Wednesday, May 18, 2016

History and Important News in Late May of 2016.

Mother Bethel sits on the oldest plot of land continuously owned by African Americans in the United States. James Forten was a wealthy black American sailmaker. He employed a multiracial group of craftsmen. He was a leader of the African American community in Philadelphia and supporter of reform causes. The American Antislavery Society was organized in his house in 1833. He lived from 1766 to 1842. Pennsylvania Hall at 6th & Race was built as a safe haven for abolitionists. It was burned to the ground just 3 days after it opened. Yet, the movement for justice continued. Robert Purvis also fought for abolitionism too. He lectured and wrote literature. He was part of the Underground Railroad by building a secret area at his house to hide slaves. Philadelphia was a known city where slaves traveled into before many of them came into other areas of the North including Canada.  William Still was part of the anti-slavery movement too. One famous Underground Railroad stop was Johnson House in Germantown. One of the greatest Sisters of the abolitionist movement was Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. She was an African American abolitionist, suffragist, poet, and author. She was born in Baltimore and she worked in Philadelphia as well. She helped escaped slaves to have freedom on their way into Canada via the Underground Railroad. She was a public speaker and a political activist. She joined the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1853. Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects (1854) became her biggest commercial success. Her short story "Two Offers" was published in the Anglo-African in 1859. She published Sketches of Southern Life in 1872. It detailed her experience touring the South and meeting newly freed Black people. In these poems she described the harsh living conditions of many human beings. After the Civil War she continued to fight for the rights of women, African Americans, and many other social causes. In 1858, she refused to give up her seat or ride in the “colored” section of a segregated trolley car in Philadelphia (100 years before Rosa Parks) and wrote one of her most famous poems, “Bury Me In A Free Land,” when she got very sick while on a lecturing tour. Her short story “The Two Offers” became the first short story to be published by a Black woman. In 1866, Harper gave a moving speech before the National Women's Rights Convention, demanding equal rights for all, including Black women. During the Reconstruction Era, she worked in the South to review and report on living conditions of freedmen. This experience inspired her poems published in Sketches Of Southern Life (1872). She used the figure of an ex-slave, called Aunt Chloe, as a narrator in several of these. She passed away in February 22, 1911.  Caroline Le Count was in support of the desegregation of the city’s horse-drawn streetcars. She was called a slur by a conductor and the conducted was fined $100. Octavius Catto was a black man who was one of the greatest black leaders of the 19th century. He fought on the Union side. He was a fighter for black human rights and supported black people the right to vote. He was a black educator and a civil rights activist in Philadelphia. He became known as a top cricket and baseball player during 19th-century Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In November 1864, Catto was elected to be the Corresponding Secretary of the Pennsylvania Equal Rights League. He also served as Vice President of the State Convention of Colored People held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in February 1865. Catto fought fearlessly for the desegregation of Philadelphia’s trolley car system via civil disobedience.  A meeting of the Union League of Philadelphia was held in Sansom Street Hall on Thursday, June 21, 1866, to protest and denounce the forcible ejection of several black women from Philadelphia's street cars. He was a martyr who died to fight for human rights (he was murdered by a racist white man named Frank Kelly, who was Irish. Many racist Irish folks wanted to prevent black people to vote in Philadelphia back then). On October 10, 2007, the 136th anniversary of Cato’s death, the Octavius V. Catto Memorial Fund erected a headstone at Catto's burial site at Eden Cemetery in Collingdale, Pennsylvania. On October 10, 2007, the 136th anniversary of Catto's death, the Octavius V. Catto Memorial Fund erected a headstone at Catto's burial site at Eden Cemetery in Collingdale, Pennsylvania.

The Black Power movement in Philadelphia is not well known by a lot of people. Now, we live in a new generation where more of the truth is shown to the public globally. From the late 1960’s to the 1970’s, civil rights activity in Philadelphia was strong. Leon Sullivan used selective patronage campaigns to nonviolently protest injustice. Also, the Black Panther Party existed in Philadelphia as well. The Black Panthers originated in 1966 in Oakland, California. They focused on self-defense, opposing police brutality, embracing Marxist/socialist ideological thinking, and community activism. They or the Panthers came into North Philadelphia (with a high percentage of black residents) to create their organization in Columbia Avenue. The Black Panthers believed in self-defense while Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference believed in proactive, nonviolent resistance against evil. Yet, groups as ideologically diverse as the SCLC, the Black Panthers, and SNCC desired the same goal, which is freedom, justice, and equality for black people. The Panthers advanced the Ten Point Program, which progressively wanted housing, land, bread, clothing, justice, education, and peace. When the Panthers came into Philadelphia, they meet with the Episcopal religious leader Paul Washington. He was the rector of the respected Church of the Advocate. The Church of the Advocate was once mostly white and then it changed under Washington’s leadership. His congregation was found in a Gothic cathedral at the corner of 18th and Diamond Streets. The church would be a major meeting place of Philadelphia’s civil rights and Black Power movement. In 1968, Church of the Advocate hosted the city’s Black Power Conference, bringing into its sanctuary such civil rights leaders as Rosa Parks, Ron Karenga, LeRoi Jones (Inamu Amiri Baraka), and Jesse Jackson. In 1974, it witnessed the ordination of the Episcopal church’s first 11 female priests. And between 1973 and 1976, it installed on its walls groundbreaking mural artwork depicting the biblical narrative through the lens of African American history. Washington allowed the Black Panthers in Philadelphia to have many events from memorial services of national and local victims of police brutality. Washington met and talked with Reggie Schnell or the defense captain for the group’s Philadelphia chapter. By 1971, the Panthers sent a request that the National Black Panther Party hold its Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention in the church’s sanctuary. Washington agreed with the Panthers expressing anger at the system. Yet, he questioned whether using physical force as a way to get equal treatment under the law or enact real social change. He still allowed the Black Panthers to use the places in the church. Soon, additional space was needed as the crowds were bigger. Then, Temple University was used for the Black Panther National Convention in 1971. The FBI illegally monitored and had filed on Washington, the Black Panthers, and their supporters for years. The FBI alerted the U.S. President, Vice-President, Attorney General, the military, and the Secret Service that Temple had agreed to make their large new gymnasium, McGonigle Hall, available for the event. The Bureau would quickly dispatch informants to clandestinely observe and report on the event. There was the Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention on September 5, 1970. One famous professor in Temple University of African American Studies is Professor Molefi Asante. After a Philly cop was shot and killed by an African American male, Philadelphia police chief Frank Rizzo overreacted and executed brutal and humiliating raids on the city’s three Panther offices. Panther leaders were jailed. Later, Panther leaders were freed. Eight thousand radical civil rights activists and party supporters poured in Philadelphia and, over Labor Day Weekend 1970, converged on Temple University.

It is not unusual to witness hypocritical religious leaders. Pastor Jamal Bryant propped himself up as a paragon of social activism and his actions hurt people. His acts hurt many people. In our generation, more and more people are not using passes among people just because that person claims to be a clergyman. There is no excuse for adultery at all. His unpredictable actions and his blatant disrespect and exploitation of the masses of people of his congregation truly outlines how Laodicean actions are widespread in the globe. There is no excuse for his usage of misogynistic, repugnant language as a way for him to shame women, but he hypocritically hasn't lived up to the standard that he has proclaimed in his pulpit. In my opinion, he should resign. Being a religious leader is a huge responsibility. No one can be a promoter of social justice and egalitarian humanism and do these types of activities. Still, we are totally stoic in our blatant commitment to social justice, economic justice, gender justice, environmental justice, and racial justice. We will keep on fighting for truth and justice.

The racist cartoon shown by Ben Garrison is repugnant. Many white people are not only jealous of black excellence, but many of them are jealous of the beauty of black women. First Lady Michelle Obama is very intelligent. She has worked hard, promoted exercise, stood up for human rights, and is a great example of a gracious human being. The cartoon outlines racist and sexist false stereotypes. The cartoon advances the myth that a white woman is superior to a black woman when we know that a white woman is not superior to anyone. First Lady Michelle Obama is a scholar and she is a great mother who loves her daughters too. Ben Garrison's works should not be supported. People should respond to such disrespect by notifying people about this to make sure that Garrison receives no support. We are tired of this. We are tired of black women being demonized by racist white people. We are tired of seeing black women and black girls being ridiculed by cowards in the Internet. We are sick and tired of black people in general being stereotyped inappropriately. Therefore, we should always stand up for our blackness without apology. Racists will show their white tears and we should not care about their bigotry. We should care about our families and our communities in the world. White racist insecurities always exist when these bigots see a black woman representing everything that they will never be. Also, black women have every right to reject docility and express their strength in many ways. Femininity is diverse. Womanhood is diverse. Black women have survived despite hate, despite sexism, and other injustices. Subsequently, black women will continue to make extraordinary accomplishments in the future too.

First, I send condolences and prayers to the family of Symone Nicole Marshall. Her life is precious and she was a mother who wanted to open up a new chapter in her life. This story does make me filled with sadness and anger. She experienced a car crash. The first priority is to send medical authorities to place her into an hospital ASAP. Yet, that wasn't done. She was placed into jail without being placed in any hospital first. Her family said that they called the jail and demanded that she be placed into a hospital as soon as possible. Her sister, Honey Marshall, revealed to a news site that the young mother called from jail and told her someone had run her off the road. The authorities say that Symone had an invalid drivers license. Those authorities, in the jail, refused to send her to any hospital at first and Symone Marshall died because of complications from a seizure. Stories say that only when Symone had a seizure in the jail, then the authorities sent her to a hospital where she died after 2 weeks in jail. In my view, the jail should feel shame for refusing to send Symone to a hospital immediately especially after she complained of her injuries (according to the Marshall family). We know that many families are rich and some are poor. Paying for bail can be very difficult for the poor. There is an article that talked about this topic entitled, "Is America Engaged In A 'Vicious Circle' Of Jailing The Poor?" found in NPR. One of the most sickest acts done is to not send a car victim into a hospital immediately. There should be an independent investigation (since I will not give the legal authorities the benefit of the doubt) and justice has to be made. Also, tons of African Americans (who are inventors, scholars, teachers, STEM filed people, etc.) are doing what is right. The same ones that want to condemn African Americans collectively omit that teen pregnancy rates have declined since 1992, life expectancy rates among black Americans increased since 2000, overall crimes rates have declined since 1980, and black women owning businesses are in record highs. The real issue is finding the truth about this story and showing compassion for the life of Symone Marshall not embracing some respectability politics (that condemn black people collectively while ignoring oppression). We have a serious problem of black women experiencing police brutality, neglect, and other forms of disrespect by authorities.
RIP Sister Symone Nicole Marshall
Black Lives Matter.

By Timothy

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