Posts Tagged ‘RACISM’
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JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON:
Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton
Fate has a way of forcing razor-sharp turns in our lives, and Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, parents of slain teen Trayvon Martin, are dealing with the ultimate challenge. Within a week of the acquittal of the man who pulled the trigger on that rainy Florida evening, and though many would crumble under the weight of despair, they continued to turn their pain into a pointed argument for justice. Vaulted into a national debate over the issues of racial profiling, gun violence and “Stand Your Ground” laws, Martin and Fulton are buoyed by the wave of public empathy and rallies taking place around the country; they gain strength and conviction with each heavy step they take.
The pair agreed to meet with EBONY, along with their attorney and advocate Benjamin L. Crump, on a sweltering morning in New York City, just days after the acquittal of George Zimmerman. Ironically, our interview and cover shoot took place in the same hotel suite where a newly elected president Barack Obama stayed at the dawn of his first term in office, and on the same day of his very personal address on race in America. In those remarks, the president poignantly identified with the plight of young African-American men when he stated, “You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me, 35 years ago. There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.”
But on this day, the room held a different energy. Obama’s post-electoral elation yielded to a family’s desires to make sense of a senseless tragedy. Holding firm to their convictions, they still seek to properly honor the memory of their son and to ensure the survival of all our children.
Read more in the September issue of EBONY
© 2013 EB
Saviours’ Day 2013
The Final Call | National News
America’s New Slavery: Black Men in Prison
By Charlene Muhammad -National Correspondent- | Last updated: Mar 20, 2008 – 4:56:00 PM
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Photos: AP/Wide World PhotosAdvocates note that the constitution’s 13th amendment, ratified in 1865, abolished slavery in the United States, but provided an exception in cases where persons have been ‘duly convicted’ in the United States and territory it controls, slavery or involuntary servitude can be reimposed as a punishment.
(FinalCall.com) – A new American slave trade is booming, warn prison activists, following the release of a report that again outlines outrageous numbers of young Black men in prison and increasing numbers of adults undergoing incarceration. That slave trade is connected to money states spend to keep people locked up, profits made through cheap prison labor and for-profit prisons, excessive charges inmates and families may pay for everything from tube socks to phone calls, and lucrative cross country shipping of inmates to relieve overcrowding and rent cells in faraway states and counties.
Advocates note that the constitution’s 13th amendment, ratified in 1865, abolished slavery in the United States, but provided an exception—in cases where persons have been “duly convicted” in the United States and territory it controls, slavery or involuntary servitude can be reimposed as a punishment, they add. The majority of prisoners are Black and Latino, though they are minorities in terms of their numbers in the population.
According to “One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008,” published by the Pew Center on the States, one in nine Black men between the ages of 20-34 are incarcerated compared to one in 30 other men of the same age. Like the overall adult ratio, one in 100 Black women in their mid-to-late 30s is imprisoned.
“Everyone is feeding off of our down-trodden condition to feed their capitalism, greed and lust for money. They are buying prison stock on the market and this is why they want to silence the restorative voice of Minister Louis Farrakhan, because he is repairing those who fill and would support the prison system as slaves,” said Student Minister Abdullah Muhammad of the Nation of Islam Prison Ministry.
The report states that the rising trend stems from more than a parallel increase in crime or surge in the population at large, but it is driven by policies that put more criminals in prison, extending their stay through measures like California’s Three Strikes Law.
Prisoners from the Limestone Correctional Facility do a trash detail along I-65 in North Alabama near the Tennessee State line while working on a chain gang.
Atty. Barbara Ratliff, a L.A.-based reparations activist, said the prison industrial complex’s extension of the slave plantation plays out in a pattern of behavior that Black people must study in order to survive. “I’m not talking about behavior of the individual incarcerate, but the pattern of treatment that digs into institutional racism. Corporate profit from prisons is no different than how slave owners received benefit from their labor, and that impact remained even after slavery. For instance, freed Blacks were arrested and put on chain gangs for their labor which continued to benefit slave owners, so this is no accident,” she said.
Inmates produce items or perform services for almost every major industry. They sew clothes, fight fires and build furniture, but they are paid little or no wages, somewhere between five cents and almost $2.
Phone companies charge high amounts for collect calls and inmate care packages can no longer be sent from families directly. Inmates must purchase products from companies to be sent in, which feeds capitalism, activists charge.
Although the costs of prisons is skyrocketing and consuming state budgets, money continues to be spent to push more Black youth into prison, activists assert. Many education and prison advocates charge there is a plot to populate U.S. prisons based on the dumbing down of America’s youth. Figures show those most likely to be incarcerated and to return generally have the lowest level of education. The report said, “While states don’t necessarily choose between higher education and corrections, a dollar spent in one area is unavailable for another.”
U.S. spending on prisons last year topped $49 billion, compared to $12 billion in 1987. California spent $8.8 billion on prisons last year and 13 states spend more than $1 billion a year on corrections.
The chain gang was re-established in 1995. Becoming one of the first convicts in perhaps a half-century to break rocks, William Crook, 28, of Gadsden, Ala., takes a swing with his 10-pound sledge hammer. Shortly after sunrise, 160 inmates at the Limestone Correction Facility marched a half-mile in leg irons from their dormitories to the rock pile.
Data from the National Association of State Budget Officers indicates:
• Vermont, Michigan, Oregon, Connecticut and Delaware spent as much or more on corrections than on higher education;
• For every dollar spent on higher education, Alaska spent 77 cents on corrections;
• For every dollar spent on higher education, Georgia spent 50 cents on corrections;
• On the average, all 50 states spent 60 cents on corrections for every dollar spent on higher education; and
• For every dollar spent on higher education, Minnesota spent 17 cents on corrections.
Between 1985 and 2005, Texas’ prison population alone jumped by 300 percent.
“All we have to do is follow the logic to see this connection between prisons and enslavement. When you look at prison costs and they say it cost $45,000 to house one prisoner, where does that break down? There’s only three square meals a day. The prisoners make their clothes and bedding in sewing factories and about 90 percent of the items they use in the prisons,” said Nathaniel Ali of the National Association of Brothers and Sisters In and Out of Prison (NABSIO).
He believes the majority of prison costs support guard unions and pay enormous base and overtime salaries of prison guards and other staff.
“They receive these exorbitant wages regardless of their education and training. You don’t have an I.Q.; all you have to have is the ability to be brutal” to command these wages through this new slave system, he said.
Mr. Ali said the public school system has become the feeder to prisons and their slave populations by increasing the heavy presence of school police and sheriffs on middle school campuses and penalties students face for often trivial offenses, other activists added.
Prison watch groups note corporate-owned prisons feed job-starved communities where businesses have disappeared. By incarcerating so many people, America deals with warehousing them and not finding out why they are incarcerated in the first place, advocates said.
“The fact is, it’s a business and a readily accessible, ‘free’ workforce removes prisons’ incentive to rehabilitate, especially those that are owned by corporations,” Atty. Ratliff said.
Laini Coffee, a self-described “unity activist” said, “At current trend, we could very well see the number of so-called free Blacks rival to the same number of those that are incarcerated. The answer is simple: Unity.”
The impact of high Black male incarceration rates (FCN, 11-07-2007)
Follow the Prison Money Trail ..to elected officials (In These Times, 09-04-2006)
Profits fuel prison growth (FCN, 03-03-2002)
Black incarceration rates tripled during Clinton Presidency (FCN, 03-06-2001)
The Prison Industrial Complex: Crisis and Control (CorpWatch, 1999)
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US government-funded groups exterminate black people: Randy Short
Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:18PM
Interview with Randy Short
So there is a total assault on us from Planned Parenthood which is a government-funded group that its mission is to exterminate our population and they are funded by the government and like I said, we have something live Depo-Provera which is killing women all over our country; remember Israel just outlawed on January 28 and yet 84 percent of the people … in the United States were black. So it is destroying us; we are being wiped out. He is just one publicized example of what is happening to us in this society.”
An American activist tells Press TV that the government-funded groups and the high rate of discrimination against black people in the United States is destroying them and wiping them out in the society.
People have taken to the streets in Sanford and New York City to mark the first anniversary of the killing of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager who was shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer. On February 26, 2012, the 17-year-old Martin was shot dead by George Zimmerman in Orlando, a suburb of the city of Sanford, Florida. People held a candlelight vigil and a moment of silence in memory of Martin in Sanford on Tuesday. In New York City’s Union Square, people also held a candlelight vigil.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Randy Short, with the Dignity, Human Rights and Peace Organization from Washington, to further discuss the issue. What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Now a year on, how far do you think the American public has come in solving its problem of racial profiling specifically ones that have been institutionalized in its law enforcement?
Short: Compare it to America’s advancement in dealing with Iran, considering the Oscar being given for the film ‘Argo’. It is analogous. Noting has changed. The power relationships that allowed this man to be killed and one killed in every 24 to 36 hours since he got shot a year ago.
So in reality, what would change the society? Certainly not the election of Obama who did not deal with it. So nothing has changed. Things are more or less the same. It has opened a season on black people and brown people and it is America. That is what we have been doing for 400 years, either killing or stealing from people of color.
Press TV: How many Trayvon Martins are we going to see before the American public as well as law enforcement injustices wake up and realize what is actually happening and what needs to be done to tackle it?
Short: I will answer it differently from how you have asked me. I am in a campaign to try to get Depo-Provera outlawed. It is a carcinogenic contraceptive that literally kills people and the government still pushes it although they have known it has been deadly since the 70s.
So they have not changed and in fact push it all over the world. So in relationship to the value of the lives of the people of African descendants in this country, I do not think we really matter. We have to make ourselves matter. The time is now for a movement, for self-determination, sovereignty and self-respect and a movement to enforce our human rights.
It will not come from the state and it certainly will not come from the police forces which are nothing but fascistic occupational gangs that terrorize our community.
Press TV: So you are saying that change needs to come from bottom up and that there is no political will per se to bring a change in reality?
Short: You have understood me. The black leadership is either bought off, corrupt, co-opted or behind bars. We need a new movement; we need a Black Spring; we need something that changes.
Our people have been on the lockdown since Martin the King’s assassination. 45 years ago, this April 4 made no substantive moves and the state have been repressing us for at least 50 years to covert actions like COINTELPRO operation marking group. We can go on and on.
So we have got over a million people in jail; drugs brought in here through intelligence agencies; we have got these crazy groups like Alec that made the Stand your Ground Law where they can shoot us all over the country and while this is happening, this gun control is really, if you ask me, a way to take weapons from us to prevent us from defending ourselves.
So there is a total assault on us from Planned Parenthood which is a government-funded group that its mission is to exterminate our population and they are funded by the government and like I said, we have something live Depo-Provera which is killing women all over our country; remember Israel just outlawed on January 28 and yet 84 percent of the people … in the United States were black.
So it is destroying us; we are being wiped out. He is just one publicized example of what is happening to us in this society
James Randall, Stead Family Professor of English
B.S., North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University
M.A., Carnegie Mellon University
Professor Randall’s offerings include courses in African-American and African literature; he also teaches African-American history. He has been a participant in the project of establishing the African American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa (opening in Cedar Rapids in September 2003)
Interviewed by Living Waters History Makers
Region: Central Iowa
Category: Civil Rights
The store people also didn’t want us there sitting in either, and they would try to do things to force us away like pretend that they were spraying for flies and insects and spray on us on that occasion. Some of the rowdy people in the crowd would threaten us, threaten to fight us in some ways, too. But, we had gone through some training before we actually did that. And so it was overall a very useful experience. — James Randall
James (Samm) Randall, Professor of English and African American Studies at Coe College, taught at Coe from 1969 to 2010. He grew up in Bolton, North Carolina, working in the fields and attending segregated schools. He has studied at North Carolina A&T State University, Carnegie-Mellon University, Indiana University, Washington State University, and he has participated in summer-study programs at other universities over the years. He holds a Master’s degree from Carnegie-Mellon and is a published author. He has also taught African American literature courses at the University of Iowa. His teaching areas include African American Literature, African Literature, American Literature, English Literature, Caribbean Literature, and African American History.
Shawndell: Hello my name is Shawndell Young and it is May 4th, 2009. And today I will be interviewing Professor Randall. So let’s get it started. So where were you born?
James Randall: I was born in North Carolina, a little town called Bolton, which is in the southeastern corner of the state of North Carolina. It’s about twenty miles up from the South Carolina border and about twenty-three miles in from the Atlantic Ocean, in an area that is known as the Green Swamp of North Carolina.
Shawndell: Where is home now?
James Randall: Home is here in Cedar Rapids.
Shawndell: How long have you lived in Cedar Rapids?
James Randall: I’ve lived in Cedar Rapids for forty years. I came here in 1969 to teach at Coe College. And I’ve been here for most of that time, although, I did take a leave at one point. I lived for a few years in Marion and now back in Cedar Rapids. Some years ago, I took a leave for three years and went out to the state of Washington, at Washington State, where I was doing some work at Washington State University.
Shawndell: So what brought you here?
James Randall: I came here to teach literature at Coe. My initial plan was to teach here for one year. So I came up here in 1969, I was going to be here for one year and it turned out that I was here just for one year on that first occasion. Then I went out and spent a year at University of Colorado working out there. And then following year I was invited to come back here to teach at Coe. So I’ve been here since that time.
Shawndell: Moving! So where did you go for school?
James Randall: Well, my school experiences have been varied. My, course my elementary school experience was in Bolton, North Carolina, which was at a sort of an ancient wooden school that had no running water and had outdoor toilets and had no central heating. But something began to happen, I am sure you and people of your generation have studied about the Brown Vs Board of Education school case which of course was finished in 1954. And around that time suddenly North Carolina began refurbishing schools for African Americans-it was a segregated system- because the idea, as I felt at the time and also felt later, was they, what they wanted to try to show that we did have separate but equal facilities. So we suddenly got a new school with central heating, with running water, built out of bricks, most of the, even a cafeteria, most of the amenities that were needed at that time. So I finished that school and then I went to high school, sort of a consolidated high school, also a segregated school for the black students. And I went to high school there and eventually I went to college at North Carolina A & E State University, which at that time was an all black school, too. All the teachers black, all the students black, all the administrators black, and I graduated from that, from that college. This was the college where the modern sit-in movement started. They started there a year before I became a student there. But when I went there, activity was still taking place.
Shawndell: So what did you do for entertainment back then?
James Randall: Well when I was very small. We did, I guess you would call it inexpensive games. We played a lot of stickball. We played softball. We played, when someone got a bicycle; we would ride the bicycle to death. In the winter we would make bows and arrows, and which we called ourselves hunting. And now it might not be considered not the nicest thing to do but our target would be birds which we would hunt and sometimes get and sometimes dress and have them prepared for eating. But, we did other kinds of things, too. One of the things that happened in that area was, we began to work at a very young age and so even small children had certain kinds of farm related jobs to do: hoeing crops, harvesting crops, chores that were assigned to us in a number of ways. So a lot of the summer activity and often after school activity was associated with work. When I was very small even attending my first grades, cotton was still grown in that area and after school we would sometimes pick cotton and turn it in and weigh it and get paid a certain amount, a certain, few cents per pound and so that took a good deal of the activity as well.
Shawndell: How was the Civil Rights Movement helped you and affected you?
James Randall: Well the Civil Rights Movement affected me a great deal. I say sometimes that people of my generation and a little bit after me, we were sort of born in the Civil Rights Movement, born in a civil rights situation. You have to remember that this was strict segregation at that time. And North Carolina was also a strict segregationist state which meant that African Americans did not have equal rights, which also meant that most of the politicians were against democracy for African Americans. So there was a lot of work to be done in order to get some things changed. Civil Rights Movement meant that I went to not equal schools, that our parents didn’t have equal job opportunities, that the state conspired to keep us poor and conspired to keep us not as well educated. We couldn’t attend University of North Carolina, nor Duke University, nor Wake Forrest University, nor North Carolina State for which our tax money supported in a lot of ways. So we were really being done in a very bad way by the authorities at the time. So the Civil Rights Movement meant a lot to me. When we began to get wind of how things were changing and needed to be changed. I mentioned the Brown versus Board of Education case. I remember when the public buses were integrated in North Carolina for the first time, for example. I remember, when of course, I remember, people my age remember, too, the presidential election of 1960, between President Kennedy and the challenger, and the other candidate for the Republicans, Richard Nixon and in the introduction of Civil Rights support becomes more common in the political sphere of things. So it meant a great deal. It meant a lot.
Shawndell: Can you explain what was segregation for the African American person back then?
James Randall: Well, the situation was really based on a Supreme Court case that took place much earlier, in 1896, the so-called Plessy vs Ferguson case, which the Supreme Court ruled that segregation was OK as long as there were equal facilities for African Americans-the so-called separate but equal doctrine. And we saw very quickly that things were separate, but they never were equal. Equal facilities were not really provided for and it meant that by law, African Americans got a raw deal from the state government and also from the national government because the national government supported the state governments in their discrimination against us in many ways. And again, education-didn’t have equal education opportunity, for jobs- couldn’t have equal jobs opportunity. In my home county, I couldn’t even go to the county library because it was only for whites. Blacks could not go the county library. And so that’s a blatant example of this discrimination in that way as well, which meant that we couldn’t get certain kinds of jobs, even state jobs we could not get. There were some more menial jobs that were designated for African Americans, but top flight jobs were out of the question at that time. And it meant that therefore, more people were waiting for these changes to occur and we were increasingly aware of them, and that made us more determined to become active, too. And for example the students, the college students who lead and who began the sit-in movement, they were also fed up with a good deal of this activity and they were motivated to do something about it and other students in other places and an increasing number of adults also began to participate directly as well.
Shawndell: So can you describe the role of the African American church back in your day?
James Randell: When I was small, I was involved in church activity especially. My parents were active in the church, especially my father, who was a very active churchman in the AME Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, in my hometown. My hometown was very small, about 600 people. But as I think about it there were a lot of churches in that town a lot of African American Churches, maybe seven or eight African American Churches in a very small town. So I participated in Sunday School. When I was very young I became Sunday School secretary, state Sunday School secretary, I guess until I finished high school and went away to college. I remember attending Sunday School conventions that took place yearly. One of my cousins was the pianist. She had a talent for playing piano. And she became the director of the junior choir. So naturally I was a member of junior choir for a number of years as well. There were some other activities that took place, too, some special holiday activities that occurred in the church as well. I remember also some Vacation Bible School experiences began and it was a new idea at the time for our area of the country. But nevertheless, that took place as well.
Shawndell: Have you been involved in any Civil Rights organizations or any like of the NAACP stuff or anything like that?
James Randall: Yes again, because of the area of the country where I lived, practically it couldn’t be avoided just out of natural behavior. But when the sit-in movements began, I was still in high school. And so we decided that, some people in my town decided, that we should participate directly in some of these activates. Well, maybe I was a junior in high school at that time. Our town was so small, that we didn’t have any real facilities to integrate because we just had a little regular General Store. But we did most of our shopping in a town about twenty-five miles away, the town of Wilmington, North Carolina. Most of our big shopping occurred there. So we decided to organize and to join the demonstrations that were taking place in Wilmington. So we organized and we decided that we needed a formal organization. So it was formal organized and I was elected president of the group. So before dinner time each Saturday we would go to Wilmington and we would join in the sit-ins that were taking place in Wilmington. We had some varied experiences there, some not so nice experiences, of course some people in the crowd didn’t want us there. The store people also didn’t want us there sitting in either and they would try to do things to force us away like pretend that they were spraying for flies and insects and spray on us on that occasion. Some of the rowdy people in the crowd would threaten us, threaten to fight us in some ways, too. But, we had gone through some training before we actually did that. And so it was overall a very useful experience. Later in college, I also participated in some civil rights demonstrations. And even after I finished my undergraduate work at North Carolina A&T, I moved to Pittsburgh to attend a college there. And activity was taking place in that city. Even in that northern industrial city, some things needed to be changed there as well. And James King had even later, for example when I went to another university, ____University, and later to Washington State University, one organization that I became involved with was the organization concerned with liberation in South Africa, so in effect, civil rights for South Africa on more of a global scale. And so I think that part of that interest and activity generated in my case early from participating in the sit-ins back in North Carolina.
Shawndell: What would you say is one of your best…like your best accomplishments?
James Randall: Well I think working in education for forty years. I think that, to endure that and still fill enthused about it. And I’ve had some good students who have come through the process. And so I think very, very, very positively on that. Sometimes I hear from former students and they are doing progressive things. And so I count that as one of the best things.
Shawndell: What has been one of your happiest time, memories?
James Randall: Happiest memories. I guess there are some standard ones, such as some of my memories with my wife, with my family, with my North Carolina relatives, with visiting some other places. Living in Colorado was nice for a year. Visiting the West Indies was also good. Taking a trip to Africa was good. And so those are fond memories.
Shawndell: What would you change about the outcome of your life right now?
James Randall: That’s a big question. I’m not sure what I would change about the outcome of my life. I think that in so many ways, of course, life is still being engaged. And so we go through it, and try to do positive things that we can. But sometimes in finagling with the past a little bit it would change so many other things as well. In some ways, I think I would, I would have liked to have been more productive, more steadily at some times. I think I have been relatively productive over time. But maybe if I had gotten, maybe even started earlier, maybe if I had been able to, I don’t know, get though college a couple of years earlier then so much more might have been done. But this is, you know, fantasy. I would like to have traveled in more places than I have. I‘ve done a lot of travel across the states. I would like to have done more world travel.
Shawndell: I also have one more question. You’ve talked about one of your happiest times. Which would be one of your worst times of your life?
James Randall: A very painful time would have been the year 1972. In that year my father died in February; my grandmother died in May; my mother died in September. So within a relatively short period of time, these are the people who have sort of molded me, and that was naturally a painful time not just for me, but for my brothers and sisters as well. So that stands out.
Shawndell: So do you have any questions that you think I have not answered that you think we should know?
James Randall: I suppose we could ramble a long time about a lot of different things. I think that over my years, I’ve seen a lot of positive changes occur in society in general. And now which gives me some, more than just hope, but some belief that things are likely to continue to improve in some positive ways. As a world and as a society we have dirtied our hands with a lot of things. I’m glad to see now that we seem to be more determined to clean up behind ourselves more than we have done in the past, more accountably, than we have done the past. So, I hope that that trend will continue.
Shawndell: Alright, well, thank you for letting me interview you.
James Randall: Alright, thank you.
BLACK SEXTUPLETS FINALLY GET SUPPORT AFTER PROTEST CAMPAIGN IS LAUNCHED BY BLACKS-1998-THE FIRST BLACK SEXTUPLETS IN AMERIKKKA!December 11, 2012
First Black Sextuplets Belatedly Win Public Notice
Published: January 08, 1998
(Page 2 of 2)
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Speaking to the President at that meeting, Thaddeus Garrett Jr., former board chairman at Howard University here, said of the Thompsons: ”Never got mentioned anywhere. Didn’t get a dime from any corporation, diapers or anything. Then this woman out in Iowa has seven, and she’s in more magazines than you are.
And it wasn’t until some of us ministers kicked up a fuss that now some of the corporations are starting.”
Whether it was the ministers or the radio show, many of those who had ignored the Thompsons rushed to their side in the newly warm glow of the spotlight.
The Procter & Gamble Company offered diapers. The General Motors Corporation provided a van. Howard promised scholarships for all five children. Toys, clothes and swings piled up. Gerber Products gave coupons for food. The Washington law firm of Wiley, Rein & Fielding is providing free legal advice. The Freddie Mac Foundation, established by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, said it would give the family a house and is on the verge of announcing that it has found a big one with a yard.
Univ. Gives Sextuplets Scholarships
AP , Associated Press
AP News Archive Dec. 22, 1997 5:16 PM ET
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Add a paid college education to the list of gifts for the five surviving sextuplets in Washington.
Howard University offered four-year scholarships Monday to each of the seven-month-old Thompson babies: Emily Elizabeth, Richard Linden, Octavia Daniela, Stella Kimberly and AnnMarie Amanda.
“It’s our turn now,” father Linden Thompson told WRC-TV. “Howard has done the job. It’s time for mom and dad to do their job.”
The babies were decked out in blue and white Howard University sweatsuits and bonnets for Monday’s announcement. By the time the babies enter college the scholarships will be worth $314,000.
Linden and Jacqueline Thompson were the first black parents in the United States to have sextuplets but they and their newborns were virtually ignored until last month’s birth of the McCaughey septuplets in Iowa.
The Iowa births sparked stories about the lack of attention given to the Thompson family.
Since then, the baby shower for the infants has been ongoing. First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, making her annual visit to Children’s Hospital, recently posed for photos with the Thompson family.
The National Political Congress of Black Women, based in nearby Silver Spring, Md., announced last week it was “adopting” the family and helping make some of their wishes come true.
The Freddie Mac Foundation has already promised the family a house, and Chevrolet has donated an Astro minivan.
Local students and employees have also presented gifts. About 30 students from Moravian Academy in Bethlehem, Pa., even took a four-hour bus ride to present their .
WHITEMAIL! (INSTEAD OF BLACKMAIL!)-THE WHITE HOMOSEXUAL SLAVEMASTER HAS SPOKEN! -BLACKS ARE STILL SLAVES IN AMERIKKKA AND MUST OBEY! – SO OBAMA MUST OBEY! -A JOURNALIST IN NIGERIA PINPOINTS HOW OBAMA WAS FORCED TO DO IT!-FROM PUNCH NEWSPAPERS,NIGERIAMay 22, 2012
Of principles, politics and Obama’s gay gamble
May 20, 2012 by Minabere Ibelema 7 Comments
When the United States President Barack Obama stunned the world by declaring his support for same-sex marriage, he explained that it was a matter of principle. He believes in equality for all people and that extending marriage rights to gays was an extension of that principle.
But there’s more to it.
The announcement was stunning, not so much for what Obama said but when he said it.
That Obama has been sympathetic to the gay community has been quite evident. Among other things, he saw to it that the Pentagon lifted the don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy that forbade gay military personnel from making public their homosexuality.
And his Justice Department refrained from representing the Federal Government in cases related to the Defence of Marriage Act, a law that forbade the recognition of same-sex marriages by federal departments and agencies.
For an administration to blatantly refuse to enforce a law that was duly passed by Congress and signed by a previous President is a rather serious matter. Though it is not without precedent, in some circumstances it could be impeachable.
Therefore,as a matter of law and politics, that stance was even more consequential than Obama’s declaration of support for same-sex marriage.
What was truly stunning then was Obama’s timing. Earlier in his political career, he had unequivocally opposed same-sex marriage. Then, as President, he had responded to a related question by saying that his personal view on the matter was still evolving.
That was, of course, the kind of answer that politicians give on issues of which they fear the consequences irrespective of the side they took. So, with about six months to go before the general elections, why would Obama risk it all by taking a stance now?
Well, it is a matter of blackmail and being backed into the wall. First, the latter.
When Vice-President Joseph Biden was asked recently about same-sex marriage, he said he was “comfortable” with it. It was inevitable that Obama would be called upon again to comment on the matter.
Obama was in a political quandary. He couldn’t afford to equivocate on a matter about which his vice-president had given a pointed response. He had to declare.
And then, there was the dimension of blackmail. No, not by any gay lover. Actually, the trending news before Obama’s same-sex marriage declaration had been about the release of love letters he wrote to his girlfriend in his earlier years.
The blackmail reportedly came from Hollywood, where some big wigs were planning a major campaign fundraiser for Obama. In case you are wondering the connection, Hollywood is a gay haven, perhaps second only to San Francisco.
According to the reports, some among the fundraisers pressured Obama to take a stand on same-sex marriage. The announcement, according to this thesis, was to appease that group.
Obama can use all the fund-raising help he can get. According to Bloomberg financial services, “The price tag on the 2012 presidential election is set to be the biggest ever.” That is higher than the combined price tag of more than $1bn for the 2008 election.
Even without a challenger in the primaries, Obama’s campaign has already expended more than $172m of the close to $197m it has raised so far. Yet the general elections campaign is merely in the warm-up stage.
Obama is set to duel it out with his enormously wealthy opponent, Mitt Romney. It is a circumstance in which even the most subtle blackmail can get it done.
Even then, the declaration of support for same-sex marriage is quite a gamble. If Obama were running for office anywhere in the world outside of Europe and North America, he is probably finished. Certainly, his stock has tumbled greatly in Nigeria.
Might the declaration cost Obama the election or help him? The best permutation at this time is, it all depends. Here’s what the political chessboard looks like.
Recent opinion polls show that a slight majority of Americans say that same sex marriage should be allowed.
The people who are most put off by Obama’s support of same-sex marriage are religious conservatives. But they vote solidly Republican, anyway. So, Obama has few votes to lose among them.
However, Obama’s staunchest supporters — blacks and Hispanics — are also overwhelmingly against same-sex marriage. Yet, he needs a heavy turnout by them — all voting predominantly for him — to win the election.
Obama knows this too well. His very next action after the announcement was to call the pastors of America’s largest and most influential black churches to explain himself. Predictably, he didn’t get many alleluias from them.
In fact, black pastors were already besieged with phone calls, texts and emails from dumbfounded members of their congregations seeking guidance. Many pastors had to address the issue in prayer meetings and Sunday sermons, with most disapproving but urging understanding.
“I believe the statement the president made and his decision was made in good faith. I am sure because the president is a good man,” Bishop Timothy Clark, of the First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio, told his congregation, according to USA Today.
In any case, African Americans’ support for Obama is so overwhelming and strong that it is unlikely that he will lose a lot of their votes in November. As would be predicted by the theory of cognitive dissonance, they are likely to find ways to rationalise away Obama’s decision.
The same may not be true of Hispanics, however. They are predominantly Catholic and, therefore, more conservative than African Americans in their view of social matters.
Independent voters, whose swings almost always determine the outcomes of presidential election, are another concern for Obama. Among them are people who are still sitting on the fence and for whom Obama’s position may be the tipping factor to the other side.
But the common wisdom is that independent voters tend to be swayed more by economic matters than social issues.
What is certain about all this is that Obama is an astute politician. He must have done the permutations and liked how the numbers turned out.
Echewe ozo May 20, 2012 at 7:37 am
If obama’s fada is a gay could he ve born obama d u.s president of today,when a man meets a woman during ovulation conception takes place nd dat is hw our mother’s bore us all,so dis unnatural method abi na shit una wan born,no bi shit fil d anus.to support stupidity or stupid gay is to make ve human extinction,b wise obama.
James May 20, 2012 at 9:00 am
A confused society indeed.
michael May 20, 2012 at 10:46 am
AGBEKE AYANTUGA May 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm
WHITEMAIL! (INSTEAD OF BLACK MAIL!) -THE WHITE HOMOSEXUAL SLAVEMASTER HAS SPOKEN! BLACKS ARE STILL SLAVES IN AMERIKKKA AND MUST OBEY! -SO OBAMA MUST DO AS THE SLAVEMASTER TOLD HIM! NO FREEDOM FOR THE BLACK MAN IN AMERIKKKA!
May 05, 2003
Fields of Dreams
By Pam Lambert
Dreaming of Africa, Jackie Robinson’s Son Found a Wife and Way of Life in Tanzania
First you ford the rushing river. Then you jounce down a rut-filled dirt road past what passes for a town this far into the boonies of Tanzania—a few brick houses and a single modest store. Thirty bone-jarring minutes later you’re there. “Welcome to my home,” says David Robinson, 50, youngest child of baseball legend and civil rights pioneer Jackie Robinson, as his Land Cruiser lurches to a stop amid a compound of faded brick buildings with rusted tin roofs. “If you had told me at 12 years old in Connecticut that I would end up growing coffee, or even living in Africa, I would have never believed you.”
Remarkable as it may seem, Robinson is doing just that. While his Hall of Famer father spent his life fighting for equal opportunities for blacks in the U.S., earning a place in history books as the first African-American to play in the majors, David chose a very different path. Since 1989 the son of this social trailblazer has become a literal one in Tanzania. Clearing away the forest with only hand tools, Robinson and his team of workers have managed to cultivate a 120-acre coffee farm. Other farmers have joined his now 700-family-strong Mshikamano cooperative, whose Sweet Unity Farms premium coffee is making its way into the U.S.—and boosting the area’s standard of living. “He came back to mother Africa to help,” says local official Darry Rwegasira. “He opened the way for others to come and see that there are opportunities here.”
The seeds for Robinson’s journey were planted when he was a teen, still living on his parents’ six-acre spread in Stamford, Conn. (where they were the only black family in the neighborhood). At 15, David went on a seminal trip to Africa with his mother, Rachel. Jackie, who had retired from baseball when David was 4, did not make the trek. “My father wasn’t big on Africa,” Robinson says. “He couldn’t look back to Africa, because the American reality was confronting him.”
But for his son it was another story. Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana—David was mesmerized. The trip “was life-altering for David,” says Rachel, 80. “He began to develop the notion that the destructiveness of slavery was that we were all torn apart as a people, that we wouldn’t be whole until we reconnected with our African roots.”
Although Robinson spent several months in Africa at 19 after dropping out of Stanford, family concerns drew him home. Earlier that year his brother Jackie Jr., 24, who had struggled with drugs, fell asleep at the wheel of David’s MG and died in the crash. The blow, Robinson believes, worsened his father’s heart problems and diabetes. In October 1972, Jackie suffered a fatal heart attack. He was 53. “I saw my brother, my father and grandmother dead in a three-year period,” Robinson says. “It made it clear to me that I couldn’t live a frivolous life.”
Robinson married. He also joined with other black activists to start a grassroots housing organization that rehabilitated brownstones for Harlem residents. But his eye remained on Africa. “I would spend three nights a week dreaming of getting back,” he says. “I had an emotional attachment.”
Robinson divorced and then, at age 32, made the move with his 4-year-old daughter Ayo in 1984. It was initially tough for him to decide which country to settle in since, “like 99 percent of African-Americans, we didn’t know where our ancestors had come from.” But because of its economic and political stability, he chose Tanzania.
After trying his hand at a variety of jobs, Robinson began looking at the coffee-growing Mbozi district in southern Tanzania, where it was traditional for a man to be given land in his village. “Because of the slave experience, I had lost my tribe,” Robinson says. “But I was back. I had chosen Tanzania.” After lengthy negotiations, the council elders took Robinson to the edge of the forest and told him that whatever he could clear away, he could have. The area, to say the least, was remote. “When I took my mother here the first time, she told me that she hoped we might run into some bandits. Anyone.” David and about 15 local workers began the difficult task of turning forest into farmland. At that point Robinson knew nothing about coffee cultivation. “Ignorance is one of the greatest facilitators of doing things,” he laughs. “You don’t know what you are really up against.”
Besides his 27,000 coffee plants, Robinson would put down other roots in his new community. Deciding to marry in the Wanyamwezi tribe (“They took heavy losses in the slave trade…and the women were reported to be very beautiful”), he embarked on a traditional bridal search. A friend in the tribe adopted Robinson as a brother, then later brought him to the house of a cattle farmer with three eligible daughters. As is customary, the women did brief cameo appearances in front of Robinson—after which he had to choose or risk insulting the family. “I pulled myself together,” he says, “and went with the tallest.”
Then Robinson had to do his own cameo in front of the chosen daughter, Ruti Mpunda, before leaving the house. To his surprise, her first answer was a no. “She told me later, ‘Would you agree the first time a stranger asked you?’ ” Robinson says. “She had a point.” But Ruti, then 18, quickly changed her answer. “I really liked him, he was very handsome, I wanted him,” she says. “It was a good decision. He is a very good husband.”
During their 13 years together, the pair have had six children, who range in age from 12-year-old twins Rachel and Racheli to Nubia, 13 months. (Son Jackie died at age 3, in 1997, from malaria.) The farm’s solar panels generate enough power for four lights and a radio, but Robinson prefers candle-light. Until recently, the nearest telephone was a l½-hour drive away. “I could have a more physically comfortable life,” he says. “But that would not be emotionally comfortable.”
About the only thing Robinson really misses is family. He tries to visit his mother, sister Sharon, 53, and nephew Jesse, 24, on frequent business trips to the U.S. to promote his coffee. “Both my and my father’s lives have really been about seeking out the road to freedom, equal rights and development,” muses Robinson as he surveys his plot in the sunset. “This,” he says, “is my Ebbets Field.”
Bryan Alexander in Tanzania