Over time, the perseverance of African Americans in the face of insurmountable challenges has been extraordinary. Triumph over these challenges has created a powerful, close-knit community that is dedicated to positive change and development. Now, in Black History Month, let’s celebrate technology as the catalyst for further development, paving the way for new opportunities in the African American community.
Communication Is Soaring
Going digital has meant a significant increase in communication. This has opened doors for people to engage with one another, to relay concerns, desires and—most importantly—goals.
Interestingly, 91% of African Americans own smartphones, deeming them the second-largest multicultural group of ownership. Additionally, in 2016, 91% of African Americans had internet access via smartphones or broadband—an increase from 86% in 2015— surpassing all other ethnic groups. This significant rate of change shows that opportunities for community development through communication is readily available to most, with technology
Social Media Is Increasing Dialogue
In addition to the general influx of smartphone and broadband utilization, African American millennials are leading the charge in communications through their significant presence on social media. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 83 million millennials in the U.S., 14% of which are African American. This group isn’t just utilizing social media for overall engagement or for consumer purposes, but also as a powerful platform to make their voices heard on issues affecting the African American community, which is a significant step toward garnering solutions and ultimately bringing about positive change.
Careers Are on the Rise
Did you know that the Obama administration set aside $850 million to increase the number of African Americans involved in STEM? This amount will be used on campaigns spanning the next 10 years with a focus on studies and jobs. The end-goal is greater than just inserting African Americans into the industry workforce; it’s also to help the community secure leadership positions. Remarkably, the percentage of African Americans in C-suite positions has doubled from 3% to 6% over the past 20 years. With such funding available to increase African American presence in STEM, it’s likely we’ll see that leadership number increase even more.
Tech Leaders Are Inspiring
The spotlight on leaders within various ethnicities has seemed to widen, and the African American community will flourish as the spotlight continues to expand. Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code; Laura Weidman Powers, co-founder and chief executive officer of CODE2040; and Brandon Nicholson, founding executive director of The Hidden Genius Project are just three of the many examples of contemporary inspiring African American leaders, who are propelling the technology industry forward. The African American community can look to these examples as a guiding map on how to achieve personal success.
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By Elliot Booker — 3 months ago
By Sybil C. Mitchell, The New Tri-State Defender Published January 24, 2019
On the eve of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s actual birthday (Jan. 15), allegations of counterintelligence versus arguments of unwilling victim of the FBI were passionately voiced during a discussion of Preston Lauterbach’s new book, “Bluff City: The Secret Life of Ernest Withers.”
A capacity crowd filled the book-signing space at Novel Memphis for the event that yielded riveting exchanges regarding the life and actions of Withers. The late and renowned civil rights-era photographer had pretty much unfettered access to Dr. King and movement figures national and local.
Lauterbach’s book attempts a balanced and unbiased perspective on what Withers’ legacy will be: a traitorous informant who spied for the FBI or a blackmail victim forced to do as he was told.
There is no doubt whether Withers funneled information to the FBI and was paid. But, says Lauterbach, the reasons why evolved just as the man did. It was a combination of several factors, he contends.
“Ernest Withers was a man with an extreme hustle bone,” said the author. “You have to remember that he had a wife and eight children to feed. He was paid, but Mr. Withers was doing what he needed to do to feed his family.”
Documents released after his death chronicled his secret relationship with the FBI. Those documents formed the basis for “A Spy in Canaan: How the FBI Used a Famous Photographer to Infiltrate the Civil Rights Movement,” a book by ex-newspaper investigative reporter Marc Perrusquia.
On Monday night, Lauterbach talked at length about the now iconic “I Am A Man” sign and slogan that came to embody the 1968 sanitation workers strike in Memphis and a struggle for racial equality. The famous photo that galvanized the striking workers and turned myriad eyes on Memphis showed Withers’ gift for not only framing the moment, but staging a scene.
“His motto was, ‘Pictures tell the story.’ The sticks that held the signs were used as weapons of violence in that first march. When the rioting broke out, it served the FBI’s purpose of discrediting Dr. King as a nonviolent leader and to embarrass him,” said Lauterbach.
“The Black Invaders took the blame for the violence, but they were actually there to protect Dr. King. J. Edgar Hoover needed that violence to be pinned on the Invaders. He wanted to create as much conflict between the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference]) and the black power group.
“Withers admitted buying the lumber for the sticks and the saw for the lumber,” said Lauterbach. “As the rioting began, the police swooped down on marchers with excessive force.”
A spirited exchange began between those who saw Withers’ actions as betrayal and others who leaned more sympathetically to characterize his actions.
“We marched with Dr. King. We were there,” said the Rev. Dr. L. LaSimba M. Gray Jr., pastor emeritus of New Sardis Baptist Church. “That is, perhaps, the most damnable revelation – that those sticks were made as weapons of violence.
“He could have gotten us killed. The rioting started, and the police came down in force. I’m wondering now if I might have been a target of the FBI. My family might have been put in danger.”
The Rev. Bill Adkins, pastor of Greater Imani Cathedral of Faith, recalled the day of the march.
“We were lining up for the march,” said Adkins. “And just before the march started, a pickup truck pulled up, loaded with signs. Anyone who wanted a sign could get one. After the march got started, the next thing we knew, windows were being broken, and the police moved in.
“I agree that we could have all been killed or seriously hurt. It never occurred to anyone, I’m sure, that the sticks attached to the signs were weapons of violence. These revelations are very disturbing.”
While some believe that Withers was guilty of counter-spying and working against leaders of the civil rights movement, others felt the term “informant” simply did not apply.
While the photojournalist was providing Hoover and the FBI information on everything he could, there is no proof that anyone was actually hurt by his reports, one member of the audience suggested.
“It could very well be that Withers didn’t tell the FBI anything they didn’t already know,” said Lauterbach.
“But however one sees him – as either a good man or a shadowy figure – Mr. Withers endured many trials and hardships as he recorded the movement with images that really did tell the story,” Lauterbach said.
“He was down there in Little Rock (Arkansas) when his mentor, former Tri-State Defender editor Alex Wilson, was beaten so badly that he sustained neurological damage to the head. This was a man he was very close to. Informant or not, the FBI was 100 percent the real power structure. It was Hoover who manipulated the civil rights movement. Let’s not forget, Hoover tried to make Dr. King commit suicide.
“Withers was a victim of ‘economic segregation.’ With a wife and eight children, he must have felt the pressure of financial hardship.”
Lauterbach explained that Withers “might not have seen himself as an informant.”
Adkins wasn’t buying that.
“Mr. Withers took photos of everything, including strategy meetings and closed sessions where we planned every move,” said Adkins. “Nobody put Mr. Withers out of those meetings. He was constantly moving around taking photos of everyone.
“We had no idea he was cooperating with the FBI. There is no way he didn’t know that he was acting as an informant and betraying the movement.”
Lauterbach countered with the argument that Withers was a conservative and concerned about the communist leanings and anti-war sentiment that was ever-growing.
“He may not have felt he could do anything other than what he was doing – reporting the actions of civil rights leaders to the FBI,” said Lauterbach.
“There are facts to support both sides – that Mr. Withers became an FBI informant for money, or he felt it was something he had to do to care for his family,” said Lauterbach. “Readers are left to make their own conclusions.”
Asked whether Withers had any regrets in his latter years, Lauterbach said he believes so, pointing to this reflection attributed to Withers:
“I was the cause of those signs being used as clubs. I bought the lumber and the saw to cut that lumber. I started the violence. People were hurt by the police and attacked with tear gas and billy clubs.”Post Views: 158
By Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
Today’s REVIVE show topic is entitled:
“BOSS OR BE BOSSED”
I need you all to be apart of the conversation!
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 “BOSS OR BE BOSSED!” You don’t want to miss this conversation on all things surrounding entrepreneurship including finding your why, developing a business plan, building an audience, and more!
Jamila Payne: Jamila Payne has built a community for goal-getting professionals building businesses and careers while creating work-life abundance. The movement is based on her productivity philosophy — Daily Success Method. She’s provided training over 15,000 entrepreneurs and leaders across the U.S. and Africa. On her popular planner, Daily Success Routine, helps people build better habits and break down goals into manageable to-do list. She is the author of several books, including From Payne to Power and Daily Success for Teams – 7 Principles to Create an Entrepreneurial Work Place, releasing this fall. Jamila is an award-winning business owner, selected as a “40 Under 40 Entrepreneur to Watch” by the Philadelphia Business Journal. She’s a Small Business Contributor for the Huffington Post, Black Enterprise Magazine, and Salesforce.com. Jamila’s work has been featured in InStyle, Entrepreneur Magazine, New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.
Bernadette L. Harris: Bernadette L. Harris is a Tax and Forensic Accountant, #1 Best Selling Author, Keynote Speaker, and QuickBooks trainer who helps her clients set their business up right, look forward to tax season, and protect their business from fraud. Her sense of humor and ability to make complex subjects like taxes and accounting simple and fun, have made her an in demand speaker.
Cari Young: Cari Young has had a passion for healing as far back as she can recall. With a formal education in both Psychology and Biology from West Chester University, Cari worked as a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Counselor for almost a decade. Feeling unfulfilled and overworked Cari pursued the spa industry. She received her massage certification from the Institute for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (ITMB). Her skills extend far beyond clinical, her treatments are described by clients as a fusion of science, art, nature, and most importantly, love. Since founding Remedy Spa & Wellness in 2014, she’s been committed to helping the community heal from the inside out. She anticipates launching a wellness + lifestyle blog titled, “Ask Cari.”
Micheal Baptiste: Michael Baptiste is the founder and CEO of High Ticket Freedom. He helps entrepreneurs, coaches, and consultants all over the world build 5 and 6 figure monthly businesses from scratch. Michael consults with high level businesses to help produce ROI for their digital marketing campaigns. His clients have earned enough money and time freedom to do some great things like travel the world, move into bigger homes, and more! Michael is also a co-founder of the world’s first ever Non-Dairy Banana Wave Bananamilk beverage. His partners and team have launched their company from a simple idea start up company, to an award winning business that has gone on to raising over $750K in investment capital, and now selling their product to Whole Foods grocery store. He also speaks Spanish and Mandarin. Michael is a “World Changer.”
YOU CAN CATCH REVIVE EVERY SUNDAY 11 AM-1 PM & EVERY WEDNESDAY 8 PM-10 PM!!!
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 and Facebook @REVIVE_POC !
WE NEED YOU ALL TO BE APART OF THE CONVERSATION!!
By Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
In a country where our ancestors were brought here as kidnapped captives, it’s important to know the stories that show the strength, courage, spirituality, of our forefathers. We live in a multimedia driven world, and images are important. That’s why from its early inception to now, images of Black people has always been negative, and very limited in the amount of stories or non-fictional accounts that show that show Black people taking control of their situations, or rebellions. A recent example is “The Birth of a Nation”, the story centering around the life of Nat Turner, and the story of the Haitian Revolution and the lives of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Dutty Boukman, Toussaint Louverture, the project that Danny Glover has been working on and finding difficult. These and other stories need to be told and discussed, by our adults, then with our children. Stories of Black men and women fighting for FREEDOM, not equality, there’s a difference. Read and share the story below, and leave your comments.
WE MUST NEVER FORGET!!!
MILLIKEN’S BEND JUNE 7th 1863
LINCOLN’S PROCLAMATION NEVER FREED ANYONE, OUR ANCESTOR’S ACTED AGAINST WHITE SOUTHERNERS TO SECURE THEIR OWN FREEDOM!
One of the fiercest battles of the Civil War was fought in Milliken’s Bend, Louisiana between Confederate troops and black regiments of the Union Army. Most of the black infantry had minimal training, were outnumbered and ill-equipped. Nevertheless, in close hand-to-hand combat, they defeating Confederate soldiers at Milliken’s Bend, in the critical battle for Vicksburg.
In most cases, these Black troops were allowed only two to three weeks of military training before being thrown into battle against the war-tested Confederate veterans and their vicious and spiteful commanders. Black men faced a peril unknown to their white soldier’s on the Union side. Slaves one day, soldiers fighting against their former masters the next, these black men excited the wrath and contempt of the vicious Confederate generals like Ku Klux Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest and Pierre Beauregard, the man who started the war at Fort Sumter, South Carolina on April 15, 1861. Black men falling into the hands of such generals were either put to death immediately or returned to slavery, rather than being accorded the status of prisoners of war.
The men who fought at Milliken’s Bend were literally fresh off the plantation, and none had been in the service for more than a month when the battle occurred. Some had just entered the service days before, and had not even been issued weapons. A significant factor in the battle was the lack of training of Union troops. Even the white officers were learning their new duties. Even without the pressure of a Confederate attack, the Union forces were undermanned and in disarray.
The fact that these men managed to fight at all is something of a small miracle. That they fought well, with minimal training and poor weaponry – and in fact, earned praise from the Confederate commander – makes their attempt to stand at Milliken’s Bend significant.
Confederate Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton and his army were besieged in Vicksburg, Mississippi, by Union commander Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee.
In an effort to cut Grant’s supply line and relieve the city, the Confederates attacked the Union supply area at Milliken’s Bend up the Mississippi. The Milliken’s Bend area, 15 miles to the northwest of Vicksburg, had until recently served as a staging area for Grant’s Vicksburg Campaign. It was a site of supply depots and hospitals, many of which were manned and guarded by black soldiers, some of whom were recently recruited men who were freed slaves. At Milliken’s Bend were 1410 soldiers, only 160 of them white (i.e., the 23rd Iowa regiment). The rest were three newly recruited Black Regiments—The First Mississippi (African Descent) and the Ninth and Eleventh Louisiana (Corps d Afrique, or African Corps). They were attacked here on June 7, about 8 o’clock in the morning, outnumbered by a brigade of Confederate troops, about 2,500 in number. In one of the bloodiest battles of the war, African American troops engaged attacking Confederates in fierce hand-to-hand combat, fighting with bayonets, fists, and rifle butts, or firing their weapons at extremely close range.
Brigadier General Henry McCullough, who commanded the Confederate forces, later noted that his
“charge was resisted by the negro portion of the enemy’s force with considerable obstinacy, while the white or true Yankee position ran like whipped curs almost as soon as the charge was ordered.”
The African American troops paid dearly for their bravery. Heaviest hit was the 9th Louisiana Infantry. Almost 45 percent of the unit’s men were killed or mortally wounded — the highest percentage of a regiment killed in a single battle in the entire war. Finally, with their backs to the Mississippi, they received the support of a Navy gunboat, and their line held.
Absent from the schoolbooks and television miniseries about the Civil War, however, are those truly great battles fought and won by the Black volunteers in Mississippi and Louisiana and elsewhere in the South. In most cases, these Black troops were allowed only two to three weeks of military training before being thrown into battle against the war-tested Confederate veterans and their vicious and spiteful commanders. Today Milliken’s Bend lies largely forgotten, Neither Ulysses Grant nor William Sherman gave Milliken’s Bend much attention in their autobiographies. Grant gave perfunctory acknowledgement to the black troops in saying that this was the first real test of black troops in combat. And that they had passed the test quite admirably. Yet, only six-months before Grant’s crossing of the River south of Vicksburg, near Port Gibson, Milliken’s Bend had served as his main base of operations. As late as January 20,1863, he had tried to launch an assault against Vicksburg from Milliken’s Bend and Young’s Point, 11 miles to the south, but his forces were repulsed savagely at Chickasaw Bayou north of Vicksburg.
A letter from Captain M. M. Miller at MILLIKEN’S BEND to his aunt stated:
I never felt more grieved and sick at heart than when I saw how my brave soldiers had been slaughtered, one with six wounds, all the rest with two or three, none less than two wounds. Two of my colored sergeants were killed, both brave, noble men; always prompt, vigilant, and ready for the fray. I never more wish to hear the expression, “The niggers wont fight.” Come with me 100 yards from where I sit and I can show you the wounds that cover the bodies of brave, loyal, and patriotic soldiers as ever drew bead on a rebel.
‘The enemy charged us so close that we fought with our bayonets hand to hand. I have six broken bayonets to show how bravely my men fought. The Twenty-third Iowa joined my company on the right, and I declare truthfully that they had all fled before our regiment fell back, as we were all compelled to do.
‘Under command of Colonel Page I led the Ninth and Eleventh Louisiana when the rifle-pits were retaken and held by our troops, our two regiments doing the work.
‘I narrowly escaped death once. A rebel took deliberate [aim] at me with both barrels of his gun, and the bullets passed so close to me that the powder that remained on them burned my cheek. Three of my men who saw him aim and fire thought that he wounded me each fire. One of them was killed by my side, and he fell on me, covering my clothes with his blood, and before the rebel could fire again I blew his brains out with my gun.
‘It was a horrible fight, the worst I was ever engaged in, not even excepting Shiloh. The enemy cried, “No quarters,” but some of them were very glad to take it when made prisoners.
‘Colonel Allen, of the seventeenth Texas, was killed in front of our regiment, and Brigadier General Walker was wounded. We killed about 180 of the enemy. The gun-boat Choctaw did good service shelling them. I stood on the breast-works after we took them, and gave the elevations and direction for the gun-boat by pointing my sword, and they sent a shell right into their midst, which sent them in all directions. Three shells fell there and 62 rebels lay there when the fight was over.
‘My wound is not serious, but troublesome. What few men I have left seem to think much of me because I stood up with them in the fight. I can say for them that I never saw a braver company of men in my life.
‘Not one of them offered to leave his place until ordered to fall back; in fact, very few ever did fall back. I went down to the hospital three miles today to see the wounded. Nine of them were there, two having died of their wounds. A boy I had cooking for me came and begged a gun when the rebels were advancing, and took his place with the company, and when we retook the breast-works I found him badly wounded with one gunshot and two bayonet wounds. A new recruit I had issued a gun to the day before the fight was found dead, with a firm grasp on his gun, the bayonet of which was broken in three pieces So they fought and died defending the cause that we revere. They met death coolly, bravely; not rashly did they expose themselves, but all were steady and obedient to orders.