There is no mention of Thomas at the museum (except for footage of Anita Hill testifying against him at his confirmation hearings). Some are running to his defense, but the museum is standing their ground, justifying his exclusion.
It is no secret that Justice Thomas is quite conservative, but his supporters do not think this should be the difference between him being included in the museum. In addition to being the second Black Supreme Court Justice ever, he is the longest-serving Black Supreme Court Justice in the history of the United States.
The petition, entitled “Director for Smithsonian Museum of African-American Culture and History, Lonnie Bunch III : Don’t Overlook African American Leaders like Justice Clarence Thomas,” was launched earlier this month by Megan Thomas (no relation). Megan insists that Thomas’ political stance is to blame for his exclusion. She detailed in the petition,
It is obvious politics is what kept Justice Thomas out of the museum. For years, he has been shunned by the liberal black community since he has spoken out against affirmative action. He has written that affirmative action amounts to racial discrimination, and detailed how it worked against him when he was trying to find work as a lawyer.
Curators at the museum singled out Thomas due to his unique views on race and his conservative thought that the federal government is the greatest threat to our individual liberties. The museum highlights people of less noble endeavors, and it is unfathomable to think the curators were not open-minded enough to include all historically significant African Americans.
Senior campaign organizer, of Standard United told conservative news site CNSNews, “StandUnited users are commenting on the petition about how they want to see Smithsonian embrace history, instead of selectively editing it.”
She continued: “Justice Thomas has a uniquely American story, in all its complexity – he grew up in the segregated South, and is now the second most powerful African American man in government.”
But on the other hand, it could precisely be his contributions to American government and therefore American citizens that led to his exclusion in the first place. Justice Thomas, who grew up during the Jim Crow era in Georgia, was part of the majority decision that struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which ensured that Jim Crow states like Georgia (among others) would have all of their citizens vote during elections without intimidation; without confusion and moving polling places without notice; without poll taxes; and without poll tests.
Additionally, Justice Thomas has likened affirmative action — which is meant to correct the historical and current blockades that have kept Black Americans from access to things like jobs and higher education — to Jim Crow, a dehumanizing, segregated and violent period of time for Black people.
When asked by CNSNews why Justice Thomas was excluded, Linda St. Thomas, chief spokesperson for the Smithsonian, responded:
“There are many compelling personal stories about African Americans who have become successful in various fields, and, obviously, Associate Justice Thomas is one of them. However, we cannot tell every story in our inaugural exhibitions.
“We will continue to collect and interpret the breadth of the African American experience,” St. Thomas said.
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By Elliot Booker — 11 months ago
The black middle class is talking of values and civility as many Americans of colour continue to languish in poverty.
It’s amazing how similar middle-class and well-positioned African Americans are to white elites in their perspectives on US politics. They continue to play in the sandbox of respectability politics and civility, as if only since the election of Donald Trump as president has racial and socioeconomic progress been in jeopardy.
Take Washington Post columnist Colbert I King’s reaction to US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement last month. The “honor – or from, my point of view, blame” for strengthening the right-wing hold on the Supreme Court “goes to those citizens who did not vote for a presidential candidate in 2016,” he wrote in a recent column. He added, “I thought the case [for Hillary Clinton] was strong. Sadly … Black voter turnout fell from 66.6 percent of eligible voters in 2012 to 59.6 percent four years later.”
King’s words reflect the thoughts of many middle-class and affluent African Americans who’ve despaired over Trump and the GOP’s control of all three branches of government as a sign of the apocalypse. Like King, many have scorned black voters who decided to abstain from voting or not vote for Clinton because they didn’t see her as having African Americans’ interest in mind or working to combat poverty, as her campaign platform demonstrated.
The reality is that every president since Lyndon Johnson has forgotten about America’s poor, and especially, poor Americans of colour. Most politicians rarely use the words “poor” and “poverty” in their speeches, unless they intend to criticise the poor for their lot in life.
Yet the black affluent class continues to emphasise racial progress and social mobility as if it’s 1978, with Jimmy Carter as president and sitcom Diff’rent Strokes (starring black actors Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges) an NBC primetime hit.
Democratic Senator Cory Booker implied as much last month in his defence of Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders who, last month, was asked to leave a restaurant by its owner. “Not to lead with love and to do it in a way that is more reflective of the values we are trying to reject in our country is not acceptable to me,” Booker said on MSNBC.
These words and “values” ring hollow to anyone who’s experienced extreme hunger and homelessness, a “Jane Crow” removal of children, or a white person threatening to call the police on them for existing.
Emphasising harmony while knowing that millions of Americans of colour are living off the crumbs of alleged racial progress is the mentality of an affluent African American who’s struck a Faustian bargain.
Another example of this contradiction would be Trump’s predecessor. Barack Obama’s presidency oversaw a rapid rise in the racial wealth gap and more than 2.5 million deportations of mostly brown undocumented people.
President Obama’s lofty language often contained thorns of chastisement towards blacks living in poverty. During his Dallas speech in July 2016, Obama said to “protesters” of police brutality, “You know how dangerous some of the communities where these police officers serve are. And you pretend as if there’s no context.”
As crunk feminist Brittany Cooper put it in her book “Eloquent Rage”, the absurdity of this is that most middle-class blacks are “only 1.5 generations” removed from black poverty.
A black middle class that cares more about civility and less about speaking out about structural racism and inequality is one that is difficult to understand. It makes them unwitting partners in white supremacy, patriarchy and socioeconomic inequality.
I’ve found that I’ve needed to reassess my own thinking about the contradictions between racial and class-based oppression and my own middle-class strivings. I turned 11 in December 1980, a month after the election of Ronald Reagan, the champion of the “welfare queen” and “strapping young buck” myths, which denigrated black and poor Americans.
I didn’t know I was growing up in working poverty in suburban New York until I entered my middle school magnet programme in 1981. There, I found myself in a classroom with affluent white and middle-class black kids for the first time.
At age 13, I learned that poverty was like Dante’s nine circles of hell after my mother lost her Mount Vernon Hospital job. Our family fell into welfare poverty during the double-dip recession in 1983. Between the ages of 18 and 29, I went through three periods of unemployment and a two and a half years of underemployment.
My delayed entry into the middle class was no accident. Since the days of President Richard Nixon, nearly every president, every Congress, and every Supreme Court has worked to weaken reproductive rights, affirmative action, criminal justice protections, and social welfare programmes. All these actions and more have stalled social mobility in the US, especially for Americans of colour living in poverty.
It didn’t matter that I exercised middle-class pragmatism and voted for “the lesser of two evils” President Bill Clinton while living in Pittsburgh in 1992 and 1996. It didn’t matter that I wrote “Jesse Jackson” on my New York State absentee ballot when I voted in 1988. That I and others managed to “make it” in this 50-year-old war against poor people is somewhere between a miracle and dumb luck.
I am not suggesting that African Americans like myself should forsake a more prosperous life, but beyond the practical considerations of paying off debt and having wealth to manage, blacks and other Americans of colour should ask if being middle class in thought and politics is really worth it. Especially if the endgame only leads to a larger class of Americans engaging in structural racism and class oppression through rhetorical flourishes and support of racist and anti-poor policies.Post Views: 178
By Elliot Booker — 1 year ago
Credit Mario Tama/Getty Images Q. Near the West 85th Street entrance to Central Park, there is what appears to be the corner of a foundation. What was it?
A. The foundation is a testament to Seneca Village, one of the first communities of black landholders in New York, which was destroyed in 1857 to create Central Park.
In 1853, after weighing several options for a great municipal park modeled after those of London and Paris, city officials selected a mostly vacant tract of land between Fifth and Eighth Avenues, and 59th and 106th Streets.
While more than 1,600 people lived in the footprint of the future Central Park, including the nuns of the Academy of St. Vincent and a number of farmers, the nearly 300 residents of Seneca Village represented the most concentrated population.
Seneca Village was between about West 81st and 89th Streets, and what would have been Seventh and Eighth Avenues, southwest of today’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. The site is marked with a plaque honoring the community’s history.
It’s easy to see why the city picked this terrain for a park: the ground undulates, and bedrock pokes through at regular intervals. In other words, it’s not the easiest place to build the dense housing required by a growing city.
Neither housing nor open space was much of a concern in 1825, when a black shoeshiner named Andrew Williams bought three lots there; the area was several miles from the center of New York City, then concentrated below 14th Street. Several other black residents soon joined him in buying property, as did the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, whose building likely sat atop the foundation. (Seneca Village eventually boasted three churches, one of which housed Colored School No. 3.)
While living conditions in Seneca Village were far better than those of other black areas, like the infamous Five Points, getting the right to vote also served as an enticement to owning land.
From 1799 to 1827, New York State gradually eliminated slavery. The transition included an 1821 law that gave suffrage to free black males — provided they owned at least $250 worth of property. By 1845, more than 10 percent of the city’s black voters lived in Seneca Village.
Seneca Village is usually remembered as a free black community, but by the end of its existence, nearly a third of its population was white — mostly Irish immigrants who had escaped the potato famine, along with a few Germans.
In the debate over where to place the great park, however, uptown landowners and newspapers painted the village as a shantytown at risk of becoming the next Five Points, occasionally describing it with racial slurs.
The initial choice was along the waterfront on the Upper East Side, but those landowners had enough clout to make the city look elsewhere, unlike the residents of Seneca Village.
The state authorized the city to claim the land through eminent domain, reportedly undervaluing many properties. The community disbanded, failing to form again elsewhere. Researchers have yet to identify any living descendants of Seneca Village’s black residents.Post Views: 196
By Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
Today’s REVIVE show topic is entitled:
It would be amazing to hear your perspective. So please call in we want to hear what you guys out there have to say always. Once again this show is for the people. We here at REVIVE thrive off of communication. So call us at (215)490-9832. This episode of REVIVE will be an open forum so all perspectives can be heard through great conversation.
This episode on REVIVE is entitled “Wednesday Edition!” This is a jam-packed show with amazing guests and dynamic conversation! Join in the fun and spread the word!
Porschia Percell: Porschia Percell founder and creator of Cultures of Can’douR . A South Carolina native, Porschia has always had a deep appreciation and love for not only fashion, but all things creative. At an early age, she was introduced to fashion by her mother who studied Fashion Merchandising in college. “I can remember as a kid plundering through my mom’s closet trying on all her vintage shoes and clothing.” Her love for fashion grew deeper at the age of 12 when she picked up her first sketch pencil and began designing. “I remember that day like it was yesterday.” “Cultures of Can’douR is much bigger than me and my ability to create. It’s about creating a culture of individuals who openly express themselves and feel confident about it. It’s about getting people to see that different is DOPE and COURAGEOUS. I think loving yourself is the best form of bravery that one could ever have. Through fashion, visual film, and other creative outlets, I’m going to change the way individuals see themselves and I won’t stop until it’s finished.” That’s where Cultures of Can’douR was born.
Kaliek Hayes: Kaliek Hayes is the cofounder of Childhoodslost Entertainment Group (CHL) and Childhoodslost Foundation. A native of South Philadelphia, Kaliek grew up the middle child of five children. Like many children whose childhood experiences are significantly impacted and negatively influenced by plights resulting from broken homes, and disadvantaged environments, so was Kaliek’s. As a child, the tragic loss of a close friend, affected Kaliek’s life in profound ways, but eventually inspired the concept of Childhoodslost. Kaliek considers himself to be a simple man, but five years in the making, Kaliek’s vision has transformed Childhoodslost into something extraordinary. Childhoodslost affords youth the opportunities, to deal with issues affecting their childhoods in creative ways that strengthen their will to live in their purpose. Kaliek is the author of Childhoodslost the book, which inspired Childhoodslost the play. Kaliek is currently Co authoring a book focusing on the effects of childhood trauma. Kaliek believes that his success is contingent upon his hard work ethic and passion to live in his purpose, which is to strengthen Childhoodslost Foundation to be the voice for particularly, the youth who have suffered the pains and hardships of a childhood lost.
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It would be amazing to hear your perspective. So please call in we want to hear what you guys the listening audience out there have to say always. Once again this show is for the people. We here at REVIVE thrive off of communication. So call us at (215)490-9832 & follow on Twitter, Facebook & IG @REVIVE_POC !
WE NEED YOU ALL TO BE APART OF THE CONVERSATION!!Post Views: 125