When the past is present…
Search the site
When the past is present…
On Wednesday, June 19, a statue of famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) will be unveiled in the United States Capitol Visitor Center at a ceremony. After escaping slavery, Douglass became a leader of the abolitionist movement and a prolific writer. District of Columbia Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton has been pushing for the statue for years. All 50 states are represented in the Capitol by a famous person. But not Washington DC.
Douglass will be the fourth African American to be depicted in the U.S. Capitol complex.
The last African American to be unveiled was Rosa Parks (1913-2005). Her statue [is] in statuary hall. A statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) stands in the Capitol rotunda and a statue of abolisionist Sojourner Truth (1797-1883) was unveiled in the the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center in 2012.
“I welcome the announcement that the District of Columbia’s statue of Frederick Douglass will be unveiled in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center next month. This statue, which will be the third statue or bust of an African American on display in the U.S. Capitol, will represent more than 600,000 District of Columbia residents and serve as tribute to a great Marylander and civil rights leader,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
Read more Breaking News here.
The decision is in. All consideration of race in college admissions is over.
No, the Supreme Court has not yet announced its decision in the landmark case of Fisher v. University of Texas; that ruling is expected any day now. But an alarming number of scholars, pundits and columnists — many of them liberal — have declared that economic class, not race, should be the appropriate focus of university affirmative-action efforts.
How can we explain this decision to throw in the towel on race-based affirmative action? Are we witnessing a surrender in advance of sure defeat? Or just an early weariness with a debate that, a decade ago, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor predicted would last another 25 years?
Perhaps it is the presence of a black president that has encouraged so many to believe that race is simply no longer a significant factor in American life. It is true that we have come a long way since the days of Jim Crow segregation. But the plain fact is that race still matters….
If the Supreme Court reverses its 2003 decision to uphold affirmative action on campus and outlaw any consideration of race in admissions decisions, it would be radical — a tragic culmination of decades of backtracking on racial justice.
Read the rest of Ifill’s opinion piece here.
Read more Breaking News here.
Members of ABHM’s International Advisory Committee are coming to town to meet the people who helped renew the museum.
The museum’s board and staff is holding a reception open to our supporters. We have several exciting developments at the museum to present, too, so…
Please come meet and mingle with our International Advisors, Volunteers, Donors, and Other VIPs!
• June 14, 2013 • 4:00 to 6:00pm
• Place: Duncan Entertainment Group, 777 N. Jefferson
(street parking, lot and garage on Jefferson and Mason)
• Short Program at 5:00 pm
Help support ABHM! Collect and bring old cell phones, iPads, iPods for recycling – yours, your brother’s, your friends’, etc. No phone too old!
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org !
Click here to learn about our International Advisors: http://www.abhmuseum.org/international-advisory-committee/
Thursday, June 6, 11 a.m. EDT: At a hearing today, Judge Debra Nelson of Seminole County Circuit Court in Florida rejected a request from a lawyer for George Zimmerman to shield the identities of as many as seven witnesses at Zimmerman’s upcoming trial, NBC reports. Attorney O’Mara said that the concerns of the potential trial witnesses included “personal concerns for their safety,” but Nelson seemingly agreed with prosecutors who worried that it would be “alarming and confusing to a juror and might otherwise highlight their testimony when it shouldn’t be highlighted.”
Tuesday, June 4, 2013, 8:22 a.m. EDT: The 5th District Court of Appeal ruled yesterday that Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Trayvon Martin’s family, must answer questions under oath from George Zimmerman’s attorneys. The defense will have a right to depose Crump about his dealings with a woman who was on the phone with Trayvon moments before he was shot and is expected to be the state’s most important witness,the Orlando Sentinel reports.
Monday, June 3, 11:05 a.m. EDT: George Zimmerman’s lawyers said on Sunday that a video found on Trayvon Martin’s cellphone actually shows two homeless men fighting over a bicycle, not two of Trayvon’s friends beating up a homeless man, as defense attorney Mark O’Mara described it in court last week. O’Mara described his mischaracterization in court as unintentional and said, “We have been committed to disputing misinformation in every aspect of this case, not causing it,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
Read the full article here.
Read more Breaking News here.
Always in Season is an independent documentary film with Danny Glover by ABHM’s friend and colleague Jacqueline Olive (producer/director).
The film highlights three communities facing a century of lynching African Americans as each works through the stages of restorative justice: 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. And 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.
Here is the moving trailer:
To fund the completion of this project or to find out more, click here.
To read more Breaking News, click here.
Experience a two-day adventure into African-American genealogy, featuring internationally known genealogist, author and lecturer, Tony Burroughs. African-American Genealogy Conference: Looking for a Home will be held June 21-22 at the Pyle Center in Madison. View or download a flier describing the African-American genealogical resources available at the Wisconsin Historical Society (PDF 141 KB).
The featured speaker, Tony Burroughs, taught at Chicago State University. His book, “Black Roots: A Beginner’s Guide to Tracing the African-American Family Tree,” was number one on Essence magazine’s bestseller list.
Other speakers include:
This event is co-hosted by the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Madison African-American Genealogy Writing Group.
Downtown hotels are filling up quickly because of other events being held on campus this weekend. We have arranged for a block of rooms at Lowell Center (610 Langdon St, just down the block from the Pyle Center). Phone 608-256-2621 and provide the group code name “home.”
Ticket Info: View or download a brochure and registration form that includes information about fees (PDF 217 KB). Email the library to confirm a registration spot in this conference.
Venue: Pyle Center
Address: 702 Langdon St
On May 31 and June 1, 1921, the white citizens of Tulsa, Oklahoma, attacked the city’s black citizens, following the publication of a sensationalized story of a black man assaulting a white woman in an elevator. The Greenwood District, also known as the “Black Wall Street,” the wealthiest black community in the United States, was burned to the ground.
In one of the nation’s worst acts of terrorism and racial violence, 35 square blocks of homes and businesses were torched by mobs of angry whites.
The riot began because of the alleged assault of a white elevator operator, 17-year old Sarah Page, by an African American shoeshiner, 19-year old Dick Rowland (the case against Mr. Rowland was eventually dismissed). The Tulsa Tribune got word of the incident and chose to publish the story in the paper on May 31, 1921. Shortly after the newspaper article surfaced, there was news that a white lynch mob was going to take matters into its own hands and kill Dick Rowland.
A group of armed white men congregated outside the jail and, subsequently, a group of African American men joined the assembled crowd in order to protect Dick Rowland.
There was an argument in which a white man tried to take a gun from a black man, and the gun fired a bullet up into the sky. This incident promoted many others to fire their guns, and the violence erupted on the evening of May 31, 1921. Whites flooded into the Greenwood district and destroyed the businesses and homes of African American residents. No one was exempt from the violence of the white mobs; men, women, and even children were killed by the mobs.
Troops were eventually deployed on the afternoon of June 1, but by that time there was not much left of the once thriving Greenwood district. Over 600 successful businesses were lost. Among these were 21 churches, 21 restaurants, 30 grocery stores and two movie theaters, plus a hospital, a bank, a post office, libraries, schools, law offices, a half-dozen private airplanes and even a bus system. Note—It was a time when the entire state of Oklahoma had only two airports, yet six blacks owned their own planes.
It was suspected by many blacks that the entire thing was planned because many white men, women and children stood on the borders of the city and watched as blacks were shot, burned and lynched. In addition, some of the black-owned airplanes were stolen by the white mob and used to throw cocktail bombs & dynamite sticks from the sky. Property damage totaled $1.5 million (1921). Although the official death toll claimed that 26 blacks and 13 whites died during the fighting, most estimates are considerably higher. At the time of the riot, the American Red Cross estimated that over 300 persons were killed. The Red Cross also listed 8,624 persons in need of assistance, in excess of 1,000 homes and businesses destroyed, and the delivery of several stillborn infants.
TULSA, Okla. — With their guns firing, a mob of white men charged across the train tracks that cut a racial border through this city. A 4-year-old boy named Wess Young fled into the darkness with his mother and sister in search of safety, returning the next day to discover that their once-thriving black community had burned to the ground.
The Tulsa race riot of 1921 was rarely mentioned in history books, classrooms or even in private. Blacks and whites alike grew into middle age unaware of what had taken place.
Ever since the story was unearthed by historians and revealed in uncompromising detail in a state government report a decade ago — it estimated that up to 300 people were killed and more than 8,000 left homeless — the black men and women who lived through the events have watched with renewed hope as others worked for some type of justice on their behalf.
But even as the city observed the 90th anniversary this month, the efforts to secure recognition and compensation have produced a mixed record of success.1
The riot will be taught for the first time in Tulsa public schools next year but remains absent in many history textbooks across the United States. Civic leaders built monuments to acknowledge the riot, including a new Reconciliation Park, but in the wake of failed legislative and legal attempts, no payments were ever delivered for what was lost.
1The Greenwood Cultural Center, dedicated on October 22, 1995, was created as a tribute to Greenwood’s history and as a symbol of hope for the community’s future. The center has a museum, an African American art gallery, a large banquet hall, and housed the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame until 2007. The total cost of the center was almost $3 million. The cultural center is a very important part of the reconstruction and unity of the Greenwood Historical District.The Greenwood Cultural Center sponsors and promotes education and cultural events preserving African American heritage. It also provides positive images of North Tulsa to the community, attracting a wide variety of visitors, not only to the center itself, but also to the city of Tulsa as a whole.
In 2011, the Greenwood Cultural Center lost 100% of its funding from the State of Oklahoma. As a result, the center may be forced to close its doors. A fundraising campaign is now underway to try to raise private funds to keep the educational and cultural facility open.
Read the entire NYT story here.
Read more Breaking News here.
An adorable Cheerios commercial featuring an interracial couple and their daughter generated such a strong racist backlash on YouTube that the comments section had to be closed.
The ad had received more than 1,600 likes and more than 500 dislikes as of Thursday evening.
Prior to the closure, the comment section had been filled “with references to Nazis, ‘troglodytes’ and ‘racial genocide,’” according to Adweek.
YouTube comment sections have a reputation for breeding racist flame wars. CNN focused on the issue earlier this year, after a panel addressing racism and race on YouTube was held at South By Southwest:
“Everyone gets hate comments on YouTube,” said Andre Meadows, the creator of the Black Nerd Comedy channel. “You can make the most wonderful video in the world and you will get ‘Fake!’ and ‘Gay!’”But for minority creators, “when you get comments, it seems to be targeted toward race almost immediately. A lot of people get ‘dumb video, stupid video’ — but with mine it immediately goes to racial slurs.”
Commenters on the cereal’s Facebook page also said they found the commercial “disgusting” and that it made them “want to vomit.” Other hateful commenters expressed shock that a black father would stay with his family.
However, many took to Facebook to express their appreciation for Cheerios’ decision to feature a mixed-race family.
“Having been mixed in the ’70s, I’d like to thank everyone at Cheerios for making a commercial with an interracial couple! Going to buy boxes today! Many thanks for reflecting what my family looked like,” Beschelle Lockhart posted Monday.
“Just watched your commercial with the biracial family. Beautiful. Thank you so much,” Alexandra Burt wrote.
Cheerios was unfazed by the racist Internet backlash. “Consumers have responded positively to our new Cheerios ad. At Cheerios, we know there are many kinds of families and we celebrate them all,” Camille Gibson, Cheerios vice president of marketing, told Gawker.
For more Breaking News, click here.
The 104-year-old organization is working to dispel myths that it’s black-only and mired in the past.
In 2005 the NAACP took a look at its membership and, more important, the people who were not members. There was the robust Youth & College Division, but then, as National Board Chairman Roslyn Brock puts it, “After you’re 25, we lose you — you’re graduating from college, starting your family, starting your career. Then folks come back to NAACP around their late 40s, 50s, and they literally stay until God calls them home.”
She wanted to change that. The Leadership 500 Summit, a conference held for the ninth year this weekend, was designed to get the attention of professionals in that missing generation. Its explicit agenda: Recruit movers and shakers between the ages of 30 and 50, teach them about the NAACP’s work, dispel myths about what the 104-year-old civil rights organization is (black-only, nonprogressive and old, to name a few of those myths) and send attendees home ready to become active members and lead the group into the future….
[Chairman Roslyn Brock told The Root],
The NAACP has been around for 104 years, but everybody in it is not 104 years old. When you come here and you see who our thought leaders are, who our president and CEO has hired and attracted, you’ll see some of the best and brightest professionals that you will see anywhere.
So through this event and through social media, we’re saying, “Come home to the NAACP. Because courage should not skip this generation.”…
[She also spoke about other myths about the NAACP]:
…[S]ome might think we’re not progressive, or that we kind of stayed back in the old days. But our ability to push the envelope is not only marriage equality — it’s environmental justice, for example. Many don’t know that we have a very robust emerging program around climate change and economic justice in communities of color.
Also, we have white Americans who are presidents of our local branches, of our local college chapters, and we’re doing a good job of widening our net of black and brown, yellow and others to come to the NAACP, because we believe that “colored” people come in all colors, and our cause is not a black cause; it is an American cause.
Read the full article and interview here.
Learn about, and if you wish, join the NAACP here.
See more Breaking News here.
You might find that attacks on his commencement speech — a hit among graduates — missed the mark.
It’s been evident since Obama’s first election that America was dividing into two different worlds, broadly defined by demographics. He was swept into office by a relatively youthful, ethnically diverse coalition in which huge majorities of blacks and Hispanics were allied with a minority of whites. His opponents consisted mainly of older whites unsettled by the emergence of a new America. These were people, as I wrote some years ago, who “went to sleep in their America on Election Day 2008 and woke up in another country, as though they had been swept up in a spaceship and transported to an alien world.”
But now, if we can judge by the disagreement between highbrows such as Coates and Capehart, a similar disjunction may be starting to develop in some rarefied
segments of black America. Obama’s conservative white critics twist his every word and action into further proof that he is a socialist, crypto-Muslim bent on destroying the country. In much the same way, his emerging cadre of black, usually leftish, critics interpret his every move as evidence that he is a pro-establishment cynic using his speeches to black folks to send coded “Sister Souljah” speech messages to white folks. They’re determined to find fault with Obama even when he does something right — and in this case at least, they are as out of touch as the president’s right-wing opponents.
That’s the conclusion I reached after rereading Obama’s Morehouse remarks in light of the strong critiques from Coates and Kai Wright, my esteemed former colleague at The Root. I didn’t hear the “convenient race talk” that Coates detected or the browbeating that troubled Wright. I didn’t even hear the voice of a politician.
I heard the voice of my father.
It could have been my dad lecturing me across the dinner table when Obama declared, “You have to work twice as hard as anyone else if you want to get by.”
And again, when he admonished the graduates to “be a good role model, set a good example for that young brother coming up. If you know somebody who’s not on point, go back and bring that brother along. Those who’ve been left behind, who haven’t had the same opportunities we have — they need to hear from you.”
And yet again, when he urged them to “recognize the burdens you carry with you, but to resist the temptation to use them as excuses. To transform the way we think about manhood, and set higher standards for ourselves and for others. To be successful, but also to understand that each of us has responsibilities not just to ourselves, but to one another and to future generations. Men who refuse to be afraid. Men who refuse to be afraid.”
Those are the messages that my father, a medical-school professor at Howard University who died 25 years ago, pounded into my head as I was growing up, and that I’ve tried to convey to my own children.
Read the full article and the description of the debate about the speech here.
Read more Breaking News here.