In the US, every February is taken to honor those who have contributed to Black American history. Some schools have began to intersperse Black History lessons into their class curriculum while others schools choose February to specifically talk about contributions made by Black people. Sometimes, schools do not cover Black History month at all. Below are lessons I have put up on social media over the past few years to highlight topics that could be discussed in the classroom or around the dinner table.
*This page is still under construction but please feel free to read up!
2/1/18 – James Baldwin (1924-1987) was an American author who wrote a number of books on about the black and gay experiences in 1950s America. Baldwin spent a majority of his adult life outside of the US, giving him a unique perspective on both his own challenges with race, as well as America’s as a whole. A great deal of his work examines power with respect to race and his command of the English language is something many black authors still admire today. #BlackHistoryEveryDay #Baldwin
2/2/18 – One person #JamesBaldwin would later mentor during his time in America was #NinaSimone. Simone’s entire story is an interesting one, but I will zero in on her social activism. Her song “Mississippi Goddam” was released in 1963, the same year as the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. This was considered her first Civil Rights song. It was so controversial most states in the South banned the song and the music industry ostracized her for “inviting racial tension”. She took a true risk singing about what she felt compelled to sing and lost her job because of it. Today musicians, playwrights, authors, and politicians alike cite her activism as a reason for their involvement. #BlackCuture #BlackHistory #Music
2/3/18 – #NinaSimone‘s song “Mississippi Goddam” was written after this hero was assassinated in the driveway of his own house in 1963. #MedgarEvers was a #CivilRights activist in Mississippi, one of the most hostile states during the 1950s and 60s. After returning from World War II, Evers became focused on integrating Mississippi’s public schools. He became the NAACP Field Secretary for Mississippi in 1954, where he would organize boycotts and continue to fight for school integration. Notably, Evers set up a “wade-in” to protest the segregation of Mississippi’s beaches. On June 12, 1963, he was shot in front of his home by Bryon De La Beckwith (who would not be charged until 1994). His wife #MyrlieEvers continued on his path of activism and his brother #CharlesEvers became the first black mayor elected in Mississippi after the #Reconstruction in 1969. #BlackHeroes #BlackHistoryMonth #Day3
2/4/18 – #MedgarEvers paved the way in Mississippi to assist with James Meredith’s eventual integration into Ole Miss (the University of Mississippi), becoming the first African American to do so. A few years after Evers’s assassination in 1966, Meredith planned a 220 mile #MarchAgainstFear from Memphis, TN to Jackson. During the march, he was shot and wounded by a white gunman, but he recovered and rejoined the March prior to its completion. He eventually became a Republican in an effort to integrate the Republican Party. He was met with derision from both Democrats and Republicans for his actions. His stint with the Republican Party proved America was still a ways off from truly integrating the national public. #BlackHistory #CivilRights #History
2/5/18 – When one hears “A celebration of Black History Month,” you are often given success stories of black perseverance and overcoming the racial tribulations of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. What you don’t often hear are all the stories of people prior to that success. #JamesMeredith and #MedgarEvers work toward integration do not truly begin until we mention #ClydeKennard. Kennard, a Korean War vet, returned to Mississippi, after beginning college at the University of Chicago to help his mother run her farm. Segregation in schools was already deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court but Mississippi Southern College still refused to accept him. Continuing to pursue the case, Kennard found himself up against the state’s government as well as the police force. In 1960 Kennard was framed, arrested and sentenced to 7 years in prison for stealing chicken feed. Kennard would later be diagnosed with cancer in 1961 died in 1963. His only true focus was the integration of schools and he died never seeing his own dream realized. In 2006, Kennard’s name was cleared and his conviction overturned. #BlackHistoryMonth #BlackHeroes #Integration
2/6/18 – I thought of many people to put here that were directly affected by #ClydeKennard‘s work in integrating schools and I felt the story of #RaylawniBranch should be told. She was officially the first person to attend the University of Southern Mississippi – completing Kennard’s initial goal. The #NAACP recruited her to integrate the school primarily from her previous activist work. She was a member of both #SNCC and the #SCLC. She integrated both Greyhound and her local telephone company in Hattiesburg. She accomplished all of this before the age of 24. She was able to successfully integrate University of Southern Mississippi in 1965, two years after Kennard’s passing. She eventually joined the Air Force reserves, rising to lieutenant Colonel and continuing as a professional nursing educator. #BlackHistory #BlackHeroes #Activism
2/7/18 – While #RaylawniBranch was making her way through school, this gentleman was supplying her with food for her and her family for free. In turn, she would help him with his efforts in getting other local black Mississippians registered to vote. #VernonDahmer was a business owner and the president of the Forrest County chapter of the #NAACP. He dropped out of school in 10th grade and rather than use his white appearance and privileges associated with passing in Mississippi, he chose to speak up about his blackness. He would call upon #SNCC to help him register other black people to vote. He kept the voter registry in the grocery store rather than his house because of the threats made to him and his family. His slogan was “If you don’t vote, you don’t count”. He also agreed to pay the poll tax if they could not afford it. This gathered attention from the wrong crowd. In January of 1966, his home was fire-bombed by the KKK, he helped his wife and children our of the house but later died due to smoke inhalation. On his deathbed, he repeated his famed slogan. The court indicted 14 men and convicted 4 (3 of which were pardoned after 4 years). Today, his wife, Ellie was elected the election commissioner in the same district her husband was killed. January 10th is Vernon Dahmer Day in Hattiesburg and his family is still active in their father’s community today. #BlackHistory #BlackHeroes #UndiscoveredBlackHistory
2/8/18 – #VernonDahmer‘s efforts in activism were constantly being championed by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee or #SNCC for short. The Greensboro Sit-Ins, the Freedom Riders and the Voter Registration efforts were largely organized by SNCC. They were a group focused on pushing the Civil Rights agenda along as they felt the #SCLC was taking too long figuring out a compromise. This led to “radical” ideas passing through SNCC more than SCLC. Focusing on school-age children was a great way to teach students about the movement and ways to get involved and because of its nonviolent message, parents were encouraged to help spread awareness. With the assassinations of #MalcolmX #MedgarEvers and #MLK, their ethos began to shift to more radical ideology. SNCC at it’s base could not call itself SNCC if nonviolence was not something they valued. This allowed a rift to form within the group and allowed J. Edgar Hoover to create a wedge between the organization. SNCC disbanded in 1976. #UndiscoveredBlackHistory #BlackHistoryMonth #Nonviolence
2/9/18 – #SNCC combined with #MFDP (Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party) to win seats at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. #FannieLouHamer was the leader of the MFDP and fighting for the right to vote in Mississippi. She began her #CivilRights work in 1962 when she went to take the famed #LiteracyTest in order to vote. She actually ended up passing but the state required 2 poll tax receipts in order to vote. Seeing this inequality, she began to educate other Mississippians about what they would need to vote. The police would arrest her force 2 inmates to beat her so bad, she would not recover from some of her injuries. She would undergo surgery to remove a tumor and was given a hysterectomy without her consent by a white doctor. This was a part of Mississippi’s plan to sterilize poor blacks in the state. She named it the #MississippiAppendectomy. Her daughter was also refused admission to their local hospital due to her mother’s activism and subsequently died of her injuries. Hamer would die in 1977 from complications with hypertension and breast cancer. Her tombstone read “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired”. #UndiscoveredBlackHistory #BlackExcellence #BlackHistoryMonth
2/10/18 – A double dose here as #FannieLouHamer continued to fight for equality, she called upon the #NCNW to help her funding of a farming initiative that could provide a number of employment opportunities to blacks that needed them in the South. The National Council of Negro Women was founded in 1935 by Mary MacLeod Bethune (Who also founded Bethune-Cookman University) who wanted “an organization of organizations”. This would try to combine the efforts of #SCLC, #SNCC, and other numerous civil rights groups (roughly 28 at the time) but continue to fight for the rights of women, more specifically black women as they progressed through history. #BlackGirlMagic is all that can be described here as Bethune would find herself as President Roosevelt’s national advisor as apart of his “Black Cabinet”. Eleanor Roosevelt would request a seat next to her (despite the state’s segregation laws) at the Southern Conference on Human Welfare. Her access to the White House was unprecedented at that time and with that access she formed #TheBlackCabinet. Her council house is currently a museum in Washington DC. She would serve as an advisor to a total of 5 presidents. She was the only black woman present when the United Nations was founded in 1945. Her efforts were truly trailblazing. #UndiscoveredBlackHistory #BlackExcellence #BlackHistoryMonth
2/11/18 – I’m certain many sisters of the #DeltaSigmaTheta sorority would immediately recognize this president of the #NCNW. #DorothyHeight‘s story begins at #BarnardCollege – but actually #NYU given Barnard was only allowed to accept 2 black students per school year. She continued her post graduate work at #Columbia and the School of Social Work. Height was involved in community activism at the age of 25. She became the president of the NCNW from 1957-1997. She was a founding member of the Council for United Civil Rights Leadership and organized “Wednesdays in Mississippi” – bringing together black and white women from the north and south to talk about a number of social issues. Alongside #MaryMcLeodBethune she helped advise the Roosevelts on desegregating schools, voting rights, and worker’s rights. When she passed in 2010, her funeral was attended by the Obamas. #BlackHistoryMonth #BlackExcellence
2/13/18 – I didn’t forget! Yesterday was packed and couldn’t sit and have time to make the proper post. #NowIGotTime. When #DorothyHeight was named to the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, she oversaw a report that covered a number of experiments that violated ethical laws. One covered the #TuskegeeExperiment. This research, conducted by the US Public Health Service, focused on the natural progression of syphilis in untreated black men over the course of 40 years (1932-72). They lured in subjects by promising free health care. Most of the subjects were sharecroppers in Alabama and a few students from Tuskegee University. When funding was lost, the study continued on without notifying any of the subjects that they would not be treated and were also informed they were not allowed to be treated elsewhere. 28 men died due to syphilis while another 100 died due to complications involving the disease. 40 wives contracted the disease and 19 children were born with congenital syphilis.
This study led to the establishment of many ethics laws as well as a review board over all research experiments involving human subjects. Bill Clinton apologized in 1993. #BlackHistoryMonth
2/13/18 – I ain’t finished! A #DoubleDose to make sure I’m still on track. The #TuskegeeExperiment became a hot topic in the 1990s when the children of the subjects began to grow up and become active in righting the wrong the US government had done. One duo active in getting the word out was #PeteRockAndCLSmooth with their song #AngerInTheNation. The song focused on a number of issues affecting black people as well as America. From the experiment to apartheid, they wanted the public to mobilize and begin to research some of the things being done to its people. The duo focused their activism through their music but evaded the “controversial political group” tag applied to many of their own friends. Raised in Mount Vernon, NY they are most known for their song T.R.O.Y. that was a tribute to their fallen friends including T-Roy from #HeavyDAndTheBoyz. Anger in the Nation would help mobilize the hip hop youth the American public felt were “out of touch” over issues that targeted them. When Bill Clinton’s apology for the Tuskegee Experiment came in 1993, this song’s message was widely referenced. #BlackExcellence #BlackHistoryMonth
2/14/18 – The same year Bill Clinton apologized for the #TuskegeeExperiment , #PeteRockAndCLSmooth would be featured with this group on “Down with the King”. #RunDMC got into the early discussion surrounding hip hop’s intersection with politics. Being a black rap group back in the 80s meant versatility – being able to become multiple genres of music to appease a wider group. Run DMC had the rock element to their rap music so their appeal was widely felt. This also meant their political message would reach a wider audience. Prior to Run DMC no black artist had their videos shown on #mTV. Their ability to take hip hop culture and present it to the American public was what landed them in the #RockAndRollHallofFame. A few of their songs talked about the violence in their hometown of Hollis, Queens an the event poverty was having over the black youth’s education. They encouraged their listeners to get college degrees and give back to their communities. #JamMasterJay, their DJ was later shot and killed at his own studio just outside of Hollis in 2002. Since then both Run and DMC have dedicated their time to activism and spreading the word they did so well back in the 80s and 90s. #BlackHistoryMonth #BlackExcellence #Adidas
2/21/18 – First, apologies for the break in the action. Posting everyday is actually difficult! But, let’s continue with the result of #RunDMC‘s groundbreaking social activist work leading to a group to be formed solely focused on activism. #PublicEnemy is more than #ChuckD and #FlavorFlav, Professor Griff, Terminator X, and the S1Ws were all apart of a group determined to make the world know of the frustrations of the Black community. They enforced social and political consciousness among their listeners and stayed on the government’s radar because of it. Controversy surrounded them often as multiple politicians considered their music anti-American and anti-semetic (Professor Griff sides with Palestine in the Israeli-Palestine conflict) and as a result, Mtv banned most of Public Enemy’s music videos. Part of Public Enemy’s appeal was that they would not censor themselves to make others feel comfortable. That sense of pride would immediately be felt in the black community and #NWA cites Public Enemy as an influence. Their socio-political activism would inspire many and land them in the #RockAndRollHallofFame next to Run DMC #BlackExcellence #BlackHistoryMonth #Rap #Activism
3/23/18 – I must finish what I started in February. #BlackHistoryMonth will just become #BlackHistory since posting everyday can get difficult when you have to work. #ButIGotTimeToday. * Picking up with #PublicEnemy‘s greatest influence on their music, the #BlackPantherParty was founded by #HueyNewton and #BobbySeale in 1966 as a direct response to Oakland PD’s policing tactics in the black communities. It’s core belief was arming the citizens to “police the police”. Self-defense was the primary goal but community outreach was the platform the built off of. A number of programs focused on educating the black communities about housing, jobs, and even health (BPP created the first Free Breakfast for Children programs). However, when “defense” is your objective, it will land you in the crosshairs. The Ten-Point Program (you should research this) was the basis of the Panther Party but their open-carry/disposition is often what they are remembered for. J. Edgar Hoover made it a priority to dismantle the “The greatest threat to the internal security of the country”. He succeeded largely through arrests, murders, and framings of some of BPP’s prominent members. By the late 1970s the damage had been done and the infighting was enough to break apart the BPP.
3/23/18 – To truly understand Hoover and the FBI’s reach on the #BPP, #FredHampton‘s story is worth discussing. Hampton was 18 when he joined the #BPP with the sole purpose of bringing his Chicago community together. Primarily known for his public speaking abilities, Hampton was a fresh face looking to unite the black community. Because of his notoriety, Hoover would have no problem keeping him on the radar. The Chicago office used a man named William O’Neal – whom they had arrested for car theft and impersonating an officer. He would infiltrate the BPP in exchange for having his charges dropped. O’Neal would eventually become Hampton’s bodyguard. Hampton would continue to work towards joining the gangs of Chicago together with the BPP. Using O’Neal, the FBI learned everything about Hampton. They paired with Cook County to produce a warrant to raid the Hampton residence. In December 1969, Hampton was drugged by O’Neal and later shot dead, next to his pregnant wife, police during the raid. Hampton was 21. In total, the police fired 90-99 shots during the raid. Any Panthers who lived were charged with aggravated assault, attempted murder, and weapons charges (all charges later dropped). Police tried to describe the raid as a “shootout” but later retracted the claim when newspapers began to question the methods and the crime scene left behind. Though there was plenty of speculation, the jury ruled Hampton’s murder as a justifiable homicide. William O’Neal, the FBI’s infiltrator would later commit suicide. Hampton’s entire legacy cannot fit in this IG post but I think it’s important to learn about who he was, largely because it examines the FBI’s reach and the US’s struggle with race relations. #BlackExcellence #BlackHistory
3/23/18 – Delivering #FredHampton‘s eulogy, #RalphAbernathy was the president of the #SCLC after #MLK was assassinated. His name is not mentioned as much as King’s despite co-founding the SCLC as well as organizing the Montgomery Bus Boycott with MLK. His life, independent of MLK, was also steeped in civil service. Abernathy was born in Alabama in 1926 and was the 10th of 12 children. His father was the first African-American to vote and serve on a grand jury in Marengo County, AL. Abernathy believed in taking risks and transparency. He enlisted in the military briefly for WWII and went to school using the GI Bill. He eventually became a pastor in Montgomery and joined the city’s #NAACP chapter. He would meet MLK in 1954 and helped organize the bus boycotts a year later. Over the following years, Abernathy and King would remain close and organize many demonstrations and protests together. In April 1968, when MLK was shot, Abernathy was just inside the hotel room and ran out to hold King in his arms. Abernathy became the SCLC’s leader shortly after. He laid his friend to rest and continued the strike that brought them down to Tennessee in the first place. He would lead the Poor People’s Campaign, negotiate a peace settlement between the government and the Leaders of the American Indian Movement (worth a read!). In 1989, in his autobiography, Abernathy tried to remain transparent and talk about how he and King were not perfect. Abernathy spoke about King’s infidelity and was subsequently ostracized for his comments. He would die in 1990 from heart complications. To sum up his tireless work in civil rights, on his tombstone, the words “I Tried” are written. #BlackExcellence #BlackHistory
3/23/18 – #TheMontgomeryBusBoycott often brings up images of #RosaParks, #MLK, and even #ClaudetteColvin for the people that have done their homework. But when #RalphAbernathy and King collaborated to create the bus boycott, their idea was born out of a woman who had experienced the same fate before Rosa and Claudette. #JoAnnGibson was the literal boots on the ground with Abernathy passing out flyers to boycott around Montgomery. Born in Georgia, she attended college and completed a master’s to become a public school teacher. She eventually took a position at Alabama State College where she would join the Women’s Political Council. In 1949, she was berated for sitting in the Whites Only section of the bus. Trying to create a movement to boycott, she was told by the council that her experience was “the norm in Montgomery”. She eventually took over as president of the council in 1950 and turned their focus on the many abuses the bus companies were committing. Using the momentum of the Brown v Board ruling as well as Rosa Park’s arrest, Gibson had enough steam to get the boycotts running. She created the pamphlets (~52K!) and passed them out with the help of other ministers, reverends, even her own students. The boycott was successful but her safety was now at risk. She had to leave her job in Montgomery due to intimidation and taught at Grambling in Louisiana. She would later move to Los Angeles and taught until 1976. She would continue her activism in LA until her death in 1992. As a teacher she’s an inspiration to me, personally. She’s an excellent example of #NeverthelessShePersisted movement. #BlackHistory #BlackExcellence
3/23/18 – #JoAnnGibson‘s work with the Women’s Political Council would pave the way for Montgomery’s #BusBoycotts. It’s worth mentioning the #WomensPoliticalCouncil on their own post simply because it shows how important representation is. To be black in the segregation era was one thing, to be those things in the South was an added factor. But to be all those things AND a woman during this time was unduly stressful. Despite the risks, black women still needed their voice to be heard and #MaryFairBurks took it upon herself to use her influence to create the WPC. Inspired by the many other groups for black women looking to get involved in activism (#NACW was covered in an earlier post), Burks wanted to create a platform that allowed women to access the resources needed to promote change. Public spaces as well as the people needed to fill them were hard to come by for black women especially. They were breaking so many molds society had built for them by wanting to speak. The WPC’s primary focus was the a Montgomery Bus Company’s abuses in the 1950s when Gibson became president. Their success was also the downfall. Many their members were fired for their involvement in the Civil Rights Movement and they were also intimated to leave Montgomery altogether. Many of the members continued their work in their respective cities but it showed that the risk is real for those that want to speak out but it never stopped them from being heard. #BlackHistory #BlackExcellence
3/27/18 – The big reason #MaryFairBurks and #JoAnnGibson‘s activism gained momentum in Mississippi was due to this little activist here. #LindaBrown (Rest in Peace) grew up in Topeka, Kansas in the #JimCrow era. There was an elementary school 4 blocks away from her house but that was an all-white school so she was forced to walk about a mile to a bus stop that would take her to a black school. The #NAACP reached out to the Brown family about trying to enroll in a white school with the knowledge that they would be turned away. The efforts by #ClydeKennard #MedgarEvers and #JamesMeredith were beginning to gain steam and the NAACP realized it could file a civil suit with the knowledge that Linda Brown was walking to a school with less resources than the school around the corner from her simply due to her color. Because her last name was the first alphabetically of the 13 families the NAACP contacted, her name would be the title of case vs the Board of Education. By the time the court ruled in favor of Brown, Linda was in junior high. She would become an activist in the 70s when she noticed the Kansas City schools weren’t actually desegregated. She reopened the case with the #ACLU and won in 1993 (justice cannot happen overnight I suppose). This led to 3 new schools being built in the city. Brown was a humble woman, never wanting the “Civil Rights Leader” moniker. She believed that everyone should want to fight for equality and equity. She was a true leader and a part of an enormous chapter in #AmericanHistory #RIP #BlackHistory #BrownvBoardOfEducation
3/30/18 – #LindaBrown‘s case was led by this man who would become the first African-American to serve on the Supreme Court in 1967. #ThurgoodMarshall was born in 1908 in Baltimore and graduated from the Howard University School of Law in 1933. He would practice privately before founding the #NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. From there, get would go on to argue (and win) cases involving #VotingRights (Smith v Allwright), housing discrimination (Shelley v Kraemer) and most notably school desegregation (Brown v Board) and the Montgomery Bus Boycott (Browder v Gayle). He would win 29 Supreme Court cases, all relating to civil rights before he was appointed to the Supreme Court by Lyndon B Johnson. It’s important to note some of the cases he worked on. While desegregation was a primary goal, his work with uncovering numerous voting discrimination tactics and even police interrogation techniques (Chambers v Florida) showed that he was looking to create an equal and equitable country. He truly was trying to make America great. He would pass away in 1993. #BlackExcellence #BlackHistory
2/1/19 – It’s that time again! Black History Month is a great time to celebrate and retrace the history of Black people -primarily those from the United States. ❤️🖤💚 . Last year I focused a lot of lesser known people of the contemporary Civil Rights movement. This year I plan to focus on larger events that may have gone unnoticed by your standard textbook. In doing so, I hope to not only teach myself and others but link our future to our past. ❤️🖤💚 . So sit back and relax as we kick off a month-long history lesson! See you tomorrow! #BlackHistoryMonth #AmericanHistory #EducateAndCelebrate #Education #BlackExcellence #RootsRugby . ❤️🖤💚
2/2/19 – Often times, 1619 is brought up as the first recorded year slavery showed up in America. I’m here to tell you the history extends further than that. Sir Francis Drake brought slave labor to Roanoke Island back in 1586 as a last ditch effort to save the settlers from famine but also to help fight against the neighboring Indian tribe. . . . 1619 is generally chosen because we get an English retelling of the story but it should be understood that slaves existed prior and like everything commercial, the business needed to be fought over. The Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French, and English played a large part in the Transatlantic Trade. Somewhere close to 500k African bodies had touched the American shores prior to 1619. . . . It should be noted that some of these posts may make you uncomfortable and that is completely fine! We’re all going to lean into the discomfort a bit this month to see if we can #UnlearnHistory to shine the lights in the corners and reveal more about America as well as its Black people. It will be an enjoyable connection to make! #RootsRugbyFamily #BlackHistoryMonth #BlackCulture #SirFrancisDrake #SlaveTrade #1619
2/3/19 – You ever wonder how the police came into existence? Since slavery was a business, it was important to manage the labor associated. Volunteers would sign up to become Night Watchmen and work under the premise that any black persons seen were trying to escape. It was a cut and dry method of ensuring all slaves stayed where they were. . The most interesting aspect, I felt, was that the patrols needed to be on horseback – not because it was easier but because of the hierarchy that it symbolized. No Black man could look down upon a White man on horseback. Furthermore, the objective of the patrols were to protect the property. Because of slaves being seen at property, this was all for their own good. . Overall, when we examine the roots of the police juxtaposed to the relationship with the various African American communities today, we should be mindful of how far the relationship has come; or hasn’t for that matter. #RootsRugbyFamily #BlackHistoryMonth #Police #Slavery
2/4/19 – If you managed to escape the plantation in colonial times, heading north was not always the easiest, or best option. Some escaped slaves would band together and hide in seclusion. These reclusive communities were often called Maroon societies. The Caribbean and parts of Central and South America had already seen these communities where Blacks created entire communities complete with shops, houses and defenses to combat the plantation owners. . . Many times, the fugitive slaves would bring their communities together with the indigenous people in the area as a way to learn more about the land and protect one another from slave catchers and soldiers. This also created a new and distinct Creole population. . . Probably the most famous was Negro Fort. This would house many escaped slaves. Because of its location in Spanish Florida, this provided the necessary protection for any slaves looking for freedom. The British would have the Blacks fight alongside them in the War of 1812. Eventually, General Andrew Jackson would fire a cannonball into the fort, killing all within during his conquest to expand the US. Definitely worth reading more on. #RootsRugbyFamily #WarOf1812 #MaroonSocieties #RunawaySlaves #ColonialAmerica #Creole #South #BlackHistoryMonth
2/5/19 – While we’re milling about in Colonial America, let’s take a look at arguably one of these most pivotal events in America’s history involving slavery. #TheStonoRebellion was a slave rebellion that happened in September 1739. It would be the largest slave rebellion in the British colonies with close to 75 people being killed in the uprising. . . Jemmy was a literate Kongolese native that was captured by the Portuguese and brought over to the Americas. Leading roughly 20 other enslaved Africans, Jemmy marched down a road near Stono River and shouted “Liberty!”. They would begin to make their way to Spanish Florida – a refuge for escaped slaves. They would build their numbers to about 80 before heading into battle with neighboring slaveholders and plantation owners. . . The result was bloody, 28 white men had died (unheard of when it came to battles) and about 47 slaves were killed. The aftermath saw the passing of the #NegroActof1740 – prohibiting all black slaves from congregating, selling and earning money, as well as learning to read. It also created the idea that importing slaves was too risky and was better to have them be born in the US. It also prevented slaves from being voluntarily set free (manumissions). It required legislative approval. This act would spread throughout the South. #SlaveRebellion #BlackHistoryMonth #RootsRugbyFamily
2/6/19 – I would be interested to know what catches your eye first? Her skin? Hair? Age? We are fully aware slavery’s human trafficking element however one should dive deeper into the #FancyGirls area of #slavery. The aspect of sexual slavery was prevalent in most of the South and served as an economic booster to many of the southern cities that were often too populous for field slavery to have an effect. Many of these women were African but the twist is what happens when the biracial child is born and grows up. . . There were men that would buy slaves for the specific reason of sex or making the slave one of his wives. But the offspring from these interracial marriages posed both an opportunity and a problem for #Antebellum South. Because of the complexion of the child could be anywhere from fair to dark, their life rested with the color of their skin from birth. A fair-skinned child may have the life of a standard White person in the South but because human trafficking was such a profit, they may be sold into prostitution as early as 7. Their skin tone was a rarity and therefore expensive. This would lead to darker-skinned White women being kidnapped and sold into prostitution slavery as well. . . This was prevalent in New Orleans and the men (and even some women) who engaged in this area of trafficking were seen as “elite, free from public scorn”. They could field multiple wives and escape judgement. The Fancy Girls was the name given to the “Elite” slaves of prostitution, though there was nothing elite about it. #MeToo #Women #BlackHistoryMonth #Awareness #RootsRugbyFamily
2/7/19 – The Black man on the left of the photo is a man named #GeorgeGreen. George was the son of a man named #NearestGreen. Nearest was a slave on a farm in Tennessee since birth. He worked as a distiller there. He was so good at his work that when the #EmancipationProclamation was enacted and he was free to leave, the man sitting to George’s left immediately employed Nearest to teach him his craft. Nearest’s technique would revolutionize the company’s product and pave the way for many other American distilleries. Nearest Green was so good at his job that they named him the company’s first master distiller. The man sitting next to George is named #JackDaniels and it’s no secret what his company’s name was. Until 1967, the company did not recognize Green publicly. Seven generations of Nearest Green’s lineage worked for Jack Daniel’s. Nearest’s story is a great example of what can happen when one doesn’t want to tell their full story. Thanks to the investigative work of an author named #FawnWeaver, his story can be told and his legacy can live on. #TennesseeWhiskey #Slavery #RugbyRootsFamily #FromSlaveToMaster #BlackHistoryMonth
2/8/19 – If you grew up in a city, there was a chance you wouldn’t have seen a slave or any person of color for that matter. The stories you would generally hear would be ones of savagery – beasts prone to violent outbursts and should contained. If you wanted to see these people without threatening your safety, you could visit a #HumanZoo. . . Human Zoos were a popular attraction throughout the US and Western Europe. Often times, they would take Native Americans, tribesmen from African countries, and indigenous peoples from Central and South America and put them on display alongside animals. #OtaBenga was an attraction at the #BronxZoo in 1905. To put that in perspective, #WEBDuBois started campaigning to create the #NAACP about 4 years later. Another famous Human Zoo attraction was #SarahBaartman and is worth reading about if you have time. . . Overall, Human Zoos existed until the 1950s believing it showed “Culture in its rawest form”. The irony here that true culture existed inside the exhibit and the name “Human Zoo” was oxymoronic at best. Benga’s story is worth examining as well, but it’ll be a rabbit hole. #BlackHistoryMonth #RootsRugbyFamily #HottentotVenus #AmericanHistory
2/9/19 – It was 1874 when Thomas Nast (artist of this cartoon) noticed that the effects of the #CivilWar were still affecting one particular group of people. So let’s roleplay. You’re the South, you just lost the war and now some 4 million black slaves are set to be free. You are now required to pay your workforce and there’s the real possibility you could be competing against those same farmhands that worked for you. Do you just say, “Screw it, I’ll pull myself up by my bootstraps” and make it work? Of course not. . . #BlackCodes . . The Black Codes will keep you in business. With the Black Codes, Blacks had to have papers that proved they were working for someone. If they didn’t, they were sent to prison and had to work off their sentence. If they were caught “Mishandling money, not speaking correctly, or neglecting their family” they were subject to beatings, arrest, and subsequent slave labor as a punishment. The Black Codes were purposely vague so that all black persons were subject to “investigative searches” (this should sound familiar to our #StopAndFrisk crew). Even some bordering northern states (#Ohio, #Indiana, #Illinois) participated in the Black Codes. When we’re these codes considered unconstitutional? 1964. Although, some states merely changed their wording to avoid falling under the umbrella (Florida, Alabama, Mississippi). We all have a friend that says “Black people have been free since 1865”. Point them in the direction of post Civil war and see what does #Freedom really look like. #BlackHistoryMonth #RootsRugbyFamily #CivilWar #Reconstruction
2/10/19 – #BlackCodes pt 2. In order to truly understand what #InstitutionalRacism looks like, an eye toward what the life of a #FreeNegro looked like from the time period of 1865-1965. #Freedom meant seeing posters like these but not being able to #vote because of #PollTaxes and #LiteracyTests. It also meant that higher-ups could write how to handle your fate into law. In all southern states (the North could not be excluded here however) the free negro was a threat. It was against the law to congregate, be in a jury (unless another black person was on trial), marry a white person, or not have a job… and this was the life of a free man. . . “How come, there weren’t prominent black politicians looking to reverse these codes?” Most of them ran on the platform to abolish #lynching. Their immediate safety was such a concern that they could not focus on the environment surrounding them. #FrederickDouglass had his eyes on the politics but knew safety was paramount. . . The #14thAmendment brought in #BirthrightCitizenship but the Black Codes served as a buffer between the classes of citizens. In many ways a Black citizen was oxymoronic and could not be a respected term by the people of the US. There are some similarities to what we are seeing today with our #Immigration standards but I will leave that for another month. #BlackHistoryMonth #Propaganda #Reconstruction #PostCivilWar #History #USHistory
2/11/19 – Given our recent events surrounding #Gucci and #Moncler surrounding #Blackface, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to unpack its history. Since we are zeroing in on #AfricanAmerican history, we will focus on America’s dealings but it should be noted that this did not originate in America nor is it as frowned upon in other places around the world. . . Back in as early as 1810, actors in blackface came from Britain to perform their shows for American audiences as a way to portray black people given they could not work alongside black people by law. Soon after, American actors would use burnt cork or shoe polish to paint their skin, leaving a large ring around their mouth to accentuate their lips. In just 20 years, it became the most popular way to show black people in America. The hair, the style, and most importantly, the culture was embellished to push stereotypes to the White audiences. A man named #ThomasDRice solidified blackface for what it was in his song #JumpJimCrow (which we will learn more about later). #AfricanAmericanVernacular was a mainstay for blackface and Jim Crow would help solidify #segregation and #discrimination shortly after #Reconstruction. . . #JudyGarland, #ShirleyTemple, #BingCrosby and many other favorite #1930s actors participated in blackface. Given no Blacks generally performed for White audiences, it was seen as an acting challenge to portray as another race. #ChildishGambino posed as #JimCrow in his music video #ThisIsAmerica. Blackface has never been formally addressed by the US government so there’s no law preventing someone to pose as black. However, it shows ignorance and a lack of empathy to the Black culture. #USHistory
2/12/19 – When history is written by the victors, it can often leave out important and crucial facts. For example, before the “official” first game of #hockey was played, it was actually already happening for African Nova Scotians for decades. They would play one another in their communities and would even play the Native Canadians! An entire Colored Hockey League existed some 22 years before the #NHL did. But where did these players come from? . . In the #WarOf1812 many slaves escaped from their owners. For those that ventured north, the northern states were still too hostile to accept fugitive slaves so they continued even further, eventually settling in Nova Scotia. From there the Africans were able to grow their community without fear of being kidnapped and sent back to the US and most likely, their death. . . By 1895, all-Black hockey teams would compete with one another with a place called #Africville at the top. Their team was competitive enough to be included in the NHL and that proved to get them noticed by all of the wrong people. Africville, whose team funded their city, watched as their city lose all of its services within a decade, eventually being leveled with an explosion. #Hailfax would apologize in 2010 but the damage had been done. The CHL saw a decline in viewership and the NHL would take none of the CHL players despite adapting similar playing styles and strategies. #Africville is a great connection to America’s #BlackHistory but is definitely worth reading about on its own. #BlackHistoryMonth #Canada
2/13/19 – There probably isn’t a symbol more synonymous with #AmericanTerrorism than the #noose. It is as much a part of #BlackHistory as it is with #AmericanHistory. Distrust for due process and the government led to lynch mobs and extrajudicial killings. Lynching was so popular, in the early 1900s, you could buy a postcard of a lynching at your corner drug store. . . Lynching in America started towards the end of the #RevolutionaryWar as a punishment for Loyalists. Some of these Loyalists were blacks fighting for their freedom. It then became a tool for plantation owners and other Whites to establish social order in America. No race was free from lynchings, any threat to the established order could cost your life. Every new period in American history saw an uptick in lynchings – #Antebellum, #PostCivilWar, #Reconstruction #Disenfranchisement #JimCrow #CivilRights and well into the 1970s and 80s saw lynchings occur as a means to establish and maintain dominance. Of those lynchings 73% were African American. Today it is used as a symbol of intimidation. . . I spared showing the lynchings or the postcards as while it is important to remember the destruction of the Black body in historical context, I think I can trust the reader to research the topic if willing. The noose has always had a political implication during its time here in America. It managed to decrease voter turnout in Southern states by 2.3% during the Reconstruction Period. In 2018 #KamalaHarris #TimScott and #CoryBooker reintroduced a bill making lynching a federal hate crime. It has passed the Senate and awaits a vote from the House of Representatives and a signature from the president to become law. #BlackHistoryMonth
2/14/19 – #History with a #Valentines twist! Before 1967, marriage wasn’t really considered a basic civil right as we see it today. Anti-miscegenation laws meant you couldn’t have an interracial relationship with someone, let alone get married to them. #LovingvStateOfVirginia changed a great deal of that (gay marriage wouldn’t come until 2015). The Loving’s story is known amongst #Interracial couples and family all over the US and I encourage you to read largely how #MildredLoving viewed her racial identity as it deserves its own post but the intricate parts of the ruling are what I’m here to focus on. . . Since #Colonial times, marriage between Whites and Blacks was against the law. Marrying a slave was never legal. This was to avoid graying the area between citizenship, land ownership, and financial concerns. #TheBlackCodes in the South continued to restrict intermarriages after the slaves were freed. This continued well into the 1950s when Mildred and Richard were trying to marry. They traveled to Washington DC in 1958 to avoid Virginia’s #RacialIntegrityAct and married there. Upon returning to the state, police were anonymously tipped about the Loving’s relationship and broke into their house hoping to catch them having sex (interracial sex was also illegal in Virgina). They were both arrested and sentenced to a year in prison as their marriage certificate was not valid in Virginia. The sentence was suspended given if they left Virginia, not to return together for 25 years. The Lovings contacted Robert F Kennedy in 1963 who put them in touch with the #ACLU who would take their case a year later. . . The #SupremeCourt would overturn their convictions on the grounds that anti-miscegenation laws violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The court also concluded that the laws were racist and perpetuated white supremacy. Most states converted within the year, #Alabama did not adapt its laws until 2000. It is always interesting to hear #VirginiaIsForLovers despite their past history with the Lovings. #LovingDay is June 12th but why not celebrate it now! Enjoy #VDay and love who you want! It’s legal here! #Love #BlackHistoryMonth
2/15/19 – You are looking at the richest person in America in 1913. #SarahRector was the daughter of freedmen in a predominantly black town of Taft in Oklahoma. Her parents were former slaves of the nearby Creek Indian Tribe and were allotted 160 acres of land once freed. The land actually belonged to Sarah Rector as the Indian territory integrated with the Oklahoma territory. The land given to the #CreekFreedmenMinors was often rocky and infertile, leaving the more desirable farming land for White settlers. Sarah’s land was valued at $567 and her father thought of selling parts of it to help with the $30 property tax but the government wouldn’t allow it. . . An independent oil driller struck figurative gold that brought up to 105k gallons per day. Rector began earning $300 dollars person, the equivalent of almost $8k per day. She became so rich, multiple institutional changes had to happen. First, she was assigned to a “desirable and well-respected White man” to oversee her profits and help her with her new fortune. Second, she was so rich, the government classified her as White so she could use the public services “befitted of her position”. She could ride first class, stay in any hotel, she was a White girl because of the amount of money she had. . . Rector would be sent letters from men everywhere asking for her hand (and her fortune). By 18 she owned a bakery, multiple stocks and bonds, and 2000 acres of land. She would move to Kansas City, MO and become the equivalent of royalty. She would use her chauffeur to drive students to their elementary schools. She would hold dinners and parties with Black leaders from around the nation including musicians like #DukeEllington, #LangstonHughes, and #CivilRights activists like the #NAACP. The Great Depression would see her lose a great deal of her fortune but she was able to live a comfortable life, continuing her chauffeur service for the children until her passing in 1967. The #RectorEstate can still be visited! This story made me think about how when you have enough money, the institution will adapt to you… or make you adapt to it. #BlackHistoryMonth #BlackExcellence
2/16/19 – Given the historical context around #Blackface, #BlackCodes, #JimCrowLaws, Blacks in zoo exhibits, etc., Black people had to figure out a way to constantly reverse their image being presented to the public. This task was difficult given the limited avenues presented to those that wanted to have a legitimate voice for all audiences. #AlvinAiley managed to not only create a space for himself but for so many Black people as well. One of the most influential people of the 20th Century, Ailey looked to shape the perception of the Black body and give agency back to those that had none just decades before. His name has become synonymous with #ModernDance and his influence is still seen today. Ailey didn’t always know dance was his calling. He was actually well-versed in linguistics and languages. A friend of his, #CarmenDeLavallade convinced him to join Horton’s School of Dance. Given the lack of chances for Blacks to be on the same stage as Whites, Ailey needed to comprise a way of reaching all audiences with a Black cast, a rare sight given segregation was still happening in the US. Ailey had to think outside of the box – or in this case, the country. Ailey created the #AlvinAileyAmericanDanceTheatre and began touring around the world, displaying his unique choreography. His company was the first all-Black dance company to have an international tour. Ailey’s #Revelations was first performed in 1960 and was considered a masterpiece. The story surrounded the perseverance and hope for African-Americans’ freedom from slavery. . . Ailey is also a great example of the power of #Intersectionality. As a Black man, his choices seemed extremely limited in what he could do. Black men could act but were rarely seen as professional dancers. His sexuality was never spoken about publicly but his choreography was able to have Ailey explain himself in ways words could not. Aliey battled even with his own people to show that masculinity could be tied to anything you want it to be and not to be limited by the construct of public eye. His paving allowed so many Black men and women to be seen on the international stage and his school is largely successful as a result. #BlackHistory
2/17/19 – With the rise of #JimCrow, segregation saw itself permeate many aspects of America’s different identities. The military has been an identity America has wrestled with. It has seen itself woven into the fabric of the country from day one and is largely its own culture in that respect. America’s military is seen as a symbol of pride, freedom, and toughness, but a hypocrisy as well. #Freedom is subjective – what is freedom to one can be seen as suppression and exclusion to another. Fighting for freedom is a curious concept given not all those fighting have the same liberties. One has put aside their own conflicts in order to think of the greater good. This sacrifice was given in hopes that their initial conflicts be remedied but for those returning from #WWI saw they only upset the social order and would have to continue the fight for their own freedom. . #WorldWarI put the United States in an odd position socially. It was still recovering from its own war and was handling its race issues. Regiments were segregated and most all-Black regiments were relegated to smaller or undesirable jobs. There were no Black pilots in America’s forces. #EugeneBullard was the only Black pilot (@geeranby did a great piece on this!) in the war. With the South heavily restricting jobs for Black Americans, the was a mass exodus to the North in hopes for better opportunities (#TheGreatMigration). The military was an option for Black people to at least fight for the country that was still trying to figure out how to handle their freedom. . When we look at how integrated the military is today in contrast to where it was 100 years ago we see how far it has come, but we are well aware it is not free from criticism. The military is a source of pride and even an identity for some but it requires one to be aware of the dual identities the military posed. #BlackHistoryMonth #USMilitary #Patriot #Patriotism
2/18/19 – For this #PresidentsDay let’s examine the parties as they relate to Black History. It’s been a hot topic but a controversial one because of the potential devisive rhetoric surrounding a predominantly two-party system we work with here in America. The #UsVsThem mentality leaves little room for movement across different political issues but we’re going to lean into the discomfort and hopefully walk away with a better understanding of our political situation. . The #Democrats and #Republicans weren’t always the parties from day one. #Federalists, #Whigs, #FreeSoil and even a #DemocratRepublican party existed. #StatesRights, #Taxation, #Slavery, #Government, and #CivilRights were a few of the topics that split the parties. Slavery and Civil Rights were responsible for at least 2 of the political realignments that happened in American History (Civil War and Civil Rights). With the realignment that happened in the 1960s, Civil Rights were at the center of the #SouthernStrategy with the goal to appeal to the #racism of the South against Blacks – with the reversal of #JimCrow laws saw racial tensions begin to deepen further. Safety, security, and protection became the rhetoric used in the late 60s by the new Republicans to discuss racial topics and states rights. This rhetoric sees itself very present in today’s political culture. . There seems to be evidence of another alignment happening within the past 10 years as #Obama‘s election as proof of a #PostRacial society but seeing the election of #Trump as the reversal of that very statement. It is too early to tell the effects of the election of these two presidents but we are already seeing impact of #SocialMedia‘s impact on perception. The Southern Strategy is an excellent example of how important race has been in American politics and how long its effects can be felt. #BlackHistoryMonth
2/19/19 – “I have never advocated for war except as a means of peace. So seek peace but prepare for war.” The combination of #WWI veterans coming back, the loss of jobs mixed with the #GreatMigration of African Americans looking for jobs in the North set the scene for the United States’ own battles in 1919. Black vets, having fought for their country and seeing their own treatment objectively came back to the States with a renewed sense of purpose, confidence, and pride. But the shortage on jobs meant they were competing with White people in a #JimCrowEra country and somebody had to lose out. The result would take nearly 170 lives over the span of 8 months. It would be called #TheRedSummer. . The Black vet posed a new issue to America. He has fought for freedom but is not given the same freedoms on his own soil. Further still, he has not earned the respect to have those freedoms. The Red Summer consisted of racial riots that spanned both the North and South as a means to terrorize and dissuade African Americans from applying to jobs. Some were even hung in their military uniforms as they were “disgracing the country”. What made this slightly different from previous riots was the fact that African Americans were fighting back. Postwar tensions mixed with the ongoing racial tensions meant there was no interaction between Whites and Blacks during the 1919 year – everyone was a suspect to the other. The added factor were the #Bolsheviks. Russia had their own civil war and the fear of a socialist overthrow on the American government raised the tensions even higher. It would be the first #RedScare America would face (We’re currently having one now as well!). . Overall, 38 different riots broke out targeting black businesses, housing neighborhoods, and even churches. Almost all states refused or were unwilling to investigate the mobs – some that even contained military personnel. Probably the worst was in Chicago where #EugeneWilliams swam in the “Whites Only” section of the beach and was stoned and drowned. The Chicago PD did not take action, violence was taken by young Black men. Upwards of 50 people were killed over 4 days. It’s a section of history we would examine closer.
2/20/19 – #BlackBusinesses can be traced back to as early as the 17th century where any freedmen could open small business. In some cases, slaves that worked a trade could create a business of their own or be hired to train others (#NearestGreen). But given the limited scope of what could be accomplished with a business for African Americans, it took a great deal of perseverance and the ability to adapt to, sometimes, unfair rules in order to make the business truly work. . The #JimCrowEra saw a boom in Black entrepreneurship. The segregation laws confined their consumer population and during that time, newspapers, banks, insurance companies, everything was possible with the community becoming so tight. Both Black men and women were finding plenty of success amongst their constituents. Whole communities were producing notable products. Before the 1960s, most national corporations generally ignored the black market, working with black companies or hiring black people for higher positions. #Pepsi broke rank and began to market toward Black people with ads that pictured them as a normal middle class family – a stark contrast to the #UncleBen and #AuntJemima ads that focused on making Black people more palatable to White audiences. Pepsi’s focus helped the perception of many Black businesses as they began to market themselves for White audiences. . Running a business is a difficult venture without the added lens of race. Considering #Integration saw some of the best Black businesses merge or their higher administration hired for White businesses, the goal was to keep the Black dollar in the Black community. Often times one may hear about the the #DoubleDutyDollar that was explained as both helping the business and community. Today, there is an entire database of Black businesses that can be found in the US for practically all of one’s needs in hopes that we can see Black entrepreneurship as a mainstay! #BlackHistoryMonth. Edit: @officialblackwallstreet is a great resource to discover black business in your area! Thanks James for the reminder!)
2/21/19 -The underlying problem with #BlackBusinesses were that while it contained its own bustling segregated community, it could also be an easy target for those with other goals. 98 years ago, the first bombs were dropped on American soil, by Americans, against Americans. The #TulsaBombing showed the lengths some would go to do harm to one another. Over 800 people were injured and many died in the attack with 6,000 Black residents were arrested. Following the #RedSummer, it showed America still had not come to grips with its racial problems. . This particular area of Tulsa was perhaps the richest Black community of its time. With the oil business becoming fruitful, many prominent Black families opened businesses and grew exponentially. This 35-block area became known as #LittleAfrica or more popularly, #BlackWallStreet. It was becoming a well-known area and that attention wasn’t always positive. Around #MemorialDay, a Black, 19 year old #DickRowland was accused of sexually assaulting a White, 17 year old Sarah Page. Their interaction broke some of the #BlackCodes already established and led to his arrest. Fearing for his safety, a number of armed Black Americans showed up to the courthouse to defend Rowland from being lynched. What lasted for 2 days would be considered the worst event of racial violence in America. . Bombs were dropped, businesses were destroyed, people were dragged from their homes and beaten. The national guard was brought in but the damage had been done. Black Wall Street had been decimated and Sarah Page didn’t press charges. BUT the most encouraging aspect of this was Black Wall Street’s ability to rebuild. Within a year, most of the businesses and houses were back up. Though it would never be the same again, the energy to move past the attack way admirable. Today, Greenwood, OK is site of the memorial park and by 2001, 80 years later, the city apologized. #BlackHistoryMonth
2/22/19 – As I begin to wrap up the historical aspects of #BlackHistoryMonth to focus on our more contemporary history, I thought I could merge the two eras by talking about the effect of media in the #CivilRightsMovement. Before the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, blatant racism had been normalized to the point where segregated societies accepted their divisions. Between the Montgomery Bus Boycott, #FreedomRiders, #Selma, and a great deal of other protests, a large aspect of the movement was perception. Their protests had to happen but also needed to be noted otherwise it would not gain the proper traction. This led to the #SCLC and #SNCC becoming more strategic in their protest planning. The media coverage was displayed in all-white communities as well as internationally. This put America on the international stage in an undesirable light . President Kennedy had inherited decades of racism and a Congress who were adamantly opposed to integration. Even Kennedy himself had reservations of enacting civil rights legislation because it was deemed “too radical” for his first term. They tried a number of ways to prevent the #MarchOnWashington in fear of potential violence and more bad media coverage. Once they realized they could not stop the march, they coopted with the organizers. They needed to control the narrative to a certain degree – particularly #JohnLewis‘ speech. Lewis was with SNCC and his speech had to be vetted as its rhetoric was too critical of the American government and could cause an uprising in the South. Lewis compromised and still said that if the legislation were not passed, the marches would continue through the South. . One piece of this puzzle that isn’t discussed enough is Hoover’s involvement via the #FBI. Hoover’s work with #COINTELPRO started in 1956 as a way to combat communist groups in the US. The Civil Rights Movement qualified as such in Hoover’s eyes and these marches were unamerican by his standards. His wiretapping of prominent Civil Rights leaders was approved by Kennedy because of the blackmail Hoover had as well. Hoover’s intentions of stalling the movements fell short but that didn’t mean COINTELPRO would disappear…
2/23/19 – One of the larger goals of all of these posts is to detect #DirectDiscrimination vs #IndirectDiscrimination. Detecting direct discrimination is a lot easier because it is blatant and is generally more objective. When facing indirect discrimination, it can be tied down in rhetoric (and even laws) and become left up to the perception of the viewer, which can further convolute the situation. . #SenecaVillage of #NYC is a great example of indirect discrimination. In 1825, plots of land had been sold to Black, German and Irish landowners. The population was predominantly Black but the immigrant population were also considered 2nd class citizens at the time. At its peak, Seneca contained nearly 350 people that all owned the land they were living. As it was reaching its heights, plans to create a centralized park in NYC were also happening. #CentralPark‘s location overlapped with the location of Seneca. One had to go. . Petitions were signed, #EminentDomain were declared and the settlers of Seneca were driven out. As NYC saw it, 350 people were a small price to pay for the general population that would enjoy the park. Not to mention, the settlers were given money to settle somewhere else so they should be fine, right? The prominent issue here is being considered 2nd class means places could refuse to sell land to them elsewhere and not be penalized for it. To go further, NYC residents thought they were doing Seneca a favor by “cleaning up that shantytown”. The story of Seneca would not be unveiled until 1998 when a funded project was created to raise awareness. Seneca’s story is great example of how #GreaterGood lawmaking can have adverse effects on marginalized groups. #BlackHistoryMonth
2/24/19 – Though it is #BlackHistoryMonth, we shouldn’t limit our scope to Black leaders that “overcame the odds” to fight for equality, it’s important to examine those “odds” and label the obstacles they posed. #Hoover‘s campaign with the #FBI largely targeted “political” groups with their #COINTELPRO project. Because the word “political” is left up to interpretation, it gave a great deal of freedom to America’s largest surveillance program. The end goal was to stop groups deemed subversive to the US gov’t but its effect resulted in multiple murders, cases of illegal surveillance, and an overall ongoing distrust between the government and the American people. . COINTELPRO was created to gain intel on the Communist Party USA in 1956. If we’re pairing our histories together, #MLK and #RosaParks were well into their #MontgomeryBusBoycott and were beginning to generate a following down south. Within months of King creating the #SCLC, Hoover began to monitor the new group immediately. Tactics included smear campaigns and sewing distrust between members and the community. After the #MarchOnWashington, Hoover deemed MLK the “Most Dangerous Negro”. During this time, the FBI turned their attention to a number of Black groups, eventually going under the name “BLACK HATE”. Black Leaders houses were bugged, they were sent letters telling them to kill themselves, and their groups constantly harassed by police. . #FredHammond‘s fate was a direct result of COINTELPRO’s tactics and one of the contributing factors to the fall of the #BlackPantherParty. Their goals of cutting access to public resources, prevention of organizing protests, and creation of internal conflicts were tactics we still see today. The #CitizensCommission eventually would break into the COINTELPRO’S headquarters and revealed many of their targets (#MuhammedAli even made the cut) and the project’s future plans. Many of the documents uncovered have been entirely redacted but the damage had been done. There has been some speculation that the FBI still monitors prominent Black civil rights groups today, #BlackLivesMatter being one of the prominent ones that has been under scrutiny as well.
2/25/19 – When #BirthOfANation came out in theaters back in #1915, it’s depictions of African-Americans set the stage for many of the stereotypes we still may see today in films. Because of this, any Black #filmmakers would have to first address the stereotypes from that movie before they could create their own characterizations. Because of segregated theaters, their work could possibly never be seen by White audiences. This largely left the Black community to create their own film industry and reconstruct the narrative that was set against them. #SpikeLee sought not only challenge the numerous age-old stereotypes that have stuck with African-Americans since media existed, but to create an entirely new voice and give that platform to those he felt could tell the best story. . Being considered #controversial can always have its benefits – people will want to know what all the fuss is about. However, when concerning race, there’s a certain amount of hesitation one must proceed by if they wanted to retain the larger audience. Spike Lee, doesn’t care for any of the possibility of negative public perception. When he came out with #SheGottaHaveIt – a movie about a Black woman expressing her sexual freedom, he knew it would provoke a conversation about Black female leads as well as their control over their own sexuality -something still being discussed today. Spike would set the stage (no pun intended) to bring in many uncomfortable social topics and discuss them in public view. . In his #AcademyAward winning movie #TheBlackKklansmen, Spike Lee covered a true story about the infiltration of a Colorado chapter of the #KKK by a Black police officer. Stallworth’s character was complex in that he was sent to spy on his own people’s conferencing with the intention of dismantling them (COINTELPRO’S tactics at play) but ends up learning about a rising KKK chapter in his hometown. Without spoiling the movie, it’s a great discussion about the state of racism in the 70s and 80s and how it manifested post-Civil Rights era. Today we celebrate a person who will be #iconic for generations for all Americans. #BlackHistoryMonth
2/26/19 –#StokleyCarmichael or #KwameTure (depending on when you learned about him) was a prominent figure for the #BlackPantherParty. I’ve already began to talk about the #BPP in last year’s post so you wouldn’t have to scroll too far to read up on their impact. The focus today rests with Carmichael and a popular term he coined to explain how the racial landscape would change over the coming decades. #InstitutionalRacism was a term that existed since 1967. Given overt racism was becoming frowned upon and less favored, Carmichael didn’t feel that it would disappear from public view. He realized that there are subtle ways that discriminatory practices can survive through traditions and processes that are generally accepted by the overall population, even by those that are being affected by the practices. This creates an almost unconscious attitude that “this is the way things are and will always be” despite there being proof that it shouldn’t. Carmichael was able to label a term we see affect hundreds of millions of citizens here in America daily. . Institutional racism is a tricky subject because it requires a great deal of research but more importantly, to undo it requires a great deal of manpower and people in the right places to facilitate the said change. IR creates a power dynamic that poses as beneficial to both but ultimately predatory to one. Because it is institutional, it can be laden with laws that prevent its undoing or even provide loopholes to continue its functions. With the rise of BPP and multiple pro-Black groups, measures were taken to prevent a rise in representation in certain jobs, including civil-service jobs. The US’s housing and loan sector is a great place to see the effects of #Redlining and IR at work. There are active redlining investigations happening today that look at the disparity between Blacks and other races when trying to secure a loan for a house. Because financial education is not generally taught in schools, a great deal of weight falls to the parents to educate their children on the ins and outs of credit. . From jury representation to conviction rates to even the food available in your own neighborhood, IR is worth examining
2/27/19 – For my #penultimate post, I wanted to continue the Institutional aspects of racism and how it is seen today. As it was said yesterday, #InstitutionalRacism takes longer to undo because it can be weighed down with laws and social customs that are readily accepted, not only by those in power, but with those without it as well. At this very moment (Feb 27), our governmental institution is being challenged. The decisions that will be made by this challenging will determine our perception on how equal the institution is. That, in itself, is Black history in the making. The sheer idea that a Black man held this position just 3 years ago shows both progress and regression simultaneously. . When #Obama came into the running as a potential presidential candidate, one of the first questions was how he would respond to race. You could clearly see that race was going to be a central topic in discussing how the institution would change. Change can bring hope for some but fear for others. In many ways, we could see how IR could be seen through the dog whistles and general rhetoric surrounding Obama and his family. The weight of race relations rested on Obama’s shoulders and that is partially because there aren’t enough black representatives like him in government. Because of the immaculate perception needed to be Black and run for office, too few make it to a platform that allows for change. . The ease that #Trump has succeeded Obama is also Black History and Institutional Racism in its own way (that’s it’s own separate post). If American history has taught us anything it’s that it can repeat itself when left unchecked. We are in the middle of a new political shift and if we have truly learned from the past historical events about when that shift happens, this should look unlike any we’ve ever seen. #BlackHistoryMonth
2/28/19 – For the last post, I wanted to end the month with the idea of #change. Going from the beginning of the month to the end, we have seen how complex American history is when it comes to race. From #slavery, to wars, to movements there are many aspects to creating an equal and equitable country and progress has indeed been made. It takes persistence as well as consistency to truly be able to see the effects of change. The reality is that some may never see the changes they wish despite the numerous sacrifices. That is what makes visible change so special and important. . It’s important to know that change starts with us and may not always be a fast process. From just reading the paper to picking up a book, education is a great arbiter of change. With my work, my constant path to remain educated has put me in contact with lifelong friends as well kept me focused on the bigger picture. One of those people that has helped me see the bigger picture is @geeranby. @rootsrugbyfamily has been a dream of ours and seeing the photos of that team in Las Vegas shows me that change is always possible. Kyle and @teenana.g have shown the persistence and the consistency to truly do great things for the African American community. . So for my last post for #BlackHistoryMonth I want to celebrate a group that has been a support system for many players, including myself, and say that they are what Black History Month is always hoping to accomplish and inspire others to do the same. Let’s wish them well in #Vegas this weekend!
1/31/20 – 🖤💚❤️IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN! Can’t believe it’s already February but I will continue to carry on the tradition that @geeranby 3 years ago with a post everyday about something, somewhere, or someone significant and their relationship to lives of Black Americans. Consider it a month-long exploration into American history where we analyze a number different events and how the history books may have missed it. Really excited to take this trip and I hope you all walk away learning something! See you all tomorrow! For those that need a past refresher on what has been covered, please scroll through my page and read up! #BlackHistoryMonth #BlackHistory ❤️💚🖤
2/1/20 – This month, we’ll be taking a look at different historical locations that played prominent roles in Black History. Why not start where the concept began? In 1915, #CarterGWoodson traveled to Chicago to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Emancipation. During this celebration, people read off the achievements and saw exhibits highlighting of their people’s progress since the abolition of slavery. The celebration lasted 3 weeks and attracted up to 12,000 people. . . Later that year, Woodson was inspired to create a mainstay concept that would be able to highlight the progress of Black Americans. On Sept 9th, Woodson met with 4 other colleagues at the Wabash YMCA in Chicago to create a group called ASNLH (Association for the Study of Negro Life and History). They would work out of the YMCA for years. During this time, Woodson would urge his fraternity, #OmegaPsiPhi to help push the concept of a designated time to focus on the achievements of Black Americans. They created Negro History and Literature Week in 1924 and used the data gathered over the years to build a curriculum schools could use. The 2nd week of February was the starting point given the 12th and 14th were the birthdays of Lincoln and Douglass respectively. These days were already celebrated dates in the black community and Woodson wanted to build a celebration around those dates. . . With the rise of the Civil Rights Movement as well as prominent Black figures taking up the tradition, the week would unofficially become a month-long celebration. Freedom Schools in the South integrated Black history into their entire curriculum to promote social change. In 1976, February was officially recognized as Black History Month. It’s creation spurred other countries to create a BHM for their own populations. The UK (1987), Canada (1995), and even Ireland (2010) created a black history month. Cork, Ireland is recognized as one of the leading centers of abolition and anti-slavery and welcomed the likes of Frederick Douglass and Charles Lenox Remond. #BlackHistoryMonth #Roots #RootsRugbyFamily #RememberYourRoots #ShareOurRoots
2/2/20 – Though Black History Month started in February, Black History in America started in 1619 at place called Point Comfort, Virginia. The 20 or so enslaved Africans were brought on a Dutch ship, after being taken from their homeland by the Spanish, to be traded for food with the English settlers in Virginia. . . The enslaved Africans were from Ndongo (now part of Angola) and were skilled farmers, blacksmiths, herders and artisans. Over 350 people were taken from Ndongo by the Spanish and were headed for Mexico. Over half died at sea and the Dutch took the rest up to Virginia. The rules around slavery when it first started were not set when the Angolans arrived. It looked like indentured servitude – the enslaved could work off their time and live amongst the settlers depending on what they did and who first owned them. Some owners wanted to keep their slaves for life, owning even their children, while others decided give a time limit. Though Massachusetts was the first state to enact a slave law (1641), Virginia set the standard with its slave law in (1662) letting it be known that if a slave were killed for disobeying their master, no felony would be charged. This solidified slavery over indentured servitude for the foreseeable future. . . 1619 is seen as the beginning of slavery for America (great read from Nikole Hannah-Jones if you have time!) but it’s worth knowing over 500,000 slaves existed in mainland North America, Caribbean islands, and South America almost a century prior. As Black History here in America continues to gather more information about it’s people, it is always important to understand the scope of history and just how narrowed the view is when being taught in school. #BlackHistoryMonth #ShareOurRoots #RootsRugbyFamily
2/3/20 – Slavery had to take on a different approach in northern, more populated cities like New York. Unlike the wide sweeping plantations of the South, places like NYC had Black and Indian people, both enslaved and freed, working alongside White people in close proximity. This environment did not work for anyone but the wealthy. White business owners that opted not to use slave labor were being left behind by those that decided to profit from having an unpaid work force at their disposal. Free Black and Indian peoples were still subjected to some of the same laws that the enslaved faced – not to mention the ability to be kidnapped and being sold into slavery was a real worry for those that walked free. . . Given the close proximity and the ability to communicate, the enslaved, freed peoples, and White business owners were able to plan out a full revolt in what is now Lower Manhattan. In the early 1700s, NYC had one of the largest slave populations of the North (about 20% of their population) and on April 6th, 1712 roughly over 20 people set fire to a number of businesses on Broadway. 9 White people were killed and the result was swift. 70 people were arrested add jailed, 27 going to trial and 21 of them executed, including women and children. They would hang their bodies on display to discourage any other revolts. Fear played a large factor in the coming years of enslavement and lawmaking. No Black or Indian people, freed or enslaved, could carry firearms or travel in groups larger than 3. Conspiracy and destruction of property both carried death sentences. . . During and following the Revolutionary War, abolitionists began questioning the hypocrisy of keeping enslaved people while fighting for freedom. While each state was free to decide their own fates concerning slavery, most of the Northern states realized proximity played into the revolts they were seeing. Pennsylvania would begin to lead the charge into abolishing slavery in the North shortly after. #ShareOurRoots #BlackHistoryMonth
2/4/20 – When we think of the #WildWest we are often given romanticised images of rugged (generally White) men riding horses and maintaining order in an otherwise anarchic environment. However, that imagery can shift when we understand the fact that 1 in 4 cowboys were Black. With the Westward Expansion happening in the 1800s families were packing up their possessions, including their enslaved people, and headed out west for new opportunity. The slaves were taught how to become legitimate farm-hands and would care for the ranches and farms being left to them. Once the #CivilWar hit, slave owners took up arms to help fight but done didn’t come back. This left large portions of land to now-freed slaves. For those that did come back, the slave owners now needed to hire the help they once got for free. . . Becoming a cowboy was a useful trade for many black people in the 1860s and 1870s. Dodge City, Kansas was a great example of a smooth transition once slaves were free. That isn’t to say there weren’t a few hiccups as Blacks established themselves alongside those that have oppressed them but the reality of the West was that there wasn’t enough time to racist, everyone needed everyone. Food was sparse and opportunities required buy-in from everyone involved. Before the implementation of the railway, transportation out of state wasn’t a possiblity so your community was all you had. . . People like #StagecoachMary (read up on her!) and #NatLove built a new life for themselves after spending the earlier parts of their lives being slaves. It will always be a great example of perseverance #ShareOurRoots #BlackHistoryMonth
2/5/20 – Washington DC played a pivotal role in establishing the slave trade in the late 1700s and early 1800s. With its ability to connect the Potomac River to Chesapeake Bay, it became a hub for transporting the enslaved. It also made for a possible escape point for those brave enough to take the risk. With New Jersey and Pennsylvania, both free states at the time, being so close it created numerous possibilities of freedom. The abolitionists and free Blacks were inspired by the expulsion of King Louis Philippe and the founding of the French Second Republic and decided to create change of their own. . . On April 15, 1848, 77 slaves attempted to escape on a schooner named the Pearl. The plan was to sail south on the Potomac River and then North on Chesapeake Bay and the Delaware River to the free state of New Jersey. The plan was organized by both free Blacks and abolitionists, one being #PaulJennings, a former enslaved man that served President #JamesMadison. The abolitionists #WilliamChaplin and #GerritSmith found a willing captain, #DanielDrayton and paid for a ship. They departed DC on a Saturday night. . . The ship was captured 2 days later near Point Lookout, MD. It turned out that on Sunday morning, the slaveholders were tipped off by #JudsonDiggs, an enslaved Black man that brought one of the passengers to the docks. The slaveholders hired an armed militia to track down The Pearl and bring them back. Once the ship was brought back a pro-slavery riot broke out over the attempted escape. Most of the slaves were sold into the Deep South but it led to Congress ending the slave trade in DC. The #PearlIncident would also inspire #HarrietBeecherStowe to write #UncleTomsCabin. #ShareOurRoots #BlackHistoryMonth
2/6/20 – The #Roaring20s saw some excellent baseball being played at the time. The infamous #MurderersRow from the New York Yankees intimidated any team brave enough to step on the field against them. Simultaneously, #JimCrow was well into its 50th year in what historians call the #ProgressiveEra. But there was a team operating out Pittsburgh with a dominating mindset of its own, winning 9 pennants in a row during a stretch of a decade and 3 Negro League World Series titles. The #HomesteadGrays managed to put together a Murderers Row of their own with #JoshGibson, #CoolPapaBrown, #BuckLeonard, #RayBrown, and #JudWilson, all Hall of Fame inductees, in their lineup. . . Founded by #CumberlandPosey in 1912, the Grays originally operated out of Homestead, Pennsylvania. Though they were established in the North, Jim Crow reached out just enough to inhibit the Grays from playing #MLB teams at the time. In the beginnings, they played their games out of #ForbesField and #GriffithStadium in DC. The crowds they drew allowed them to flex home games between Pittsburgh and DC. Their players were well known, Josh Gibson often being compared to #BabeRuth because of his spectacular home runs. . . The push for #integration would spell the end of the Grays as well as the #NegroLeague as the best players from each of the teams were being called to the major league teams. One aspect of the Negro League teams that isn’t kept in mind is the fact that it allowed black communities to come together and enjoy hometown players. Most Negro League players were from the city they played for and would often look to give back to their communities that raised them. #ShareOurRoots #BlackHistoryMonth #BlackHistory
2/7/20 – Around 100 years after slavery was abolished in the nation’s capital, the children and grandchildren of the enslaved found themselves right back in DC marching to put an end to racism and discrimination. Generally when we teach about this event, we focus on the location, unified message, and MLK’s #IHaveADream speech. It is one of the many turning points in US history and we spend a great deal of time talking about togetherness. However, there’s an intersection here we don’t address when discussing this momentous event. . . #BayardRustin was Black Civil Rights leader. He helped form the #SCLC and even partnered with #APhilipRandolph to organize the March on Washington. Rustin even taught and advised MLK on the benefits of nonviolent protest. You’re also looking at the organizer of the #FreedomRiders himself. How is MLK’s own teacher not being mentioned in tandem with other prominent Civil Rights leaders? Rustin was a gay man. An “out” gay man. Rustin had been arrested multiple times for being in a same-sex relationship. Who he chose to be with and love practically erased his entire existence. While being gay wasn’t all who he was, it was how he was seen to his own community. Rustin would have to work behind the scenes to end racism. Strom Thurmond tried to spread the rumor MLK and Rustin were in a relationship and Rustin’s love life prevented the #NAACP chair #RoyWilkins to waver in support of Rustin organizing the March. So Rustin took a deputy role and still organized while Randolph took the lead role. . . Rustin’s relationship with the Civil Rights Movement highlights a complex intersection around race and homosexuality. Because of the religious roots of many of the leaders, it prevented them from bringing *all* Black people to the table and promoting a real sense of equality. Rustin would eventually be recognized for his work, earning the #PresidentialMedalOfFreedom in 2013 from #Obama. #ShareOurRoots #BlackHistoryMonth #GayRights #BlackRights #LGBT
2/8/20 – A #GunRights protest happened in May 1967. #2ARights were being infringed upon with the #MulfordAct being potentially enacted which no longer allowed citizens to open-carry in the state of California. The protest took place in the Capitol Building of Sacramento. The protestors brought their guns to protest on the steps of the facility and in the assembly hall of the the Capitol Building. No one was hurt. The message was clear, “It’s our right to protect ourselves from an oppressive government.” But the judgement was swift. The Mulford Act was passed 2 months later with Governor #RonaldReagan saying “There’s no reason a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.” The @NRA supported the government’s decision to prevent citizens from open-carrying for all citizens of California. The Mulford Act would be called The Panther Act. . . That would be White America’s first introduction into #TheBlackPantherParty. #BobbySeale and #HueyNewton formed the group to help educate African Americans of their rights and how to help their own communities. In the Sacramento protest, 30 Panthers pulled up to the state capitol in May 1967. After the protest, the government ramped up the surveillance and force needed to take down the Black Panthers. The Panthers were #GunRightsActivists and the government and the #NRA were not in favor of that show of support. . . Flip to 2020. A #GunRights protest takes place on #MLK‘s holiday on the steps of Virginia’s Capitol building. The 2nd amendment was being infringed upon. The protestors brought their guns and exercised their right to open carry. No one was hurt. The message was clear, “It’s our right to protect ourselves from an oppressive government.” The judgement never came. The NRA fully-backed this group of protestors, and even added the slogan, “Come and Take it.” Will Virginia enact an open carry ban for its citizens? The Black Panthers would say they have one month left. For more info on the #BlackPanthers check out the video on @geeranby‘s page! #ShareOurRoots #BlackHistoryMonth
2/9/20 – Before the #GreatMigration in 1916, 90% of African Americans lived in the South. Though those who were enslaved were legally free, the #BlackCodes, #JimCrow, and #Disenfranchisement were successfully oppressing the Black population. As a result, there was a coordinated effort to head north and look for better opportunities and less racism. What Black people were experiencing (and were more used to) down south was #ExplicitRacism. In the North, #ImplicitRacism was more prevalent. #Redlining was one of the tools used to keep #Segregation in play without naming it. Putting a group of motivated people in one place too create on their own does have its benefits. . . #Bronzeville got its name from the redlining taking place in Chicago. For 30 years it was known as #BlackMetropolis because of the success of the #BlackBusinesses and number of blues, jazz, and gospel musicians. It housed the #WabashYMCA (from my Feb 1st post) where the concept of Black History Month originated. #IdaBWells, #LouisArmstrong, #RichardWright, #MinnieRiperton, #RubeFoster, all lived here when they lived in Chicago. The #RegalTheater was the crown jewel of Bronzeville and a shining example of the community coming together in a time of oppression. . . #Integration in the 1960s meant upper and middle class families moving out of Bronzeville as racially restricted housing was outlawed. Overpopulation mixed with poverty saw Bronzeville fall into decline in the 70s to 80s. By the 90s, only 9 historical building remain from the past (you can take a tour!). These days, neighborhood groups and business interests are building Bronzeville back up. If you’re looking to live in Chicago, you may find yourself rubbing shoulders with history. #BlackHistoryMonth #ShareOurRoots
2/10/20 – While the #GreatMigration spurred the creativity of African Americans in numerous cities, the North simultaneously began to create a more sinister plot to ensure segregation would legally remain in place. Seeing an influx of Black Americans moving northward for opportunities was nothing short of an invasion in the eyes of northern state governments. Legislation needed to act swiftly to prevent a takeover. #ExplicitRacism would fair poorly in public eye and so #Redlining began. In short, cities were mapped and ranked by desirability to live (read: where no minorities are). Those that were most “desirable”, were green and given an grade “A”. Those with the highest black populations were red and given grade “D”. The South Bronx (grade D) is the perfect storm of Redlining and opportunity. . . #WhiteFlight took place as African Americans began to move into the #Bronx in the 1950s and 60s. Affordable housing was the goal but the banks picked the South Bronx by design. Homeowners and landlords alike were instructed to desert the area. No money was coming into the Bronx to build up the rundown buildings and there was no oversight when it came to building and fire codes. #RobertMoses would eventually box in the area with the creation of the #CrossBronxExpressway. Knowing the South Bronx would be dilapidated within a couple of years, landlords began burning their properties to collect the insurance. #BronxIsBurning became the slogan. No opportunities came into the Bronx so entrepreneurship took the form of gangs and crime and the Bronx reputation could be attributed to the Black populations that lived there without understanding how it could be created. . . Redlining was the immediate response in undoing the Great Migration. It allowed governments, banks, and lenders to prey upon vulnerable populations and claim ignorance all the while. Today, the South Bronx is still repairing itself from the 70s and 80s and as we understand the #ImplicitRacism of history, it will help reshape the narrative that had plagued the borough for so long. #ShareOurRoots #BlackHistoryMonth
2/11/20 – The Birmingham Battleground. Some of the more publicized pieces of the #CivilRightsMovement would be fought here. Birmingham’s White to Black ratio was 3:2, but it was completely segregated. Blacks could hold no government positions, including police, firefighters, and even a secretary position if their boss was White. Birmingham banned the #NAACP from organizing in their city and managed to successfully oppress Black people with a combination of laws and violence. Speaking out could land you in jail easily and possibly a beating from the police. . . #FredShuttlesworth, a pastor, still wanted to desegregate his community and tried to boycott business to get local businesses to hire black workers. When it didn’t work, he turned to #MLK who was coming off an unsuccessful desegregation campaign of his own in Albany, GA. King, looking to improve his reputation brought the #SCLC and set up shop in the #16thStBaptistChurch to help organize the protests. While they were up against Birmingham’s government, racial segregation took the form of #BullConnor the city’s Commissioner of Public Safety. The Civil Rights Movement was communism in his eyes and it would not take place on his watch. His brutality and violence against protestors, which included children, sparked national interest and is said to have sped up there decision to desegregate. . . Even though Birmingham was lawfully desegregated in 1963, the people could not be mixed. A month and half after the law went into effect, no Black people had been hired by White business, black lawyers were rejected by Alabama’s BAR, and parks were closed rather than integrated. #Bombingham became the name as Civil Rights leaders’ houses and businesses were bombed – one famously being the 16th Street Baptist Church that killed 4 girls. #COINTELPRO would even get involved and assist in the violence against Black leaders. Birmingham is still trying to desegregate. Instead of #MLKDay in January, they celebrate #RobertELeeDay. That sums up their feelings quite nicely. #ShareOurRoots #BlackHistoryMonth
2/12/20 – #BlackHistory in relationship to #NewYorkCity often brings up the #HarlemRenaissance or the rediscovery of #SenecaVillage but before any of that, #Weeksvile existed as one of the first African American communities dating back to pre-Civil War days. Its story starts with the #Lefferts family, one of the largest landowning and slaveholding families in Kings County. Shortly after slavery was abolished in New York (1827), John Lefferts looked to sell off pieces of his land. #HenryCThompson, a black abolitionist who was aware of the political and economical benefits of land ownership, bought a sizable portion from the Lefferts family and sold the land to African Americans, one of whom was #JamesWeeks. He would begin to start a small community that would carry his namesake. . . Weeksville began to flourish in the 1850s. It had its own churches, schools, and even a newspaper, The Freedman’s Torchlight. #SusanSmithMcKenney was New York’s first African American doctor and was born in Weeksville. Black businesses could freely prosper without fear of retribution. Their biggest enemy would become industrialization. By the 1930s, Brooklyn was beginning to build up and around Weeksville, and even sometimes, through it. Weeksville tried to adapt but couldn’t adapt fast enough. In the end, four houses would remain on Hunterfly Road and these would be called the #HunterflyHouses. . . Weeksville is tucked away in Crown Heights and can be seen today. The Hunterfly Houses can be visited and a big part of that is due to it’s rediscovery in the late 60s. It was a crucial discovery as the city of Brooklyn planned to demolish the buildings for new housing but #JamesHurley and #JosephHaynes were able to preserve the spaces as a national landmark. You can now visit the #WeeksvilleHeritageCenter where they have a small farm and celebrations from time to time! #ShareOurRoots #BlackHistoryMonth
2/13/20 – In #ContemporaryBlackHistory much of the discussion revolves around recognizing #ImplicitRacism and how it can impact a population without drawing attention to it. An ongoing example of this relationship can be seen between law enforcement and African Americans. #PoliceBrutality, #StopAndFrisk, #MassIncarceration all affect Blacks significantly more than Whites. Given the treatment from police officers during slavery, to post-Civil War, to the Civil Rights movement, and even today, there’s plenty of understanding why Black parents give their children “The Talk” at a young age. #EricGarner, #MyaHall, #TrayvonMartin, #SandraBland, #PhilandoCastile, #AlexiaChristian, #MichaelBrown, #MeaganHockaday, #TamirRice, #NatashaMcKenna #WalterScott, #RekiaBoyd, #SamuelDubose, #KaylaMoore, #TerenceCrutcher, #MiriamCarey, #OscarGrant, #JamarClark, #FreddieGray, #AltonSterling, #JeremyMcDole, #EricHarris, and a host of others. . . With the prevalence of social media, there is a more united way at looking at police reformation and discussing the ongoing tension between police and African Americans. This is part of the new Black history, or #BlackFuture if you will. There will be no doubt that the tension will continue until there is change from the top down. When we look at LA Riots in comparison to the Ferguson Riots, the premise remains the same despite being more that 20 years apart. We are seeing the developments of a different type of Civil Rights Movement. #ShareOurRoots #BlackLivesMatter
2/14/20 – It’s someone’s birthday!! Allegedly. #FrederickDouglass didn’t actually know his own birthday due to his enslavement. But he was a pioneer in many ways. For me, his biggest influence was his here existence. Here was an example of the power of education in physical form. He was born enslaved in Maryland and eventually escaped and was able to travel overseas to Ireland to continue learning about the concept of freedom as it relates race and gender. In order to fully understand the impact of a free Black man being seen as a brilliant example on education, we would need to understand the climate in the mid to late 1800s. . . The 1840s-1880s could be considered one of the most racially-volatile times in US history. #Activism had to take many forms as a person’s safety was at risk at all times for speaking out against slavery. For Black people, one could be kidnapped and sold back into the slavery, as well as hanged for gaining too much prominence. Despite the threat of violence, Douglass as well as other #abolitionists focused on creating “a more perfect Union”. Douglass’ critics demanded he converse with pro-slavery advocates and he refused stating “I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong,” making sure to not give the time of day to those with ill intentions. . . When Black people hear, “You’re so articulate,” it harkens back to the days where Blacks were not expected to be knowledgeable or it was a surprise they can hold a conversation. Interestingly enough, Black people have internalized this concept as well and it can be an inhibitor to social progress. Douglass was well before his time and gained a lot of support just from the confidence he built in others to not only seek and ask for more but to actually do more and create a space others can thrive in as well. Happy birthday Frederick Douglass. #ShareOurRoots #BlackHistoryMonth
2/15/20 – It’s #PresidentsDay weekend and I felt it appropriate to talk about the origins of the #WhiteHouse that date back to 1792. At the time, organizers wanted European immigrants to build the structure but weren’t finding any interest so they turned to hiring unpaid labor. Slaves were rented from slave owners (picture 3) to quarry the mines of Virginia and erect the walls of the White House. Building it would take about 8 years. Afterwards, 9 different US presidents would bring the enslaved people with them to help maintain the house. . . The first child born in the White House was born into slavery. In 1801, Ursula Granger Hughes, a 14 year old cook for the White House have birth to a baby girl but the baby passed early on. Enslaved people either slept in the attic or ground corridors of White House. Neither were well-kept and would have rodents in them. #MichelleObama created a bit of controversy explaining this reality during a talk in 2016. . . It is an uncomfortable subject to discuss the relationship between the enslaved and our government. O’Reilly once said the “slaves that worked at the White House” were well fed, trying to point out that being enslaved at the White House was a privilege. For this #PresidentsDayWeekend I think it’s worth discussing the juxtaposition between labor and government officials, even today and what it looks like. #ShareOurRoots #BlackHistoryMonth
2/16/20 – #PresidentsDayWeekend means examining the history around the presidency and how it’s perception can dictate who’s story gets told and who’s you will have to look for. I believe a great example of that is the story of #SallyHemings and #ThomasJefferson. Jefferson was a slave owner. He oversaw nearly 600 slaves in his life and freed a total of 7 of them. His plantation is a national historic site and is renowned for its brilliant Italian architecture and is currently on the back of the nickel. Jefferson was also the 3rd president of the US while simultaneously keeping his slave holder status. Just like it was pointed out in yesterday’s post, slavery was needed in the White House to keep up the maintenance of the building but Jefferson maintained his home plantation in Virginia while still president. A walking contradiction of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. . . What’s more is that one of the enslaved Africans he kept in his house, Sally Hemings, was a concubine. She had her own room in the #Monticello estate and they had 6 children together, all of whom were freed by Jefferson himself when they were of age. Their relationship started when Jefferson, 44, had Hemings, 14, accompany him and his daughter to France where they stayed for 2 years. Upon returning back to the US, Heming was pregnant an agreed to come back with Jefferson if he freed their children at the age of 21. Hemings was biracial and had fair skin and her children, as a result, could “pass” for being White with the appropriate clothing. Hemings was never officially freed but after Jefferson passed she lived with her sons nearby in Virgina. . . It is interesting to me that the president is supposed to carry the highest amount of respect for its position despite very flawed individuals taking up the helm. Because Jefferson is seen as a #FoundingFather, it can almost allow all other aspects of his life to be redeemed or ignored all together. This is one of the people who founded this nation. It’s the reality that he was a slave owner with an enslaved mistress that birthed 6 of his children that he never claimed. #ThisIsAmerica. #ShareOurRoots #BlackHistoryMonth
2/17/20 – With respect to #PresidentsDay, #TheBlackVote is one of the most important factors in any election. Media presents it as largely an indicator of racial progress but they do not highlight the deeper factors about why it came to be nearly monolithic. Politicians have tried nearly everything to reach the Black populations. They have appeared on radio talk shows, released countless commercials showing politicians interacting with black people and have even made rap songs (@secretarycarson I cannot allow you to forget your transgressions). All of these efforts try to tap into the culturally relevant side of being Black but none of them tackle the real way secure the vote: #RacialSegregation. . . The #VotingRightsAct of 1965 means that it’s only been about 55 years since Black people have had the ability to vote. That does not mean they have direct access to the voting booth. #VoterSupression is still around it’s directive is clear – discouraging POCs from voting. #VoterIDs and the lack of making Voting Day a national holiday are some of the ways the government tries to prevent everyone from fairly casting a ballot. A more sinister plot is the #Blexit campaign that looks to divide the Black population by promoting Democrats as plantation owners and Republicans as independent thinkers. If history has taught me anything, it’s that we need to stick together to survive. . . Segregation has historically put Black people in the same environments for centuries. There’s power in that voice that comes from that environment. Recognizing that power in unity is why #BlackHistoryMonth has heavy political leanings. It has taken a lot of sacrifice to get to this point and I want to continue to see our people strive to push our government to real integration – one that sees the laws put in place to protect those in power dissolved. Until Trump recognizes those laws as segregationist, the Black community’s voice will remain where it has always been. #ShareOurRoots
2/18/20 – Imagine the impact if one of the first people on the moon was a Black person? The statement that could’ve been made when just 100 years prior black people were in chains. When we think of the #CivilRightsMovement, we unconsciously place that event in a vacuum and talk about the US’s inability to come to terms with its own past. Simultaneously, the #ColdWar was happening in America and the #SpaceRace was an arm the US could not afford to lose. The #RedScare of #Communism was making the government paranoid and it began to dovetail with the issues of integration and racial equality. For some integration and communism were hand in hand and it’s an intersection we do not discuss often enough.
#HiddenFigures (a great movie and even better book!) sheds a little light on this intersection as it follows the stories of #KatherineJohnson, #DorothyVaughan, and #MaryJackson (pictured respectively) and their crucial, yet hidden contributions to the US’s triumph of making it to the moon. Hidden within this event is the story of #EdDwight. Dwight was an #AirForce pilot who looked like he’d make the short list of individuals NASA would be looking to send to the moon. He could have been a shining example of the US’s own progress with Civil Rights as they made their way to space but it’s own racism shot itself in the foot.
#JimCrow made it so that even if Dwight made it through all the hoops (which he managed to), he couldn’t have succeeded because his institutions couldn’t be trusted because they were segregated. Despite Dwight teaching instrument classes, graduating cum laude in aeronautical engineering, and even having Chuck Yeager graduating him through his astronaut training, it wasn’t enough. John Kennedy championed Dwight through the program but when he was assassinated, not only was Dwight’s chances of reaching space gone with it but so was America’s progress when it came to race. Somehow America was credited with winning the war despite losing some important battles along the way. #ShareOurRoots #BlackHistoryMonth
2/19/20 – #BlackHistoryMonth is as much about education as it is about perception. It can be celebratory while still being able to come to terms with the reality of division. A great example of this phenomenon can be found when examining the #BlackRepublican. Nothing stands to invalidate a Black person’s accomplishments more than becoming Republican. #ClarenceThomas is the 2nd African American to serve on the #SupremeCourt and his name doesn’t get mentioned when we think of Black History because of his political alignment. #IdentityPolitics plays an increasingly large part in elections and within a two-party system it leaves little room for a Black person to make a nuanced decision. . We should first discern the difference between the Conservative and Republican mindsets because one is more forward-facing than the other. In short, Black Conservatives can still be Democrats. While they carry socially conservative views, they can still align as a Democrat. Republicans play a different game and it has a lot to do with conflating Conservative and Republican when it comes to Black people. Once the parties switched Republicans were no longer seen as progressive and as a result, stood to lose the #BlackVote. In order to become attractive, Republicans needed to rebrand the perception that they do not care about Black people. So began with the term #FreeThinker. Innocent enough while branding the other side as #GroupThinkers. Once a Black person signs off on White ideas, it is validated in a way that feels impenetrable. Black Republicans began to see themselves as those who “escaped the Democrat plantation” and can think freely. . I would be here all day if I tried to break down the problematic nature of this thinking so I will sum it up as such: Black Republicans are an excellent example of White Supremacy in Blackface. I’m not speaking of the overt explicit nature of White supremacy but rather the endorsement of White racist ideas through Black voices. That is why Thomas, Carson, Rice, and the rest of the gang have been written off as individuals that have not contributed to the progress of Black people. They have repackaged White sentiments and placed their own identity to it.
2/20/20 – Understanding the origins of the #BlackConservative requires an honest look at the mindset of those with the power to create change. At its core, the Black Conservative ideology looks to create independence from ones own community. The conflict is that it can be systematically improbable to sustain without the help of White people that have the power to change the system. The added layer to that conflict has two names, #WhiteSaviorComplex and #WhiteMansBurden and both have serious impacts on Black communities. . #RudyardKipling‘s poem The White Mans Burden talks about the moral obligation White people have to “save non-White populations and bring them to civilization”. For those not reading enough in between the lines, this is a great example of White supremacy in poetry. This White Savior Complex is played out in movies where the common trope is a White hero looking to save a population of POCs from something (usually another) White person has created. Black Conservatives could see this and looked to combat against it by looking to create their own communities with less government intervention. . That is why the distinction between Black Conservatives and #BlackRepublicans is so important. Black Republicans not only embrace the ideals above but endorse them with their own identities and voices. Much of #BlackHistory deals with the reckoning of the White/Black power dynamic and how to create a racially sustainable environment whole holding those with power accountable. More tomorrow! #ShareOurRoots #BlackHistoryMonth
2/21/20 – What does true #CulturalAssimilation look like? Where do we draw the line between appropriation and assimilation? While the goal of #BlackHistoryMonth will always be to educate, how can any institution implement the educational aspect without appropriation in some way? Often times, White America (and even Black America at times) treats slavery and segregation as a mystery of the past as if its presence isn’t currently felt. It’s effect on you depends on how well you have assimilated into American culture as a whole. . #RubyBridges as well as a number of other Black heroes are the face of #integration. When she walked in William Frantz Elementary School in 1960, she sat alone in a White institution to prove Black people could appropriate a “White education”. Legally, she was assimilated into an all-White institution, socially we’re still not there we are still in a state of appropriation. Assimilation requires acceptance to some degree. When we hear White children trying to rap their favorite song or even #Gentrification as a concept, whether or not they’ve assimilated depends on our cultural acceptance of them. . When I think about the future of Black children, a big factor in their experience in America is how are they internalizing their acceptance into American culture. #CodeSwitching is a coping mechanism based in appropriation but also an understanding that you have not assimilated well enough in your current environment to be yourself. In order to change that dynamic, those with power need to recognize that imbalance and look to change accordingly. This is also why I believe #BlackRepublicans appropriate White Supremacy. They are willing to part with their identity in order to assimilate which should never be an option. #ShareOurRoots
2/22/20 – Last year, on #Juneteenth, #TaNehesiCoates testified at the House on behalf the H.R. 40 bill that would establish a committee to study the need for #Reparations. #MitchMcConnell gave the familiar response: America shouldn’t be held liable for something it did 150 years ago. Reparations has been an interesting subject when it comes to #BlackHistory. As we have been learning about the history of systemic racism, we are becoming aware that though slavery has ended, the damage is still being perpetuated through laws and social practices that prey on marginalized populations. . America benefits on generational wealth. Slavery is a part of that generational wealth. We respect centuries-old treaties with countries signed by dead people, we pass down stories from generation to generation and hold onto those truths. Somehow when it came to this specific form of generational oppression, America chose to try to bury the narrative (this is an example of White supremacy). Mitch McConnell’s statements are contradictory in nature given he has been alive for much of the generational oppression we still see today. #Redlining, #StopAndFrisk, Wells Fargo and their predatory loan scandal, all of it. . Between the stories of #Incarceration, need for #AffirmativeAction, and #InstitutionalRacism we’re at a crucial point in our history where America needs to begin handling it’s past. We still have yet to get there and in order to give an honest look at the future of Black History we need take our whole history into account and atone for it. #BlackHistoryMonth #ShareOurRoots
2/23/20 – #TheBlackChurch *is* #BlackHistory. When we consider the movements, rebellions, marches, and many other resistances, there is some relationship with the Black church. The #CivilRights movement largely worked out of churches. As far as gatherings go, it is one of the only places Black people could historically congregate freely. If someone needed to organize a protest, your church was the first place to talk openly. Black churches began to pop up around the time of the #RevolutionaryWar. Segregationists did not believe Whites and Blacks should worship together. This is still practiced today as churches remain largely segregated across the US. Though the messages are generally the same, the delivery and style of worship are different. The charismatic style of the Black preacher would influence many of the orators of the 19th and 20th centuries. . It is interesting to consider how enslaved people and their masters end up worshipping the same god. During the #GreatAwakening, Evangelical Baptist and Methodist preachers traveled around the South and appealed directly to the enslaved people and it led to small black congregations popping up on plantations. Religion played a large part in #NatTurner‘s rebellion and following it, Black people were only allowed to congregate en masse if there was a White preacher or minister. As more Black people became free, eventually they would form their own denominations, the African Methodist Episcopalian Church would be one of them. But today there’s a different obstacle to face. . There has been a steady decline in the church going populations across the US. This has a significant impact on the Black church considering its standing in the Black communities. Part of that decline can be attributed to the church failing to adapt to the younger generations. Historically, churchgoers are socially conservative. There are still Black churches today that do not do same-sex marriage ceremonies, for example. Because Black politics intertwine with the messages being conveyed at church, there is a growing disunity with the growing concerns of Black progressives and the church populations. We should be examining this relationship.
2/24/20 – #BlackHistory is as much about experiences as it is about education. While we have spent the month pouring over facts concerning American history, your experience contributes to what we will eventually do with this information. Let’s take this child, Jacob Philadelphia, for example. Of all the things he could have asked #PresidentObama he asked him if his hair was like his. Rather than telling Jacob, Obama chose to show him, to let him experience the answer. I’m certain Jacob got more out of that interaction as a result. . If we think about how American history is taught in school, who is telling the story and how is it told? How can we engage those whose story is only partially told or left out all together? Integration of schools should also mean integrating the stories of the students you are bringing in. We have all felt the feeling of being somewhere where you didn’t exactly fit but what if that experience is perpetuated in the classroom? #RepresentationMatters and just like Jacob, some things need to be experienced in order for them to make an impact. . With less than a week left in #BlackHistoryMonth I’ll be looking toward the future and where we can all start to do work. The #BystanderEffect is always in play and it is easy to hope someone else will pick up the torch and remain apathetic. Both education and experience require action and I think given this is an #ElectionYear, action needs to be made a primary goal. So let’s make the last week a good one! #ShareOurRoots
2/25/20 – As we begin to wrap up #BlackHistory month, it’s crucial that we continue to analyze the number of ways #intersectionality can be explicit and implicit when discussing oppression. Often when we discuss racial discrimination, Black men are generally the first to be thought of just like when we discuss gender discrimination, White women are usually the focal point of the conversation. Black women occupy an interesting sphere in which they are affected by both but have found themselves in a distinct gray area that no one else can occupy. Let’s take #GeneralMotors in 1964 for example. Prior to 1964, GM did not hire a single Black woman until the #CivilRightsAct passed. Until then, Black women simply weren’t considered. . #MaryKenner (3rd photo, thanks @paginadulce) was an American Inventor. She created the #SanitaryBelt in the 1920s that could hold menstrual pads in place which could allow for women on their periods to stay mobile. This was at a time when women generally stayed home during their time of the month. It would take 30 years before she could get the idea patented because she was Black. On the other hand #MelittaBentz created a coffee filter in the 1920s and experienced no issues when filing a patent. We’re experiencing the same gender living in two different worlds. . This will continue to be covered tomorrow but the takeaway for today is understanding that #BlackHistory has multiple layers to analyze and when evaluate the #MeToo and the #PussyHat Movements we see and hear the White woman’s voice but we need to be critical of how the Black woman’s voice can be lost in the fold almost purposefully whenever the conversation of oppression begins. #ShareOurRoots
2/26/20 – Continuing yesterday’s post on #intersectionality, we look at the stories #BlackHistoryMonth is always ready to tell vs the ones it is still grappling with to some degree. #MarshaPJohnson‘s story can spur great conversations around #GenderNonconformity, #TransRights, #LGBTQRights, and how all of those subjects are viewed through a racial lens. Intersectionality was coined by #KimberleCrenshaw (who I’m sure we’ll be speaking about for future Black History talks) and discussed the different ways oppression can intersect based on race, gender, sexuality, religion, and a number of other factors. When we are unable to directly confront those issues as a Black collective, we cannot expect those that hold institutional power to do the same. . Marsha P Johnson was born #MalcolmMichaelsJr. Johnson was gay but her family did not generally accept her as such. The environment itself was not accepting of homosexual behavior at the time. It was still against the law in most states in the 1960s. Johnson would eventually move to #GreenwichVillage and meet more people that shared her story and would eventually be comfortable enough to be openly gay in New York City. #StonewallInn was initially a place for gay men and did not allow women and #DragQueens. Johnson was a drag queen so she wouldn’t be accepted into the bar until much later. When the #StonewallRiots occurred in 1969, Johnson’s involvement it’s still difficult to parse out. . Johnson would eventually become a #GayRights activist but because her story and appearance wasn’t (and still isn’t to some degree) generally accepted by the public, her voice gets lost and it isn’t by accident. Johnson’s story has slowly been retold and she even has the #EastRiverPark named after her in her honor as of this month. If the end goal is to restore power and voices to those that have neither, we all have to do a fair amount of listening rather than speaking. Unity is a powerful tool for any movement, especially when driven by education. #ShareOurRoots
2/27/20 – Before #BlackHistoryMonth comes to a close, I do think it’s important to challenge us to connect the dots. Given everything we have covered over the month it’s worth asking, “Who’s in charge of teaching children about race? Religion? Gender? How old should they be? Are the ages different based on the race of the children?” If we want to remain effective in the conversation surrounding race and #intersectionality, we have to be willing to hold ourselves accountable when it comes to these conversations. Even though schools are integrated to some level, these questions are what ends up dividing a school from doing important work. . As an educator, I often hear Black parents tell me that the school can provide the academic education and they will take take of the “social education”. They feel they cannot trust that the school will do a good enough job to cover race in it’s totality. The home/school partnership has to be exactly that. We should be able to supplement one another. However, it falls apart if White educators and parents do not believe teaching about race is beneficial. Black parents see that and can lose trust in a school to do it’s jurisprudence when it comes to integrating race into its curriculum. . If we’re being honest, school integration cannot work without neighborhood desegregation. All of these factors are connected. Though POC students are in White institutions, are the statistics felt? Are they truly integrated and represented properly? The future of Black History rests in the classroom. If we cannot bring in the past for criticism as it concerns race, we will fall right back into the cycle. So far, America sees race as an “Opt-in” system, that those that want to talk about it only need to take the dive, whereas it should be an “Opt-out” where those that do not want to speak about it are held accountable for their absence. #ShareOurRoots
2/28/20 – For the penultimate post, what does representation look like? Just like yesterday’s post, statistics can be brought into the conversation but are they felt? Back in the 1940s, Kenneth and Mamie Clark designed a study to detect #AntiBlackBias. The basis of the study pointed out that children as young as 3 internalize White as good and Black as bad. Part of that perception is due to a lack of positive Black role models. If a child cannot see themselves in a desired role, it will be difficult for them to strive for it. . Doctors, entrepreneurs, entertainers, athletes, teachers, and etc all have slightly different obstacles pertaining to race but one factor that remains clear is the need for positive representation. #BlackHistoryMonth tries to boost the number of positive figures Black children can see and feel represented through positive stories but the prevalent obstacle is #WhiteFragility. Being unable to talk about race in predominantly White spaces prevents Black people from representing themselves in a way that feels true to them. One doesn’t need to be racist to enable racist tendencies. If we cannot communicate about the racial barriers, how can White people understand they are there? . One way to create a network of representation is to start with great friends you look up to. @geeranby and @teenana.g helping Black athletes discover their power, @rockyandthecity, @tiff2108, and @lboogiebaby88 being Black doctors, @msepiphany and @stylesinseams taking a giant leap toward Black entrepreneurship, @wrg2103 working in an Ivy institution to make sure representation is present, @dandywellington reclaiming the 20s and Jazz age for #ContemporaryBlackHistory, and a host of other friends that make sure you find a platform to tell their stories. #BlackHistory lives through you everyday and will allow us to hold each other accountable. #ShareOurRoots
2/29/20 – For the last day, I want to remain optimistic. While there’s still plenty of work to do, there has been many accomplishments as well. Because the nature of race relations is always evolving so should our education. We all need to continue to build our stamina when talking about race. #BlackHistoryMonth, as a concept, doesn’t happen without building the stamina. You owe it to yourself and your spaces to get to be who you are. So I just want to say thanks for reading! All the messages, both supportive and critical, are important to gaining more clarity. You are all awesome. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. . Happy #BlackHistoryMonth! #ShareOurRoots