Monday, January 16, 2017

The Winter in 2017 Part 2

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Popular Culture

For thousands of years, people have entertained by plays, theater, music, dance, and other forms of creative human expression. Today, popular culture is a worldwide phenomenon. It has been performed by human beings of every color, of every creed, and of every conceivable background. Today, we live in a new time with extraordinary advancements in technology from IMAX, blue ray, IG, Twitter, Facebook, Snapcat, Amazon, Google, etc. Films are more decentralized (with the growth of Netflix, etc.), but the mainstream industry is mostly controlled by a select few of multinational corporations. There are still forms of entertainment which positively inspires humanity, advances righteousness, and has inspired individuals globally. Likewise, some forms of popular culture represents unjust exploitation, the promotion of negative stereotypes, and nefarious agendas. In this information age, information about popular culture has gone rapidly. Books, documentaries, and other forms of media have documented the corruption, the hypocrisy, the human exploitation, and the other evils found in the mainstream popular culture. These celebrities are human beings. Therefore, they aren’t perfect and they shouldn’t be placed in an infallible pedestal. In that sense, we should not be shocked if some celebrities spew outlandish and ridiculous statements. In the final analysis, we have the right to find that happiness in our lives.

Life is very short, so joy and happiness are legitimate, indispensable goals to seek. Happiness has nothing to do with disrespecting others or maligning others in an evil fashion. Treating your neighbor as yourself is a true concept and ideology that we must all believe in and follow. That precisely means that when we encounter another human being, we should act courteous and righteous. It is also entails the fact that we should stand up for our human rights too. Also, it is very true that many celebrities, politicians, judges, journalists, spy chiefs, generals, etc. have been involved in intrigue and corruption for decades and centuries in our modern age. That is why the CIA has been exposed doing Operation Mockingbird, which is about the CIA infiltration of much of the media. The CIA has been in existence since 1947. Its forerunner was the OSS, which was very active during World War II. There has been the Savings and Loans banking Scandal which is about Charles H. Keating and others being convicted of financial corruption.

2017 is a new year, a new day, and a new era. We take this time to celebrate, to continue our bonds with our families plus friends, and to realize how precious life is. So, we not only keep the faith, but we advance the beauty of positivity, camaraderie, human tolerance, and joy. To all of the great friends: you certainly inspire me. I will be a better man in 2017 than in 2016. Also, people can redeem themselves. I believe in redemption. I believe in black liberation and human rights. Things happen for a reason and I'm glad to have the opportunity to communicate my thoughts on a myriad of issues and to inspire others in this journey. I have faith for the future. The reason is that our ancestors suffered a whole lot worse than us and they continued to persist. So, we still rise. 2017 will be a year of many anniversaries and new realities. We will always stick by our principles and express that wondrous love for our communities. In life, we embrace the premise of finding happiness. Finding joy and happiness is one of the greatest parts of life. Happiness has nothing to do with selfishness or an inflated ego. Happiness deals with contentment with one’s self, helping others, and love. Happiness is one guiding principle which has improved so many lives and has been innovative in advancing hope and freedom in the Universe. History has taught us to never quit and to follow our aspirations legitimately. We shall. We will continue to rise.

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It is great for BET to show the Madiba series about the life of Nelson Mandela. For people who are new to understanding the life of Nelson Mandela, it is a great educational tool in allowing people to see the multifaceted aspects of the man. Nelson Mandela was a hero who stood up for our people. Nelson Mandela was born in South Africa. He has Xhosa roots.  He was born in July 18, 1918 in Mvezo, Cape Province, Union of South Africa. Much of his family was aristocratic. Back then, South Africa was mostly controlled by English and Dutch people. From 1918 to 1948, Nelson Mandela was not yet a revolutionary. He loved his family. He participated in a ceremony that signified his stage into manhood.  His patrilineal great-grandfather, Ngubengcuka, was king of the Thembu people in the Transkeian Territories of South Africa's modern Eastern Cape province. His clan name was Madiba, so he is also known as Madiba. Nelson Mandela was given the forename Rolihlahla, a Xhosa term colloquially meaning "troublemaker.” During his young years, he was finding himself and his personal destiny. Nelson Mandela's father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, was a local chief and councilor to the monarch. His mother was Gadla's third wife, Nosekeni Fanny, daughter of Nkedama of the Right Hand House and a member of the amaMpemvu clan of the Xhosa. Nelson Mandela said that his teacher Miss Mdingane gave him the anglicized name of Nelson. He was raised a Methodist.

He loved to study Xhosa, African history, and stories. In a Methodist mission school, he was influenced by anti-imperialist views from a visiting chief named Joyi. He came into high school and into college. By the 1940’s, he met the realtor and ANC activist Walter Sisulu. He soon befriended other ANC members and Communists like Nat Bregman. Nelson Mandela worked with black people, biracial people, Indians, white people, and others to fight apartheid & racial oppression. The anti-apartheid movement was diverse. Some wanted an all-black state and some wanted a multiracial state where apartheid was eradicated. All groups desired justice and an end to white racism. Mandela began studying law at the University of the Witwatersrand, where he was the only black African student and faced racism. There, he befriended liberal and communist European, Jewish, and Indian students, among them Joe Slovo and Ruth First.  In August of 1943, Nelson Mandela marched in support of the successful bus boycott to reverse faire rises. Sisulu influenced Mandela to be revolutionary along with his friend Oliver Tambo. Anton Lembede was an ANC member who wanted black people to unite against apartheid. He married his first wife Evelyn Mase (an ANC activist and trainee nurse) in October 1944. Nelson was involved in the Defiance campaign. By the 1950’s, Nelson Mandela wanted a totally multi-racial united front to defeat apartheid. He was found non-guilty of the Treason Trial. He grew up to be a lawyer and an activist to end the apartheid system. He defended the Freedom Charter, which called for a progressive change in South Africa where its people would be free from apartheid oppression. The Freedom Charter is explicit in its calling for economic egalitarianism and racial justice. In 1960, the Sharpeville Massacre happened when white racists murdered many black people. This was a turning point in the life of Nelson Mandela. He soon rejected nonviolence unconditionally and promoted self-defense.

By this time, he was divorced from his first wife and married Winnie Mandela. Mandela created the military wing of the ANC called the Umkhonot we Sizwe (MK) or Spear of the Nation. This armed wing used sabotage to defeat the imperialist state while not targeting innocent human life. Mandela and 19 of his comrades were captured on July 11, 1963 in a farmhouse in a small town named Rivonia, outside of Johannesburg. He and nine of those captured were put on trial and convicted of high treason and sentenced to life in prison on Robben Island. Mandela served 18 years on Robben Island and almost nine in Pollsmoor Prison. Eventually, he was placed under a form of house arrest in a villa outside of Capetown. While on Robben Island, Mandela, Sisulu, Govan, Mbeki, Ahmad Kathrada, and others would constitute a high command of the revolution. Oliver Tambo worked in the ANC to be used underground while Nelson was in prison. Nelson Mandela slowly got privileges in prison for himself and other inmates via courage. The anti-apartheid movement spread worldwide. Over 300 US corporations and banks had investments and loans in South Africa. Five hundred British corporations and a significant number from France, West Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and others made up the foundation of the apartheid economy. The World Bank and the IMF send loans to the apartheid regime. Black people and others were exploited, but the apartheid movement used boycotts, self-defense, protests, disinventments, and other methods to end the regime.

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Nelson Mandela never lost faith while he was in prison. ANC fighters, Angolan fighters, and Cuban volunteers heroically defeated the apartheid Army in Angola which caused Angola to have independence. From 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from prison. The regime made negotiations with Mandela constantly before he was let out. Nelson Mandela visited the world including America to celebrate. He worked in the ANC.  The ANC agreed to assume responsibility for the debt accumulated by the white regime and took an IMF loan to cover it in 1993, which was a mistake. In 1993, Janusz Waluś who was a racist far right extremist, assassinated Chris Hani, who was the head of Umkonto we Sizwe and chairman of the Communist Party. Chris Hani was a revolutionary. By 1994, Nelson Mandela was the first black President of South Africa. He had ties to the ANC and other organizations dedicated to liberation.  As President, he embraced neoliberal capitalist policies instead of the words of the Freedom Charter. Nelson Mandela was progressive on many years during the 1990’s and beyond, but he did compromise on some issues while he was President.

Many improvements came into South Africa that dealt with electrification and building of clean water in many areas. The problem was that economic inequality grew. There were a select few of black middle class and the black rich while the masses of black South Africans experienced horrendous poverty. Presidents after Nelson Mandela would be more conservative. On March 17, 2012, South Africa supported the wrong resolution to allow NATO to bomb Libya (which was supported by the US, Britain, and France). On August 16, 2012 the South African army, now commanded by Africans, fires upon demonstrating mine workers, killing 34, reminding the world of the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre. This evil event was the Marikina Massacre. All of these events prove that neoliberal capitalism doesn’t work and we must struggle against neocolonization in South Africa. Nelson Mandela would continue to oppose the Iraq War, stand up for HIV/AIDS assistance, and Palestinian liberation. Nelson Mandela's revolutionary power existed in his soul and in his actions. The miniseries does a great job in showing the diversity of freedom movements in South Africa. I have watched the Madiba series before and it was magnificent being filled with action and historical lessons. Today, activists are still fighting economic inequality, racism, and other problems in South Africa, but we have hope wherefore South Africa will see justice for all as a true reality.

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We live in a new era. The movie Fences has been praised by the world over not just in America. Fences is a 2016 American drama film. It was directed by one of the greatest actors in human history, who is Denzel Washington. The movie was written by August Wilson. The story of Fences was based on Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize winning play of the same. Wilson created the play in 1983. Wilson passed away in 2005 (he was born in 1945), but he had a completed screenplay before his passing. Rest in Power to Brother August Wilson. Fences could win Best Picture of this year’s Academy Awards. The film has a cast of great actors and actresses. The film stars Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson, and Saniyya Sidney. It was released in America nationwide by December 16, 2016. It has been greatly praised by critics. For example, Fences has been chosen by the American Film Institute as one of the greatest films of 2016. It has been nominated for many awards like a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor for Denzel Washington and a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Viola Davis.

The film is based in 1957 Pittsburgh (filled with a strong steel industry). During that time, there is the existence of the African American Great Migration (from the early 1910’s) where black people migrated from the South to the North (in places like Pittsburgh) in order to get economic or job opportunities, so their families can benefit. 1919 was the year of the great steel strike in Pittsburgh too. Denzel plays Troy Maxson, who is a man with a wife (played by Viola Davis as Rose). Troy Maxson is a 53 year old sanitation worker. The couple has a son named Cory (played by Jovan Adepo). The movie is very emotional and filled with controversies, arguments, debates, and family crisis. What sticks the glue in the family ultimately and ironically is struggle for self-improvement and struggle in general. Tory’s friend and co-worker is Jim Bono (played by Stephen McKinley Henderson). Gabe Maxon (who is played by Mykelti Williamson) has a head injury from World War II. So, he’s mentally impaired and has a $3000 government payout that Troy used to purchase a home for his family.

Gabe is Troy's brother. Gabe has since moved out, but still lives in the neighborhood, where he is often tormented by the local children. In his adolescence, Troy left home and became a robber to sustain himself. After killing a man during a robbery led him to prison, he met Bono and revealed himself to be a talented baseball player. He then played in the professional Negro Leagues, but never made it to Major League Baseball. Although it is likely that he was rejected due to his advanced age, Troy firmly believes he was passed over due to the color of his skin. Having survived a near-fatal bout of pneumonia in his youth, Troy claims to have done so by defeating the Grim Reaper in a fistfight, upon which the Reaper vowed to return for a rematch. Troy has issues. He has an estranged son a previous relationship, Lyons Maxson (Russell Hornsby), infrequently visits him to borrow money, upsetting Troy, whose belief in responsibility rejects Lyons' pursuing his dream of becoming a jazz musician instead of finding another job.

 Cory is being scouted by a football team, but Troy is skeptical that he will reach the NFL. Troy carries past hart from him being rejected from the MLB. Troy says that racial discrimination is abundant, which is true back then and today. Troy may be subconsciously jealous that Cory may achieve more success than him. Belittling Jackie Robinson, the first black player in the big leagues, Troy maintains that little has changed. His resentment is so strong that he sabotages his son’s dreams. Cory doesn’t work at his part time job in order of him to play football practice. Troy wants him to work instead. Troy has a promotion in his garbage struck job as the first African American to do so in Pittsburgh, but he can’t read. He doesn’t have a driver’s license and he committed adultery against his wife Rose with Alberta (or a woman when met at a local bar). Troy forces Gabe to be institutionalized. Troy forces Cory’s coach to kick him off the football team. Troy is forced to reveal his affair to Rose when his mistress becomes pregnant, leading to an argument in which Troy aggressively grabs Rose, causing Cory to intervene and knock Troy into a fence, which Troy marks as Cory's second offense. In the following months, Troy and Rose become estranged, although they keep living in the same house, and Troy continues to visit his mistress, who ultimately dies in childbirth after going into early labor. This caused an embittered Troy to angrily challenge the Reaper to another fight.

The film isn’t a peaches and cream film. Troy brings his baby daughter Raynell home, and Rose decides to raise her as her own, but refuses to accept Troy back into her life.  Cory goes into the US Marine Corps instead of going into college. He comes back and Troy blocks his path. A fight happens between Cory and Troy. Troy has the upper hand. Later, Troy died of a heart attack 7 years later. Cory comes home to finally reconcile with his family and father after his father’s death.  Gabe is released from the hospital to attend the funeral and reunites with his family as they all bid farewells to Troy. Gabe prays for St. Peter to open the gates of heaven for Troy, and a shimmering sunlight glistens over them symbolizing intergenerational forgiveness and peace. The film shows the hurt found in many families. It also shows hope that reconciliation can occur in families too. Also, another point is to be made. The movie ends in 1964. In real life, 1964 was a time of the growth of the civil rights movement. This film is not representative of every black family. Families of every race or background (like immigrant workers from Eastern Europe) have similar stories like the story shown in Fences. The deal is that Fences is a story that has strong emotion, powerful action, and stirring performances from the actors and actresses involved. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis displayed powerful performances. There are many black families who are strong, powerful, and diverse too. Fences is a great movie.

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Hidden Figures has inspired more research into the contributions of African American women in STEM fields. It’s an inspirational film that is loved by many worldwide. This is an American biographical film. It was directed by Theodore Melfi. It was written by Melfi and Allison Schoreder. The film was based on the great nonfiction book of Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shettely. The book described the great contributions of African American women mathematicians at NASA. The film stars Taraji P. Henson as Katherine G. Johnson. Katherine Johnson is the mathematician who calculated flight trajectories for Project Mercury and other missions. It features Octavia Spencer as  Dorothy Vaughan and Janelle Monae Monae as Mary Jackson. Supporting roles are played by Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parson, Glen Powell, and Mahershala Ali. Hidden Figures was released in December 25, 2016. It has been praised by critics and movie goers alike. It has grossed over $72 million. It has been nominated for many awards like for Best Supporting Actress for Octavia Spencer and Best Original Score. The movie is based in early 1960’s America where racial segregation was all over the South. Activism was growing for civil rights too.

The movie starts in 1961 when all 3 women (Katherine Goble, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson) are in their car. It breaks down. A cop pulls up to them and accompanies them to their destination of NASA after being shocked that NASA hires black women. The Soviet Union put the first human named cosmonaut Yuir Gagarin into a single orbit aboard Vostok 1 on April 12, 1961. Al Harrison (played by Kevin Costner) wants to beat the Russians in the space race. Al Harrison desires the best people to be in the space race regardless of color. This film takes place in the midst of the Cold War. We know that massive anti-Communist paranoia existed back then. Significantly, Shetterly notes that Mary Jackson began working at NASA on April 5, 1951, the same day a New York federal court handed down a death sentence against Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, the couple accused of spying for the Soviet Union at the height of the anticommunist hysteria. Also, it is no secret that the American government has a large governmental, military, and intelligence apparatus that has committed war crimes, corruptions, and other evils back then and today. So, there can be no sanitation of Western imperialism. Of course, this is not the fault of those who worked at NASA.

By 1962, mathematician Katherine Johnson is working at West Area Computers division of Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. She works with her great colleague Mary Jackson (an aspiring engineer) and Dorothy Vaughan (or the acting supervisor of the group of African American women researchers). The Soviet Union launched Sputnik into space. So, the Space Task Group via its director Al Harrison goes immediately to try to get American astronauts into space. Katherine Johnson  is assigned to assist the team as a computer scientist, becoming the first African-American woman in the group of white male engineers. She reports to head engineer Paul Stafford, who resents Katherine Johnson being assigned to double-check his and other engineers' computations. Harrison challenges the entire engineering group to solve a complex mathematical equation. When Katherine steps forward to solve it successfully, she gains his notice. The team of astronauts, including John Glenn, visits Langley. Glenn makes a point of thanking the West Area Computers employees. Over time, Katherine gains the respect of Harrison and some of her colleagues. Despite Stafford's objections, Harrison includes Katherine in their high-security meetings, as she needs to hear firsthand how the data is changing rapidly in the months before the space launch. She created a sophisticated equation to solve the problem of slowing the space capsule to enable a safe re-entry and landing at a particular point. Dorothy wants a promotion, but is stopped by her white manager Vivian. Mary Jackson has a new assignment, so Mary Jackson goes into engineering classes in order for her to qualify for an engineering job at NASA.

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Mary Jackson goes into night classes held in an all-white high school in order for her to earn an engineering degree. Although the US Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional, in 1963, Virginia has not integrated its schools. Mary’s husband Levi (played by Aldis Hodge) supports her. Levi is a staunch civil rights activist too. Dorothy learns that the impending installation of an IBM 7090 computer could replace her and her co-workers. She teaches herself FORTRAN and trains her co-workers to use this programming language too. She is assigned to the IBM team after successfully getting the IBM computer to work, when the IBM engineers couldn't. She only accepts the assignment if all the women from the "computer" group can join her. The whole group helps program the computer. Friendship 7 space mission has discrepancies in the electronic calculations for the capsule’s coordinates. John Glenn wants Katherine (who was born in 1918. Katherine Goble Johnson is a physicist too. She was involved in early plans for a mission to Mars too) by name to check the calculations. Harrison brings her into the control room. They relay the results together to Glenn. The space capsule later has some heat shield problems, and the team decides to return the capsule after three orbits. Mary worked with NASA engineers, so that Glenn can manually operate the controls to protect the shield. Friendship 7 successfully survived re-entry and landed in the ocean. Later, the women are replaced by electronic computers. Dorothy is promoted to supervisor of the programming department for all her co-workers and other white women. Johnson is assigned to Analysis and Computation Division.

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Mary obtains an engineering degree and position at NASA. The film exposes the evil of misogynoir as it existed back then and today. It shows the oppression that black women had to experience like running to the bathroom labeled "colored" because of Jim Crow apartheid. An epilogue reveals that Katherine Gobles Johnson (who has a love interest and marries that love interest during the film) calculated the trajectories for the Apollo 11 and Apollo 13 space missions. In 2015, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. Dorothy Johnson Vaughn passed away in 2008. She was born in 1910. Mary Winston Johnson lived from 1921 to 2005. Hidden Figures is assisted by Pharrell Williams’ lively score, particularly his track “Runnin.” The film shows romance, overcoming obstacles, and inspiration. Today, space research is very important. We want to respect the contributions of 3 great black women who changed the world in space research and STEM fields. We honor Katherine Johnson, Mary Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughn forever. Black women played a very crucial, important role in establishing successful space missions and engineering in the world. Therefore, I do recommend people to watch Hidden Figures.

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Ex Machina

The movie Ex Machina have shown many themes about A.I., transhumanism, machines, etc. The movie have female robot artificial intelligence beings. These robots are not happy about their male controllers. The movie is creepy in the sense of having a lot of sexual innuendo in dealing with robots. The movie shows dreams and we know about how many Hollywood movie focus on futuristic themes, etc. There is technological imagery in the film. The movie is about one technical person coxed into meeting a tech elite at his underground mountain facility after winning a contest. Caleb Smith (played by Domhnall Gleeson) is a low level coder at Bluebook or the world’s largest search engine. He finds out how his CEO, Nathan Bateman’s (played by Oliver Isaac) home is actually a research facility for super advanced A.I. The major A.I. character is the robotic female named Ava (who is played by Alicia Vikander). Caleb is instructed by Nathan to perform a series of Turing tests on Ava to see if she can pass by fooling him into thinking she is self-aware. Nathan is lying to Caleb. Caleb asks Ava questions. Nathan watches the session form his panoptic surveillance system. Ava dates herself as “1.” She refused to  specify whether she is one day or one year old, indicating (following the climax) that she is not concerned with dates because she is the new number 1, the first, as a fembot  equivalent of Adam. Ava can copy human emotions. Ava manipulates Caleb into thinking that she is self aware and experiences emotional attachment to him. Nathan uses deception to construct the perfect AI deception.

Caleb is being used. His online footprint and psych profile is being exploited by  Nathan. It is no secret that in real life, social media and search engines are designed to give a version of the electronic “global brain.” That is why the FBI and other intelligence agencies constantly monitor Facebook. The global brain is the make up of electronic data. Also, the NSA have supercomputers that monitor the Internet and create ways to research information. Caleb wants to free Ava in order to trap Nathan.  In the reveal, Nathan foils Caleb’s plan and explains that Caleb was the subject of the elaborate psy op all along, to see if he could be manipulated by A.I.  The psychological experiment is a success, but Ava outsmarts them both, trapping Caleb in a glass box, just like Ava had been imprisoned.  As Ava studies Nathan’s bedroom, she find former models of herself. These robot females are servicing Nathan. Ava leaves from Caleb’s copter. Caleb and Nathan aren’t freed. With help from Kyoko, Ava kills Nathan, but in the process Nathan destroys Kyoko and damages Ava. Ava repairs herself with parts from earlier androids, using their artificial skin to take on the full appearance of a human woman. She leaves Caleb trapped inside the facility, ignoring his screams, and escapes to the outside world in the helicopter meant to take Caleb home. So, this film has controversial themes and we must follow the Golden Rule. The film has won many awards for its visuals. The director and writer of the film is Alex Garland.

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Kanye West

One story in our society that deals with popular culture is how Kanye West was temporarily handcuffed and hospitalized for a “psychiatric evaluated.”  This reality shows many lessons. It documents how money alone can't bring happiness or life fulfillment. It shows clearly also that mental health problems should be taken seriously in our world. I don't agree with Kanye West on every issue. I don't agree with his mistakes. I do wish for him to get the adequate help that he needs as he is obviously most probably suffering from mental illness. Many of our people have real mental health issues and a strong support system have carried them to live very productive lives. I feel like Kanye West may have too many yes people around him seeking profit instead of true friendship. I also believe that his low self-esteem is a reality and he should be responsible for his rants and other actions (as his precious mother has nothing to do with his deeds at all). There are many sources giving a diversity of accounts of why he has been hospitalized. We know that he has been under stress. We know that his tour has been cancelled weeks ago. He was at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Before, he was acting erratically at his trainer’s house when the call was made. Kanye, according to sources, didn’t want to go to the hospital and had to be handcuffed to a gurney while being transported.

The house was surrounded by security guards, fire trucks, and the police. This comes days after his rant where he retroactively supported Trump and lashed out at Mark Zuckerberg, Beyoncé, and Jay Z (where he pleaded to him not to send killers to him). This comes after his mother died in November years ago in 2007. She was 58 and her name is Donda. His wife is Kim Kardashian (who was a recent victim of a robbery in Paris, France months ago) and the Kardashians are no stranger to dealing with low self-esteem, hurt men. Lamar Odom was found unconscious and he was saved by many people. It is no secret that Hollywood is filled with corruption, manipulation, hurt people, and other evils. Additionally, many people in Hollywood are into the occult. Therefore, we have to use discernment and not condone the mistakes Kanye has made while wishing Kanye to get better emotionally.

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Doctor Strange

The 2016 film Doctor Strange is filled with action, mystery, and creativity. It is based on the science fiction stories of Doctor Strange from Marvel Comics. The film was produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It talks about Eastern mysticism, time travel, and other issues. Its special effects are innovative and it is very popular in America and throughout the world. The film was directed by Scott Derrickson and he wrote the film along with Jon Spailhts and C. Robert Cargill. It has many actors and actresses starring in the film like Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton. In Doctor Strange, surgeon Stephen Strange learns the mystic arts from the Ancient One after a career-ending car accident. Many people wanted to create a film about Doctor Strange was for decades. The movie was released in Hong Kong in October 13, 2016 and it was released in America by November 4, 2016. It was sold more than $641 million so far. The film starts in Kathmandu, Nepal. There is the sorcerer Kaecilius and his zealots who enter the secret compound called Kamar-Taj and murder its librarian, keeper of ancient and mystical text. They steal a ritual from a book belonging to the Ancient One (She is a sorcerer who had lived for an unknown time and taught all at Kamar-Taj including Kaecilius, in the ways of the mystic arts).

The Ancient Ones pursues the traitors, but Kaecilius escapes with the pages and some of his followers. Stephen Strange was an acclaimed neurosurgeon. He was in a car accident and loses the use of his hands. His fellow surgeon and former lover Christine Palmer tries to help him move on, but Strange believes that he can regain the use of his hands. He uses experimental surgeries. They don’t work. So, he learned about Jonathan Pangborn, a paraplegic who mysteriously was able to walk again. Strange visited Kamar-Taj. Mordo helps Strange. Mordo works under the Ancient One.  The Ancient One shows Strange her power, revealing the astral plane and other dimensions such as the Mirror Dimension. Amazed, Strange begs her to teach him, and she eventually agrees despite his arrogance, which reminds her of Kaecilius. Master Wong handles the library. Strange is taught the secrets under the Ancient One and Mordo. Strange goes throughout the Earth in adventures. He uses his power to fight battles. Strange is told by Mordo and Wong to not break the laws of nature. Kaecilius and his followers are the protagonists and they summon Dormmanu of the Dark Dimension (where time doesn’t exist and all can live forever). The London Sanctum is destroyed. Kaecilius kills the Ancient One and goes into Hong Kong.

Strange saves Wong in a time travel event after Wong once died.  Strange can’t be destroyed by Dormamanu and he leaves Earth. Mordo leaves since he disagrees with Strange’s defying nature. Strange returns the Eye to Kamar-Taj. He lives in New York Sanctum to study more. Strange wants to help Thor, who has brought his brother Loki to Earth to search for their father Odin. In a post-credits scene, Mordo confronts Pangborn and steals the energy he uses to walk, stating that Earth has "too many sorcerers.” There are themes of the apotheosis of Doctor Strange. It’s a film with occult themes in it. In the film there also is the symbol of the Tetragrammaton, It can also be seen as the sacred triangle or the magical triangle of Solomon, the key of three and the triune symbolism found in the Tetragrammaton, Primeumaton, and Anaphaxeton.  It is claimed that Solomon used a six pointed star to control demons in the creation of his temple. Similarly, Manly P. Hall’s “An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Quabbalist and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy” shows us a demon being evoked within a pentagram as the practitioner utilizes sigils of protection around him.  Doctor Strange shows us the secret powers of eastern mysticism, psychedelic trips into alternate realities.

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Donald Trump and popular culture

There has been a huge influence of popular culture in the political world. Donald Trump is the new President. The majority of voters voted against Trump, but he won most of the Electoral College. We live in a new reality. Trump will have control of the CIA, the FBI, drones, and nuclear weapons. Trump has promised to restrict immigrant rights, advance the interests of corporate interests, he wants to ban certain Muslims from coming to America (even if they are tourists), and wants to repeal the ACA with a free market health care system (not universal health care). The voters of Trump must realize that they support Trump and his views too. The evil of ethno nationalist jingoistic extremism which is found in Europe is found in America. Trump boasts about disrespecting women, but many hypocrites (who claim to be religious) voted for him. The GOP is the party of the alt right. There have been massive hate crimes in America after Trump was selected by the Electoral College. What is disappointing is how people like Kanye West, Jim Brown, Ray Lewis, Floyd Mayweather, Omarosa Manigault, and others allying with a male like Trump in claiming that he will help people. Steve Harvey has recently shook hands with Trump too. Don King is one of Donald Trump's greatest supporters. Don King is a person who had ties to the Mafia, who beat a man to death, and he loves the capitalist system. Both Don King and Trump are unison in their agenda. Don King also called black people the N word in the company of a mass of white folks in public. In my view, no one should say the N word period. Ex-Cleveland Browns player Jim Brown has supported Trump too. He said that he feel in love with Trump when Trump has explicitly called for the death penalty of the NYC Central Park Five. Back during the 1960's, Arthur B. McBride founded the Cleveland Browns. He was accused of Mafia connections and illegal gambling, which Arthur McBride has denied. Don King, Jim Brown, Ray Lewis, Rev. Darrell Scott, and others have the right to support who they want. Yet, they don't represent many black people who disagree with Donald Trump out of sincere convictions. Many of Trump's supporters and allies have links to groups like Le Cercle, the American Security Council, the John Birch Society, the Heritage Foundation and the Council for National Policy.

Trump’s proposed cabinet represents the same oligarchical interests that people have opposed. Some of them are billionaires who are in league with corporate power. Many of these proposed cabinet members like Sessions are outright far right extremists. Jeff Sessions has call for the continuation of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He also agrees with the reactionary voter ID laws. Sessions is opposed to even the  moderate measures taken by the Obama administration on police brutality, suggesting that the “consent decrees” negotiated with particularly flagrant local police departments, as in Cleveland, Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, should be reviewed.  The personnel of Trump’s cabinet shows—in such figures as billionaire asset stripper Wilbur Ross, multi-millionaire fast food magnate Andy Puzder, former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson (who is a member of the very powerful Pilgrim Society too. The Pilgrims Society predates the founding of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Royal Institute of International Affairs - two closely-linked think tanks - with almost 20 years), and billionaire heiress and charter school advocate Betsy DeVos. The Trump new administration will be one of unrelenting war against the working class, destroying jobs, social services such as education and Medicare, and any remaining restrictions on the exploitation of labor.

Jan Chamberlin, who was a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, quit recently, because she had to follow her conscience to disagree with the extremism of Donald Trump during his inauguration. The powers that be allowed Trump to be President in order to promote a more authoritarian existence in society. In fact, the Trump team is struggling to get musical acts to perform during the Trump inauguration. The musicians who will perform are the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Jackie Evancho, the Missouri State University Choir, and the Rockettes.

One shining light is that many progressive people (who are in popular culture and who are not in popular culture) are speaking their minds to oppose the agenda of Donald Trump. They are going out to protest, to work in their communities, and to fight for what is right. We shall not be moved and we will fight for our rights as human beings.

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A Music Video from the Weeknd

 In our time, many music videos still have many messages in them. One such video is called Weeknds’ “Starboy.” The video has the Weeknd destroying his house using an “illuminated” cross. That scene shows a lot of meaning. There is occult imagery in the video too. The video deals with a collaboration with Daft Punk. The video seems to be about a boy who is a star in the entertainment business. Yet, the symbolism makes it more than about it. It has a ritualistic tone and outlines the principle of the death and rebirth narrative found in esoteric initiations. The 2 videos of “Cant’ Feel my Face”, "Tell your Friends”, and the Hills outline a trilogy too. When the videos are seen together, it shows a story about the Weeknd meeting a figure holding an apple, which is similar to the serpent story in the garden of Eden. In Can’t Feel My Face, the figure (which is similar to Lucifer) literally sets The Weeknd on fire and figuratively lights up his career. In Tell Your Friends, The Weeknd buries himself in the desert. It outlines the old Weeknd. In Starboy, The Weeknd kills his old self again by suffocating him. The Weeknd “Starboy” video starts with a masked man entering the Weeknd’s house. The Weeknd sits in a chair. The masked man then gets up and suffocates The Weeknd with a plastic bag. When the killer removes his mask, it shows that this person is the Weeknd. He shaved his hair and he looks different. So, symbolically, he is reborn with a new hairstyle. He is wearing a cross too. The Weeknd passes by a painting featuring Daft Punk. It shows a falling star in the background and the black panther. The Weekend sees the illuminated red cross hanging in his room. The cross literally catches his eye. The cross reflects inside a single eye, which the single eye has multiple meanings in the occult.

Later, he takes the cross and breaks his gold records and the cover of his first album. In the song, he said that his P1 (a sports car) is cleaner than your church shoes (the rewards of the occult elite are greater than the life of a humble church going person). He also says that he makes a lot more money than you and that his girl (and the girl he cheats this girl with, which he calls his side B word. Many artists degrade women using that word) are better than yours. So, this has nothing to do with real Christian principles or fighting materialism. Later in the song, explains how he upgraded to a new table where his girl can snort cocaine from. So, he is boasting of what he has been given or has. The industry loves this as they love to make profit off of people rapping or singing about wordiness. Also, he is blatant about his intentions in his song by saying: “…We don’t pray for love, we just pray for cars…” He is destroying things to go into another level of his career not to destroy materialism. It is no secret that the corporate elites and the occult system runs Hollywood and the rest of the entertainment world. Also, many celebrities’ relatives have ties to the military industrial complex too. The cover of the Starboy single cover sums up the occult transformation that is happening. On the left are lightning bolts, in the middle are crosses (and a star) and on the right are more lightning bolts. There are six symbols in each column. In occult symbolism, the lightning bolt represents “descent” from the heavens to Earth. For this reason the symbol is sometimes used to represent Lucifer who is said to have descended from the Kingdom of God to mankind. Lucifer is also known as the Light Bringer. The same terms have been used since the dawn of time to describe the planet Venus.

Venus is esoterically associated with the symbol of the 5-pointed star and the pentagram due to its “astronomical dance” in the skies. This symbolism is not new. The late David Bowie used Kabbalistic imagery and the lightning bolt image for decades. After destroying his things and burning down his clothes, The Weeknd leaves his house. A black cat follows him. The cat is bigger in the car and its eyes glow. The illuminated cross is no on the ground. The Weeknd is now a “starboy”, a person who was hand picked by the elite to become a “higher level” star. Because of this, he owns a bunch of material things that he brags about in his songs. To become a starboy, he has to kill his old self while wearing a cross and he must pledge his allegiance by ritualistically destroying his possessions using a cross. Using this Christian symbol to commit death and destruction is part of the soul-selling process. The industry is not peaches and cream. Tons of celebrities tell about orgies, abuse, materialism, violence, drug addiction, and other evils throughout the industry. Nothing is new under the sun which is why goodness is always good to promote and good in society.

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The Intelligence Community and the Industry

Yes, I will go there and it's time to show the comprehensive truth. It is not a secret that Western intelligence has been involved in corruption for decades and centuries. The NSA has been caught in massive spying for years and decades. Operation Ajax was about the overthrowing of the democratic Iranian nation (which was organized by the CIA and by MI5) back in 1953. Operation Chaos was when the U.S. intelligence community used its agents to infiltrate the anti-war movement in college campuses. It was conducted by the CIA under the orders of LBJ in 1967. This is blatantly illegal since the CIA is forbidden from conducting domestic surveillance of American citizens in American soil. The operation was launched under Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) Richard Helms, by chief of counter-intelligence, James Jesus Angleton, and headed by Richard Ober.  Operation Chaos expanded under President Nixon. Not to mention that many Nazis were sent into America by Operation Paperclip via the OSS. Many "ex-Nazis" worked with the CIA to conduct the Cold War and many Nazis were in NASA too. For example, the Nazi Wernher von Braun worked in the Nazi V-2 rocket program. After World War II, he worked with NASA to allow rockets to go into space. The Nazis were some of the most wicked people in human history. They not only murdered innocent people. They also conducted perverted experiment against men, women, children, and babies (Josef Mengele did such evil experiments constantly). Also, the U.S. Intelligence community (as found in the FBI, the CIA, etc.) knew about popular musicians decades ago and today. Many of them would spy on them and monitor them in many different ways. Back from the end of World War II to the present, the world changed massively. America became the strongest nation in the world economically and militarily. Complex technology from nuclear weapons to satellites developed. Movements for social, progressive change ignited into the next level. Back during the Cold War, many FBI and CIA agents falsely believed that Communism was on the verge of taking over the whole world. They ignored the fact that Communism is not monolithic and that people have the right to believe in whatever ideology that they desire (which is part of the freedom of conscience). They wanted to monitor musicians not only for control, but to promote their anti-Communist, authoritarian extremism.

John L. Potash's book entitled, “Drugs as Weapons Against Us” documents how the CIA and other groups exploit the drugs of the world to advance their agenda and it proves the Intelligence community’s monitoring of well-known musicians. I certainly recommend the book. It is excellent and well written. CIA’s MKUltra was a program that tested LSD on many people. People now know that LSD has ruined the lives of so many people and has damaged countless lives physically and emotionally. That is why recreational usage of drugs can kill people literally. That is why I do advocate any drug to be used for medical purposes (in a responsible fashion) if someone has no other option but to use drugs. People, involved in the MK Ultra program, on many cases illegally tested human beings on mind control drugs constantly. The scope of Project MKUltra was broad, with research undertaken at 80 institutions, including 44 colleges and universities, as well as hospitals, prisons, and pharmaceutical companies. The CIA operated through these institutions using front organizations, although sometimes top officials at these institutions were aware of the CIA's involvement. The FBI harassed and illegally monitored progressive leaders like Paul Robeson and Richard Wright. Both men stood up for black human rights and opposed imperialism in private and in public. J. Edgar Hoover used the Hearst newspaper (which had allies of Hoover in them) to issue articles slandering Robeson (as documented in the book entitled, “Paul Robeson: Film Pioneer,” which was written by Scott Allen Nollen). Robeson was an ally of Albert Einstein (who condemned racism and was pro-socialist. One thing that many of those right wing extremists hate are socialists when socialism contributed to the development of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, other economic rights, and other blessings).

Paul Jr. (or Paul Robeson’s son) believed that his father's health problems stemmed from attempts by CIA and MI5 to "neutralize" his father.  Einstein was monitored by the FBI too. The FBI monitored the Beatles (especially John Lennon), Jimi Hendrix, Elvis (even before he went into the Army), etc. People like the Black Panthers, labor rights movements, civil rights groups, feminist organizations, Native American organizations, Tupac, the Notorious B.I.G., etc. were monitored by the FBI and other members of the U.S. intelligence community. One of the greatest spies was FBI agent Gary Rowe who was in many racial incidents of the then segregated South. The CIA and the Mafia worked together on many endeavors too. Also, many excellent scholars and researchers have done decades in great work in exposing secret societies and other political groups like the Skulls and Bones (which has a bizarre initiation ceremony where new recruits must reveal their secrets to members. Famous politicians like George W. Bush, John Kerry, etc. are members of the Skulls and Bones too), the Pilgrim Society, the Bilderberg Group, Freemasonry (whose modern manifestation existed in Europe during the 18th century. Masons swear an oath where they invoke death and new recruits are placed a sharp object in their chest. Morals and Dogma explicitly mentioned that Blue Lodge members are given false interpretations).

Albert Pike written the following words: "The Blue Degrees (the Blue Lodge degrees) are but the outer court or portico of the Temple.  Part of the symbols are displayed there to the Initiate, but he is intentionally mislead by false interpretations.  It is not intended that he shall understand them; but it is intended that he shall imagine he understand them ."  (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, p. 819). It is a historical fact that Freemasonry have ties to many Fraternities. The network of fraternities and sororities are heavily found in education, medicine, legal affairs, sports (Shaquelle O'Neal is a Freemason), politics, the religious establishment (i.e. the late Norman Vincent Peale was a 33rd Degree Freemason and he was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta too. He has praised Greek Lettered Organizations), and economic affairs. The Boule is another black Fraternal Order too. According to their own Past Grand Sire and Past Grand Historian Archon Rodney Reed, he admitted that one founder of the Boule (named Henry McKee Minton), admitted that he created the Boule in these terms: "...Members would not be "selected on the basis of brains alone – but in addition to congeniality, culture and good fellowship; that they shall have behind them [at initiation] a record of accomplishment, not merely be men of promise and good education." His fraternity would contain the "best of Skull and Bones of Yale and of Phi Beta Kappa." The elitist Skull and Bones is known for its controversial history and bizarre rituals. They didn't even accept women until the early 1990's. Therefore, more human beings understand the real controversial history of the Skulls and Bones. I don't agree with the Skulls and Bones.

Masons call leaders Worshipful Master, but we should never call any man a "Worshipful Master." We have the right to fear nothing except the Creator. Elitists like David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger have publicly advocated for a new world order or for a more globalized world. We have Youtube videos and their own books advocating this. For example, David Rockefeller in his own book, written the following words:

"...For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents such as my encounter with Castro to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure — one world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it..." (Memoirs by David Rockefeller on 2003 as found in Ch. 27 : Proud Internationalist, p. 406).

There is nothing wrong with international cooepration in the world done progressively. There is a problem with select multinational corporations having undue influence in the world via an oligarchical fashion. That is the point. The Intelligence Community is still here with heavy influence not only in foreign countries, but in movie production companies and other aspects of society. Many of them are advisers in the development of movies. Therefore, the mainstream popular culture isn’t all fun and games. There are corporations who control many aspects of popular culture. Many artists are told by handlers plus corporate executives on what to do and where to go. Many celebrity based parties exist with many bizarre themes. Many celebrities travel into Istanbul and Dubai not only for business, but for other reasons. Therefore, we reject imperialism, human exploitation, and the corrupt actions done by many in intelligence agencies. We believe in independent thinking, freedom, and justice for all.

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Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick is a legendary director. He is also a screen writer, a producer, a cinematographer, an editor, and a photographer. He was one of the greatest and influential directors in cinematic history. He was born in July 26, 1928 in Manhattan, New York City. His father was Jacob Leonard Kubrick and Sadie Gertrude Kubrick. Both of his parents were Jewish. His ancestors included Polish, Austrian, and Romanian people too. He created many films that were adapted from novels, which talked about issues of life, and discussed about the mysteries of the Universe. He saw the Bronx as a youth. He loved literature from an early age. He read the Greek and Roman myths and the fables of the Grimm brothers. He traveled into Europe to research and to grow his filming skills. He learned chess. Kubrick himself was a member of the United States Chess Federation. He credited chess in developing his patience and discipline in making decisions. He was a photographer for Look magazine during the late 1940’s and the early 1950’s. He made short films later. His first major Hollywood film was The Killing for United Artists in 1956.  The rest is history. His 1957 film was Paths of Glory in 1957 that starred Kirk Douglas. He made the historical epic Spartacus in 1960. Kubrick followed his own independent path. He went into the UK for years in making his films. His home at Childwickbury Manor in Hertfordshire, which he shared with his wife Christiane, became his workplace, where he did his writing, research, editing, and management of production details. This allowed him to have almost complete artistic control over his films, but with the rare advantage of having financial support from major Hollywood studios. His first British productions were two films with Peter Sellers, Lolita (1962) and Dr. Strangelove (1964).

His films utilize distinctive music, detail, and a certain style with meaning. In other words, every scene in his films had a specific reason on why they exist as he was a perfectionist. He controlled heavily his filmmaking process. He controlled his film’s writing and editing too. He conducted massive research involving his products. He worked with actors and actresses loosely too. His films were ahead of its time. He innovated cinematography.  The scientific realism and innovative special effects of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) was without precedent in the history of cinema before that time. That film earned him his only personal Oscar, for Best Visual Effects. Steven Spielberg has referred to the film as his generation's "big bang", and it is often included in polls of the greatest films ever made. For the 18th-century period film Barry Lyndon (1975), Kubrick obtained lenses developed by Zeiss for NASA, to film scenes under natural candlelight. With The Shining (1980), he became one of the first directors to make use of a Steadicam for stabilized and fluid tracking shots. A Clockwork Orange (1971) was a controversial film from Kubrick. Most of his films were nominated for Oscars, Golden Globes, or BAFTA Awards.

His last film, Eyes Wide Shut, was completed shortly before his death in 1999. Eyes Wide Shut is a film especially filled with mystery, symbolism, secret, ritualized parties, and it outlines things about what happens in real life. Just before he passed, Kubrick wanted to work with Spielberg on creating a film that dealt with AI with the possibility of Steven Spielberg directing it and Kubrick producing it. Later, Spielberg directed the 2001 movie, “A.I. Artificial Intelligence.” The film was produced by Kubrick’s longtime producer and brother in law Jan Harlan. Sets, costumes, and art direction were based on the works of conceptual artist Chris Baker, who had also done much of his work under Kubrick's supervision. Spielberg knew the significance of this project as he gave credit to Kubrick for his influence in the film. Kubrick also wanted to do a film about Napoleon, but MGM cancelled that film project. He read hundreds of book on his life and researched Napoleon's personal memoirs and commentaries. He respected his Jewish heritage and wanted to show the world that his heritage was very important in his life. Stanley Kubrick was a genius in filmmaking and research. We certainly acknowledge his talent and are further inspired to advance creativity and human thinking involving our own lives.

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Solange’s “A Seat at the Table”

Solange’s “A Seat at the Table” is a historic album. It touches on many emotions and many social plus political subjects. It is one of the greatest albums of this decade and it shows the range and the powerful impact of Solange’s majestic, musical talent. She is an African American woman who has every right to show her voice. Much acclaim has been shown about Solange’s new album and it talks about many conversations that ought to be had in the black community and in all communities in general. A seat in the table in general means that it’s a place in the table where people want to make decisions, control our destinies, and be represented. The title has multiple meanings. Also, it is important to mention that James Forman of SNCC back in 1965 says that if we don’t get a seat in the table, then we will knock the legs off. He said this in the midst of the Selma voting rights campaign. He was expressing legitimate anger at white racism and oppression. Solange is unapologetic about her views and what she means in her music.

The album was released on September 20, 2016 by Saint Records and Columbia Records. Saint Records is her own record label. She wrote songs for this great album since 2008. There is footage of her recording her songs in New Iberia, Louisiana. Many artists and producers collaborated with her. Many producers include Raphael Saadiq, Raymond Angry, Questlove, Patrick Wimberly, Q-Tip, Olugbenga Adelekan, and other human beings. Many American hip hop artists worked with Solange in this album like the following: Q-Tip, and Lil Wayne plus Master P. Singers and songwriters with their roles in the album are: Kelly Rowland, Sampha, Kelela, David Longstreth, the Dream, BJ the Chicago Kid, etc. In 2015, Solange performed the song “Rise” to talk about the police killings in Ferguson and Baltimore. By her thirtieth birthday, Solange said that she was completed with her “A Seat at the Table” album. The album certainly represents honest discussions, empowerment, the love of Blackness, rage, despair, love, and perseverance. The album not only wants to show the pain that black women go through, but it wants to give an outlet for black women and black people in general where we can express ourselves without respectability politics and without apologies. The music found in the album is made up of neo soul, psychedelic soul, R&aB, and hip hop influences too. One of the greatest messages of the album describe about self-care and self-love, because we do need self-love and self-care in building up our consciousness and being the best human being that we can be.

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One of the greatest songs in the album is “Cranes in the Sky.” The subject matter in the song is about handling depression. It is a song that deals with reflecting on the hurt and the pain that those, who experience depression including a hurting experience. Many people in the black community do experience mental health issues and it is our responsibility to talk about these issues and to give compassion and help to anyone who has depression or any mental health issues. Also, it is important to mention that mental illness is a human issue. The song deals with a person looking to distract from unaddressed sadness. The cranes in the sky relates to how large our industrial society is while many lack to see the inner problems going on in other human being’s souls. Raphael Saadiq uses his bass in the song. The song is brilliant in saying that sadness can’t be eliminated completely by sex, shopping, or drinking. We have to look in our inner souls, talk with our neighbors, and develop constructive answers to complicated questions. The album has many melodies in it.

“Don’t Touch My Hair” featuring Sampha is another anthem for black women. The song is self-explanatory. It means to not touch a black woman’s hair inappropriately. Black people have the right to their human autonomy just like anyone else. Many black girls and many black women are victims of random people touching their hair without their permission. That is wrong. In “Interlude: Tina Taught Me” has Tina Knowles telling the truth that there is no problem with blackness being expressed. Tina Knowles praises being pro-black and she said that pro-black doesn’t mean anti-white. Pro-Black just means Pro-Black in loving our black identity. Tina Knowles refutes the lies that many white people have about black people loving black history and black culture. “F.U.B.U.” is a song that says plainly that black development of our own institutions is a must. In other words, we have the right to create, to build, and to control of our own creations (which is what the Black Power movement was all about historically and socially). F.U.B.U. is the total explanation of how black music is ours, we (as in black people) invented this and some things are just for us. It is for us by us. Master P gives commentaries in the album about how vicious poverty is and the plight that a lot of black people go through every single day. “Interlude: Dad Was Mad” (which is about Matthew Knowles detailing his experiences of racism and oppression decades ago) shows how people how the right to be mad. For a long time, black people have built civilizations, being scholars, and been researchers back then and today.

Black people experienced Jim Crow, slavery, and other evils. We are tired of being made scapegoats and we desire black liberation completely. “Interlude: The Glory Is in You” celebrates black humanity plainly. “Mad” featuring Lil Wayne talks about how unnecessary anger is not only distracting and wastes time. Unnecessary anger can be unhealthy and conflict resolution is better than evil violence. “Weary” is a powerful song. It is a song that calls for equality and promotes the belief that she belongs in the world just like any other person in the world. Solange in the songs wants to look for her glory. She wants to fight for her purpose. One of the most creative, funky song in the album is named “Junie” It is also including Nia Andrews and Kelly Rowland including Andre 3000. The song was inspired by the funk artist Junie Morrison of the Ohio Players (which is a legendary singing group). The song Scales featuring Kelela talks about regardless of how we are perceived by society (which is a contradiction of how the world wants to be us, but many in the world hate us at the same time), we are worthy of respect, we are human beings, and we are owed justice. Also, it shows how individuals view us, but we shouldn’t give a concern about the haters. Also, it talks about how people perceive drug dealers too. People know that I don't agree with the N word and the usage of profanity, but Solange has the right to express her feelings honesty in music.

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"Interlude: I Got So Much Magic, You Can Have It" (featuring Kelly Rowland and Nia Andrews) is about showing that the power, and strength of black women is magical and real. The Black Girl Magic movement is a glorious movement that outlines the power of black women globally. Solange Knowles in the album definitely is emotional and defends her human dignity.  Every song in the album has its own meaning and purpose. The closing called Chosen Ones (as said by Master P) is very self-explanatory. Our ancestors were slaves, but they didn’t stay as slaves forever. We are the trend settlers. We develop culture and the world copies us all of the time. We are the heroic, powerful, creative, and loving black human beings who will express ourselves. Solange’s album is about love of black women, love of black people, self-care, overcoming obstacles, and being unapologetically Black. We are Black and Beautiful. Solange did her thing in this album.

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The Birmingham Movement

The Birmingham movement was one of the most important parts of the Civil Rights Movement. Afterwards, the civil rights movement would be changed forever. Before that movement, there was little progress legislatively in America involving civil rights. Afterwards, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act would be passed. Courage defined the efforts of African Americans and others who fought for the freedom of black people in America. Diverse organizations were involved in this campaign like the SCLC (the Southern Christian Leadership Conference), ACHMR (the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights), and SNCC. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Fred Shuttlesworth, Wyatt Tee Walker, Dorothy Cotton, and other human beings were involved in this audacious campaign. The goal of this campaign was explicitly clear of eliminating Jim Crow in Birmingham, Alabama (which was the most segregated large city of the South back then). This program was called Project C. The protests would involve lunch counter sit-ins, marches on City Hall, and boycotts on downtown merchants who promoted segregation. Months later, racist police used water hoses and police dogs (as sent by the racist person Bull Connor) to harm black men, black women, and black children. Those images were shown worldwide and it showed the hypocrisy of the American establishment and the vicious oppression that black people experienced in American society. This came after the failed SCLC campaign in Albany, Georgia. The Birmingham, Alabama movement would be a victory. It lasted from April 3, 1963 to May 10, 1963.

Young people, adults, and elderly human beings fought for justice. The city’s discrimination laws were changed. These events in the South caused President John F. Kennedy to be more progressive in public involving race and civil rights. After this campaign, President Kennedy would call for federal civil rights legislation which would not be passed until after he was unfortunately assassinated. Ultimately, it was the masses of the people who caused the Birmingham campaign to be successful. The Birmingham campaign was turning point in the Civil Rights Movement, which signaled the beginning of the end of Jim Crow apartheid. Soon, more demonstrations came about throughout the South. The March on Washington existed in August of 1963. Unfortunately, the bombing of the Baptist church existed in Birmingham in September of 1963, which killed 4 little girls. There was more attention sent in fighting racial segregation in the southern United States. Dr. King expanded his movement and forced desegregation ended in Birmingham.

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The Start of the Movement

Back then in 1963, Birmingham, Alabama was the most segregated city in America. Violence and harassment were experienced by black residents of Birmingham for years and decades. Interracial unions during the 1930’s were red baited and many union members were even assaulted by racists. Bull Connor was a commissioner of public safety in the city back in 1937. By 1963, Birmingham was almost 350,000 people with 60% white people and 40% black Americans. Yet, it had no black police officers, firefighters, sales clerks in department stores, bus drivers, bank tellers, or store cashiers. The majority of jobs available to black people were manual labor in the Birmingham's steel mills, work in household service and yard maintenance, or work in black neighborhoods. When layoffs were necessary, black employees were often the first to go. The unemployment rate for blacks was two and a half times higher than for whites. The average income for blacks in the city was less than half that of whites. Significantly lower pay scales for black workers at the local steel mills were common. Racial segregation of public and commercial facilities throughout Jefferson County was legally required, covered all aspects of life, and was rigidly enforced. Only 10 percent of the city's black population was registered to vote in 1960. Birmingham’s economy stagnated. The reason was that the city shifted from blue to white collar jobs. There were 50 unsolved racially motivated bombings between 1945 and 1962. Black people fought back too. Alabama banned the NAACP in 1956.

So, Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth created the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR). In that same year, the ACMHR fought to end segregation and discrimination via lawsuits and protests. The courts overturned the segregation of city parks and then Birmingham responded by closing them. Shuttlesworth's home was repeatedly bombed, as was Bethel Baptist Church, where he was pastor. In 1958, he was beaten with chains and his wife was stabbed when he tried to enroll his child to an all-white school.

After Shuttlesworth was arrested and jailed for violating the city's segregation rules in 1962, he sent a petition to Mayor Art Hanes' office asking that public facilities be desegregated. Hanes responded with a letter informing Shuttlesworth that his petition had been thrown in the garbage. Looking for outside help, Shuttlesworth invited Dr. Martin Luther King and the SCLC to Birmingham, saying, "If you come to Birmingham, you will not only gain prestige, but really shake the country. If you win in Birmingham, as Birmingham goes, so goes the nation.” Eugene “Bull” Connor was a racist and had a contentious personality. He wanted segregation. He believed in the slanderous lie that the Civil Rights Movement was a Communist plot. Churches were bombed in the city too. In 1958, police arrested ministers organizing a bus boycott. When the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) initiated a probe amid allegations of police misconduct for the arrests, Connor responded that he "[hadn't] got any d___ apology to the FBI or anybody else", and predicted, "If the North keeps trying to cram this thing [desegregation] down our throats, there's going to be bloodshed."

Connor was known to delaying sending police to intervene when the Freedom Riders were beaten by local mobs. Connor was so antagonistic towards the Civil Rights Movement that his actions galvanized support for black Americans. President John F. Kennedy later said of him, "The Civil Rights movement should thank God for Bull Connor. He's helped it as much as Abraham Lincoln." Connor was an extreme conservative. A group of white moderates worked to defeat him politically, because of economically slow progress in the city. The Citizens for Progress was backed by the Chamber of Commerce and other white professionals in the city, and their tactics were successful. In November 1962, Connor lost the race for mayor to Albert Boutwell, a less combative segregationist. However, Connor and his colleagues on the City Commission refused to accept the new mayor's authority. They claimed on a technicality that their terms would not expire until 1965 instead of in the spring of 1963. So for a brief time, Birmingham had two city governments attempting to conduct business.

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Buying Policy

The protest actions in Birmingham started in 1962. Activists modeled this plan on the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The events started when students from local colleges arranged for a year of staggering boycott. This caused downtown business to decline by as much as 40 percent. It attracted attention from the Chamber of Commerce president Sidney Smyer. He said that the "racial incidents have given us a black eye that we'll be a long time trying to forget.”  In response to the boycott, the City Commission of Birmingham punished the black community by withdrawing $45,000 ($350,000 in 2016) from a surplus-food program used primarily by low-income black human beings. The result, however, was a black community more motivated to resist. The SCLC believed that economic pressure on Birmingham businesses would be more effective than pressure on politicians. This was a lesson learned in Albany as few black people were registered to vote in 1962. In the spring of 1963, before Easter, the Birmingham boycott intensified during the second-busiest shopping season of the year. Pastors urged their congregations to avoid shopping in Birmingham stories in the downtown district. For six weeks supporters of the boycott patrolled the downtown area to make sure that black people were not patronizing stores that promoted or tolerated segregation. If black shoppers were found in these stores, organizers confronted them and shamed them into participating in the boycott. Shuttlesworth recalled a woman whose $15 hat ($120 in 2016) was destroyed by boycott enforcers. Campaign participant Joe Dickson recalled, "We had to go under strict surveillance. We had to tell people, say look: if you go downtown and buy something, you're going to have to answer to us." After several business owners in Birmingham took down "white only" and "colored only" signs, Commissioner Connor told business owners that if they did not obey the segregation ordinances, they would lose their business licenses.

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Project C

Later, Project C existed. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came into Birmingham. His presence wasn’t welcomed by everyone in the black community. A local black attorney complained in Time that the new city administration didn’t have enough time to confer with the various groups invested in changing the city’s segregation policies. At one time, black hotel owner A.G. Gaston agreed. A white Jesuit priest assisting in desegregation negotiations believed that the demonstration were poorly timed and misdirected. Yet, the protesters continued to heroically stand up for justice. Protest organizers knew that violence would come to them from the Birmingham Police Department. They chose a confrontational approach to get the attention of the federal government. Wyatt Tee Walker was one of the SCLC founders and the executive director from 1960 to 1964. He planned the tactics of the direct action protests. He targeted Bull Connor’s tendency to react to demonstrations with violence:  "My theory was that if we mounted a strong nonviolent movement, the opposition would surely do something to attract the media, and in turn induce national sympathy and attention to the everyday segregated circumstance of a person living in the Deep South." He headed the planning of what he called Project C, which stood for "confrontation". Organizers believed their phones were tapped, so to prevent their plans from being leaked and perhaps influencing the mayoral election, they used code words for demonstrations. The plan called for direct nonviolent action to attract media attention to "the biggest and baddest city of the South." In preparation for the protests, Walker timed the walking distance from the 16th Street Baptist Church, headquarters for the campaign, to the downtown area.

He surveyed the segregated lunch counters of department stores, and listed federal buildings as secondary targets should police block the protesters' entrance into primary targets such as stores, libraries, and all-white churches. The campaign used a variety of nonviolent methods of confrontation like sit-ins at libraries and lunch counters. People used kneel-ins by black visitors at white churches. There was a march to the county building to mark the beginning of a voter registration drive. Most businesses responded to these events by refusing to serve demonstrators. Some white spectators at a sit-in at a Woolworth's lunch counter spat upon the participants. A few hundred protesters, including jazz musician Al Hibbler, were arrested, although Hibbler was immediately released by Connor. The SCLC wanted to fill the jails up that would force the city government to negotiate as demonstrations continued. Yet, not enough people were arrested to affect the functioning of the city. Many black people questioned this tactic. The editor of The Birmingham World, the city's black newspaper, called the direct actions by the demonstrators "wasteful and worthless", and urged black citizens to use the courts to change the city's racist policies. Most white residents of Birmingham expressed shock at the demonstrations. White religious leaders denounced King and the other organizers, saying that "a cause should be pressed in the courts and the negotiations among local leaders, and not in the streets." Real change comes in the streets beyond the courts. Some white Birmingham residents were supportive as the boycott continued. King promised a protest every day until "peaceful equality had been assured" and expressed doubt that the new mayor would ever voluntarily desegregate the city.

On April 10, 1963, Bull Connor obtained an injunction. This banned the protests and subsequently raised bail bond for those arrested from $200 to $1,200  ($2,000 to $9,000 in 2016). Fred Shuttlesworth called the injunction a "flagrant denial of our constitutional rights" and organizers prepared to defy the order. The decision to ignore the injunction had been made during the planning stage of the campaign. Dr. King and the SCLC had obeyed court injunctions in their Albany protests and reasoned that obeying them contributed to the Albany campaign's lack of success. In a press release they explained, "We are now confronted with recalcitrant forces in the Deep South that will use the courts to perpetuate the unjust and illegal systems of racial separation." Incoming mayor Albert Boutwell called King and the SCLC organizers "strangers" whose only purpose in Birmingham was "to stir inter-racial discord." Connor promised, "You can rest assured that I will fill the jail full of any persons violating the law as long as I'm at City Hall." Many in the movement found themselves out of the required bail money. Dr. King was one the major fundraisers. His associates wanted him to travel the country to raise bail money for those arrested. He had previously promised to lead the marchers in jail in solidarity. He hesitated as the planned date arrived.

Some SCLC members grew frustrated with his indecisiveness. "I have never seen Martin so troubled", one of King's friends later said. After King prayed and reflected alone in his hotel room, he and the campaign leaders decided to defy the injunction and prepared for mass arrests of campaign supporters. To build morale and to recruit volunteers to go to jail, Ralph Abernathy spoke at a mass meeting of Birmingham's black citizens at the 16th Street Baptist Church: "The eyes of the world are on Birmingham tonight. Bobby Kennedy is looking here at Birmingham; the United States Congress is looking at Birmingham. The Department of Justice is looking at Birmingham. Are you ready, are you ready to make the challenge? I am ready to go to jail, are you?" With Abernathy, King was among 50 Birmingham residents ranging in age from 15 to 81 years who were arrested on Good Friday, April 12, 1963. It was King's 13th arrest.

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Dr. King Jail and his Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama on Good Friday, April 12, 1963. He was held in jail and denied a consultation with an attorney from the NAACP without guards present. News of his incarceration spread quickly. It was spread by Wyatt Tee Walker according to the historian Jonathan Bass (who wrote of this in 2001). His supporters sent telegrams about his arrest to the White House. He could be bailed out at any time. Jail administrators wanted him to be released as soon as possible to avoid media attention while King was in custody. Yet, the campaign organizers offered no bail in order "to focus the attention of the media and national public opinion on the Birmingham situation." A day later after his arrest, Dr. King was allowed to see local attorneys from the SCLC. When Coretta Scott King did not hear from her husband, she called Walker and he suggested that she call President Kennedy directly. Mrs. King was recuperating at home after the birth of their fourth child when she received a call from President Kennedy the Monday after the arrest. The president told her she could expect a call from her husband soon. When Martin Luther King called his wife, their conversation was brief and guarded as he correctly assumed that his phones were tapped. Several days later, Jacqueline Kennedy called Coretta Scott King to express her concern for King while he was incarcerated. During this time, many white moderate clergymen criticized Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for promoting civil disobedience against unjust laws.

Many of these clergymen falsely accused Dr. King of promoting unnecessary racial tensions when Dr. King wanted racial justice. A jailer give him an article from the April Birmingham News article where those white clergymen criticized him. The clergy people wanted the demonstrations to end. Later, Dr. Martin Luther King was inspired to write the historic, eloquent “Latter from Birmingham Jail.” He refuted and responded to the 8 “moderate” white clergymen who criticized him. Dr. King wrote that freedom should never be given to people via delay or by gradual tokenism. Freedom should be given to oppressed people ASAP. His letter was a defense of the civil rights movement in general, its aims, and its strategies of boycotts, sit-ins, protests, and civil disobedience. Dr. King wrote on scarps of paper from a janitor. He wrote notes on the margins of a newspaper, and later a legal pad given to him by SCLC attorneys. Clarence Jones removed the handwritten words on 20 pages of paper to be edited by Wyatt. More than a million copies of the letter spread nationwide, especially in churches. Many publications quoted the letter in full like Liberation, the Christian Century, and The New Leader. Dr. King wrote that people have the right to oppose injustice and resist unjust laws. He wrote that he would resist Hitler and be willing to go to jail to resist oppressive laws against innocent Jewish human beings back during the days of Nazi Germany. He wrote that black people waiting for freedom for over 3 centuries is over and demonstrations must be enacted in order for freedom to come to black people. He wrote about the indignities of black people and the rejection of waiting for equality. King's arrest attracted national attention, including that of corporate officers of retail chains with stores in downtown Birmingham. After King's arrest, the chains' profits began to erode. National business owners pressed the Kennedy administration to intervene.

Dr. Martin Luther King was released on April 20, 1963.

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Children Recruited (The Children's Crusade)

During this time, Connor had used police dogs to arrest demonstrations. The media didn’t report on it as much in the beginning. The organizers wanted to re-energize the campaign. SCLC organizer James Bevel did promoted a controversial alternative plan called D Day. This was called the “Children’s Crusade” by Newsweek magazine. D Day wanted students from Birmingham elementary and high schools as well as nearby Miles College to take part in the demonstrations. Bevel worked in the nonviolent Nashville Student Movement. He worked with SNCC. He was SCLC’s Director of Direct Action and Nonviolent Education. Bevel talked about the education of students in nonviolent tactics and philosophy. Dr. King approved the use of children with hesitations. Bevel believed that children placed in jail would not hurt families economically as much as the loss of a working parent. He said that adults in the black community were divided about how much support to give the protests. Bevel knew that high school students were a more cohesive group. They knew each other as classmates since kindergarten. He recruited girls who were school leaders and boys who were athletes. When the girls joined, the boys were close behind to join them. Bevel and the SCLC created workshops to help the students overcome their fear of dogs and jails.

They showed films of the Nashville sit-ins organized in 1960 to end segregation at public lunch counters. Birmingham's black radio station, WENN, supported the new plan by telling students to arrive at the demonstration meeting place with a toothbrush to be used in jail. Flyers were distributed in black schools and neighborhoods that said, "Fight for freedom first then go to school" and "It's up to you to free our teachers, our parents, yourself, and our country." On May 2, 1963, more than 1,000 students skipped school. They gathered at the 16th Street Baptist Church. The principal of Parker High School attempted to lock the gates to keep students in, but they scrambled over the walls to get to the church.

Demonstrators were given instructions to march to the downtown area to meet with the Mayor. They wanted to integrate the chosen buildings. They were to leave in smaller groups and continue on their courses until they were arrested. They marched in disciplined ranks, some of them using walkie-talkies, they were sent at timed intervals from various churches to the downtown business area. More than 600 students were arrested. The youngest of these children was reported to be 8 year old. Children left the churches while singing hymns and “freedom songs” like “We Shall Overcome.” They clapped and laughed while being arrested and awaiting transport to jail. The mood was compared that to a school picnic. Although Bevel informed Connor that the march was to take place, Connor and the police were dumbfounded by the numbers and behavior of the children. They assembled paddy wagons and school buses to take the children to jail. When no squad cars were left to block the city streets, Connor, whose authority extended to the fire department, used fire trucks. The day's arrests brought the total number of jailed protesters to 1,200 in the 900-capacity Birmingham jail.

The use of children was very controversial. Incoming mayor Albert Boutwell and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy condemned the decision to use children in the protests. Kennedy was reported in The New York Times as saying, "an injured, maimed, or dead child is a price that none of us can afford to pay", although adding, "I believe that everyone understands their just grievances must be resolved." Malcolm X criticized the decision, saying, "Real men don't put their children on the firing line." King, who had been silent and then out of town while Bevel was organizing the children, was impressed by the success of using them in the protests. That evening he declared at a mass meeting, "I have been inspired and moved by today. I have never seen anything like it." Although Wyatt Tee Walker was initially against the use of children in the demonstrations, he responded to criticism by saying, "Negro children will get a better education in five days in jail than in five months in a segregated school." The D Day campaign received front page coverage by The Washington Post and The New York Times.

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Police Brutality against Children

One of the most cowardly actions of the Birmingham police back in 1963 was when they used fire hoses and police dogs on innocent men, women and children. Connor found out that the Birmingham jail was full. On May 3, he changed police tactics. That was done in order for the police to keep the protesters out of the downtown business area. Another thousand students gathered at the church and left to walk across Kelly Ingram Park while chanting, "We're going to walk, walk, walk. Freedom ... freedom ... freedom." As the demonstrators left the church, the police told them to stop and turn back, “or you’ll get wet.” When they continued, Connor ordered the city’s fire hoses. They set them at a level that would peel bark off a tree or separate bricks from mortar to be turned on the children. Boys’ shirts were ripped off. Young women were pushed over the tops of cars by the force of the water. When the students crouched or fell, the blasts of water rolled them down the asphalt streets and concrete sidewalks.  Connor allowed white spectators to push forward, shouting, "Let those people come forward, sergeant. I want 'em to see the dogs work." During this time, A.G. Gaston was on the phone with the white attorney David Yvann. He disagreed and was appalled at the use of children in the protest. He tried to negotiate a resolution to the crisis.  When Gaston looked out the window and saw the children being hit with high-pressure water, he said, "Lawyer Vann, I can't talk to you now or ever. My people are out there fighting for their lives and my freedom. I have to go help them", and hung up the phone.

Black parents and adults who were observing cheered the marching students, but when the hoses were turned on, bystanders began to throw rocks and bottles at the police. To disperse them, Connor ordered police to use German shepherd dogs to keep them in line. James Bevel wove in and out of the crowds warning them, "If any cops get hurt, we're going to lose this fight." To the contrary, crooked police officers assaulting innocent black people are evil. Black people have every human right to use self-defense against terrorist cops assaulting innocent black men, women, and children. At 3 p.m., the protest was over. During a kind of truce, protesters went home. Police removed the barricades and re-opened the streets to traffic.  That evening King told worried parents in a crowd of a thousand, "Don't worry about your children who are in jail. The eyes of the world are on Birmingham. We're going on in spite of dogs and fire hoses. We've gone too far to turn back." A battle hardened Huntley-Brinkley reporter later said that no military action he had witnessed had ever frightened or disturbed him as much as what he saw in Birmingham. 2 out of town photographers in Birmingham during that day were Charles Moore (he previously worked with the Montgomery Advertiser and was working for Life magazine) and Bill Hudson (with the Associated Press).

Moore was a Marine combat photographer who was "jarred" and "sickened" by the use of children and what the Birmingham police and fire departments did to them. Moore was hit in the ankle by a brick meant for the police. He took several photos that were printed in Life. The first photo Moore shot that day showed three teenagers being hit by a water jet from a high-pressure firehose. It was titled "They Fight a Fire That Won't Go Out". A shorter version of the caption was later used as the title for Fred Shuttlesworth's biography. The Life photo became an "era-defining picture" and was compared to the photo of Marines raising the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima. Moore suspected that the film he shot "was likely to obliterate in the national psyche any notion of a 'good southerner'." Hudson remarked later that his only priorities that day were "making pictures and staying alive" and "not getting bit by a dog." Right in front of Hudson was Parker High School senior Walter Gadsden.

The police officer grabbed Gadsden’s sweater and a police dog charged him. Gadsden had been attending the demonstration as an observer. He was related to the editor of Birmingham's black newspaper, The Birmingham World, who strongly disapproved of King's leadership in the campaign. Gadsden was arrested for "parading without a permit", and after witnessing his arrest, Commissioner Connor remarked to the officer, "Why didn't you bring a meaner dog; this one is not the vicious one." Hudson's photo of Gadsden and the dog ran across three columns in the prominent position above the fold on the front page of The New York Times on May 4, 1963. Television cameras broadcasted to the nation images and scenes of fire hoses knocking down schoolchildren and police dogs attacking innocent unprotected demonstrators. This coverage and photos shifted international support in favor of the protestors. Bull Connor was a villain. President Kennedy told a group of people at the White House that The New York Times photo made him "sick.” Kennedy called the scenes "shameful" and said that they were "so much more eloquently reported by the news camera than by any number of explanatory words." The images caused a great effect in Birmingham.

The black community had differences, yet black people solidified in support behind Dr. King. Horrified at what the Birmingham police were doing to protect segregation, New York Senator Jacob K. Javits declared, "the country won't tolerate it",  and pressed Congress to pass a civil rights bill. Similar reactions were reported by Kentucky Senator Sherman Cooper, and Oregon Senator Wayne Morse, who compared Birmingham to South Africa under apartheid. A New York Times editorial called the behavior of the Birmingham police "a national disgrace." The Washington Post editorialized, "The spectacle in Birmingham ... must excite the sympathy of the rest of the country for the decent, just, and reasonable citizens of the community, who have so recently demonstrated at the polls their lack of support for the very policies that have produced the Birmingham riots. The authorities who tried, by these brutal means, to stop the freedom marchers do not speak or act in the name of the enlightened people of the city." President Kennedy sent Assistant Attorney General Burke Marshall to Birmingham to help negotiate a truce. Marshall faced a stalemate when merchants and protest organizers refused to budge.

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The Birmingham movement continued with courage by the protesters and activists. On May 5, 1963, a new era started. This was when black people in the area of Kelly Ingram Park used self-defense and act of rebellion against racist tyranny. Many spectators taunted the police. The SCLC leaders begged them to be peaceful or go home. James Bevel borrowed a bullhorn from the police and shouted, "Everybody get off this corner. If you're not going to demonstrate in a nonviolent way, then leave!"  The racist Commissioner Connor was overheard saying, "If you'd ask half of them what freedom means, they couldn't tell you." To prevent further marches, Connor ordered the doors to the churches blocked to prevent students from leaving. On May 6, the jails were so full that Connor transformed the stockade at the state fairgrounds into a makeshift jail to hold protesters. Black people arrived at white churches to try to integrate services. They were accepted in Roman Catholic, Episcopal, and Presbyterian churches, but they were turned away at others. Some knelt and prayed until they were arrested by churches that turned them away.

Well known national figures arrived in Birmingham gave support to the protesters. Singer Joan Baez arrived to perform for free at Miles College and stayed at the black owned and integrated Gaston Motel. Comedian Dick Gregory and writer for the Nation Barbara Deming were both arrested. The young Dan Rather reported on this story for CBS News. The car of Fannie Flagg, a local television personality and recent Miss Alabama finalist, was surrounded by teenagers who recognized her. Flagg worked at Channel 6 on the morning show, and after asking her producers why the show was not covering the demonstrations, she received orders never to mention them on air. She rolled down the window and shouted to the children, "I'm with you all the way!" Birmingham’s fire department refused orders from Connor to turn the hoses on demonstrators again. They went through the basement of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church to clean up water from earlier fire hose flooding. White business leaders met with protest organizers to try arrange an economic solution but said they had no control over politics. Protest organizers disagreed, saying that business leaders were positioned to pressure political leaders.

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City Crisis or Paralysis

By May 7, 1963, the crisis continued. Breakfast in the jail took 4 hours to distribute to all the prisoners. 70 members of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce pleaded with the protest organizers to stop the actions. The NAACP asked for sympathizers to picket in unity in 100 American cities. 19 rabbis from New York flew to Birmingham, equating silence about segregation to the atrocities of the Holocaust. Local rabbis disagreed and asked them to go home. The editor of The Birmingham News wired President Kennedy and pleaded with him to end the protests. Fire hoses were used once again, injuring police and Fred Shuttlesworth, as well as other demonstrators. Commissioner Connor expressed regret at missing seeing Shuttlesworth get hit and said he "wished they'd carried him away in a hearse." Connor is a callous, wicked male. Another 1,000 people were arrested, bringing the total to 2,500.

News of the mass arrests of children had reached Western Europe and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union caused 25 percent of its news broadcast to cover the demonstrators. They sent much of the coverage to Africa (which is where the Soviets and the U.S. interests competed with each other). Soviet news people accused the Kennedy administration of neglect and inactivity. Alabama Governor George Wallace sent state troopers to assist Connor. Attorney General Robert Kennedy prepared to activate the Alabama National Guard and notified the Second Infantry Division from Fort Benning, Georgia that it might be deployed to Birmingham. No business of any kind was being conducted downtown. Organizers planned to flood the downtown area businesses with black people. Smaller groups of decoys were set out to distract police attention from activities at the 16th Street Baptist Church. Protesters set off false fire alarms to occupy the fire department and its hoses. One group of children approached a police officer and announced, "We want to go to jail!" When the officer pointed the way, the students ran across Kelly Ingram Park shouting, "We're going to jail!" Six hundred picketers reached downtown Birmingham. Large groups of protesters sat in stores and sang freedom songs. Streets, sidewalks, stores, and buildings were overwhelmed with more than 3,000 protesters.  The sheriff and chief of police admitted to Burke Marshall that they did not think they could handle the situation for more than a few hours.

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The Resolution

On May 8, 1963, at 4 am, white business leaders agreed to most of the protesters’ demands during the Birmingham movement. Political leaders held fast, however. The rift between the businessmen and the politicians became clear when business leaders admitted they could not guarantee the protesters' release from jail. On May 10, Fred Shuttlesworth and Martin Luther King Jr. told reporters that they had an agreement from the City of Birmingham to desegregate lunch counters, restrooms, drinking fountains and fitting rooms within 90 days, and to hire blacks in stores as salesmen and clerks. Those in jail would be released on bond or their own recognizance. Urged by President John F. Kennedy, the United Auto Workers, National Maritime Union, United Steelworkers Union, and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) raised $237,000 in bail money ($1,830,000 in 2016) to free the demonstrators. Commissioner Connor and the outgoing mayor condemned the resolution. On the night of May 11, a bomb heavily damaged the Gaston Motel where Dr. King was staying at. He had left only hours before.

Another bomb damaged the house of Rev. A.D. King or Dr. Martin Luther King’s brother. When the police came to inspect the motel, they were met with rocks and bottles from neighborhood African Americans. The arrival of state troopers only angered the crowd. In the early hours of the mornings, thousands of black people initiated a historic rebellion in Birmingham, Alabama (which was long before the Watts rebellion in 1965). Many buildings and vehicles were burned. Many people were stabbed. By May 13, three thousand federal troops were deployed to Birmingham to restore order, even though Alabama Governor George Wallace told President Kennedy that state and local forces were sufficient. Martin Luther King Jr. returned to Birmingham to stress nonviolence. Outgoing mayor Art Hanes left office after the Alabama State Supreme Court ruled that Albert Boutwell could take office on May 21, 1963. Upon picking up his last paycheck, Bull Connor remarked tearfully, "This is the worst day of my life." Connor was an evil racist who didn't win. In June 1963, the Jim Crow signs regulating segregated public places in Birmingham were taken down.

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The Birmingham Campaign changed everything in America and throughout the world. During the aftermath, desegregation existed slowly after the demonstrations. Some people criticized Dr. King and the SCLC for ending the campaign too soon, for making the vague promises, and for settling less than even moderate demands. In fact, Sydney Smyer, president of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, re-interpreted the terms of the agreement. Shuttlesworth and King had announced that desegregation would take place 90 days from May 15. Smyer then said that a single black clerk hired 90 days from when the new city government took office would be sufficient. In July of 1963, most of the city’s segregation ordinances had been overturned. Some of the lunch counters in department stores complied with the new rules. City parks and golf courses were opened again to black and white citizens. Mayor Boutwell appointed a biracial committee to discuss further changes. Yet, no hiring of black clerks, police officers, and firefighters had yet been completed and the Birmingham Bar Association rejected membership by black attorneys. The whole campaign caused national and international attention to the racist violence in Birmingham. There was a meeting among Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and other Black leaders to talk about racial issues. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s reputation increased massive after the protests in Birmingham. Many people lauded him as a hero. During the summer of 1963, Dr. King and many men and women led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. He gave his historic speech entitled, “I Have a Dream.” Dr. King became Time’s Man of the Year for 1963 and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. John F. Kennedy acted too. After the Birmingham Campaign, George Wallace’s refusal to admit black students to the University of Alabama caused President Kennedy to address the nation in his own historic speech on civil rights on June 11, 1963. In his speech, JFK addressed the inequalities between black and white Americans. He said the words of, “The events in Birmingham and elsewhere have so increased cries for equality that no city or state or legislative body can prudently choose to ignore them.”

Despite the apparent lack of immediate local success after the Birmingham campaign, Fred Shuttlesworth and Wyatt Tee Walker pointed to its influence on national affairs as its true impact. President Kennedy's administration drew up the Civil Rights Act bill. After being filibustered for 75 days by "diehard southerners" in Congress, it was passed into law in 1964 and signed by President Lyndon Johnson. The Civil Rights Act applied to the entire nation, prohibiting racial discrimination in employment and in access to public places. Roy Wilkins of the NAACP, however, disagreed that the Birmingham campaign was the primary force behind the Civil Rights Act. Wilkins gave credit to other movements, such as the Freedom Rides, the integration of the University of Mississippi, and campaigns to end public school segregation. Medgar Evers was murdered in June 12, 1963 outside of his home. He was organizing demonstrations, which were similar to Birmingham, to pressure Jackson, Mississippi’s local city government.  In September 1963, Birmingham’s public schools were integrated. Governor Wallace sent National Guard troops to keep black students out but President Kennedy reversed Wallace by ordering the troops to stand down. Violence continued to plague the city, however. Someone threw a tear gas canister into Loveman's department store when it complied with the desegregation agreement; twenty people in the store required hospital treatment. Four months after the Birmingham campaign settlement, someone bombed the house of NAACP attorney Arthur Shores, injuring his wife in the attack.  On September 15, 1963, Birmingham again earned international attention when Ku Klux Klan members bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church on a Sunday morning and killed four innocent young black girls. Their names are Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair. The Birmingham campaign inspired and grew the Civil Rights Movement in many parts of the South plus nationwide.  In 1965, Shuttlesworth assisted Bevel, Dr. King, and the SCLC to lead the Selma to Montgomery marches, intended to increase voter registration among black human beings.

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The Struggle Continues

The struggle continues. After the Birmingham movement, more radical changes existed in America and in the world. The March on Washington existed which called for civil rights laws, decent housing, full and fair employment, and other progressive policies. The 16th Street Baptist church was bombed by a racist coward. Also, there was the evil assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 22, 1963. The new President was Lyndon Baines Johnson who supported Kennedy’s legislative agenda. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. also worked in the St. Augustine movement. St. Augustine was a very old city and it is found in the northeast coast of Florida. It was founded by the Spanish in 1565. Dr. Robert B. Hayling was a black dentist and Air Force veteran (who had ties to the NAACP) who protested segregated local institutions since 1963 in the city. Many civil rights leaders like Dr. Hayling and three companions, James Jackson, Clyde Jenkins, and James Hauser, were brutally beaten at a Ku Klux Klan rally in the fall of that year of 1963. Nightriders shot in black homes constantly in St. Augustine. Many people were arrested for sit ins. Some were teenagers like Audrey Nell Edwards, JoeAnn Anderson, Samuel White, and Willie Carl Singleton (who came to be known as "The St. Augustine Four").  It took a special action of the governor and cabinet of Florida to release them after national protests by the Pittsburgh Courier, Jackie Robinson, and others.

Many black people in St. Augustine used armed self-defense and nonviolent direct action to fight for justice. In June 1963, Dr. Hayling publicly stated that "I and the others have armed. We will shoot first and answer questions later. We are not going to die like Medgar Evers." The comment made national headlines. When Klan nightriders terrorized black neighborhoods in St. Augustine, Hayling's NAACP members often drove them off with gunfire, and in October, a Klansman was killed (in self-defense). By 1964, Dr. Hayling and the other activists urged the SCLC to come to St. Augustine. They did. They worked in the spring of 1964. People fought for freedom. Dr. King was arrested in Florida. He sent a “Letter from the St. Augustine Jail” to a northern supporter, Rabbi Israel Dresner of New Jersey, urging him to recruit others to participate in the movement. This resulted, a week later, in the largest mass arrest of rabbis in American history—while conducting a pray-in at the Monson. There was a settlement in St. Augustine. Later, the Freedom Summer event came in 1964, which promoted voting and social rights for black people in Mississippi. The Civil Rights Act was passed in July 4, 1964, there was the election of 1964 (including the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party with Ella Baker and others being disrespected by the Democratic Party establishment. Dr. King opposed Barry Goldwater), and Dr. King won the Nobel Peace Prize in December 10, 1964. These events represent the transitional phrase of the movement from the early age to the later age of the modern civil rights movement. In January of 1965, black players of the American Football League boycotted New Orleans, because of discrimination. The AFL All-Star Game was moved into Jeppesen Stadium in Houston. By 1965, the Selma Rights movement came and the fight for voting rights persisted in America. Malcolm X continued to be revolutionary in his life by early 1965 too. So, the events of the past influence our current movement for justice in 2017 and beyond.

By Timothy

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