Tuesday, February 18

Black History Facts I Bet You Didn't Know!!

Who Were the First Whites to Come Out Against Slavery in America?


On this day in 1688, the very first formal protest against slavery came from a group one would rarely think of as being any type of activist or abolitionist organization; it was the Quakers!

Yes, the Quakers, the Religious Society of Friends, were the first to officially, as an organization, denounce slavery and the slave trade. Or to use their words, "the traffick of mens-body". (Quaker Roots, 2006)

Four men signed the original petition and presented it to the Monthly Meeting of the Friends in Germantown, PA. Here is a portion of that petition (the misspellings are the original English spellings of words, or the writers' own misspellings) :

"These are the reasons why we are against the traffick of men-body, as followeth…There is a saying, that we shall doe to all men like as we will be done ourselves; making no difference of what generation, descent or colour they are. And those who steal or robb men, and those who buy or purchase them, are they not all alike? Here is liberty of conscience, wch is right and reasonable; here ought to be likewise liberty of ye body, except of evil-doers, wch is an other case. But to bring men hither, or to rob and sell them against their will, we stand against…Ah! Doe consider well this thing, you who doe it, if you would be done at this manner? And if it is done according to Christianity?…Pray, what thing in the world can be done worse towards us, than if men should rob or steal us away, and sell us for slaves to strange countries; separating housbands from their wives and children. Being now this is not done in the manner we would be done at therefore we contradict and are against this traffic of men-body. And we who profess that it is not lawful to steal, must, likewise, avoid to purchase such things as are stolen, but rather help to stop this robbing and stealing if possible." (Quaker Roots, 2006)

The petition was passed on to the Quarterly and Yearly Meetings. Although it did not result in a sudden dramatic shift in owning slaves among Quakers, the 'Germantown Protest' did however start a ball rolling, which ended in 1776 with virtually all Quakers in the Philadelphia area refusing to own slaves.(Quaker Roots, 2006)

The Germantown Protest, the first formal protest by an organized white body in English America, made by the Religious Society of Friends, the Quakers, February 18, 1688. (BlackFacts.com, 1997)


Thanks to "kleinefische" for her wonderful work on the blog Quaker Roots - I know I learned a lot!

References:

First Formal Protest Against Slavery. (1997). Retrieved February 18, 2014, from Blackfacts.com: http://www.blackfacts.com/fact/aa3465fc-750f-4787-baac-1db1c6172a95
kleinefische. (2006, November 18). Quaker Roots. Retrieved February 18, 2014, from QuakerRoots.blogspot.com: http://quakerroots.blogspot.com/


Monday, February 17

A New Feature: Black History Facts I Bet You Didn't Know!

Some Famous Birthdays Today


     I am a regular listener of the Tom Joyner Morning Show on WMMJ 102.3 (Not sure why I plugged them, but what the hay, they’re a cool station and they play a lot of stuff from my era!), and that’s where I got the idea to do a regular feature on my blog, The  'Black History Facts I Bet You Didn't Know’.  (The TJMS calls it "Little-known Black History Facts" but I don't want to get sued!!) This is supposedly “black history month” (what happens to our history the rest of the year?) but I don’t feel that the month of February (who chose the shortest month of the year anyway?) is anywhere near long enough to begin to teach our long and rich history. So, I'm going to be like Tom Joyner and McDonald’s, I'm going to honor Black History All Year Round!

This is the day that is observed as 'President's Day' in most areas of the country. However, the Presidents aren't the only reason today should be marked!

Two very famous black people have birthdays on this day, albeit 145 years apart. 

1. Born on February 17, 1818 was Frederick Douglass (1818-95). He was a prominent American abolitionist, author and orator. Born a slave, Douglass escaped at age 20 and went on to become a world-renowned anti-slavery activist.

An abolitionist, writer and orator Frederick Douglass was the most important black American leader of the nineteenth century. Born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, he was the son of a slave woman and, probably, her white master. Upon his escape from slavery at age twenty, he adopted the name of the hero of Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake. Douglass immortalized his years as a slave in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845). This and two subsequent autobiographies, My Bondage and My Freedom (1855) and The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881), mark his greatest contributions to American culture. Written as antislavery propaganda and personal revelation, they are regarded as the finest examples of the slave narrative tradition and as classics of American autobiography. (Staff, 2009)
 
2. Also born on this day (but in 1963) was a superstar; basketball superstar Michael Jordan. Michael Jeffrey Jordan, also known by his initials, MJ, is an American former professional basketball player, entrepreneur, and majority owner and chairman of the Charlotte Bobcats. 

His biography on the National Basketball Association (NBA) website states, “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.” Jordan was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was considered instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. (Wikipedia, 2013)

 

Staff, H. (2009). Frederick Douglass. Retrieved February 17, 2014, from History.com.

Wikipedia. (2013). Michael Jordan. Retrieved February 17, 2014, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Jordan

Wednesday, February 12

Voting - A Right For Everyone? Not According To the Attorney General!

Perusing the headlines this morning I came across this tiny little blurb tucked away in an area which would have been 'under the crease' on a newspaper page. There was Attorney General Eric Holder's picture, and the headline read "Restore voting rights to ex-inmates." I realized it was actually a viewer poll that someone had done on whether or not people who had 'done time' should ever be allowed to vote.  According to Attorney General Holder, "...nearly one in 13 African-American adults is banned from voting." This means 2.2 million black people are kept from voting by these antiquated state statutes...1 in 13 people. In states like Kentucky, Florida, and Virginia, the number is closer to 1 in 5!*

Here are the results of the poll:

Should former inmates have their voting rights restored?

  1. 25 %
    Yes; it is a civil liberty.
    64,722 votes
  2. 63 %
    No; they lost the right.
    163,433 votes
  3. 10 %
    It depends on the person.
    25,318 votes
  4. 2 %
    I'm not sure.
    7,021 votes
Total Responses: 260,494

Personally,  I voted #1, yes., give them back the right to vote. Why is it taken away in the first place? I've never understood that; once they do their time, 'pay their debt to society', they're finished, punishment over, right? I mean, why strip them of their rights entirely, permanently, especially if it's a nonviolent offense? I feel like if a person's crime is such that he is released from jail, is not on probation or parole, and is expected to work and pay taxes like any other citizen, then he has the right to vote like any other citizen. If you strip him of a citizen's rights, you are continuing to punish him for a crime he has supposedly 'paid his debt to society' for. You are also punishing the country by reducing the number of voters thereby influencing the outcomes of elections. Those best suited for certain positions may not get elected, while some shady character with more money than brains does, all because such large numbers of people could not come out and vote. These people have to live with the same government that everyone else does; why are they being denied the right to choose who that government consists of?

What do you think about this subject? Do you think ex-inmates should ever be allowed to vote?


* (MSN.com, MSN News, US, Holder urges restoring voting rights to ex-inmates, Retrieved 2/12/2014)

Friday, February 7

Zimmerman vs. DMX - A "Celebrity Boxing Match?

 Or another Zimmerman attempt to get rich and famous because he killed an unarmed black teenager?

My intention today was to write a warm, happy post about Valentine's Day coming up, and mention different things that I feel make for a great day/evening. That idea went out the window however, when I opened my mailbox. The following is an email I received.


Dear Wanda,

Yesterday — had his life not been violently cut short by George Zimmerman — Trayvon Martin would have celebrated his 19th birthday. Instead, the day was marked by a grotesque new low in the killer's continuing efforts to capitalize on his infamy: the announcement that Zimmerman will face rapper DMX in a pay-per-view, “celebrity” boxing match to be broadcast online.
Fight promoter and professional con man Damon Feldman is enabling Zimmerman to further
Trayvon would have been 19 on Feb. 6,  if not murdered by George Zimmerman. (captioned by blog owner)
victimize a dead young Black man for personal gain, cynically declaring that this exploitative commercial spectacle will substitute as “justice” for Trayvon. Real justice was denied by Florida’s gun-lobby-written “Shoot First” law and broken court system — and we do not honor Trayvon’s memory with more violence.
We certainly don’t honor his memory by feeding into the stereotype of Black men as violent and belligerent that empowered George Zimmerman to take Trayvon's life without consequence.
The fight's details are set to be announced at a press conference Wednesday, but DMX hasn't finalized his contract and corporate sponsors have yet to sign on. Please join us in urging DMX to do the right thing and pull out of this shameful stunt now.
Feldman, who lost his promoter’s license — and was banned from promoting fights in his native Pennsylvania after admitting to court investigators that 95 percent of his matches were rigged — stands to profit handsomely from a fake fight designed to make money off anti-Black sentiment as much as from those of us outraged by Zimmerman's murder acquittal.
And Zimmerman’s bizarre eagerness to fight a Black man, the more high-profile the better — in a fit of dissociation, Zimmerman announced on Monday he’d like to fight Kanye West because he "attack[s] defenseless people” — makes a mockery of his criminal defense claim that he feared for his life in a struggle with an unarmed 17-year-old boy. Indulging Zimmerman in his monstrous fantasy recreation of that night — at 5’11", DMX is ironically Trayvon’s exact height, of which Zimmerman’s defense team made significant issue at trial — serves no actual purpose beyond driving money and attention to a violent sociopath and his bottom-feeder promoter.
Rather than giving Zimmerman and his legions of racist supporters what they want, let’s honor Trayvon’s memory — and prevent future tragedies like his — by demanding a justice system that values and protects Black lives. Let’s rid this nation of anti-Black policies like Shoot First and Stop-and-Frisk, and demand better of a media industry that demonizes Black men and boys, perpetuating the dangerous perception by people like George Zimmerman that violence against us is acceptable and necessary.
Please take a moment to let DMX — and anyone else who might consider stepping in to fill his shoes — know that we're looking to him to do the right thing for all the other Trayvons in our lives that we can't bear to lose. 
Urge DMX to cancel the fight now.
Thanks and Peace,
--Rashad, Arisha, Matt, Kim, Aimée, Dallas and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
  February 7th, 2014


While I am utterly appalled at the way George Zimmerman has been thumbing his nose at people (at least that's the way I feel, that he's been laughing behind his hand at us ever since he was acquitted of  committing murder!) I am even more appalled that DMX would consider consenting to go along with this spectacle!!! (As of this writing he had not yet signed anything agreeing to the event.) If there was a chance in hell of somehow, through this farce, proving Zimmerman guilty and sending him to jail I'd be all for it, but the only thing that is going to come out of this is a lot of pain for  Trayvon's family and friends, and a lot more hatred flowing between Team Zimmerman and Team Trayvon. Oh, and let's not forget the money the sleazy promoter will make. Even though most people will probably realize that it's just a show (not an actual fight.) they will pay to see it anyway, so they can tweet from ringside about how exciting it was to be there. What an example this will set for the young people that some of us are trying so desperately to save....

Please, go to ColorofChange.org and learn what you can do to help keep this travesty from taking place.