April 2016: African American News, Highlights, and Mentions

“The book itself is a landmark of political protest and eloquent articulation of the demand for freedom for people of African descent in the United States,” says Pellom McDaniels III, curator of African American Collections in the Rose Library. “It is as important for African American political and social history as Thomas Paine’s ‘Rights of Man’; it is a demand for freedom and a call to arms.” – David Walker’s Appeal book at Emory University

 

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  • Black Business Owner: Mikaila Ulmer of BeeSweet, a lemonade with her great-grandmother’s secret recipe and a mission to help save a dwindling bee population.  BeeSweet later scored a contract with Whole Foods, which initially agreed to sell the product in regional stores. The news got even better earlier this month at the South by Southwest Festival: While being honored alongside other black innovators, the sixth-grader announced an expanded distribution deal through United Natural Foods. And it’s a multimillion-dollar deal at that.
  • Betrayed by Someone you Love at any Age: I no longer had the rose-colored glasses on and I saw what others experienced when I was around.  A girl that wanted to be loved, appreciated, and respected.  At times during my 20s I begged and pleaded for that.  I tried to show them that I deserved it.  In my 30s, I was pioneering for it…based on my accomplishments because that was my worth.
  • Resume Whitening Study: A new study by researchers at the University of Toronto and Stanford University found that some African American job applicants used the practice of “resumé whitening” to hide their ethnic identities. And the researchers found that this resume whitening is successful in getting more responses from employers.
  • The Shame of Southern University in Baton Rouge: 19 of the 140 building on campus have been abandoned. Many others have leaky roofs, mold, and broken air conditioning, plumbing, sprinkler, and fire alarms systems. Professor Mann concludes that “the Southern campus is not just a disgrace. Its deterioration poses a danger to students, faculty and staff.”
  • Where were the Women in the March on Washington:  How men in the Civil Rights movement erased women from its ranks.  A week before the march, Hedgeman again pointed out during a planning meeting that not a single woman was listed as a speaker on the program. A compromise was proposed: A. Philip Randolph would say a few words about African American women’s contributions to the struggle, then invite a group of women to stand and take a bow. Hedgeman listened with a deepening sense of frustration. Clearly, male civil rights leaders, including those who had counted on Hedgeman’s skills and hard work over many decades, had great difficulty moving beyond their belief that women were second-class citizens. Historians have too often followed their lead, finding it remarkably easy to leave African American women out of the civil rights histories they helped shape.
  • Warsan Shire, Somali-British writer, port, editor, and teacher.  In 2011, Shire published “Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth,” a spare collection of poems that was outsize in its sensuality, wit, and grief. She opens the book, her first, with “I have my mother’s mouth and my father’s eyes / On my face they are still together.” In “Beauty,” she tells us of someone’s older sister: “Some nights I hear in her room screaming / We play Surah Al-Baqarah to drown her out / Anything that comes from her mouth sounds like sex / Our mother has banned her from saying God’s name.” In “Your Mother’s First Kiss,” she writes, “The first boy to kiss your mother later raped women / when the war broke out. She remembers hearing this / from your uncle, then going to your bedroom and lying down on the floor. You were at school.” At the end of the poem: “Last week, she saw him driving the number 18 bus / his week a swollen drumlin, a vine scar dragging itself / across his mouth. You were with her, holding a bag of dates to your chest, heard her let out a deep moan / when she saw how much you looked like him.”
  • Event at the Schomberg Center in New York:  James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket – An emotional portrait, social critique, and a passionate plea for human equality, this film is a vérité feast. Sans narration, the film allows Baldwin to tell his own story: exploring what it means to be born black, impoverished, gay and gifted – in a world that has yet to understand that “all men are brothers.” The Link to the trailer is here: https://vimeo.com/121483194.
  • Book Recommendation: Racebrave: New and Selected Works by Karsonya Wise Whitehead.  new and selected works provides another glimpse into Karsonya Wise Whitehead’s work to document her experience raising two black boys in a post-racial America. On July 7, 2014, the day Eric Garner was murdered, Whitehead set out to write about what was happening across America to unarmed black people, in doing so she explores the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that resonate with parents around the country-sometimes with humor, sometimes with sadness, but always with an ear that bends toward the truth. In marking these moments, Whitehead also reached back into her childhood diaries to examine how life has changed for her, as a writer, a poet, and a mother over the years.
  • David Walker’s Appeal Acquired by Emory University in Atlanta.  The book was written and published in 1829 by Walker, a self-educated African American merchant. It is one of the earliest known written indictments of the institution of slavery. Reportedly, many early abolitionists thought that Walker’s treatise went too far. The book was banned throughout the South and when copies were found they were destroyed.
  • The Black Wombman as God by K. Kelile Ntwadumela from Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies, vol. 8, no. 10, February 2016.  The ways in which women in general are depicted and commoditized, specifically Black wombmen are projected on the TV (tell-a-lie-to your-vision) as well as popular so called “artful” forms of expression. Our sons and daughters are exposed to these same sexually debased images that feed the big monster we call capitalism, and it close relative, colonialism, byproducts of a global system of racism/white supremacy.
  • Black Domestic Labor – HERstory: The Mysterious Thelma X And The Struggle Of Black Domestic Workers. “I am a Muslim mother and editor of my own magazine with an understanding of the true meaning of Integration and I know how a mother feels inside about her own children whom she loves dearly . . . I have no worry I have the solution and [sic] the mothers who are responsible. Negro mothers will know the same in a very short while. Allah is God and he is black, and he will fight and save our children at any cost to your entire race.”
  • Second Class Moms, Girlfriends, and Wives for Some Black Men: Monogamy is the man’s choice and only then, if he chooses, we will then not share him.  And as we have seen, marriage is not the monogamy train as expected.  Those vows have to be spoken, acknowledged, practiced, and remain a stable in his actions and words.  That type of dedication transcends his ego and protected class mentality…and I don’t think many understand that.
  • Book Recommendation: African Pyramids of Knowlege: Kemet, Afrocentricity and Africology by Molefi Kete Asante (2015) -This book represents a synthesis of the author’s most powerful arguments for the overturn of a Eurocentric consciousness that prevents African people from exercising their own agency based on their fundamental cultural values.
  • Police Asset Forfeitures: Law enforcement took more stuff from people than burglars did last year.  Officers can take cash and property from people without convicting or even charging them with a crime — yes, really! — through the highly controversial practice known as civil asset forfeiture. Last year, according to the Institute for Justice, the Treasury and Justice departments deposited more than $5 billion into their respective asset forfeiture funds. That same year, the FBI reports that burglary losses topped out at $3.5 billion.
  • Marijuana-based Edibles and Bath Products launched by Whoopi Goldberg:The products carry soothing names like “Savor” (a sipping chocolate laced with cannabis), “Rub” (a pot-infused body balm), and “Soak” (lavender-and-marijuana bath soaks).  But psychopharmacologist Kari Franson of the University of Colorado, Denver, said taking a bath to soak up THC — the chemical that produces most of marijuana’s psychological effects — isn’t necessarily the most effective way to treat pain.
  • Convict Leasing and the Story of Mary Turner’s Lynching: Finally, reminiscent of recent cases of Sean Bell and Amadou Diallo, Mary Turner’s body was pierced relentlessly with hundreds upon hundreds of bullets until the form of a human body was barely recognizable. Mary Turner’s lifeless corpse was then buried beneath the tree, with nothing but a whiskey bottle from the drunken revelry to mark her grave and that of the baby who never got an opportunity to live due to the abhorrent, dreadful and despicable actions of the savage and barbaric white mob.
  • First African American President at the University of Puget Sound: “A lot of proud St. Louisans” are congratulating Isiaah Crawford on his appointment as the next president of the University of Puget Sound, come July, he says. They are the family members and friends in the city where he was raised who have cheered him on through his becoming the first member of his family to finish college, his rise as an academic and clinical psychologist and then academic administrator, and now his appointment as the first African-American president of the small liberal-arts institution, in Tacoma, Wash. Mr. Crawford calls himself “a living example of the transformative power of education, particularly a liberal-arts education.”

 

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One thing that I became aware of in my traveling recently through Africa and the Middle East in every country you go to, usually the degree of progress can never be separated from the woman. If you’re in a country that is progressive, then woman is progressive. If you’re in a country that reflects the consciousness toward the importance of education, it’s because the woman is aware of the importance of education. But in every backward country you’ll find the women are backward, and in every country where education is not stressed it’s because the women don’t have education.

So one of the things I became thoroughly convinced of in my recent travels is the importance of giving freedom to the woman, giving her education, and giving her the incentive to get out there and put that same spirit and understanding in her children. And frankly I am proud of the contributions women have made in the struggle for freedom and I’m one person who’s for giving them all the leeway possible because they’ve made a greater contribution than many of us men. – Malcolm X

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