Activist, Researcher and Genealogist, Antoinette Harrell joined us in conversation. Ms. Harrell discussed teaching others how to research their African American Genealogy; along with her other important work of over 20 years that has unearthed thousands of state and federal documents relating to peonage that resulted in the Antoinette Harrell Collection.
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By Elliot Booker — 1 year ago
“Time for an Awakening” for Friday 12/22/2017 at 8:00 PM (EST) 7:00 PM (CST) guest was Historian, BaBa Ashra Kwesi. “African Spiritual Science in the Christmas Holiday” was the topic of dicussion.Post Views: 64
By Elliot Booker — 2 years agoBy
The post-hurricane devastation facing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the lack of attention being paid by the federal government to necessary relief efforts. The lack of media attention to the death and destruction facing these U.S. citizens — who are not white and many of whom are of African descent — speaks to their second-class citizenship rooted in white supremacy and systemic racial discrimination.
With nearly half of Americans not realizing Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens — and even Donald Trump apparently not realizing the people of America’s island territories are citizens, or that he is the president of the U.S. Virgin Islands — these Black and Brown territories are American colonies and possessions of conquest in every manner.
The reason why the island territories — not only the Caribbean islands, but also Pacific islands such as Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands — are subjected to separate and unequal treatment, and are not states, is because of the Insular Cases, a series of racist Supreme Court decisions, of which the first were written by the same court that gave us the endorsement of racial segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson. These cases established the racist framework governing nonwhite territories of the United States. The island territories, inhabited by so-called alien races, were designed to give the United States control over the seas but second-class citizenship to their inhabitants. These cases are why these Black and Brown territories — as opposed to former white-controlled territories turned states — are subjected to the control of Congress, and no territory has become a state since Alaska and Hawaii in 1959.
At the time, Alaska and Hawaii had already been established as sovereign territories incorporated into the United States, with full constitutional safeguards and a pathway to statehood. The American court system rationalized that Alaska was in a different classification from Puerto Rico because it was on the North American continent. Hawaii, which the U.S. annexed in 1898, was a distant island populated by nonwhite people like Puerto Rico, yet Congress quickly granted full citizenship to its residents in 1900. Further, the United States was changing its definition of a territory, as Slate noted, opting for a European model of expansion to rescue the savages — a white supremacist message which presidents such as McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt endorsed. Further, President William Howard Taft — later Supreme Court Chief Justice — had a personal bias against Puerto Rican people which proved decisive in the fate of the territory. Taft believed they were unable to understand institutions of “Anglo-Saxon origin” such as the jury system, and he supported citizenship only if the territory was not granted statehood. The American attitude towards these nonwhite possessions reflected both the racism of the day, but also a desire to economically exploit these islands and establish military bases on them.
In one of the Insular Cases, DeLima v. Bidwell, the high court found that Puerto Rico was not a foreign country within the context of tariff laws. In Downes v. Bidwell, the court ruled that Puerto Rico was an unincorporated territory under the control of Congress, but without the full protection of the U.S. Constitution. “If those possessions are inhabited by alien races, differing from us in religion, customs, laws, methods of taxation, and modes of thought, the administration of government and justice according to Anglo-Saxon principles may for a time be impossible, and the question at once arises whether large concessions ought not to be made for a time, that ultimately our own theories may be carried out and the blessings of a free government under the Constitution extended to them. We decline to hold that there is anything in the Constitution to forbid such action,” the court wrote in its opinion.
In Gonzales v. Williams, the Supreme Court said that a woman from Puerto Rico who moved to New York was not an “alien immigrant,” but rather a “noncitizen national.” In 1917, Congress granted citizenship to people in Puerto Rico.
Formerly the Danish West Indies, the U.S. Virgin Islands became a United States territory in 1917, when the islands were transferred from Denmark for $25 million. Residents of the islands were granted full citizenship rights in 1932 through an act of Congress. Before that time, U.S. courts regarded the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands not as citizens but as “nationals,” which in U.S. colonial policy referred to “inhabitants of colonies to whom the rights of U.S. citizenship were not conferred.”
Although the inhabitants of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico received U.S. citizenship, the racist policies which undergirded America’s treatment of its colonial territories have persisted. This is why people from these islands, who are truly American, often are not regarded as such, particularly after a natural disaster.
Meanwhile, the PR crisis has the potential to change Southern politics, particularly in Florida, potentially giving Democrats an advantage. The states with the greatest influx of Puerto Ricans between 2007 and 2009 were, from highest to lowest, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.
More than 1 million people of Puerto Rican descent live in Florida, doubling their number since 2001 as a result of a weak economy back home, and as many as 100,000 more are expected to relocate to the state as victims of Hurricane Maria. Leaning heavily Democratic and voting in large numbers, Puerto Rican voters in the mainland voted for Hillary Clinton by a 3-to-1 margin. The Puerto Rican diaspora in Florida and elsewhere, angered by Trump’s inaction in addressing the needs of the storm-ravaged island, and displaying a perceived insensitivity to their plight when he threw paper towels to a crowd during his visit, could galvanize and make a difference in the 2018 and 2020 elections. Although treated not unlike second-class citizens back home, where they cannot vote in national elections, Puerto Ricans on the mainland can register to vote anywhere and participate in races for the Senate, Congress and President, in what may prove the ultimate revenge.
This revenge is against Republicans and Trump — who ignores their plight post-Hurricane Maria and exhibits the racial bias of white U.S. leaders and policymakers a century ago. But this opportunity for payback by Puerto Rican voters also reflects an ability to impact politics on the mainland, after years of political exclusion and marginalization back home, and a colonial limbo status denying them statehood on the one hand, and independence and self-determination on the other.Post Views: 72
By Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
NEWARK—After the historic 2016 presidential election, the State of the Black World Conference will convene in historic Newark, N.J., as the Black community faces major questions of absolute survival given the racial and political climate, police killings of Blacks across the country as well as the myriad of social and economic challenges that beset African people in America.
The conference will run Nov. 16-20.
Dr. Ron Daniels, president of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century, is convening the State of the Black World Conference IV. “This gathering has the potential to be one of the great gatherings of this century, perhaps this generation’s Black Power Conference,” he said.
With a closing message delivered by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, convener of the Million Man March, the largest assembly of people of African descent in the history of America, and an address by Dr. Maulana Karenga, founder of the U.S. Organization and one of the most brilliant, visionary and systematic scholar/activists of the last half century, the State of the Black World will offer bold analysis, visionary leadership and strategies for action.
Dr. Karenga, creator of Kwanzaa, the African holiday celebrated by millions around the world, will speak on the theme, “It’s Nation Time … Again, Racial Healing and Collaboration for Black Empowerment.”
Minister Farrakhan, who has been present at or supported every State of the Race or State of the Black World Conference since 1994, will deliver the closing charge.
Dr. Karenga and Minister Farrakhan will address the conference after facilitators for Seven Issue Area Tracts present summations and recommended action-items for post conference follow-up.
The Black Family Summit, an umbrella formation of 27 African-centered Black Professional Organizations that was inspired by Minister Farrakhan’s call to action during the 10th Anniversary of the Million Man March, will receive special recognition during the closing session.
Fredrica Bey, the visionary founder of Women in Support of the Million Man March, will serve as a moderator during the conference.
The closing Ndaba/Plenary Session is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 20, 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon.
“Recent police killings of Black people in Tulsa, Charlotte and Columbus, Ohio continue to contribute to the collective trauma of people of African descent, Black people in this country,” said Dr. Daniels. “Nearly a half century after Newark erupted in rebellion against police repression, economic inequality and political oppression, it is fortuitous that State of the Black World Conference IV will convene in this city November 16-20. We will be welcomed by Mayor Ras J. Baraka, the son of renowned poet, playwright and political activist Amiri Baraka, who was viciously assaulted during the Newark rebellion.
“Nearly a half century after the Kerner Commission issued its report noting that virtually every insurrection in America’s ‘dark ghettos’ had been precipitated by a police killing or act of misconduct, the world witnessed Charlotte explode non-violently and violently against the continuous, generations of senseless assaults on Black lives. When is enough, enough?” asked Dr. Daniels.
The SOBWC IV is a major forum for deliberation and collective action. A plenary and working sessions will be devoted to ending the War on Drugs, advancing strategies for police reform and accountability, dismantling the prison-jail industrial complex and creating pathways for the successful reentry of hundreds of thousands of formerly incarcerated persons.
The Institute for the Black World has assembled a powerful line-up of dedicated activists, scholars and analysts to address the issues at hand, share knowledge and experiences and recommend strategies for action.
The Plenary Session, Friday, November 18, 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m., will feature presentations by Dr. Divine Pryor, executive director, Center for Nu Leadership on Urban Solutions, NYC; Ron Hampton, former executive director, National Black Police Association and chairman of IBW’s Police Reform and Accountability Task Force, Washington, D.C.; Brandi Fisher, executive director, Alliance for Police Accountability, Pittsburgh; Tamika Mallory, co-chair, Justice League, NYC; Atty. Andrea James, executive director, Families for Justice and Healing, Boston; Deborah Peterson Small, executive director, Break the Chains, Berkeley, Calif.; Aswad Thomas, national organizer, Californians for Safety and Justice, Sacramento, Calif.; Charles Thornton, former executive director, Office of Returning Citizens, Washington, D.C.; Tyrone Parker, executive director, Alliance of Concerned Men, Washington, D.C., and Zelli Imani, educator and social justice activist, Newark. Atty. Nkechi Taifa, senior policy analyst, Open Society Foundations, will serve as moderator.
“As Black people absorb the pain of yet another series of police killings, leaders from Charlotte joined a growing national crescendo calling for the use of economic sanctions/boycotts to, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, ‘redistribute the pain’ to achieve racial, social and economic justice,” said Dr. Daniels.
The growing demand for economic sanctions/boycotts will be one of the critical issues explored during the Economic Empowerment Working Sessions facilitated by Dr. George Fraser, president of Fraser Net; Rev. Dennis Dillon, leader of the Rise Up Black America Campaign and Nataki Kambon, spokesperson for Let’s Buy Black 365 Initiative.
For concerned and committed Black people who believe that enough is enough—All Roads Should Lead to Newark, New Jersey, Nov. 16-20, said conference organizers. It’s Nation Time and Time for Racial Healing and Collaboration for Black Empowerment, they added. For more conference information, www.sobwc.ibw21.org or call 1-888-774-2921Post Views: 63