fists raised as a message of black power.”

After submitting the a claim to  American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, the girls received news that the principles’ actions would be overridden. Hill quotes Mewborn and Coleman:

“It’s a reflection of who I am and who our ancestors have fought for us to be, to never give up, and to fight for what is right. There is nothing wrong with being proud of who I am and where I come from so yes, black lives matter. All lives matter. My voice matters.”

Read the full article here

Read more breaking news here