I was only a pre-school Negro boy growing up in Jim Crow-segregated St. Louis, Mo., when my sainted mother, Rosetta, gathered me close and reported, “The best school for Negroes in St. Louis is Vashon High School.” So it didn’t mean much to me.
I would not learn of the greatness of the Vashon name in ensuing decades until nearly 10 years after my arrival in Pittsburgh in 1999 — by way of St. Louis, New York City and Syracuse.
All the same, 2017 marks the 225th anniversary of the 1792 birth of seaman, veteran, war hero, prisoner of war, abolitionist, businessman and, very significantly, Pittsburgher John Bathan Vashon. Active in Pittsburgh from 1829 until the early 1850s, Mr. Vashon was one of the most accomplished Western Pennsylvanians of his day or, for that matter, any day. That he carried the status of African-American renders his achievements all the more astonishing.
Moreover, Mr. Vashon was a hero long before his arrival in Pittsburgh from Carlisle, Pa., and even before his arrival in Carlisle from the War of 1812 and from his native Norfolk, Va.
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By Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
By David Love – June 24, 2015
Black enlisted men were used as human guinea pigs in chemical experiments during World War II—not by Nazi Germany, but by Uncle Sam.
As was reported by NPR, 60,000 American soldiers were enrolled in a secret chemical weapons testing program in which they were exposed to mustard gas and the chemical agent lewisite, which causes lung irritation and blisters. Moreover, the U.S. Department of Defense conducted the tests based on the race of the soldiers. Black, Japanese-American and Puerto Rican soldiers were locked in a gas chamber and exposed to the chemicals. White soldiers were used as the control group.
“They said we were being tested to see what effect these gases would have on Black skins,” said Rollins Edwards, 93, of Summerville, S.C. “You had no choice. You did not know where you were going. They didn’t tell you anything.”
Edwards says his skin still falls off in flakes as a result of the testing. For years, the World War II veteran carried around a jar full of flakes to convince people that something had happened to him.
Although the Pentagon had admitted as early as 1991 that the Army tested mustard gas on enlisted soldiers during World War II—and the experiment program was officially declassified in 1993—news about the racial targeting of soldiers was kept under wraps until recently.
This revelation that the Army tested chemical weapons on soldiers of color is both troubling and an outrage, but the concept of Black people being used in medical and other experiments is by no means a new phenomenon. There are numerous examples of Black people being used as guinea pigs in unethical medical experiments. Perhaps the most well-known example is the Tuskegee experiment, in which the Tuskegee Institute and the U.S. Public Health Service studied the natural progression of syphilis in 600 Black men, who were never notified of their condition and were not treated. The tests, which began in 1932, did not end until news reports exposed the inhumane and racist practice in 1972.
But there are other cases beyond Tuskegee. For example, in the early 1800s, Sara Baartman, or “Hottentot Venus,” one of two KhoiKhoi women made into freak show attractions in Europe, was subjected to medical experiments. And modern gynecology was the result of torturous gynecological experiments that J. Marion Sims performed on enslaved women without anesthesia.
At the turn of the century, the U.S. Public Health Service conducted experiments on Black prisoners suffering from pellagra, which is a B-13 or niacin deficiency leading to sensitivity to sunlight skin lesions, dementia and death. In 1945, 53-year-old truck driver, Ebb Cabe, was injected with plutonium by the U.S. Atomic Agency after he was taken to the hospital and kept there for six months following a car accident. Cabe received 40 times the amount of plutonium—the key ingredient for a nuclear bomb—a typical person is exposed to over the course of a lifetime. He died eight years later of heart failure.
During the 1950s, the CIA and the U.S. military released half a million mosquitoes with yellow and dengue fever into Black Florida communities, leading to multiple illnesses and deaths. The government wanted to assess the use of mosquitoes as military weapons. Also in that decade, Henrietta Lacks became the first test subject on cloning, without her knowledge or permission, with 20 tons of her cells grown since her death.
During the 1950s and 1960s, poor Black St. Louis neighborhoods were used in Cold War experiments in which the Army, using aerosol blowers mounted on vehicles and rooftops, sprayed a radiation-laced toxin called zinc cadmium sulfide, a fluorescent powder. Thousands likely inhaled the toxins.
In the 1990s, children in Los Angeles were injected with an experimental measles vaccine unapproved by the FDA, and one which had developed a bad reputation for increasing high death rates in Haiti, Guinea Bissau and Senegal.
Between 2006 and 2010, 148 female prisoners in two California prisons—the majority Black and Latino— were sterilized without their consent. Meanwhile, Israel subjected African immigrant women to mandatory contraceptive injections of Depo-Provera, leading to a 20 percent birth rate decline for Ethiopian Israelis.
In 2000, federally funded researchers placed sludge from a sewage treatment plant on lawns and vacant lots in Baltimore and East St. Louis. The communities were told the toxic waste was safe. And in 2012, at least 500 children in Chad were given MenAfriVac—whose side effects include convulsions and paralysis— without notification or parental consent.
In addition, the CDC hid evidence that Black babies had more than triple the chance of developing autism if they were given an experimental measles vaccine before the age of three.
For years, the Black community has warned of conspiracies against their communities, and were told they were neurotic and imagining things. But as the latest news from the Pentagon shows us, these conspiracies are not theories but reality.Post Views: 1,531
By Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
Written by Peter Pedroncelli Jul 05, 2019
Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, African Union ambassador to the U.S., has called on African Americans to “come home” and contribute to Africa’s growth and prosperity.
She was speaking to an audience of Black entrepreneurs at a Power Networking Conference in Houston, Texas and urged them to “wake up, organize, go home and take what is rightfully ours,” according to a YouTube video uploaded by Dr. Boyce Watkins, the CEO of The Black Business School.
Zimbabwe-born Dr. Chihombori-Quao is the permanent representative of the African Union Representational Mission to the U.S., according to the A.U.
A former medical doctor, she is the CEO and founder of Bell Family Medical Centers in the U.S. Before taking up her current position at the A.U. in 2017, she practiced medicine for 29 years in Tennessee.
A.U. ambassador calling Africa’s children home
Chihombori-Quao asked African Americans to return home to Africa with the skills and expertise to help build African economies.
“If the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area is going to succeed, it must include the children in the diaspora,” she said.
The Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement is a new pan-African trade zone proposed in March 2018 that aims to enable intra-Africa trade among the 55 countries in Africa, Fin24 reports.
Intra-African trade was worth about $170 billion in 2017, but accounts for only 15 percent of the continent’s trade, FT reports.
By comparison, intra-continental trade is at 67 percent in the European Union and 58 percent in Asia.
Designed to boost intra-Africa trade, the African Continental Free Trade Area, which came into effect at the end of May, aims to slash tariffs on 90 percent of goods across a market of 1.2 billion people, according to Moneyweek.
Contracts for massive construction projects are going to companies in China and Europe when they could be going to “the children of Africa” in the diaspora, Chihombori-Quao said.
“So while the rest of the world is strategizing about how to get into Africa, guess who is still sleeping like grasshoppers? Us, the children of Africa. I’m here to say, my brothers and sisters, we must wake up. We have got to wake up, organize and go home to take what is rightfully ours.”
She ended her address with a call for African Americans not to complain about Africa but contribute to change it.
“If we don’t organize in order for us to participate in the development of Africa, let’s not complain when the contract to build the Cape-to-Cairo highway goes to China. Let’s not complain when the highway from East Africa to West Africa goes to some European company,” Chihombori-Quao said.
Organized for almost two decades, the PowerNetworking Conference has gathered Black entrepreneurs looking to connect, grow and prosper with annual events held in Houston, Texas.
This year’s event took place between June 26-29. The dates for 2020 are not confirmed.
During a visit to Los Angeles on June 14, Ethiopian ambassador Fitsum Arega outlined the prospects for investors, companies, and entrepreneurs to engage with Africa’s second most populous country, according to the LosAngelesSentinel.
“Our new, reformist prime minister (Abiy Ahmed) welcomes U.S. businesses to do trade between the U.S. and Africa and the U.S. and Ethiopia. We encourage the Africa diaspora – African Americans – to do business and strengthen this link,” said Arega.
Manufacturing, telecommunications, power and solar energy and entertainment are areas ripe for investment, he said.Post Views: 2,234
By Elliot Booker — 4 years ago
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Jennifer Bailey: Jennifer Bailey was named one of 15 Faith Leaders to Watch by the Center for American Progress. Rev. Jennifer Bailey is an ordained minister and emerging national leader in a multi-faith movement for justice. She is the Executive Director of Faith Matters Network and co-Founder of the People’s Supper, a national campaign building community through shared meals focused on healing and bridging the rupture at the heart of our democracy.
Taliya Davis: Taliya Davis born in North Philadelphia, received her Bachelor of Arts degree at Cheyney University. Then she decided to continue her education at her alma mater and is currently pursuing her Master of Public Administration degree. Taliya also serves as an active member on the recruitment committee for Cheyney University Alumni Philadelphia Chapter, where she began an initiative titled “Bridge the Gap.” Taliya works closely with multiple library branches throughout Philadelphia, where she also began an annual trademark event titled “Back to School Ice Cream Social.”
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