Credit Mario Tama/Getty Images Q. Near the West 85th Street entrance to Central Park, there is what appears to be the corner of a foundation. What was it?
A. The foundation is a testament to Seneca Village, one of the first communities of black landholders in New York, which was destroyed in 1857 to create Central Park.
In 1853, after weighing several options for a great municipal park modeled after those of London and Paris, city officials selected a mostly vacant tract of land between Fifth and Eighth Avenues, and 59th and 106th Streets.
While more than 1,600 people lived in the footprint of the future Central Park, including the nuns of the Academy of St. Vincent and a number of farmers, the nearly 300 residents of Seneca Village represented the most concentrated population.
Seneca Village was between about West 81st and 89th Streets, and what would have been Seventh and Eighth Avenues, southwest of today’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. The site is marked with a plaque honoring the community’s history.
It’s easy to see why the city picked this terrain for a park: the ground undulates, and bedrock pokes through at regular intervals. In other words, it’s not the easiest place to build the dense housing required by a growing city.
Neither housing nor open space was much of a concern in 1825, when a black shoeshiner named Andrew Williams bought three lots there; the area was several miles from the center of New York City, then concentrated below 14th Street. Several other black residents soon joined him in buying property, as did the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, whose building likely sat atop the foundation. (Seneca Village eventually boasted three churches, one of which housed Colored School No. 3.)
While living conditions in Seneca Village were far better than those of other black areas, like the infamous Five Points, getting the right to vote also served as an enticement to owning land.
From 1799 to 1827, New York State gradually eliminated slavery. The transition included an 1821 law that gave suffrage to free black males — provided they owned at least $250 worth of property. By 1845, more than 10 percent of the city’s black voters lived in Seneca Village.
Seneca Village is usually remembered as a free black community, but by the end of its existence, nearly a third of its population was white — mostly Irish immigrants who had escaped the potato famine, along with a few Germans.
In the debate over where to place the great park, however, uptown landowners and newspapers painted the village as a shantytown at risk of becoming the next Five Points, occasionally describing it with racial slurs.
The initial choice was along the waterfront on the Upper East Side, but those landowners had enough clout to make the city look elsewhere, unlike the residents of Seneca Village.
The state authorized the city to claim the land through eminent domain, reportedly undervaluing many properties. The community disbanded, failing to form again elsewhere. Researchers have yet to identify any living descendants of Seneca Village’s black residents.
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By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
A decades-long campaign to hook African Americans on menthols has unfortunately worked like a charm.
Written By Nigel Roberts
The tobacco industry’s scheme to get Black people addicted to menthol cigarettes was highlighted in “Black Lives/Black Lungs,” a new documentary about the dangers of the flavored smokes, the Spokane Spokesman reported. Nine out of 10 Black smokers prefer menthol cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Filmmaker Lincoln Mondy , 23, examined the menthol cigarette advertising blitz that began since the 1950s. As a bi-racial child, Mondy said he noticed his White relatives tended to smoke non-menthol cigarettes and used chewing tobacco. On the other side of the family, his Black relatives used menthol cigarettes exclusively.
The tobacco industry’s strategy included giving money to Black politicians, scholarships to African-American students and support for Black cultural events, Mondy’s film also revealed.
The consequences have been devastating. African-Americans die from diseases related to tobacco use at a higher rate than Whites, even though Blacks smoke fewer cigarettes and start smoking at an older age than White people do, according to the CDC.
Cigarette makers are not the only industry under fire for targeting the Black community. Earlier this year, two pastors from the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit in D.C. Superior Court against Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association, CBS News reported.
According to the ministers, the soda industry shares a huge part of the responsibility for the diabetes epidemic that has swept through minority communities because the industry targets African-Americans and Hispanics.
READ MORE AT: https://newsone.com/3757661/smoking-race-menthol-cigarettes-documentary-black-lives-lungsPost Views: 627
By Elliot Booker — 5 years ago
Obi Egbuna Jr
Apr 21, 2016
While Zimbabweans were celebrating their 36th anniversary of independence one of the main propaganda outlets of US Imperialism Voice of America(VOA) had the audacity to host a forum entitled Zimbabwe at 36: The Way Forward that included a panel discussion with the theme Zimbabwe’s Future: Changes and Challenges. The participants were Mr. Gregory B. Simpkins the staff director for the US House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights, Reverend Issac Mwase of the Zimbabwe Diaspora Network, African Democracy Network and the AGOA Civil Society Network, and Mrs. Sibongile Sidilie Sibanda who previously worked for the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe but now represents Trusted Touch Healthcare LLC which she founded in 2011 the base of operations for TTH LLC is Rockville, Maryland just outside of Washington DC.
What the VOA demonstrated on Zimbabwe’s Independence Day through their neo-colonialist pet project Studio 7 created in 2003, is as long as they are in existence, those Zimbabweans who have decided to follow the trail of their countrymen and women who fought side by side with the British and Rhodesians during the 2nd Chimurenga, will always have a safe haven to openly and unapologetically plan the demise of their government country and people in the name of human rights and democracy.
It is important for the everyday Zimbabwean and African at home and abroad to understand that VOA is part of an Imperialist media conglomerate called the Broadcasting Board of Governors(BBG) that was connected to the United States Information Agency until 1999. The BBG has 8 bi-partisan members who are directly appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the US Senate, according to law no more than 4 members can belong to either the Democratic or Republican Party, the US Secretary of State is the ex-officio of BBG. In 1990 the Clinton administration established a Bureau of Broadcasting to consolidate three broadcasting services VOA Worldnet Film and Television service and of course arguably their most reactionary media creation Radio and Television Marti .
The BBG has an annual budget of 713 million US dollars whose main goal as they like to put it is to deliver accurate news and information to significant audiences overseas and to serve as trustworthy news and as an example of a free professional press in countries that lack independent media.
Their list of strategic targets include VOA Middle East Broadcasting Networks Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Radio Free Asia and as aforementioned Radio and TV Marti.
What the annals of history demonstrate is whatever nation on earth that VOA gives an unusual amount of attention to, suggests that US Imperialism desperately wants to bring about a regime change and until the political atmosphere has been created to successfully execute their plan, the goal is to make the diplomatic representation of that country have sleepless nights pondering how to respond to the malicious propaganda efforts of VOA firmly backed up by BBG and the White House US Senate and Congress.
When visitors and residents of Washington DC visit VOA the first thing that catches your attention are the huge images and quotations of former US Presidents along with puppets of US Imperialism whose political parties and installations were created and bankrolled right there in the Nation’s capital.
Some of the standouts include Ronald Reagan saying “VOA will not compromise the truth”
The former President of Poland Lech Walesa saying “There would be no victory over communism without the Voice of America” and lastly the Cuban Oswaldo Paya Sardinas who founded the Christian Liberation Movement in Cuba quoted as saying VOA programs represent the ideal medium to inform Cubans about the need to reform the political process in Cuba. For his efforts to bring about regime change in Cuba Mr. Sardinas received the Sakharov Prize from the EU parliament, the Need’s Homo Homini award and just like the former Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Morgan Tsvangirai was a recipient of the W. Averell Harriman Award created by the National Democratic Institute.
It appears the goal of VOA studio 7 who in addition to Zimbabwe targets South Africa,Mozambique,Namibia,Malawi,Botswana and Zambia, is to one day reach the heights of Radio and TV Marti in Cuba however forums like the one held on Zimbabwe’s Independence Day, challenge the very authenticity of VOA’s charter specifically the third statute that states VOA will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, and also present responsible discussions and opinion on these policies.
When Mrs. Sibanda stated that Zimbabweans in the diaspora are not allowed to vote she failed to mention the political makeup and aspirations of this constituency, if these Zimbabweans she speaks of belong the either faction of MDC or the civil society community financed by both the National Democratic Institute and National Endowment for Democracy, it would not be realistic for President Mugabe and ZANU-PF to take this into consideration. Mrs. Sibanda raised the point that for this reason she has a fear and lack of confidence in the financial sector, but failed to answer a question concerning how she felt as an entrepreneur about Zimbabwe being deliberately excluded from the US Africa business forum that the Obama administration hosted two years ago.
The most interesting comments came from Reverend Mwase who when asked his opinion of Zimbabwe’s Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Dr. Eng Walter Mzembi engaging not only the Corporate Council of Africa a few weeks ago but Zimbabwean citizens in Dallas, Texas, who along with Zimbabweans in Atlanta make up the largest groupings inside US borders claimed he had no idea Minister Mzembi was in the country. An interesting question is how does a Zimbabwean who oversees a network of his countrywomen and also men and established the African Democracy Network and the AGOA civil society network a coalition of African NGOS whose focus is the implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act not have any knowledge that a Minister of his Government is coming to address a body with the stature of CCA yet the main body of Zimbabweans in the diaspora receive him with open arms.
A rather troubling but predictable dynamic was VOA on Zimbabwe’s Independence Day allowing Mr. Simpkins to have the bulk of the time, which meant what was advertised as a forum ended up looking like the individual there to represent US interests received preferential treatment, because the Zimbabweans in attendance were they to reinforce their loyalty to VOA and US-EU imperialism
No one in their right mind would expect them to express any displeasure with this setup.
When Mr. Simpkins was questioned about the recent decision of the Office of Foreign Assets Control targeting the Chemplex Corporation and the Zimbabwe Fertilizer Company, he not only failed to give an informed and appropriate answer, but appeared openly disturbed because it is rather uncharacteristic for a point with that spin to be raised at a VOA sponsored event. After the event Mr. Simpkins reiterated he is not an enemy of Zimbabwe, but with friends who absolve US-EU Imperialism of any wrong doing concerning Zimbabwe past or present there is no need for enemies.
The behavior of these particular Zimbabweans is by no means a phenomenon that captures reactionary habits and tendencies of individuals born and raised in the country’s 10 main provinces exclusively. Their willingness to form an alliance with VOA is the historical equivalent of some of our ancestors on the slave plantations, who chose to become slave-catchers instead of working with Sister Harriet Tubman on the Underground Railroad or taking part in the epic slave rebellions Africans organized everywhere in the Western Hemisphere where we languished as chattel in captivity. Their social demeanor and political posture also brings back painful memories of the misguided and brainwashed Kenyans who opted to fight for the British King’s rifles in Kenya as opposed to the Land and Freedom Army better known as Mau Mau.
Because US Imperialism was constructed at the expense of the indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere, we understand why the presence of President Mugabe and ZANU-PF sends chills up their spines, they can never be comfortable dealing with a government and people who truly represent homeland security.
Obi Egbuna Jr is the US Correspondent to the Herald and the external relations officer of ZICUFA(Zimbabwe-Cuba Friendship Association) his email is firstname.lastname@example.orgPost Views: 895
By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago“Time For An Awakening” special guest for Sunday 04/01/2018 at 7:00 PM was Author, Lecturer, Professor of Media and Africana Studies at Morgan State University, Dr. Jared A. Ball. Dr. Ball informed us of the Race and Media Research Center being developed at Morgan State, along with sharing information on other important topics that affect our communities.Post Views: 907