When then-President Clinton signed the violent crime bill in September 1994, the bill was originally written by then Senator Joe Biden, supported by Hillary Clinton, voted for by Bernie Saunders and the misleadership of the Congressional Black Caucus of the 103rd Congress. The former president said in July 2015 that the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act he signed in 1994 put too many people in prison for too long. Telling a NAACP Convention audience in Philadelphia in July 2015, Clinton said he wanted to ‘admit’ his role in imprisoning so many Black Americans, Clinton said: ‘I signed a bill that made the problem worse – and I want to admit it.’ It didn’t sound like in his exchange with Black Lives Matter protesters in Philadelphia on 4/7/2016 that he was sorry for anything. Bobby Rush apologizes in this video, other Black Caucus members who were party to it need to do the same, and fight to their last breath to correct this atrocity against the Black family.
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By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
South African universities have been affected by the biggest student protests to hit the country since apartheid ended in 1994.
South Africa’s president has warned that the protests, which have caused about $44m (£34m) in damage to property in the last few weeks, could threaten to sabotage the country’s entire higher education system.
What sparked the protests?
In 2015, proposed tuition fee hikes of between 10% and 12% sparked protests.
The demonstrations began last October at Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand when students blocked the entrance to the university campus, following indications that the institution would raise fees by 10.5% for 2016.
The demonstrations, under the banner #FeesMustFall, led to the closure of some of the country’s top universities – and President Zuma ordered a freeze on tuition fees for a year.
But protests erupted again last month after a government proposal to raise tuition fees by up to 8% in 2017.
They are now demanding free education for all students.
Which students are affected?
Many black students say they come from poor families, and fee increases will rob them of the opportunity to continue studying.
Students say the fee hikes amount to discrimination in a country where the average income of black families is far less than that of white families.
They want free education for everyone, starting with the poor and “missing middle”- those whose parents have jobs but don’t make enough to afford tertiary education.
Extreme income inequality remains a persistently stubborn problem more than two decades after the end of apartheid in 1994.
Correspondents say the protests show growing disillusionment with the governing African National Congress (ANC), which took power after 1994, over high levels of poverty, unemployment and corruption in government.
The students want the opportunities promised when apartheid ended.
How are university fees determined?
Annual increases in student fees differ between universities as fees are determined by institutions. Fees also vary across degree programs.
Universities have three main sources of income: Government subsidies, student fees and private sources. The number and financial background of students influence individual university subsidies.
While government funding for higher education has increased by nearly 70% since 2001, according to news organisation Ground Up, student enrolment numbers have also increased leading to a decrease in the subsidy per student.
In addition South African institutions want to provide a “world class” education and argue that they battle to maintain standards amid financial constraints.
Why did the protests spread?
The proposed fee increases are not exceptional in comparison to usual annual increases, which are often between around 7% and 14%. While there have been protests about fees at individual universities in previous years, the national scale of these protests over the last 12 months has been unprecedented.
It seems impossible to separate the protests from demonstrations earlier in 2015 around a lack of transformation at South African universities more than two decades after the end of white-minority rule.
Apartheid and education:
- One of the main laws of apartheid was the Bantu Education Act of 1953
- It prevented black children from reaching their full potential
- A black education department compiled a curriculum that suited the “nature and requirements of the black people”. The aim was to prevent Africans receiving an education that would lead them to aspire to positions they would not be allowed to hold in society
A move to “decolonise” higher education was sparked when politics student Chumani Maxwele emptied a bucket of excrement over the statue of British imperialist Cecil John Rhodes at the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) campus in March 2015.
The statue was eventually removed, but similar movements formed at other universities calling for diverse academics and changes to curriculum. This gave the movement a springboard: To correct the historical legacies of apartheid in higher education.Post Views: 209
By Elliot Booker — 2 years agoThe Montgomery-based Equal Justice Initiative is building a memorial to lynching victims. The group estimates more than 4,000 African-Americans were lynched in the South between 1877-1950. Among those targeted were black veterans. These men returned from war abroad having experienced something unfamiliar to them: being treated with dignity and respect –– something they didn’t receive at home in the U.S. Many black veterans challenged the racial hierarchy of the South and were seen as threats to white supremacy. WBHM’s Esther Ciammachilli spoke with Bryan Stevenson, EJI’s founder and executive director, to learn more about the legacy of lynching and the history of racial inequality in America.
Ciammachilli: Why were white people concerned about the African-American veterans who were returning from war?
Stevenson: When World War I comes along and the country needs black people to help win this war and tens of thousands of African-Americans sign up to fight for the government, there’s a new threat to racial hierarchy. There’s a new threat to the sort of white supremacy that dominates political, social, and economic life because when these soldiers return after World War I and then certainly after World War II, they’ve now been exposed to a world outside of the emancipated South. They’ve been treated in many ways with dignity and respect. They’ve been armed, they’ve been trained, they’ve been disciplined, they’ve had success on the battlefield. And when you come back like that, you do pose a threat to people who are trying to create and sustain this world where black people only submit to whites, that they live in the margins, they get off the sidewalk when white people walk by. They don’t talk back. They don’t ask questions. They are subordinate. And so, targeting veterans and challenging any sense that freedom or autonomy or equality is something that they could expect meant that black veterans were experiencing racial violence at a much higher rate than other people, and the lynching of African-American veterans after World War I, after the Spanish-American War, after World War I, and then after World War II really points that out.
Ciammachilli: And of the thousands of blacks that were lynched in the South between 1877 and 1950, how many of them were veterans? Do we know that number?
Stevenson: It’s a hard thing to determine definitively because the reports about lynchings would almost always provide almost no information about who the person was and what their background was. Our research is increasingly suggestive that as many as 10% were people who had some prior military experience.
Ciammachilli: And did this violence against black veterans only take place in the South or was it more widespread?
Stevenson: It was more widespread. I mean the states that had the highest number of lynchings were all in the American South, but you would find you know these threats all over the country. I mean in the north and the west where millions of black people were fleeing to from the South in response to lynching. There were these growing numbers of African-Americans which of course created challenges and tensions in those communities. So, you would certainly see this and in the Midwest and Ohio and Michigan and Illinois in Indiana. You would see it in the far west –– California Arizona, the northwest, you’d see it in the northeast. It was more concentrated in the American South because the American South, of course, had a rigid legalized system of Jim Crow and of segregation. And black soldiers would be tempted to step across those lines. They no longer thought that it was appropriate that they have to drink out of a colored fountain, or go to an inferior bathroom, or to get out of the way just because a white person was walking down the street.
Ciammachilli: They challenged the white supremacy.
Stevenson: Exactly. That’s right. This narrative of racial differences, ideology of white supremacy, was something that I think black soldiers felt obligated to challenge having fought for American freedom and equality.
Success abroad was also enhancing that. You know black battalions fought valiantly in France during World War I and were highly decorated and recognized. The same was true of World War II. And to be embraced by these these embattled European communities and treated as heroes to then be treated as less than human as inferior and not worthy of any dignity or respect when they got back to the American South was very difficult to accept. And so there were tensions and conflicts emerging from that.
Ciammachilli: And you know I want to talk about actually what it was like for these men who enlisted to fight for the American freedom that they did not enjoy as civilians. What was life like for these men while they were in the military? Were they seen as equals by their white counterparts?
Stevenson: Well even in the military there was segregation, and that’s why this was a national problem, not just a southern problem. The United States military did not permit black people to serve alongside of white people. You know during World War I or World War II, but they fought so valiantly and effectively that it became harder and harder for the American government to justify this kind of segregation. But there’s no question that even during their military service they had to deal with racial segregation and racial separate separation. But I think there was still an affirming experience because they were armed they were trained they were empowered to do things that they could not do on domestic soil and then they had success. And I think that success really created a consciousness that, you know, we cannot continue to accept this white supremacy, this ideology that we’re somehow less capable. And you know there were many leaders in the African-American community that were urging black people to fight during World War I and certainly during World War II on the hope that valiant service, successful service, would then create payment from the American government of freedom of equality. It would ensure that the American government would do more to eliminate Jim Crow and segregation and to end the terrorism and violence that black people had endured since emancipation.
Ciammachilli: And you know speaking of emancipation and following the ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868, which states that all those born in the United States regardless of race are subject to the same “privileges and immunities” of citizens, following the passage of the 14th Amendment, several states actually made moves passed laws that essentially stripped certain rights from black veterans. Can you talk about some of those laws?
Stevenson: I mean, I do think that one of the challenges that we have in American society is that we haven’t really come to grips with how burdened we are by our history of racial inequality. I really don’t believe we’re free in this country. I think we’ve all been compromised. We’ve all been infected by this narrative of racial difference. I think our history of racial inequality has created a kind of smog that we all breathe in and it creates problems for us even today. It doesn’t take much to create distrust or offense or conflict. And I think that’s a product of our failure to deal honestly with this history.
I think we are a post-genocide society in America. I think what happened to native people when white settlers came to this continent was a genocide. And we haven’t done the things you’re supposed to do to recover from genocide, we had millions of native people slaughtered through famine and war and disease and we haven’t really addressed that. What we did instead was create this narrative of racial difference. We said, “Oh no, those native people, they’re savages. We don’t have to worry about their victimization.” And that narrative shaped the legacy of slavery. And as I’ve said, I don’t believe the great evil of American slavery was involuntary servitude or forced labor. I think the great evil of American slavery was the ideology of white supremacy. It’s the narrative we created to make ourselves feel comfortable owning other people we said black people aren’t the same as white people that got these deficits. They’re not fully human. And that problem wasn’t addressed with the constitutional amendments. They don’t talk about ending the narrative of racial difference or the ideology of white supremacy and because of that, you see states –– as you suggest –– creating local statutes and ordinances that are designed to prevent enforcement of rights under the 13th and 14th Amendment. And because of that, I don’t think slavery end in the 1860s, I think it just evolves. And the era of lynching and terrorism and violence that we witnessed in this country between the end of Reconstruction and World War II is dramatic evidence of that. There’s never been a time when you could see thousands of people gathering to witness a black man or woman or child being burned alive, being mutilated, being brutalized and murdered in the public square with no risk of prosecution.
Ciammachilli: As if it’s entertainment.
Stevenson: It was like a carnival. And the people didn’t wear a mask. People tend to think that this was violence committed by hate groups and the Klan. No these were unmasked leading citizens. It was often the elites, the teachers, the doctors, the writers, the people who were the business leaders of a community that participated in this violence and these mass atrocities were devastating to our commitment to the rule of law. And I don’t think we’re going to be a healthy nation until we acknowledge and recognize this legacy. When you go to South Africa, you can’t spend time there without being confronted with the history of apartheid. If you go to Rwanda they will make you listen to the stories of the genocide. Germany has created a new identity for itself by memorializing and marking the legacy created by the Holocaust. You can’t go a hundred meters in Berlin, Germany without seeing a marker or a stone that’s been placed next to the home of a Jewish family. The Germans want you to go to the Holocaust Memorial and reflect soberly on that history. But in this country we don’t talk about slavery. We don’t talk about lynching. We don’t really talk about the legacy of segregation. Here in Alabama, we’ve got hundreds of memorials and monuments honoring and recognizing the Confederacy. We romanticize that era. We celebrate Confederate Memorial Day as a state holiday. We celebrate Jefferson Davis’ birthday as a state holiday here in Alabama. We don’t have Martin Luther King Day we had Martin Luther King/Robert Lee day. And yet with this preoccupation with mid-nineteenth century history we do not talk about slavery. There’s no place in the state you can go and have an honest experience with the legacy of slavery. We don’t talk about lynching.
And so, our work is really aimed at changing that. We put out these reports about lynching and slavery. We’re going to build a museum here in Montgomery. We’re going to create a national memorial to victims of lynching. But we’re doing it because we want to create a different relationship to this history, not just for African-Americans, but for everybody. I think we will all benefit from dealing more directly, more honestly, more soberly with this legacy and we can change our identity too just as Germany has, just as Rwanda has, just as in South Africa. But we can’t do it by continuing to deny and resist efforts at confronting and acknowledging this troubling past.
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By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
Betty Shabazz , born Betty Dean Sanders and also known as Betty X, was an American educator and civil rights advocate. She was the wife of Malcolm X.
Betty Dean Sanders was born on May 28, 1934, to the teenaged Ollie Mae Sanders and Shelman Sandlin. While Betty spent most of her childhood in Detroit, she may have been born in Pinehurst, Georgia. At the age of 11, Betty began living with businessman Lorenzo Malloy and his wife Helen, a prominent businessman and his wife. Helen Malloy was a founding member of the Housewives League of Detroit, a group of African-American women who organized campaigns to support black-owned businesses and boycott stores that refused to hire black employees. She was also a member of the National Council of Negro Women and the NAACP.
Despite their lessons on black self-reliance, the Malloys never spoke with Sanders about racism. Looking back in 1995, Shabazz wrote: “Race relations were not discussed and it was hoped that by denying the existence of race problems, the problems would go away. Anyone who openly discussed race relations was quickly viewed as a ‘troublemaker.'” Still, two race riots during her childhood—in 1942 when the Sojourner Truth housing project was desegregated, and one the following year on Belle Isle—made up what Shabazz later called the “psychological background for my formative years”. After she graduated from high school, Sanders left her foster parents’ home in Detroit to study at the Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), a historically black college in Alabama that was Lorenzo Malloy’s alma mater. She intended to earn a degree in education and become a teacher.
Nothing had prepared Sanders for Southern racism. So long as she stayed on campus, she could avoid interacting with white people, but weekend trips into Montgomery, the nearest city, would try her patience. Black students had to wait until every white person in a store had been helped before the staff would serve them—if they received any service at all. When she complained to the Malloys, they refused to discuss the issue; in a 1989 interview, Shabazz summarized their attitude as “if you’re just quiet it will go away.”
Sanders’ studies suffered as a result of her growing frustration. She decided to change her field of study from education to nursing. The dean of nursing, Lillian Harvey, encouraged Sanders to consider studying in a Tuskegee-affiliated program at the Brooklyn State College School of Nursing in New York City. Against her foster parents’ wishes, Sanders left Alabama for New York in 1953.
In New York, Sanders encountered a different form of racism. At Montefiore Hospital, where she performed her clinical training, black nurses were given worse assignments than white nurses. White patients sometimes were abusive toward black nurses. While the racial climate in New York was better than the situation in Alabama, Sanders frequently wondered whether she had merely exchanged Jim Crow racism for a more genteel prejudice.
During her second year of nursing school, Sanders was invited by an older nurse’s aide to a Friday-night dinner party at the Nation of Islam temple in Harlem. “The food was delicious,” Shabazz recalled in 1992, “I’d never tasted food like that.” After dinner, the woman asked Sanders to come to the Muslims’ lecture. Sanders agreed. After the speech, the nurse’s aide invited Sanders to join the Nation of Islam; Sanders politely declined. The older woman told Sanders about her minister, who was not at the temple that night: “Just wait until you hear my minister talk. He’s very disciplined, he’s good-looking, and all the sisters want him.”
Sanders enjoyed the food so much, she agreed to come back and meet the woman’s minister. At the second dinner, the nurse’s aide told her the minister was present and Sanders thought to herself, “Big deal.” In 1992 she recalled how her demeanor changed when she caught a glimpse of Malcolm X:
Then, I looked over and saw this man on the extreme right aisle sort of galloping to the podium. He was tall, he was thin, and the way he was galloping it looked as though he was going someplace much more important than the podium. … He got to the podium—and I sat up straight. I was impressed with him.
Sanders met Malcolm X again at a dinner party. The two had a long conversation about Sanders’s life: her childhood in Detroit, the racial hostility she had encountered in Alabama, and her studies in New York. He spoke to her about the condition of African Americans and the causes of racism. Sanders began to see things from a different perspective. “I really had a lot of pent-up anxiety about my experience in the South,” Shabazz recalled in a 1990 interview, “and Malcolm reassured me that it was understandable how I felt.”
Soon Sanders was attending all of Malcolm X’s lectures at Temple Number Seven in Harlem. He always sought her out afterwards, and he would ask her a lot of questions. He also began to pressure her to join the Nation of Islam. In mid 1956, Sanders converted. Like many members of the Nation of Islam, she changed her surname to “X”, which represented the family name of her African ancestors that she could never know.
Betty X and Malcolm X did not have a conventional courtship. One-on-one dates were contrary to the teachings of the Nation of Islam. Instead, the couple shared their “dates” with dozens, or even hundreds of other members. Malcolm X frequently took groups to visit New York’s museums and libraries, and he always invited Betty X.
Although they had never discussed the subject, Betty X suspected that Malcolm X was interested in marriage. One day he called and asked her to marry him, and they were married on January 14, 1958, in Lansing, Michigan. By coincidence, Betty X became a licensed nurse on the same day.
Over time, the family dynamic changed, as Malcolm X made small concessions to Betty X’s demands for more independence. In 1969, Shabazz recalled:
“We would have little family talks. They began at first with Malcolm telling me what he expected of a wife. But the first time I told him what I expected of him as a husband it came as a shock. After dinner one night he said, “Boy, Betty, something you said hit me like a ton of bricks. Here I’ve been going along having our little workshops with me doing all the talking and you doing all the listening.” He concluded our marriage should be a mutual exchange.”
The couple had six daughters. Their names were Attallah, born in 1958 , Qubilah, born in 1960 Ilyasah, born in 1962; Gamilah Lumumba, born in 1964 and twins, Malikah and Malaak, born in 1965 after their father’s assassination and named for him.
On February 21, 1965, in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom, Malcolm X began to speak to a meeting of the Organization of Afro-American Unity when a disturbance broke out in the crowd of 400. As Malcolm X and his bodyguards moved to quiet the disturbance, a man rushed forward and shot Malcolm in the chest with a sawed-off shotgun. Two other men charged the stage and fired handguns, hitting him 16 times.
Shabazz was in the audience near the stage with her daughters. When she heard the gunfire, she grabbed the children and pushed them to the floor beneath the bench, where she shielded them with her body. When the shooting stopped, Shabazz ran toward her husband and tried to perform CPR. Police officers and Malcolm X’s associates carried him to a stretcher, and brought him to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Shabazz had difficulty sleeping for weeks after Malcolm X’s assassination. She suffered from nightmares in which she relived the death of her husband. She also worried about how she would support herself and her family. The publication of The Autobiography of Malcolm X helped, because Shabazz received half of the royalties.(Alex Haley, who assisted Malcolm X in writing the book, got the other half. After the publication of his best-seller Roots, Haley signed over his portion of the royalties to Shabazz.
Actor and activist Ruby Dee and Juanita Poitier (wife of Sidney Poitier) established the Committee of Concerned Mothers, to raise funds to buy a house, and pay educational expenses for the Shabazz family. The Committee held a series of benefit concerts at which they raised $17,000. They bought a large two-family home in Mount Vernon, New York. Also living in Mount Vernon at that time was her close friend, the musician and civil rights activist Nina Simone.
Shabazz never remarried. She raised her six daughters alone, aided by annual royalties from her husband’s book The Autobiography of Malcolm X and other publications. In late 1969, Shabazz completed an undergraduate degree at Jersey City State College, followed by a doctoral degree in higher-education administration at the University of Massachusetts. Shabazz began to accept speaking engagements at colleges and universities. She often spoke about the black nationalist philosophy of Malcolm X, but she also spoke about her role as a wife and mother. She then accepted a position as an associate professor of health sciences at New York’s Medgar Evers College. The student body at Medgar Evers was 90 percent black and predominantly working-class, with an average age of 26. Black women made up most of the faculty, and 75 percent of the students were female, two-thirds of them mothers. These were all qualities that made Medgar Evers College attractive to Shabazz.
By 1980, Shabazz was overseeing the health sciences department, and the college president decided she could be more effective in a purely administrative position than she was in the classroom. She was promoted to Director of Institutional Advancement. In her new position, she became a booster and fund-raiser for the college. A year later, she was given tenure. In 1984, Shabazz was given a new title, Director of Institutional Advancement and Public Affairs; she held that position at the college until her death. On June 1, 1997, young grandson Malcolm set a fire in Shabazz’s apartment. Shabazz suffered burns over 80 percent of her body, and remained in intensive care for three weeks, at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, New York. She underwent five skin-replacement operations as doctors struggled to replace damaged skin and save her life. Shabazz died of her injuries on June 23, 1997.Post Views: 266