Monday, July 04, 2016

July 4, 2016 (Independence Day)

Jackie Robinson was in the military in 1942. First, he was drafted and assigned to a segregated Army cavalry unit in Fort Riley, Kansas. Robinson and other black soldiers applied for admission to an Officer Candidate School or an OCS. It was located at Fort Riley. The Army’s initial July 1941 guidelines for OCS had been drafted as race neutral. Yet, few black applicants were admitted into OCS until after subsequent directives by Army leadership. Later, the applications of Robinson and his colleagues were delayed for several months. After protests by heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis (who was then stationed at Fort Riley) and the help of Truman Gibson (then an assistant civilian aide to the Secretary of War), the men were accepted into the OCS. This common military experienced caused a personal friendship between Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis (both great men). Jackie Robinson finished his OCS. Then, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in January of 1943. Shortly afterward, Jackie Robinson and Isum were formally engaged. He received his commissioned and then reassigned to Fort Hood, Texas. In that location, he joined the 761st “Black Panthers” tank Battalion. Inside of Fort Hood, Robinson often used his weekend leave to visit the Rev. Karl Downs or the President of San Huston College (not Huston-Tillotson University in nearby Austin, Texas). Downs had been Robinson’s pastor at Scott United Methodist Church while Robinson attended PJC. There was one event on July 6, 1944 that derailed his military career. Robinson was awaiting the results of hospital tests on the ankle that he had injured in junior college. Robinson boarded an Army bus with a fellow officer's wife; although the Army had commissioned its own unsegregated bus line, the bus driver ordered Robinson to move to the back of the bus. Robinson refused. The driver backed down, but after reaching the end of the line, summoned the military police, who took Robinson into custody. Robinson’s commander in the 761st, Paul L. Bates, refused to authorize legal action. So, Robinson was summarily transferred to the 758th Battalion where the commander quickly consented to charge Robinson with multiple offenses like public drunkenness, etc., even though Robinson didn’t drink. By the time of the court-martial in August 1944, the charges against Robinson had been reduced to two counts of insubordination during questioning. Robinson was acquitted by an all-white panel of nine officers.  The experiences Robinson was subjected to during the court proceedings would be remembered when he later joined MLB and was subjected to racist attacks. His former unit or the 761st Tank Battalion was the first black tank unit to see combat during World War II. Robinson never saw combat action, because of the court proceedings that prohibited him from being deployed overseas. Jackie Robinson was acquitted. He was transferred to Camp Breckenridge, KY. He served as a coach for army athletics until he received an honorable discharge in November 1944. In that place, he met a former player for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League, who encouraged Robinson to write the Monarchs and ask for a tryout. Robinson took the former player’s advice and wrote to Monarch’s co-owner Thomas Baird. He was discharged from the military. He played for his old football club of the Los Angeles Bulldogs.  Robinson then accepted an offer from his old friend and pastor Rev. Karl Downs to be the athletic director at Sam Huston College in Austin, then of the Southwestern. The job included him coaching the school’s basketball team for the 1944-1945 season. Few students tried for the basketball team as it was a fledgling program. Robinson inserted himself in exhibition games. Robinson was a disciplinarian coach and he was respected. His teams were outmatched by opponents. Langston University basketball player Marques Haynes (a future member of the Harlem Globetrotters) respected him.  Later, Jackie Robinson would play for the great, historic Negro Leagues.

London was the capitalist capital of the bloody and evil British Empire during the 18th century. London’s population grew rapidly. There was the development of the Industrial Revolution which used machines in productions more instead of farming equipment. The 1707 Act of Union was passed. It merged the Scottish and English Parliaments. This caused the creation of the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1708, Christopher Wren’s St. Paul’s Cathedral was completed on his birthday. The first service had been held on December 2, 1697. This Cathedral was replacing the original St. Paul’s which was completely destroyed in the Great Fire of London. It has great architecture and represents the Baroque architectural style. Many tradesmen from different nations came to London to trade goods and merchandise. More immigrants traveled into London too. Many people came to work and do business. It or London became busier. Britain won the Seven years’ War. It opened more markets due to trade and the oppression of slavery continued. The Mayfair district was built for the rich in the West end. New bridges that came across the River Thames encouraged an accelerated of development in South London and in East End. The Port of London expanded downstream from the City. During this time, there was the uprising of the American colonies. The American colonies disliked the taxation without representation and many people in the American continent wanted independence. In 1780, the Tower of London held its own American prisoner. He was the former of President of the Continental Congress or Henry Laurens. By 1762, George III acquired Buckingham Palace (then called Buckingham House) from the Duke of Buckingham. It was enlarged over the next 75 years by architects such as John Nash. In 1779, he was the Congress's representative of Holland, and got the country's support for the Revolution. On his return voyage back to America, the Royal Navy captured him and charged him with treason after finding evidence of a reason of war between Great Britain and the Netherlands. He was released from the Tower on December 21, 1781 in exchange for General Lord Cornwallis. The era of the coffeehouse existed. This was where people came to debate ideas. The printing press developed and growing literacy existed. News involving the press grew. Fleet Street was a place where the press had a stronghold. There was crime in London during the 18th century too. This is why the Bow Street Runners was formed in 1750 as a professional police force. Penalties for crime were harsh, with the death penalty being applied for fairly minor crimes. Public hangings were common in London, and were popular public events. There were the Gordon riots of 1780. This was about Protestants fighting against Roman Catholic emancipation (or voting rights) led by Lord George Gordon. There was severe damage done to Catholic churches and homes and 285 rioters were killed. The Westminster Bridge was opened in 1750 to cross over the Thames not just the London Bridge. In 1798, Frankfurt banker Nathan Mayer Rothschild arrived in London and set up a banking house in the city, with a large sum of money given to him by his father, Amschel Mayer Rothschild. The Rothschilds also had banks in Paris and Vienna. The bank financed numerous large-scale projects, especially regarding railways around the world and the Suez Canal. Great changes happened in the 18th century. American colonies broke away from London and the evil of the British Empire expanded in the Earth.

The Armenian Genocide was a crime against humanity. The more information that I have found about about this genocide in this year alone, the angrier I feel at injustice. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. This genocide was carried out by members of the Ottoman Empire against Armenian human beings. For centuries, many authoritarian leaders of the Ottoman Empire have used discrimination, humiliation, and terror against Armenians, Christians, and other religious minorities. The Armenian genocide heavily took place in 1915. Also, the genocide existed in many forms. Many Armenian people were forced to march in the Middle East to their deaths. Some Armenians were placed in concentration camps where they were murdered. The properties of Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire were stolen too. Massacres against Armenians existed before and during the Armenian genocide. The Committee of Union and Progress was one murderous organization that was one of the perpetrators of the Armenian genocide too.  The Grand Vizier (prime minister) and Minister of the Interior, Mehmed Talaat Pasha (1874–1921); the Minister of War, Ismail Enver Pasha (1881–1922); and the Minister of the Navy, Ahmed Djemal Pasha (1872–1922) were of the major males involved in the Armenian Genocide too. They fled Turkey after World War One. The Ottoman Empire was filled with corruption heavily during the 19th and 20th centuries. The independent movements in the Balkans caused the Ottoman Empire to gradually decline in power and influence by the late 19th century. World War I and its conclusion caused the Ottoman Empire to not exist anymore. Western parts of Armenia were under Ottoman rule after the Peace of Amasya in 1555. It continued after the Treaty of Zuhab existed in 1639.   The Armenians in the Ottoman Empire were treated as second class citizens under the dhimmi system (which was based on the Pact of Umar largely). In other words, Armenians and non-Muslims could worship and have some rights, but their religious liberty and other human rights were heavily restricted. By the late 19th century, Armenians were regularly discriminated against, assaulted, and murdered by bigots. In addition to other legal limitations, Christians were not considered equals to Muslims and several prohibitions were placed on them. Their testimony against Muslims by Christians and Jews was inadmissible in courts of law wherein a Muslim could be punished; this meant that their testimony could only be considered in commercial cases. They were forbidden to carry weapons or ride atop horses and camels. Their houses could not overlook those of Muslims; and their religious practices were severely circumscribed (e.g., the ringing of church bells was strictly forbidden Many people fought for reforms in the 1800’s, but the leadership of the Ottoman Empire either gave lip service or didn’t enforce many reforms.

After the era of the Black Panther Party, we see a new era in our generation. From the late 1960’s to the present, we have seen the growth of the middle class (many of the middle class are in privileged position and some of them have shown disdain for the poor, which is wrong), the privatization of many public schools, and the expansion of the military industrial complex including the growth of the prison industrial complex. We live in the age of Obama in the early part of the 21st century. Many folks who claim to be progressive want to have uncritical support of the Democratic Party instead of political independence. It has been almost 20 years in this new century in this new millennium. This era of time is definitely tied to the 21st century recession and terrorism. The recession of the 21st century started by many factors like the risk derivatives executed by some big banking interests. Many black people and others have suffered foreclosures, layoffs, and increased economic inequality as a product of economic problems. The war on terror has in many cases expanded during the Age of Obama. Drone attacks, unjust wars, torture, reactionary laws, etc. have existed in this war on terror. The President has been elected in 2008 and in 2012.  Our black ancestors have experienced slavery in the Americas for over 300 years and even after the U.S. legally abolished slavery, Jim Crow apartheid existed for about 100 years after the end of the Civil War. Resistance and rebellion against injustice caused the 1960’s Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act to be passed. The historic election of Barack Obama has caused some to naively believe that we have entered a post-racial era. Yet, the continued police terror against unarmed black people (and others), the continued brutal wars, the terrorism, and economic problems prove that we don’t live in a Utopian society.  President Barack Obama is a President who is a paradox ideologically. He is the most progressive President on many social issues in American history, but he is a neoliberal President in terms of economic and foreign policy matters unfortunately. It is documented that racist covenant policies and white racist mobs have harmed the housing rights of African Americans for decades. It is a fact that many black families and black people in general were restricted from mortgage insurance, etc. While investment in suburbia increased, investments to solve problems in urban and poorer communities have been stifled. The urban renewal and disinvestment in central cities grew residential and school segregation. Classism, sexism, and racism contributed to continued intersectional oppression against black people. The Justice Department has refused to prosecute a single policeman for civil rights violations in the murder of black youth and workers (except one person who is the murderer Michael Slager). Also, we have to acknowledge many progressive heroes fighting for real change. Many young people in the Black Lives Matter movement and other organizations have opposed the Confederate flag (which was gone from the South Carolina state Capitol building after Sister Bree Newsome took it down), we see a growing awareness about institutionalized racism, and we see the expansion of social media (which record abuses and has organized movements for social change too). President Barack Obama has given speeches about parenting in conservative overtones while forgetting that redlining, foreclosures, and police brutality can’t be solved by respectability politics. These problems can be solved by a radical redistribution of economic and political power where the power of structure of oppression, imperialism, and capitalism is replaced with a system of justice (where housing, education, health care, and other human rights are made available for all). The events in Ferguson, Baltimore, NYC, and in other places of America are about people being tired of police terrorism, economic inequality, discrimination, unemployment, closed schools, and poverty. The evils of Islamophobia and the scapegoating of refugees including immigrants by many far right factions are deplorable. We also realize that many Brothers and Sisters globally are doing what is right and Afro-Colombians, Afro-Brazilians, etc. are strong people. We know that racism, and class oppression existed from the policies of the 1% via capitalism and other mechanisms of evil. So, the struggle continues. Our eyes are on the prize.

The civil rights history in Dallas has not been shown much in many quarters. Today, it is time for many more people to know about the heroic history of the civil rights movement in Dallas, Texas. Black people lived in Texas for centuries. The 1836 Constitution of the Republic of Texas forbid free person of African descent to live in the Republic of Texas. So, massive racism in Texas is not new. By 1792, people of black African descent massively lived in Spanish Texas. Black people who were free worked in many areas. When Mexico ruled Texas, black people could own land, build businesses, etc. When Mexico lost Texas, black people and other people of color lost their rights. There were about 5,000 enslaved people in Texas by the early 1830’s. The Mexican government legally abolished slavery in 1829. Texas promoted slavery when it became a Republic in 1836. Samuel McCulloch Jr. fought for his freedom in the Republic of Texas. Black people in Dallas continued to fight for freedom. In areas of Fort Worth and Denton, black people also continued to develop their power and fought injustice. During the 1950’s, black people were forced to live in areas of the city like South Dallas and parts of Oak Cliff.  Segregation existed. Local Dallas chapters existed back then like the NAACP, CORE, and the SCLC. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to Dallas, TX in January 4, 1963. During this time, African American activists opposed the poll tax in Dallas via demonstrations. King was invited to speak. Others who participated included local labor union representatives, the heads of local black churches, and representatives of the Democratic Party, among others.  Dr. King spoke at the large Music Hall at Fair Park. The location was crowded (with about 2,500 people among black and white people). Dr. King spoke these words: “…We must get rid of the notion, once and for all, that there is a superior and an inferior race.” The audience there immediately cheers. He also commented that “We must develop a powerful action program to break down the barriers of segregation,” and we must be honest “with ourselves and our white brothers: Segregation is wrong. It is a new formula of slavery covered up with nice complexities.” He added: "If the American dream is to be a reality, the idea of white supremacy must come to an end now and ever more."  There was the 28-day protest of Dallas’ downtown Piccadilly Cafeteria. Clarence Broadnax, the first African-American hairdresser employed at Neiman Marcus, was denied service at the cafeteria on the basis of his race. The long, peaceful protest ended only when the Civil Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. During that 28-day window, Broadnax and his supporters unwaveringly, yet calmly, demanded equal rights, as the Piccadilly Cafeteria owners fervently denied them. There was the large demonstration in Dallas called the March of 3,000. This was a march for voting rights. The march, comprised of Dallas residents of all races, peacefully filled the downtown area and was organized by the NAACP. Back during the 1960’s, Dallas was a heavily segregated city. Many places of business still practiced discrimination in serving customers. "White Only" and "Colored Only" signs could still be seen everywhere, particularly over water fountains and on restroom doors and newspapers printed classified ads offering rental housing for "Colored Only." The 24th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1964, finally did away with the poll tax. A great black woman and civil rights hero in Dallas, TX was Juanita Craft. She was born in 1902. She joined the NAACP in 1932. She fought for justice. In 1944, after becoming the first black woman in Dallas County to vote in a public election, she attempted to help enroll the first black student at North Texas State College (Now the University of North Texas), a battle eventually won through litigation. In 1955, she organized a protest of the State against its policy of admitting blacks only on "Negro Achievement Day." She organized protests and pickets of segregated lunch counters, restaurants, theaters, and public transportation. She fought to integrate the University of Texas Law School and the Dallas Independent School District after the 1954 decision in Brown. V. Board of Education (which banned the segregation of public schools in America). She passed away in August 6, 1985 at the age of 83. RIP Sister Juanita Craft.

By Timothy

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