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Friday, May 27, 2016

Important History and Lessons from Others (in Late May of 2016)

There are many unsung heroes of the civil rights and women’s liberation movements of England. Stella Dadzie set up the group called the Organization for Women of Asian and African Descent (OWAAD). The American civil rights movement influenced the radical politics of Europe. During the 1950’s, there were housing shortages and competition for jobs between the white working class and commonwealth citizens (in the UK). There were riots in Notting Hill, Liverpool, Bristol, and Nottingham during the 1950’s too. The 1958 race riots happened when hundreds of young white people attacked houses of West Indian residents. There were more race riots in Nottingham. Baron Baker and other black people defended their communities by August 1958. Many American black civil rights and black power activists came into Britain to speak at various demonstrations and public events during the 1960’s like Dr. King, Malcolm X, etc. Many social activists spoke in universities, and in participated in anti-war demonstrations across the UK. One of the greatest heroes of the UK civil rights movement was Claudia Jones. She was an organizer and writer. She led the early anti-racism campaigns in Britain. She believed in women’s rights and civil rights. She was born in Trinidad and worked in New York City during the 1920’s. Her most famous writing was her piece entitled, ‘An end to the neglect of the problems of the Negro woman!’ in 1949. In 1950 she was ordered to be deported for ‘un-American activities’. Trinidad and Tobago refused her entry on the grounds that she ‘may prove troublesome’ and in 1955 Claudia Jones was eventually offered residency in the UK. She continued to fight for racial equality, organizing many members of the Afro-British community into action. Claudia Jones suggested and organized a carnival for the black British community. This was first held in St. Pancras town hall in January 1959. By 1965, with the input of other organizers, it had become the Notting Hill Carnival, now one of the largest and most exhilarating street festivals in the world. Mukami McCrum is a Sister who has fought for freedom too.

During the 1950’s, the 1960’s, and the 1970’s, there was the growth of anti-colonial movements across the world. These movements in Africa, Asia, etc. wanted national liberation and protested against the evil exploitation of colonial powers. The white racist backlash in America included groups like the CCC and the Klan. In the UK, there was the white only, racist, neo-fascist organization National Front. In the 1970’s, they wanted the repatriation of all non-white immigrants and significant limits on immigration in the UK. In the mid-1970s the National Front had 20,000 members and their street protests, often opposed by anti-fascist groups, were a regular sight in British cities. This period was also marked by many incidents of police brutality, including the murder of Clement Blair Peach in 1979. Peach was attending an anti-Nazi League demonstration in Southall, London, when he was knocked unconscious, dying a day later of his injuries. Witnesses said they had seen members of the Metropolitan Police strike Peach, but nobody was charged for the assault. Peach’s funeral was attended by 10,000 people in support of his anti-racist activism. There were the Southall Black Sisters with leaders like Pragna Patel. The Britxon riots came about during the 1980’s. The 1980’s saw a decade of unemployment, housing shortages, class tensions, and racial tensions in UK (with the reign of the reactionary Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher). These tensions were in London, Leeds, Bristol and Nottingham. In London a national recession, exacerbated by poor housing and high unemployment among the African-Caribbean community in Lambeth, combined with unfair stop-and-search laws used by the police, sparked the 1981 uprisings. These lasted for two days and saw hundreds of people injured. Following these uprisings the government ordered an enquiry; the resulting ‘Scarman Report’ recommended changes in police training and law enforcement, which for many protestors was a vindication. However, in 1985 riots were sparked again by the police shooting of Dorothy ‘Cherry’ Groce, originally from Jamaica, while they were searching for her son Michael. Protesting members of the public and police clashed on the streets for two days. As late as 1999 the Macpherson Inquiry Report into the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 claimed that the Metropolitan Police was ‘institutionally racist.’ Today the National Association of Black Supplementary Schools has over 60 registered schools across the UK that offer a range of workshops and activities in addition to the national curriculum.

World War II was the bloodiest war in human history. During World War II, London (like many other British cities) suffered severe damage. London and other cities were bombed extensively by the Luftwaffe as a part of the Blitz. Before the bombings occurred, hundreds of thousands of children in London were evacuated to the countryside to avoid the bombing. Civilians took shelter from air raids in underground stations. The Luftwaffe was the aerial warfare aircraft institution from the German Wehrmacht during World War II. The Luftwaffe in essence was part of the Nazi air force. Its commanders included people like RM Hermann Goring and Gfm Robert Ritter von Greim. The Blitz was the name of the campaign of large bombing raids carried out by the Nazis against Britain in 1940 and in 1941. The Blitz involved the bombings of industrial targets and civilian targets. It started on September 7, 1940 with the Battle of Britain. Between September  7, 1940 and May 21, 1941, London was attacked 71 times, Birmingham, Liverpool and Plymouth eight times, Bristol six, Glasgow five, Southampton four, Portsmouth and Hull three and a minimum of one large raid on eight other cities. From September 7, 1940, one year into the war, London was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 57 consecutive nights. More than 40,000 civilians were killed in the bombings, almost half of them in London. More than one million London houses were destroyed or damaged. The heaviest bombing took place during The Blitz between September 7, 1940 and May 10, 1941. During this period, London was subjected to 71 separate raids receiving over 18,000 tonnes of high explosive. One raid in December 1940, which became known as the Second Great Fire of London saw a firestorm engulf much of the City of London and destroy many historic buildings. St Paul's Cathedral however remained unscathed. A photograph showing the Cathedral shrouded in smoke became a famous image of the war. Hitler and the Nazis couldn’t conquer the United Kingdom. The Nazis failed to defeat Britain, so Hitler turned his attention to the Eastern front and regular bombing raids ceased. They did again to bomb on a smaller scale with the “Little Blitz” in early 1944. By the end of the war, (during 1944-1945), London was under heavy attack by pilotless V-1 flying bombs and V-2 rockets. They were fired from Nazi occupied Europe. These attacks only came to an end when their launch sites were captured by advancing Allied forces. London suffered severe damage and heavy casualties, the worst hit part being the Docklands area. By the war's end, just under 30,000 Londoners had been killed by the bombing, and over 50,000 seriously injured, tens of thousands of buildings were destroyed, and hundreds of thousands of people were made homeless.

I'm not surprised at the racist Chinese detergent cartoon. I don't understand how any self respecting black man would participate in such a commercial. Integrity matters. The commercial is racist. It plays on the stereotype that black males are collectively brutish sex freaks that lust after any non-black women, which isn't true. Also, it demeans black people as socially inferior, which that isn't the case. Anti-blackness is worldwide. There are countless stories where Africans have faced racism & discrimination all over China from Shanghai to Beijing. We should never stand on the fence on this issue. We are all we got literally. We have every right to use our voices to oppose anti-black racism. Also, we have an epidemic of anti-black woman hatred (as no black woman should be disrespected) that must be condemned and opposed too. We need to build up our infrastructure and grow our relationships among black people among all sexes. Nothing can be solved unless we grow our relationships and promote social justice. I agree with anyone who is exposing anti-blackness in the world, not just in America.

The system of white supremacy is certainly based on lies and masks of deception plus deflection. I heard of the channel Smithsonian network. I think I heard of the show Aerial America from a commercial, but I haven't seen the show before. A lot of times, the truth is shown in some satellite TV channels. Many of the colonial settlers did many crimes in America centuries ago. Some settlers exterminated people from the rural areas of New England to Philadelphia centuries ago. Many of them used faux religious and political motives behind their inhuman actions. Yes, we should learn about how black people built America. Many black people back then built churches, organized farms, and established rebellions to fight against the tyranny of slavery. Our black ancestors lived under tyranny and we made great contributions in early American life. It was by our blood that America existed. Our history is diverse. We didn't just experienced slavery back then. Many of our ancestors created organizations, fought for human rights, and created inventions in early America too. That history must be shown readily especially to black youth, so they can recognize the value of their own humanity. Like one quote says, resist the devil and he will flee from you. We have the right to cherish our heritage and to defend our black identity. Danai Gurira's advice is excellent, true, and inspirational. She wants female writers to never use obstacles as a means for them to give up. She wants women, who face burdens, to be further motivated to keep on going forward in writing. Great writing is related to art in a way, because great writing has creativity, rhythm, and beauty just like great art. I agree with Danai's sentiments completely. It is glorious for any women to develop their crafts in expressing eloquent, excellent writing to the world. Women have shown courage, strength, and intellectual power since the beginning of human history. We honor Danai Gurira and any female writers whose light is shining the globe.

By Timothy

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