Monthly Archives: February 2013

Nominally Free…

 

 

Starting this blog just after we celebrate the 150th year of the Emancipation Proclamation’s inauguration seems fitting.  Because much of what will be written in this blog will range from the historical context of the plight of Africans here in America to how the construct of our plight has not changed.  All of it will revolve around how this construct plays out in the often time ignored topic of micro-economics. When discussing micro-economics–especially the concepts for micro-economy (or lack thereof) of African-Americans (often referred to as Black economy)—we see that not much has changed since the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect.   Now this isn’t to say there has not been a vast quality of life improvement for Blacks, we certainly see that play out in our daily lives.  We see the freedoms we have in places we can now travel, people we can now wed, professions we can now enter, and elected offices we can now hold.  However, while the fire hoses were turned off, the dogs put back on chains, the ropes taken off of the lynching trees, the shackles and fetters removed from flesh;  Carter G. Woodson describes the times in which we now live with the following quote from his book The Mis-Education of the Negro, “The poverty which afflicted them for a generation after Emancipation held them down to the lowest order of society, nominally free but economically enslaved.” In order to understand what he means by this we need look no further than the percentage of wealth that is housed within the black population of this country in 2012 (Black folks have accumulated almost 1% of the wealth in this country); then look at the percentage of wealth for black folks in 1862, a year before the Emancipation Proclamation became effective (less than 1%). We also know that resources or the accumulation of resources is what generates wealth. Continue Reading →

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MPS revising Black history curriculum

 

Mahmoud El-Kati calls for a ‘radical’ change to educating youth
 
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

 

Following two recent incidents that occurred at Minneapolis high schools — a Black doll hung by the neck from a string at Washburn High School and a cafeteria fight at South High School — Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) Chief Communications Officer Stan Alleyne said, “There is a new level of intensity and urgency” around the importance of teaching Black history in the schools,

The two incidents are “about misunderstandings and about ignorance” of Black culture, said Mahmoud El-Kati, who has taught Black history classes at North High School for 18 years. “All children should learn the wisdom of Frederick Douglass, [W.E.B.] DuBois, Mary Church Terrill, Ida B. Wells and Mary McLeod Bethune, Martin [Luther King, Jr.] and Malcolm [X], and God knows how many [other] people we can call on who are very important in American democracy. These children haven’t heard their names, [as well as] too many adults.”

Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson was unavailable for comment, but Alleyne pointed out, “The superintendent has spoken numerous times on how important it was to take another look at what we are doing. We have to make sure that students are learning things that are important for them to learn.”

The current Minnesota K-12 Social Studies Standards has four key components: citizenship and government, geography, economics and history. Students in kindergarten through third grade are required “to master fundamental understandings” of social studies, then study North America geography (grade four), North American history (grade five), Minnesota studies (grade six), U.S. Studies 1800-present (grade seven) and global studies (grade eight). Continue Reading →

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Recognition of early ‘Black Fives’ players long overdue

The NCAA this year is celebrating 75 years of March Madness. Before it became an overhyped trademark, and before it became a behemoth cash cow for everyone but the players, the annual tourney for decades was a White-only affair. The celebrating hoopla shouldn’t overlook this fact. Claude Johnson founded the Greenwich, Conn.-based Black Fives Foundation in 2001. It is named for the number of Black players on the court and the basketball league of the same name that ran for nearly 50 years (1904-1950), at least three decades before the Negro Leagues. It also was a clear affront to the racially segregated unwritten rule that limited the number of players of color allowed on the court  (two at home, one on the road), a rule that existed in the NBA, its forerunner the National Basketball League, and in college hoops well into the 1960s. Continue Reading →

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Local youth join international poets to hone Brave New Voices

 
Tish Jones cultivates next generation of MN spoken word artists
 

 

By Jamal Denman

Contributing Writer

 

Almost every practitioner of creative art, regardless of the discipline, will be quick to point out that they are motivated to do what they do for very personal reasons. One’s affinity for a particular art form is often connected to at least one emotional, enlightening, and/or life-changing experience. This is especially true for those who are into poetry and spoken word, art forms that give a voice and a medium of expression to many who feel that they otherwise would not be heard. These aspects of spoken word and poetry are what attracted artist and educator Tish Jones. They are what motivate her to create spaces for people — youth in particular — to discover the art of spoken word, as well as to develop and hone their skills and have opportunities to perform their work. Continue Reading →

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South High food fight gives voice to Somali student’s frustrations

One student response to turmoil is to “mix it up” culturally
 

By Mel Reeves

Contributing Writer

 

“We don’t feel safe,” said 16-year-old Kowsar Mohamed, a Somali student at South High, during a recent press conference addressing the reasons for a Feb. 14 fight in the cafeteria of the school involving Somali, other African Americans, and Native American students. Her classmates surprisingly pointed out that their sense of insecurity extends to the Minneapolis police stationed at the school. “We were mishandled by the police,” said student Halima Abumunye. “I felt disrespected by the police. Continue Reading →

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How is Dred Scott connected to MN history?

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Many people don’t know that for a time, Dred Scott lived in Fort Snelling, where he met and married his wife, Harriet Robinson. Local community member Frank White and others are working to see this knowledge becomes more widespread with various community events that will begin this coming spring. The Dred Scott case and its impact on this country too often have been undervalued in U.S. history. Scott was a Black man born around 1799 and had moved with the Peter Blow family from Virginia to St. Louis, Missouri. Continue Reading →

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Ancient African knowledge holds key to trusting ourselves and others

 

 

The Black man/woman is the temple that absorbs the planetary influences of the cosmos. The Black man/woman is not a helpless creature in this drama of life, nor is he/she held helpless by circumstances around him or her. The planets are within man/woman; they may initiate reaction and inner impulses from within, but freedom from such planetary influences could be ours if we were masters of ourselves.  

An Elder of an ancient African spiritual tradition 

The lack of self-mastery for the Black man/woman is a phenomenon that affects every aspect of existence, one that has caused a disengaged state and a broken will to fully participate in life. However, this state was not produced in a vacuum, but instead begins with the African’s separation from his intellectual and spiritual heritage, his homeland, and a rootedness in culturally authentic concepts of community living. Continue Reading →

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Designing a healthy approach to life

 

You’ve set some new year’s goals for yourself…maybe some fitness goals, travel plans, or maybe even a new attitude about life! The new year always brings about renewed zeal for the things we’d like to do to enjoy a better quality of life

But as we’ve seen, without that bangin’ inspirational song, or the help of “liquid courage” (alcohol), those spur-of-the-moment, conquer-the-world leaps of faith sometimes fall flat. Goals without a plan don’t work. Health and fitness are some of the top-10 New Year’s goals. And good ones to have! Continue Reading →

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Health disparities cost African Americans $45.3 billion annually

 

A recent report by the National Urban League Policy Institute found that African Americans continue to pay a disproportionate price for health disparities, spending $54.9 billion of the total $82.2 billion for the U.S. in healthcare costs and lost productivity. The report, “The State of Urban Health: Eliminating Health Disparities to Save Lives and Cut Costs,” examined the economic impact of health disparities in the U.S. using two measures: 1) direct medical costs and 2) the indirect cost due to lower labor market productivity. According to the report:

Health disparities in the U.S. resulted in $59.9 billion in increased healthcare costs, with African Americans bearing most of this cost with $45.3 billion. African Americans living in urban areas in the South and Midwest saw the highest healthcare costs. For Hispanics, the costs of health disparities were largest in the West ($5.3 billion) and Northeast ($4.3 billion). Continue Reading →

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