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.
Like the famous line from fairy tale figure Humpty Dumpty about his prerogative to pervert words, President Trump and his defender/supporters routinely engage in a putrid practice of altering widely accepted meanings of words to obscure or to outright deceive.
Humpty Dumpty, when talking with Alice in the classic Louis Carroll novel “Alice In Wonderland’ declared that the words he uses are just what he choses those words “to mean – neither more nor less.”
So in ‘Trump’s Wonderland’ defenders of the President blithely downplay the June 9, 2016 impropriety committed by the President’s oldest son, Donald Jr., as the misstep of a “kid” not serious misconduct consciously committed by an adult.
Kid is a word usually used as a descriptor for children from babies to teens but not a 39-year-old man like the junior Donald.
Don Jr. has admitted – in public statements and in emails he released – that in June 2016 he eagerly met with a person presented to him as a representative of the Russian government who would supply him with political dirt on front-running Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Emails released by Don Jr. document that Don Jr. was clearly informed that the meeting to provide political dirt was part of efforts by the Russian government to help his father win the presidential election.
President Trump’s new Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci, declared that Don Jr. “is a kid” when proclaiming that Don Jr. did “nothing wrong” by attending that secret June 2016 meeting with a representative of America’s avowed enemy. Scaramucci’s characterization of Don Jr. as a “kid” during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper perverted the traditional meaning of the word kid to minimize the actions of a grown man who Scaramucci described variously as a “great guy” and a neophyte in the world of big time politics.
While Scaramucci spun the line of that June 2016 meeting being a “non-event” Don Jr. obviously saw that event, held at Trump Tower in New York City, as really, really important. The importance of the meeting that Humpty Scaramucci Dumpty termed a “non-event” led Don Jr. to invite his father’s then presidential campaign manager to that meeting.
London contains many of the thousands of memorials located across the United Kingdom commemorating the sacrifices of millions of military personnel during the bloody struggles of World War I and World War II.
There is even a ‘Animals In War’ memorial in London’s famed Hyde Park recognizing the contributions to those wars from dogs, donkeys, elephants, pigeons, glow worms and others animals.
However, not one of these memorials to the world wars – estimated at over 70,000 across Britain by the Imperial War Museum – is specifically dedicated to the contributions of the thousands from the Caribbean and Africa who helped secure victories of England in those two horrific 20th Century conflicts.
That omission of a formal recognition honoring the sacrifices of persons from Africa and the Caribbean in World Wars I and II ended on Thursday, June 22, 2017 with the dedication of a special monument: the African Caribbean Memorial.
This two and one-half ton sculpture fashioned from Scottish Whinstone sits outside the Black Cultural Achieve in the Brixton section of South London. The dedication ceremony for the African and Caribbean Memorial came on Windrush Day – the annual celebration for the onset of large-scale immigration to Britain from the Caribbean that began in 1948 when immigrants came to help London/England rebuild after WWII.
The idea for the African Caribbean Memorial (along with the long work to raise funds for the monument’s creation and siting) came from the Nubian Jak Community Trust, a British organization that has erected over thirty plaques around London and in other parts of England recognizing various contributions of persons of African descent.