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Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday News in late June of 2015

There can be no explanation about New York City without describing its culture. Its culture is very diverse and NYC has much of the most diverse, richest cultures in human history. The black experience in New York City should be honored and respected. One location that shows a lot of black culture in New York City is called the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. It is a research library of the New York Public Library of the NYPL. It has a huge archive repository on people of black African descent worldwide. It was established in 1905 (with 10,000 books originally) on 515 Malcolm X Boulevard (or Lenox Avenue) between 135th and 136th Streets in Harlem. In 1921, the library hosted its first exhibition of African American art in Harlem. It became an annual event. Black people were readily employed in the location. Also, the library is named after the African American scholar Arturo Alfonso Schomburg. W.E.B. DuBois and Walter Francis White helped Regina M. Anderson to fight back against her experiencing discrimination involving the New York Public Library. The Library included cultural collection from African Americans from literature to artwork. Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, James Weldon Johnson, Hubert Harrison, and others supported this effort. The Countee Cullen branch was created as an extension of the library which had books for young adults. The new Schomburg Center was founded in 1980.  This center included exhibits about Malcolm X, literature, and art from the black African diaspora. In 2005, the center held an exhibition of letters, photographs and other material related to Malcolm X. The center has a signed first edition book of poems created by Phillis Wheatley. There is material of Lorraine Hansberry (her views were massively ahead of her time), John Henrik Clarke, Melville J. Herskovits, etc. There are papers and letters of Christian Fleetwood, Paul Robeson, Booker T. Washington, etc. The Center's collection includes documents signed by Toussaint Louverture and a rare recording of a speech by Marcus Garvey. Today, the director of the Schomburg Center is Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad. The Deputy Director is Dr. Kara Tucina Olidge. Black Culture is found all over in other places of New York City as well. There is the Apollo Theater. It is found at 253 West 125the Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and Frederick Douglass in Harlem. It has been home to so many African Americans (and people of other backgrounds as well) musicians, comedians, and other performers. It was built in the early 1910’s.

Italian Americans in New York City have a long history. New York City in fact has the largest population of Italian Americans in America. Many of them have their own ethnic communities in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. Large immigration of Italians into America came about between the late 19th century and the early 20th century. About 5.3 million Italians came into America from 1820 to 1978. There were over two million people Italians who came into America between 1900 and 1910. Only the Irish and the German immigrated in larger numbers. The first New York City neighborhood to be settled by a large number of Italian immigrants (from mostly Southern Italy and Sicily) was East Harlem. It was called “Little Italy.” Back then during the early 20th century, thousands of Italians lived in the area. Even today, on every year on the second weekend of August, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is celebrated and the "Dancing of the Giglio" is performed for thousands of visitors. This celebration is supported by the Giglio Society of East Harlem. There is the Italian American museum found in Manhattan’s Little Italy as well. The San Gennaro Festival is celebrated in New York City by numerous Italian Americans. Food and Italian American culture go hand in hand Lombardi's is a pizzeria located at 32 Spring Street on the corner of Mott Street in the Nolita neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan, New York City. It was opened in 1905 and it is the first pizzeria in the United States. Many famous Italian restaurants exist all over the city. To his credit, the Italian American Francesco Vincent “Frank” Serpico blew the whistle on corruption in the NYPD. This corruption has been further documented in the landmark Knapp Commission. Maria Bartiromo is a famous financial journalist and she is an Italian American. She graduated from New York University an she was raised in Brooklyn. The late politician Mario Cuomo was a liberal and he inspired a lot of people. He was unsuccessful in his campaign to be mayor of New York City, but he made a lot of contributions in the realm of American politics. He also gave speeches from the economy to other important political issues.  Italian Americans in New York City are involved in politics, art, literature, theology, medicine, and other facets of human life.

I sympathize with the Sister’s anger (when the Sister spoke to Don Lemon and the other reporter from CNN). We should be angry as the Sister said. That murderer is solely responsible for the murders period. This action in Charleston was terrorism by one white male terrorist. Respectability politics should be rejected. These victims did everything right. They worked in their communities, they spoke out against injustice, and they were just exercising their religious faith, which they had the right to do in peace. Yet, they were murdered by a racist in a premeditated fashion. We all send prayers and condolences to the victims’ families. We all want change and this change will not come by following the status quo. It will come by investments in our communities, the structures of oppression being stopped, and racism being combated. We know what Don Lemon is all about. Don has compromised and has been the face of the establishment’s agenda. Also, some in FOX News has promoted a lot of race baiting, anti-black rhetoric in a disgraceful way. We know about the President’s refusal to call out white terrorism and the evils of white supremacy by name. We want black people to be free and humanity to experience justice. I just saw the judge said that the bond was set at 1 million dollars. The judge also said that Roof's family are victims too, which was inappropriate in my eyes. The victims' families in the bond hearing have shown grace, strength, great love, and courage. My policy is to allow the victims' families decide whether to forgive or not. I can never judge that decision from the victims' families. The handwriting is on the entire wall about how vicious racism is. I do hope that the Confederate flag is not shown near the South Carolina state capitol building. There are other things that should be done, but the least that can be done is the elimination of that flag from the state capitol.

Some artists just want to get money, be merry, and put their heads in the sand. Yet, we have the right to not financially or politically support artists who do that. This tragedy is part of an epidemic of hatred found in America. This hatred is found in racism, xenophobia, misogyny, etc. We are in a war to make sure that we live in a society which is much better than the past. These complications exist because of many factors. A lot of this has been agitated by groups like the CCC and other groups who spew this hatred. This oppression is not just found in America. It is found internationally where migrants are oppressed, where civilians are killed via drone attacks (in the midst of endless wars), and the existence of other mass killings of innocent human beings. The sickness in society, the massive materialism, and the capitalist exploitation are evils that must end too. So, some artists are doing what is right. Other artists need to be braver and courageously outline the necessity to fight back against racial oppression. Black people globally have every right to make our views known and to advance not only solidarity, but liberation.  Liberation is self-determination and eliminating all evils forms of exploitation and oppression against us. This year is the year of anniversaries too. It will soon be 50 years after the Voting Rights passed, 50 years after the Watts rebellion, and 70 years after WWII. It has been more than 40 years after the Vietnam War. The struggle continues, but we are in the right side of history. Truth is on our side.

It should go down. Over 100 years ago, traitors and white supremacists formed the Confederacy as a means for these evil people to expand slavery, promote racial oppression, and institute other evils in the world. The Confederacy is no more. We live in the USA and it is affront to black people (including freedom loving people in general) for that Confederate flag to still fly on the state capitol of South Carolina (which was the first state to secede from the Union). Some people say that the Civil war has nothing to do with slavery, which is a lie. Tons of black people were abused and murdered by Confederates and others who believed in the myth of white supremacy. The Cornerstone speech made by Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens came about on March 1861 in Georgia where he said that the Confederacy was created on racial oppression of black people. He admitted that the secession movement was based on the Confederacy desiring to expand slavery in other lands of America (also Stephens in that speech denied the equality of black people, which is disgraceful on his part) and for them to grow their economic interests (as the Southern racist aristocracy used slavery via the cotton fields, etc. as a way for them to gain profit at the expense of human suffering). We know that trade, politics, and economics were factors on why the Civil War existed too, but slavery was one large factor on why the Civil War existed. The South attacked Fort Sumter first, which began the Civil War. The Confederacy wanted states’ rights, which was about the state brutalizing human rights. Human rights are superior to states’ rights. Also, confederate state Constitutions explicitly supported slavery in their provisions. Black Union soldiers like those from the 54th Massachusetts Regiment fought Confederates in order for them to have freedom. A lot of black folks died for us. So, this is personal for all of us. I’m glad that the Confederacy was defeated. I’m glad that Jim Crow apartheid is gone. Now, we have to defeat the agenda of the neo-Confederates in our generation in 2015. We, as black people, should always stand up for our dignity as Brothers and Sisters. We know that taking the flag (which has been embraced by racists for over a century) down is a necessity and we have to do more than that, but that flag should go down.

By Timothy

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