Jim Crow

Recent Articles

Living with White people for 238 years has jinxed us

By Willie Johnson

Guest Commentator

 

Black people, guess what — we are still as Black today as we were yesterday. Same story, different page — sleepy, dumb, tired and broke, just hoping for any kind of help. It’s the middle of the month and I’m broke with my head in my hands. Listening to the nightly news makes you think the whole world is crazy. I feel sorry for the foreigners, but Black America has its own problems. There hasn’t been a policy to help Blacks in America in over 30 years. Continue Reading →

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“Ask What You Can Do For Your Country”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Marian Wright Edelman

Contributing Writer

 

“It should be clear by now that a nation can be no stronger abroad than she is at home. Only an America which practices what it preaches about equal rights and social justice will be respected by those whose choice affects our future. Only an America which has fully educated its citizens is fully capable of tackling the complex problems and perceiving the hidden dangers of the world in which we live.” — From the speech President John F. Kennedy planned to deliver on November 22, 1963.  

I was a brand new law school graduate in my first months of work with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in New York City on that fateful November day 50 years ago. I had begun the day visiting a young Black male death row client in a rural Georgia prison accused of killing a White farmer and had returned to Atlanta where I was sitting in a courthouse library researching how many Blacks and Whites had been executed in Georgia’s history. Continue Reading →

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Trayvon Martin tragedy’s lesson: ‘Everything has changed, yet nothing has changed’

 

 

Someone once said, to describe the state of race relations near the end of the 20th century, “Everything has changed, yet nothing has changed.” That may be the best way to sum up the Trayvon Martin tragedy. At bottom, as in the case of Dred Scott over 150 years ago, it’s apparent that Black folks “have no rights that Whites [particularly the system] are bound to respect.”

The Trayvon Martin verdict at bottom is disturbing, beyond the fact that Zimmerman got away with what may have been murder. As it turns out, this whole thing was about the prejudice and bias of the system. The trial exposed a prejudicial judicial system whose prejudice is to prefer White over Black, rich over poor, and native citizen over immigrant. In the case of the trial of George Zimmerman, that same system was now being asked to defend the type of person that it constantly slam-dunks. Continue Reading →

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Snowden, Hastings and surveillance? Were they right?

 
The ‘here we go again’  relevance for Black America
 

Young journalists stepped forward to warn again how we continue to lose our government to growing “Big Brother.” Thirty-year-old document leaker Edward J. Snowden has fled to a secret place. And 33-year-old journalist Michael Hastings was killed in a fiery auto crash in Los Angeles June 18, 2013. They have shocked the nation by exposing the extent of the secret crypt of America’s intelligence network’s surveillance abuse of American citizens. Black America is not shocked. It’s been part and parcel of our lives ever since the first Black foot stepped off the boat in Virginia, on through failed Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the 1920’s, on through to today, blocking our access and freedoms.

We especially remember the surveillance of Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders. Continue Reading →

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Emancipation Proclamation and our collective history

 

By Benjamin Todd Jealous

Guest Commentator

 

The Emancipation Proclamation, which set our nation on the path to the end of slavery, was signed 150 years ago this month. This year, we should resolve to teach our children the story of our collective history. The past century and a half offers countless tales of bravery and sacrifice to inspire the next generation. Only by sharing our history will we be able to continue our progress over the next 150 years. President Lincoln’s wartime proclamation in 1863 read that “all persons held as slaves” in rebel states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” This was a noble idea and certainly a brave gesture. Continue Reading →

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America’s Black First Family symbolizes rise of African culture

Hotep (Be at peace, be at rest, be free)

In this the second in a three-part series, I want to share another core idea: “SIA” an ancient African teaching that I have had the great honor of having verified in travels to the elders in Africa and in the 20 years of study in the International Khepran Institute. In both classrooms, I was able to verify that this idea is preserved through the trials and the awful terror of our existence in this country. The “SIA” refers to the intelligence of the heart. Cerebral intelligence depends upon the senses, the recordings of observed facts, and the comparison of these facts and ideas of the mind. The first four senses — touch, taste, smell and sight — pass through the brain; the fifth sense, hearing, passes through the heart without speaking directly to the brain. Continue Reading →

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Democracy is under attack by voter suppression

 

By Benjamin Todd Jealous

Guest Commentator 

 

Far too often in modern elections, sound bites trump substance and voters are left wondering what the candidates really stand for. This is even more acute for issues important to the African American and civil rights communities. That is why, as we have done every presidential cycle for decades, the NAACP is traveling to the Republican National Convention and Democratic National Convention — to ensure that these issues are addressed by both major political parties. This year the Republican Party met in Tampa, Florida August 27-30, and the Democratic Party meets in Charlotte, North Carolina September 4-6.  These days, voting on who will lead each party’s ticket is largely a formality. But the delegates do have another important objective: choosing their party’s policy platform for the next four years. Continue Reading →

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Book shines with stories of the Great Migration of Blacks to the North

 

 
A book review
By Lissa Jones

Contributing Writer

 

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration (Random House, 2010) is authored by Isabel Wilkerson, the first African American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize (1994), and the first African American to win the prize for individual reporting. In this work, Wilkerson makes the story of the Great Migration, a Black movement that changed the face of the United States of America, come alive. The title, the author advises, was inspired by none other than another Black legendary great, author/poet Richard Wright: “I was leaving the South/To fling myself into the unknown/I was taking a part of the South/To transplant in alien soil/To see if it could grow differently/If it could drink of new and cool rains/Bend in strange winds/Respond to the warmth of other suns/And, perhaps, to bloom.”

Wright’s poem oozes the essence of Wilkerson’s work in this novel — Black people, many of them sharecroppers, almost all barely able to afford a ticket North, resisted anyway. Literally at risk of death they packed up everything they could carry and went North hoping for a future free of the devastation of the segregation in the Jim Crow South. Wilkerson tells this tale so vividly, and she makes it personal — she tells the story through the lives of three of the brave souls who helped change the face of this nation: Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, Robert Joseph Pershing Foster and George Swanson Starling. Continue Reading →

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We need Black solutions to Black problems – Critical thinking in the Black Independence Movement

 

 

“Salvation for a race, nation or class must come from within.” 

          — A. Philip Randolph

 

Unless you are Herman Cain, you know that the Civil Rights Movement was ignited by young people tired of going through back doors, tired of being refused service at lunch counters, tired of living in the prison of Jim Crow. The older of us were moved to act when we saw our babies being shot with water cannons, our babies being beaten by police in riot gear. When we saw our babies maimed by vicious, hungry police dogs, their mothers and fathers said, “Not our babies!”

News to the wise: Our young are on the move again, this time against the now semi-invisible Jim Crow — the cradle-to-prison pipeline, the divestiture of public education and concurrent divestiture of the surrounding neighborhoods, the dispensing of guns to children too young to apply for a driver’s license. They are on the move against disproportionate minority contact with the police and against systems sustained off of Black misery. They are on the move against the tides that for so long have bound their ancestors — not just Harriet Tubman but us, their ancestors still here on earth. Continue Reading →

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