Since that first visit to the school in 2004, when I spent two days and nights on campus, had meals with the students, sat in on their classes, and toured the grounds, I have been advocating for Piney Woods. When former President, Dr. Charles Beady,
told me the story about a national fundraising effort in 1954, I decided to start another such fundraiser some fifty years later; our goal was to raise $1 million ($5.00 each from 200,000 donors) for Piney Woods via a group we established known as the Blackonomics Million Dollar Club (BMDC). We helped a lot but came nowhere close to our goal.
Back in 1954, Ralph Edwards, host of the television show, “This is Your Life,” featured Dr. Laurence Jones’ life. Edwards was so impressed with Jones and Piney Woods that he put out a call to his viewers to send in $1.00 each to the school in an effort to raise $1 million; according to Dr. Beady, Edwards’ campaign raised about three-quarters of a million. I figured if $750,000 could be raised in 1954 from an effort that went out over television, a medium only a few families were fortunate enough to have, surely we could eclipse that effort in 2004 with the Internet at our disposal. Optimist that I am, I am absolutely sure we can do that in 2016.
By way of example, Brother Umar Johnson has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for his proposed school. He has not yet determined where it will be located, but donors have responded with their dollars nonetheless. Piney Woods has been around for 106 years; it is viable, competitive, and dedicated to serving students and families, most of which are unable to pay the entire tuition necessary for room and board. Why wouldn’t we do the same—and more—for Piney Woods? Piney Woods President, Will Crossley says, “Our students – both male and female – hail from more than 24 states and foreign jurisdictions; from inner-city urban locations, as well as rural spaces; from points north, south, east, and west. As diverse as they are, our students share this status: they all receive scholarship support to help fund their education here. They also share an amazing result: admission to post-secondary educational institutions. I know these principles well and in a personal way. While I am the fifth president of this historic, 107-year-old institution, I am the first alumnus to head our school.”
The school’s national press release states, “Piney Woods creates a living and learning environment where students are expected to excel academically, and become civically engaged and socially responsible. Over 75% of the pupils hail from lower income areas where the failing public school systems and negative peer pressure often inhibit them from accomplishing their life goals. However, after undertaking Piney Woods Schools’ rigorous educational, spiritual and vocational curriculums 99% of the graduating seniors are admitted to colleges and universities.”
The “Give from the Heart National Challenge 2016” fundraiser campaign for Piney Woods began in February 2016. On Saturday, April 30, 2016, an all-star benefit concert will take place at the Word and Worship Church in Jackson, MS. Please plan to attend; but if you cannot, please send a donation to this deserving and worthwhile institution. This is an opportunity for everyone to help Piney Woods maintain the same high-quality education it has provided for years, an education that results in 95% of its graduates going on to college. I believe in the “little from a lot” way of getting things done. In this case once again, if 200,000 persons sent $20.00 every six months to Piney Woods, the school could be well on its way to building an endowment, continue to have the financial ability to give even more student scholarships, pay its teachers and administration attractive salaries, and maintain the school’s infrastructure. Who knows? Maybe your child or grandchild will have the privilege to attend Piney Woods one day.
Why not plan to visit the campus soon, and please send your tax-deductible donation to Piney Woods School, U.S. Highway 49 South, Piney Woods, Mississippi, 39148. For more information see www.pineywoods.com or call 601 845 2214.
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By Elliot Booker — 2 years agoGlen Ford, BAR executive editor
“The grand plan is to reverse the demography of the Seventies by forcing Blacks out of the central cities and into suburbs and small towns, rendering Black people incapable of ever again launching a national movement headquartered in the urban centers.”
The urban saga of the 1950s, 60s and early 70s was white flight from the cities, fueled by massive public and private investment in the invention of suburbia. In the 21st century, the racial dynamic has been purposely reversed, as the window closes on Black majority cities—and on dreams of concentrated, Black urban political power.
The rapidly unfolding dispersal of Blacks from the cities, like the white invasion of the surrounding hinterlands in the previous era, is the result of deliberate state policies, dictated by finance capital. But, this time, the demographic makeover has been effectuated and politically finessed with the active collaboration of a Black misleadership class that, paradoxically, owes its existence to the concentration of Black populations during the Sixties and Seventies.
The de-Blackening of urban America is a wrenchingly painful and bloody amputation-in-progress. In a frenzy of demolition, the U.S. has lost a quarter million units of public housing since the mid-1990s, only a small fraction of which has been replaced with new public housing, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Black mayors and heavily Black city councils have, typically, bought into the notion that concentrations of poor Black people are, by definition, vectors of pathology, while concentrations of affluent whites are the indispensable ingredients of urban “renaissance.” It is the logic of apartheid, cloaked in phony economics.
“The de-Blackening of urban America is a wrenchingly painful and bloody amputation-in-progress.”
Gentrification and renaissance-making—euphemisms for Black-removal—are violent processes. Whole neighborhoods are condemned for “rehabilitation” from “blight”—another euphemism, since the targeted infestation is human. The real estate industry covets the land, but demands that it first be cleansed of undesirable inhabitants. This requires the ruthless application of police force, creating a hostile environment, especially for young Black males, whose mothers begin to seek an exit to the South or a nearby, Blackening suburb. It is no coincidence that police forces in “renaissance”-minded cities across the nation introduced draconian “stop-and-frisk,” “designated drug zone” and “anti-gang” policies in the Nineties, as gentrification went into high gear. They methodically created an unbearably hostile environment for unwanted families.
Gentrification requires the destabilization of the existing populations in targeted neighborhoods. Politicians that respond to the imperatives of capital—and that means virtually all big-city Democrats, of all races—acquiesce to or champion policies that destabilize the lives of their poor Black constituents, all the while claiming it is for their own good. The most powerful local government tool, other than the police, is the public school system. Gentrifying mayors across the country have sought and won control of local schools and used that power to make city life untenable for the “excess” Black populations of their cities.
“The school closings added new layers of instability to the lives of families on Chicago’s heavily Black south and west sides.”
No mayor has been more intent on driving Blacks from his city than Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama’s former chief of staff and close political ally. Building on the mayhem inflicted on Black Chicago by his predecessors, Emanuel caused the closing 50 schools. The result was catastrophic, as students were forced to transit unfamiliar gang turf to attend schools that were often no better than the shuttered ones in the own neighborhoods. Many kids died. “What people don’t understand is that if you are 16 years old and get on a bus, when you get off that bus you are gang-affiliated whether you are gang-affiliated or not,” said activist Jitu Brown .
Just as the closing of Chicago’s public housing disrupted gang turf and drug markets, setting off a huge increase in street killings, the school closings added new layers of instability to the lives of families on Chicago’s heavily Black south and west sides, the besieged neighborhoods where closings were concentrated. It was the last straw for some parents. As the Chicago Reporter wrote, in an article last December: “Some academics blame city officials for making it harder for poor African-Americans, in particular, to live in Chicago. They closed neighborhood schools and mental health clinics ; failed to rebuild public housing, dispersing thousands of poor black families across the region, and inadequately responded to gun violence, unemployment and foreclosures in black communities.”
“Building on the mayhem inflicted on Black Chicago by his predecessors, Emanuel caused the closing 50 schools.”
“It’s a menu of disinvestment,” says Elizabeth Todd-Breland, who teaches African-American history at the University of Illinois Chicago. “The message that public policy sends to black families in the city is that we’re not going to take care of you and if you just keep going away, that’s OK.”
The message is intentional—and effective. “Chicago’s public schools have lost more than 52,000 students in the past 10 years,” according to a report titled “The Bleeding of Chicago ,” by CityLab. “That’s because school closures sometimes prompt parents to leave the city altogether.” (Thanks to Richard Prince’s Journal-isms for bringing this information to a larger audience.)
In less than two decades, Chicago lost 250,000 Black residents, one quarter of its total Black population. That’s more than the Black populations of New Orleans and Atlanta , and equal to the Black population of Manhattan, New York City. And, it’s happening all over the country, because Black removal from the cities is the national policy of both corporate parties.
The grand plan is to dilute the Black presence, to reverse the demography of the Seventies by forcing Blacks out of the central cities and into suburbs and small towns, leaving the cities to affluent whites and rendering Black people incapable of ever again launching a national movement headquartered in the urban centers.
“Chicago lost 250,000 Black residents, one quarter of its total Black population.”
Black politics is in an existential crisis. This state of affairs has come about, not because Black people failed to vote or to exercise political agency, but because they followed the lead of a grasping and self-centered Black misleadership class that is hopelessly entangled with the Democratic Party and its Wall Street and Silicon Valley funders—the same forces that seek to neutralize the Black political presence in the U.S. Barack Obama gave the game away in his address to the Democratic National Convention, in 2004: “There is no Black America…there is only the United States of America.” But most Black people failed to understand his meaning.
However, the folks that formed the Black Is Back Coalition, in 2009, had heard Obama, loud and clear. There is little time left to preserve Black majorities in Baltimore, Birmingham, Detroit, Cleveland, Savannah and Newark (it’s has already been lost in Washington, DC, and will soon slip away in Atlanta), or to maintain strong pluralities in Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Norfolk.
Black people can only maintain a powerful and secure presence in the cities through a vibrant, independent, self-determinationist politics. Otherwise, Black dispersal will proceed along its bloody, maddening course, and at a quickening pace.
That’s why the Black is Back Coalition is holding an Electoral School, April 7 to 9 , in St. Louis, Missouri (which lost its slim Black majority in this century). The Coalition is guided by a 19-point National Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination, a document that addresses virtually every issue confronting Black people. Below are four points that are particularly relevant to the push-out of Blacks from the cities:
Black Community Control of the Police. We demand the immediate withdrawal of all domestic military occupation forces from Black communities. This democratic demand assumes the ability of Black people to mobilize for our own security and to redefine the role of the police so that it no longer functions as an agency imposed on us from the outside.
Roll Back and End Mass Black Incarceration. The U.S. mass Black incarceration regime is designed to contain, terrorize and criminalize an entire people, with the result that one out of eight prison inmates on the planet is a Black person in the U.S. As a minimal demand, every U.S. incarcerating authority must take immediate steps to roll back the national prison and jail population to 1972 levels, resulting in the release of 4 out of 5 current inmates in a process overseen by representatives of the imprisoned peoples’ communities––primarily people of color. As a maximum demand, all Africans must be immediately released from U.S. prisons and jails and our community given the democratic right to determine their fate.
Halt Gentrification through the empowerment, stabilization and restoration of traditional Black neighborhoods. Black people have the right to develop, plan and preserve our own communities. No project shall be considered “development” that does not serve the interests of the impacted population, nor should any people-displacing or otherwise disruptive project be allowed to proceed without the permission of that population. Peoples that have been displaced from our communities by public or private development schemes have the Right to Return to our communities, from New Orleans to Harlem.
Right to Free Education through post-graduate level. Public schools must meet the highest standards of excellence, under the supervision of educational boards directly elected by the communities they serve. We oppose both for-profit schooling and philosophies of teaching that put profit over human development, and we support democratic educational values and strategies that empower students and their communities to determine their own destinies. In the immediate term, Black people in the U.S. need education that facilitates our liberation from white supremacy and corporate hegemony.
Make arrangements to attend the Black Is Back Coalition Electoral School. It’s a lot later than you think.Post Views: 450
By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
Groups affiliated with Black Lives Matter release agenda
By ERRIN HAINES WHACK
Ahead of the second anniversary of the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, that touched off a wave of protests nationwide, a coalition of more than 60 organizations affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement has issued a list of demands calling policing and criminal justice reforms.
The agenda, titled “A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom and Justice” was released Monday by the Movement for Black Lives. The platform also comes after both the Republican and Democratic conventions, during which Black Lives Matter activists were noticeably absent from protest lines.
“We seek radical transformation, not reactionary reform,” Michaela Brown, a spokeswoman for Baltimore Bloc, one of the group’s partner organizations, said in a statement. “As the 2016 election continues, this platform provides us with a way to intervene with an agenda that resists state and corporate power, an opportunity to implement policies that truly value the safety and humanity of Black lives, and an overall means to hold elected leaders accountable.”
The agenda outlines six demands and offers 40 recommendations on how to address them. To address criminal justice reform, for example, movement organizers are calling for an end to the type of militarized police presence seen at protests in cities like Ferguson, and the retroactive decriminalization and immediate release of all people convicted of drug offenses, sex work related offense and youth offenses.
The group also is calling for the passage of a bill that would create a commission to study reparations for descendants of slaves.
This is the first time Black Lives Matter has articulated its demands and has faced pressure to do so.
The Black Lives Matter movement dates to 2012, but ignited two years later when 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who is white, on August 9, 2014. The incident — followed by other killings of black men and boys by police in cities including Baltimore and Cleveland, and — sparked racial tensions and weeks of protests that evolved into a national conversation about disparities in policing.
Fueled largely by social media, the movement has grabbed the attention of elected officials, including President Barack Obama — who has invited activists to the White House to discuss their grievances and possible solutions. Their efforts also have forced the issues of criminal justice reform and policing disparities into the 2016 election cycle, and were credited, in part, with the ouster of district attorneys in Illinois and Ohio earlier this year.Post Views: 352
Bigots are Yelling for Black People to ‘Go Back to Africa!’ – But What Does It Mean? And Is It Possible to Return?By Elliot Booker — 4 years ago
Posted by David Love
“Go back to Africa!” It is the phrase du jour for racist whites, typically when used as part of a bitter, angry, expletive-laden rant against Black people. There are so many examples of the popularity of this insult these days.
A Beaufort, South Carolina teacher told a Black high school student to go back to the continent after he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. In Virginia, the Sons of Confederate Veterans told the African-American community to go back amid calls for the city council to remove the Confederate flag from a local museum. A Black student at Southern Illinois University was told the same thing when she was confronted by Donald Trump supporters in a residence hall. And at Trump rallies in Chicago and Cleveland, Trump supporters were heard yelling the phrase, along with other racial epithets.
“If you call yourself an African-American, go back to Africa. If you’re an African first, go back to Africa,” said a white man to a Black woman and #BlackLivesMatter supporter at a Trump rally in Cleveland this past March, as reported by MSNBC.And recently, a Bank of America employee in Atlanta was fired for her racist Facebook rant.“When a bigot says ‘Go back to Africa,’ he or she is simply being nasty and irrational,” Dr. Wilson Jeremiah Moses, Ferree Professor of American History at the Pennsylvania State University, told Atlanta Black Star. Moses is the author of Classical Black Nationalism: From the American Revolution to Marcus Garvey and Liberian Dreams: Records of an African Return 1853, among other works. “I am not wise enough to know to how one can best respond to nastiness and irrationality.”
To be sure, there is a nastiness to the phrase, particularly when accompanied by other insults, threats and acts of violence. For example, in October 2014, when a group of Black protesters outside a St. Louis Cardinals game sought to bring attention of the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, they were met with a crowd of virulent white racists. As Crooks & Liars reported, the white fans responded to the Black protesters by chanting “Let’s go Cardinals,” which changed to “Let’s go, Darren!” in honor of Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Brown. While attempting to initiate acts of violence, the white fans told the protesters to go back to Africa and called them jobless, while one of the white men called a Black activist a “crackhead.”“We’re the ones who gave all y’all the freedoms that you have!” shouted one white woman at the African-Americans, as a number of fans began chanting “Africa, Africa” – shorthand for the suggestion they go back to the motherland.
“Go back to Africa!” It is the phrase du jour for racist whites, typically when used as part of a bitter, angry, expletive-laden rant against Black people. There are so many examples of the popularity of this insult these days.
A Beaufort, South Carolina teacher told a Black high school student to go back to the continent after he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. In Virginia, the Sons of Confederate Veterans told the African-American community to go back amid calls for the city council to remove the Confederate flag from a local museum. A Black student at Southern Illinois University was told the same thing when she was confronted by Donald Trump supporters in a residence hall. And at Trump rallies in Chicago and Cleveland, Trump supporters were heard yelling the phrase, along with other racial epithets.“If you call yourself an African-American, go back to Africa. If you’re an African first, go back to Africa,” said a white man to a Black woman and #BlackLivesMatter supporter at a Trump rally in Cleveland this past March, as reported by MSNBC.And recently, a Bank of America employee in Atlanta was fired for her racist Facebook rant.“When a bigot says ‘Go back to Africa,’ he or she is simply being nasty and irrational,” Dr. Wilson Jeremiah Moses, Ferree Professor of American History at the Pennsylvania State University, told Atlanta Black Star. Moses is the author of Classical Black Nationalism: From the American Revolution to Marcus Garvey and Liberian Dreams: Records of an African Return 1853, among other works. “I am not wise enough to know to how one can best respond to nastiness and irrationality.”To be sure, there is a nastiness to the phrase, particularly when accompanied by other insults, threats and acts of violence. For example, in October 2014, when a group of Black protesters outside a St. Louis Cardinals game sought to bring attention of the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, they were met with a crowd of virulent white racists. As Crooks & Liars reported, the white fans responded to the Black protesters by chanting “Let’s go Cardinals,” which changed to “Let’s go, Darren!” in honor of Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Brown. While attempting to initiate acts of violence, the white fans told the protesters to go back to Africa and called them jobless, while one of the white men called a Black activist a “crackhead.”
“We’re the ones who gave all y’all the freedoms that you have!” shouted one white woman at the African-Americans, as a number of fans began chanting “Africa, Africa” – shorthand for the suggestion they go back to the motherland.
nd part of the assumption among whites is that Black folks should be happy to be in America, which, through its kindness and generosity, has rendered African-Americans the most fortunate Black people around. There is a perverse, outlandish assertion that Black people — kidnapped at gunpoint and brought to these shores in the belly of a slave ship, and, if they survived, were raped, tortured and forced to toil in prison camp plantations — should leave if they cannot appreciate all that white people have done for them. Of course, the parties to whom Black people would presumably return the favor came to North America from Europe — unannounced and uninvited — and stole the land from the indigenous population right from under their feet. Yet, never are there any calls for whites to return to Europe.
This sentiment was best articulated by conservative commentator Pat Buchanan in 2008.
“First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known,” Buchanan wrote on his website.
“Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the ’60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream,” he added. “Governments, businesses and colleges have engaged in discrimination against white folks — with affirmative action, contract set-asides and quotas — to advance black applicants over white applicants.”
While the concept of returning to Africa is pejorative and insulting when articulated by white racists, it also represented a movement throughout history, with Blacks and whites involved in “back-to-Africa” movements — Sierra Leone and Liberia in the 19th century, Marcus Garvey in the early 20th century, and Pan-African activists and intellectuals such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Kwame Ture settling in West Africa. It is a complicated history.
“In the later editions of From Slavery to Freedom, John Hope Franklin gave a nuanced analysis of the multiple and complicated reasons why some whites and blacks supported African deportation before the Civil War,” said Dr. Moses.In that book, Franklin wrote that as early as 1714, there was a proposal to send Blacks back to Africa. Whites believed the races could not live together in harmony, and free Black people could not adjust to life in America, and created a problem for maintaining the system of slavery.“There is no adequate history of the American Colonization Society,” said Moses of the organization which helped relocate thousands of freed Black people to what would become Liberia. “There is no satisfactory treatment of Henry Clay’s advocacy of African deportation or of Abraham Lincoln’s decreasing interest in African deportation, as he evolved from a Whig to a Republican. In my view, Lincoln was never convinced of the practicality of deportation, for reasons that Alexis de Tocqueville had articulated,” Moses offered. “I touched on my reasons for believing that Lincoln was not serious in my biography of Alexander Crummell (Oxford UP, 1989). As for Jefferson, I think he was absolutely insincere about African deportation. Jefferson was a complete phony, and like many populists he used democratic rhetoric to cover up aristocratic programs. He never joined the American Colonization Society and contrary to popular belief, never supported the abolition of slavery. Jefferson only called for ending the Atlantic slave trade except in order to inflate domestic slave prices,” he added.
“I would suggest that no discussion of the Back to Africa movements, either the white racist ones, or especially the Black ones (such as Garvey’s), is complete without considerable explanation of the nadir of race relations,” said James W. Loewen, the author of Lies My Teacher Told Me; Lies Across America; Sundown Towns; Teaching What Really Happened; and The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader. During the nadir, which began during the end of Reconstruction and lasted through the early 20th century, was a time of white supremacy, Jim Crow segregation, racial terrorism and a loss of civil rights for Black people.
“Going back to Africa was hardly irrational, given how race relations grew worse and worse after 1890. That needs to be explained, lest Garvey, et al., come across as charlatans,” Loewen, who taught race relations at the University of Vermont, told Atlanta Black Star.
Meanwhile, many African-Americans today are crossing the Atlantic to live in Ghana, once a major starting point of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, and one of the first African nations to emerge from colonial rule. While millions crossed the Middle Passage by force via Ghana for a life of permanent enslavement in America — 40 percent never making it to the other side — some of their descendants are returning for a better, more comfortable life, business opportunities and to rediscover their roots.
Ghana has a Right of Abode program that grants permanent residency and dual citizenship to people of African descent. According to the African-American Association of Ghana, 3,000 African-Americans live in Ghana, most in the capital of Accra. So, some Black people are going back to Africa, but they are doing so on their own terms. And as the future becomes more difficult and more uncertain for people of African descent in the U.S., certainly more will consider the optionPost Views: 469