In many ways Winnie Mandela – the iconic South African anti-apartheid activist – was the appropriate choice for keynote speaker at the historic October 1997 ‘Million Woman March’ in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Winnie Mandela, the second and best-known wife of the legendary leader Nelson Mandela, courageously confronted issues from racism to sexism, classism to capitalism. Those issues were embedded in the impetus for staging the Million Woman March, an event that drew over a million predominately black females from around America to Philadelphia.
Winnie Mandela defied demands to capitulate to the dictates of the powerful. She bowed to neither South Africa’s once apartheid government nor bigwigs of the party that succeeded the apartheid government: the ANC, the African National Congress that her husband Nelson once headed.
MWM organizers also defied demands to capitulate. Organizers endured criticism for failure to surrender their vision to other black women who critics in positions of power deemed were better situated to lead that event because they were ‘more respectable and better known.’
Winnie Mandela at 1997 Million Woman March in Philadelphia, Pa. LBWPhoto
And Winnie Mandela maintained an unwavering commitment to uplifting those who were left out. MWM organizers shared Mandela’s commitment to the have-nots and like her, identified with the ‘grassroots.’
Winnie Mandela was a voice for the ‘little people.’ That posture often ran Winnie Mandela afoul of international power brokers and forces inside South Africa (both white and black) who were intent on maintenance of an apartheid-like economy. That inequitable status quo has left large segments of South Africa’s non-white populations profoundly impoverished.
'Walkout' march in Philadelphia – a city where school officials did not penalize participants. LBWPhoto
Ten days before American student outrage over gun violence triggered multitudes across the U.S and around the world to join in “March For Our Lives” protests; many U.S. high school educators and other adults provided students with strident lessons in assholelisity.
During the March 14, 2018 National School Walkout Day staged by students to show sympathy for the victims of the February high school massacre in Florida, administrators and adults employed threats and punishments to squash students from protesting against the lack of gun control measures across America – the nation with are more guns than people.
School administrators asserted reasons for their harsh response to Walkout participants that went from claims of maintenance of order inside schools to contentions that the Walkout was a political statement that had no place in schools.
A student at a high school outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania saw “hypocrisy of the highest order” in administrators cracking down on participants in the National Walkout. At the school this student attended, administrators slapped over 200 protesting students with detentions that required coming to school on Saturdays.
“They tell us in announcement everyday to be the change you want to see in the world. And then when we tried to do it, they told us we couldn’t,” Pennridge High School student Anna Sophie Tinneny told a reporter.
While many school officials nationwide did not oppose the determination of students to participate in the National School Walkout Day, the reactions of some school administrators and other adults to that protest oozed assholelisity.
House in Camden, NJ (left) where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. plotted a protest that produced his first lawsuit against discrimination.
The first lawsuit against discrimination ever filed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – the iconic civil rights activist – is of questionable historic value according to an unusual study released recently by New Jersey state historic preservation authorities.
New Jersey’s Historic Preservation Office (HPO) paid $20,000 for the study as part of its review of an application seeking historic designation for a property in Camden New Jersey where Dr. King stayed occasionally while attending seminary school in Chester, Pennsylvania over 60-years-ago.
King, according to new documentation unearthed by a NJ researcher, began formulating the protest that led to his first anti-discrimination lawsuit, while at the 753 Walnut Street Camden property. King was at the house hours before going to Maple Shade, NJ, where a white café owner refused service to King and his three companions in June 1950, chasing them from that café with a gun.
King listed 753 Walnut Street Camden as his address on police reports from that gun toting service denial encounter.
That Maple Shade café incident produced King’s first anti-discrimination lawsuit. King, during an October 1961 conversation with news reporters in Philadelphia, Pa, described that incident as a “painful experience.”
That study is the first study ever commissioned by NJ’s Historic Preservation Office, the office in charge of NJ’s Register of Historic Places.
HPO records list 51,825 properties and sites on NJ’s historic register, as of February 2018. The thousands of private properties on that historic register were approved without a study like the one conducted on the Camden property, an HPO spokesman noted.
So President Donald Trump now pontificates that he would run into a school building to save students during a mass shooting attack even if he was “unarmed!”
This empty boast is from the same Trump who failed the bravery test during the Vietnam War by dodging the draft — not for principle but because the poor guy had “bone spurs” on one foot (he can’t remember which).
Yes, that braggadocio is on top of other asinine blather from the Oval Office occupant. Trump for example made that boast while taking another shot at the police who failed to rush into that south Florida high school during the Valentine’s Day 2018 massacre that left 17 dead including 14 students.
The unwillingness of armed cops outside that Parkland high school to rush inside to confront an assault rifle firing shooter didn’t stop pseudo Tough Guy Trump from pushing the asinine proposal to arm teachers to help stop mass school shootings.
The Trump who wants to pay teachers to carry guns in schools is the same Trump who wants to slash billions of dollars in federal funding for education.
Arming teachers is a big pay day for gunmakers. It doesn't make America great or safe.
Since Trump never lets facts stand in the way of his fantasies, he doesn’t care that a study conducted by his hometown police force – – the New York City Police Department –- found police only had an 18 percent success rate in hitting a person they were shooting at if that person was shooting back at them.
That begs the question: In arming teachers, does Trump accept that teachers will almost inevitably accidentally kill a few students while trying to shoot a mass shooter, given the NYPD certified fact that even trained police, who are regularly retrained on shooting guns accurately, have such a poor ‘good shoot’ percentage in shootout situations?
Protest art in the Orange Farm settlement of South Africa circa 2014. LBWPhoto
U.S. President Donald Trump and Jan Smuts, a former prime minister of South Africa are politicians from two different eras who share two things in common.
Actions by Trump and Smuts, while separated by several decades, prompt many people in America and South Africa respectively to use the same word to describe each leader: racist.
And, Trump, like Smuts, has acted decisively on behalf of Israel.
Trump has created a “racially hostile climate” the President of America’s oldest civil rights organization, the NAACP, noted recently.
The actions of Smuts and other white supremacist leaders in South Africa over a century ago triggered the creation of the African National Congress (ANC) in 1912, three years after the formation of the NAACP in America. A long-time leader of the ANC was Nelson Mandela, the legendary activist/statesman.
Recently President Trump smashed decades of American policy with his declaration that recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In the early 20th Century Jan Smuts played a pivotal role in laying the foundation for the creation of Israel.
Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem received applause in Israel by top governmental officials and citizens alike. Trump received Israeli accolades despite the fact that a few months ago Trump publicly praised Israel hating Neo-Nazis after that rampage by racists in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Trump proclaimed his declaration was “the right thing to do” irrespective of the fact that it flouts international law that has opposed Israeli occupation of Jerusalem since 1967. Trump said his declaration was simply a “recognition of reality.” Trump critics point out the ‘reality’ of Israel’s control of Jerusalem is tied to decades of the U.S. providing Israel with military aid, financial support and diplomatic backing that strengthened Israel’s occupation of Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Meek Mill supporters rally outside Philadelphia's City courthouse. LBWPhoto
The recent incarceration of star Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill brings up many issues beyond how the justice system should handle obstinate individuals. A judge imprisoned Mill for serial violations of his parole conditions.
One issue is many of those supporting Mill have never engaged in activities to address structural injustice in the justice system – the kinds of problems those supporters say must be reversed in the case of their revered rapper.
Pennsylvania has one of the nation’s highest racially disproportionate prison populations where 47 percent of the inmates are black and 10 percent are Hispanic. Blacks comprise less than 12 percent of Pennsylvania’s population and Hispanics are seven percent. Nearly 30 percent of all inmates in Pennsylvania’s state prisons are from Philadelphia only accounts for 12.8 percent of the state’s residents.
Another issue implicated in the Mill matter involves the advocacy for more minorities in the criminal justice system as a remedy for reducing structural inequities based on race/racism. The two Philadelphia police officers that severely beat Mill severely during an arrest were black as is the judge who sentenced Mill.
The imprisonment of Mill for parole violations provoked condemnation around the world. A Change.org petition calling for Mill’s release contained over 351,000 signatures one week after his sentencing to a 2-4-year prison term
The recent celebrity-studded rally outside of Philadelphia’s City courthouse, where hundreds demanded the release of rapper Mill, included sharp criticisms of inequities in the criminal justice system.
The events of November 10, 1898 in Wilmington, North Carolina provide added evidence to rebut the recent claim by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly that the U.S. Civil War resulted from a failure to “compromise.”
On that Thursday nearly 120-years ago a rampaging mob led by a former Confederate Army officer unleashed the only successful insurrection in American history with the violent overthrow of Wilmington’s legitimately elected municipal government.
During that insurrection – allowed to stand by state and federal authorities – dozens of African-Americans were murdered. Insurrectionists ordered hundreds to leave that coastal city including liberal whites the insurrectionists felt embraced blacks by respecting the rights the U.S. Constitution extended to all including blacks.
Wilmington insurrectionists burn building of black owned Daily Record newspaper.
Those Wilmington insurrectionists had no desire for compromise because their intent was control through white supremacy. Since those insurrectionists sought to reestablish pre-Civil War total political and economic dominance for whites over blacks, no compromise was acceptable.
The “White Declaration of Independence” issued by those Wilmington insurrectionists asserted whites in that area would, “never again be ruled” by blacks. That Declaration’s “never again” phrase was unequivocal evidence the insurrectionists had no desire to compromise.
The stance of those Wilmington, N.C. insurrectionists, cemented in white supremacy, was similar to sentiments of the Confederates who launched an armed revolt against the authority of the United States government in April 1861.
Confederates disregarded an attempted compromise in the form of a planned amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would have barred Congress from outlawing slavery.
This history-making black Major League Baseball player called out race prejudice in all sectors of American society including prejudice practiced by U.S. presidents, lawmakers, law enforcers and others.
This player’s poignant observations about the sinews of the prejudice infecting American society focus antiseptic illumination on toxic stances taken by President Trump on the rights of black pro-football players to protest race-based injustices including police brutality.
Interestingly, this player’s critique of patriotism shares some similarities with a stance taken by U.S. Senator John McCain, a man widely respected for his Vietnam War service — the service that President Trump has repeatedly disparaged because McCain ended up a POW after his plane was shot down over North Vietnam.
In May 2015 McCain issued a report that slammed the U.S. Department of Defense for funneling millions to pro sports leagues to conduct patriotism inspiring events during games. NFL players standing for the national anthem, now the center of controversy between Trump and some NFL players arose largely from that DoD funding that McCain railed against in the report “Tackling Paid Patriotism.”
Moses Fleetwood Walker – First Black MLB Player (19th Century) LBWPhoto
This history-making black Major League Baseball player is not Jackie Robinson, the legendary figure who broke the no-blacks-in-MLB barrier in 1947 with his play for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
The historic ceremony outside City Hall in Philadelphia recently, that unveiled a statue of a significant yet overlooked 19th Century civil rights leader, contained chilling contemporary connections that radiate the adage: the more things change the more they stay the same.
That ceremony honored the works of Octavius V. Catto, an activist, educator and officer in the Union Army during the Civil War. Several hundred attended the ceremony including Philadelphia’s mayor, decedents of Catto, local celebrities and regular citizens from children to senior citizens.
The Catto statue, the centerpiece of a memorial installation for that man located on the south side of City Hall, is the first ever monument for an African-American individual located on city owned property in Philadelphia, a 335-years-old city with 1,200 public statues.
Philadelphia Mayor James Kenny (l) and sculptor Branly Cadet (r) unveil Octavius Catto statue. LBWPhoto
A racist murdered Catto on October 10, 1871 during a riot by whites to keep blacks from voting. During that Election Day riot members of Philadelphia’s police department actively aided the rioters – an incident of race-tainted abusive policing. Abusive and too often racist policing persists today.
Catto helped secure Pennsylvania’s ratification of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, an addition implemented nationally in March 1870 intended to ensure voting rights for blacks, ex-slaves and freedmen then excluded from voting.
Today, conservative legislators nationwide are engaged in various efforts to erect barriers to block voting by blacks. Earlier this year, U.S. President Donald Trump created a Presidential Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity, which critics proclaim a thinly veiled scheme to suppress voting rights. Catto lost his life battling to break down barriers that blocked blacks from voting.
Bench on porch at the White House of Donald Trump? No. Apartheid-era artifact in Cape Town, South Africa. LBWPhoto
U.S. President Donald Trump is a bigot – ’bigley’ – to use a word that he’s used frequently!
Trump is a bigot as defined as someone who doesn’t tolerate people of different races or religions!
But as despicable as Trump’s bigotry is, it is not the big problem driving America’s problem of deep-seated racism.
Trump’s bigotry is rightly being bashed in the wake of the President’s failure to quickly and forcefully condemn the Nazi-praising white nationalists responsible for the riotous violence that erupted recently in Charlottesville, Va, violence that produced one death and many injuries.
Those proudly prejudiced white supremacists that descended on Charlottesville for odious domestic terrorism proclaimed themselves as fervent supporters of businessman-turned-president Trump.
“Trump’s run for office electrified the radical right, which saw in him a champion of the idea that America is fundamentally a white man’s country,” stated a report issued earlier this year by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an organization that monitors hate groups in America.
In the weeks after Trump’s November 2016 election the SPLC documented 1,094 hate incidents. “The hate was clearly tied directly to Trump’s victory,” stated a December 2016 SPLC report.
Remember, Trump is the guy who installed a leading advocate of white nationalism (Steve Bannon) as his chief strategist in the White House.