Tag Archives: conservative court

On This Day: They Assassinated Chairman Fred Hampton

11There have been countless murders of black men, since the founding of America, but the assassination of Fred Hampton speaks loudly to the abuse and corruption of the American police departments. Since the Nat Turner Incident they, white folk, will never allow a black person to rise with suburb leadership skills. History demonstrates the penalty for such a strong black man is death!

On December 4th, 1969, Fred Hampton, an African American activist, and deputy chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party was murdered. Chairman Fred was assassinated while slept in his apartment during a raid by a tactical unit of the Cook County, Illinois State’s Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with the Chicago Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This activity was in concert by the infamous seditious FBI program known as COINTELPRO designed to eliminate activist deemed by its director as “subversive.”

A public statement made to the news media a day after the assassination by FBI Special Agent Gregg York, “We expected about twenty Panthers to be in the apartment when the police raided the place. Only two of those black niggers were killed, Fred Hampton and Mark Clark.”

Chairman Fred, as he was known, was successful and revered for organizing young African Americans for the NAACP. He was quickly attracted to the Black Panthers’ approach, which was based on a ten-point program of a mix of black designed for the survival of the black community. Chairman Fred joined the Party’s nascent Illinois chapter SNCC’s organizer Bob Brown in late 1967.

Over the next year, Hampton and his associates made a number of significant achievements in Chicago. Perhaps his most important accomplishment was his brokering of a nonaggression pact between Chicago’s most powerful street gangs. Emphasizing that racial and ethnic conflict between gangs would only keep its members entrenched in poverty, he strove to forge a class-conscious, multi-racial alliance between the Panther Party, the Young Patriots, and the National Young Lords. Soon after the pact was formed they were joined by the Students for a Democratic Society, the Blackstone Rangers, the Brown Berets, and the Red Guard.

In May 1969, Hampton called a press conference to announce that a truce had been declared among this “rainbow coalition,” a phrase coined by Hampton and made popular later by Jesse Jackson. Jackson eventually appropriated the name in forming his own unrelated coalition – Rainbow/Push. This achievement marked him as a major threat in the eyes of the FBI, signaled his death.

Subsequent investigations have shown that FBI chief Hoover was determined to prevent the formation of a cohesive Black movement in the United States “by any means necessary. Hoover saw the Panthers, and similar radical coalitions forged by Hampton in Chicago, as a frightening stepping stone toward the creation of just such a revolutionary body that could cause a radical change in the U.S. government. They opened a file on Hampton in 1967 that over the next two years expanded to twelve volumes and over four thousand pages.

By May of that year, Chairman Fred’s name was placed on the “Agitator Index,” and he would be designated a “key militant leader for Bureau reporting purposes. In late 1968, the Racial Matters Squad of the FBI’s Chicago field office brought in an individual named William O’Neal, who had recently been arrested twice, for interstate car theft and impersonating a federal officer.

In exchange for dropping the felony charges and a monthly stipend, O’Neal apparently agreed to infiltrate the Black Panther Party as a counterintelligence operative. He joined the Party and quickly rose in the organization, becoming Director of Chapter security and Hampton’s bodyguard.

In 1969, the FBI Special Agent in San Francisco wrote Hoover that his investigation of the Black Panther Party revealed that in his city, at least, the Panthers were primarily feeding breakfast to children. Hoover fired back a memo implying the career ambitions of the agent were directly related to his supplying evidence to support Hoover’s view of the Panthers was “a violence-prone organization seeking to overthrow the Government by revolutionary means.”

Hoover was willing to use false claims to attack his political enemies. In one memo, he wrote: “Purpose of counterintelligence action is to disrupt the BPP, and it is immaterial whether facts exist to substantiate the charge.” Using anonymous letters, the FBI sowed distrust and eventually instigated a split between the Panthers and the Rangers, with O’Neal himself instigating an armed clash between the two on April 2, 1969. The Panthers became effectively isolated from their power base, so the FBI went to work to undermine its ties with other radical organizations.

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O’Neal was instructed to “create a rift” between the Party and Students for a Democratic Society, whose Chicago headquarters was only blocks from that of the Panthers. The Bureau released a batch of racist cartoons in the Panther’s’ name, aimed at alienating white activists, and launched a disinformation program to forestall the realization of the “Rainbow Coalition.”

In repeated directives, J. Edgar Hoover demanded that the COINTELPRO personnel “destroy what the Black Panther Party stands for” and “eradicate its “serve the people programs”. In early October, Hampton and his girlfriend, Deborah Johnson, pregnant with their first child, rented a four-and-a-half room apartment at 2337 West Monroe Street to be closer to Black Panther Party headquarters.

O’Neal reported to his superiors that much of the Panthers’ “provocative” stockpile of arms was being stored there. None of which was true but the paid government informant played the role of Judas bringing the powers of the state to kill him. To see how far great powers will go is shocking and a moral shame. Yet, it continues today with all the police killings of black people! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


America’s Shocking and Ugly Truth

 A picture is worth a thousand words.

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Enough said, and that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Twenty-First Century Slaves

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Everyone has an opinion, and it doesn’t matter the subject but when it comes to the prison system and incarceration in America, it’s usually driven by skin color. Some view it as the New Jim Crow and, of course, there are others who see nothing wrong with the system at all.

There are agencies that clearly profile based solely on race – “Stop and Frisk” for example. “Stand your Ground” is another law designed to empower vigilante’s to kill based on a perceived fear of a person of color that take us back to a time when the slave catcher had ultimate authority to take and control freedom.

Thankfully our president has made this an issue and hopefully a priority for the rest his administration. The system of over incarcerating people and those who have languished for years in tombs called prisons; and in some cases for crimes they did not commit. The sad irony of people unable to afford the cost of justice being given extreme sentences and put to death fall into this category. Yet, more shameful is the execution of the mentally disabled and life sentences for minors. Further, the lifelong effect once a person is released from having their voting rights taken away forever.

This could easily be compared to the slave catcher and the system of slavery; particularly when there is a long history of lynchings, chain gangs, and the free labor derived from this system. It is a fact that the land of the free has more people in prison than anywhere else on earth, which is a shame. It was not until recently that the disproportionate sentencing of powder cocaine and crack have been modified and shown to be unfair. Still hundreds suffer from the extreme punishment.

It always comes back to the Constitution where it is written under the 13th Amendment that when your freedom can be taken away, which means you then are a slave or at best a system called the New Jim Crow. This is to include the most extreme punishment of being put “in the hole,” where inmates are shackled and locked up for 23 hours per day in solitary confinement if he refused to work. The sad part is this means children too.

All inmates are expected to work for little or nothing, the poorly paid, unsafe work the inmate must do in my opinion has crossed legal boundaries. Let me say clearly that it is not my position that laws and punishment are not necessary. What is disparaging is that it disproportionately affects the minority population of the citizenry.

Most prisons suffer from overcrowding from draconian sentences like twenty-five to life imposed for minor drug offenses, and three-strike laws are akin to chattel slavery. The system has run amuck mainly because of privatization, and it’s time to end the “War on Drugs” and find a better solution to the problem instead of throwing away the key.

Did you know the clothing worn by our soldiers are made by the cheap labor of the incarcerated? In closing, let me suggest that you read Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow”. Maybe a good solution would be to incarcerate the real crooks; the so-called “white collar criminals”. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


The Disturbing Case Of Plessy v Ferguson

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It has been said, “There are no perfect men, only those with perfect intentions.” This could very well apply to Homer Adolphe Plessy. This brings me to the story of Homer Plessy’s decision to buy a railroad ticket for a train trip from New Orleans to Covington, which is on the other side of Lake Pontchartrain. It is significant because it resulted in a national policy of segregation that became known as “Separate but Equal” that lasted as the law of the land for over sixty years.

It was a setup from the start says New Orleans historian Keith Weldon Medley in his book “We as Freemen” who describes how the Comite des Citoyens (Committee of Citizens), an organization of free men of color, planned the legal strategy for more than a year. They meant to challenge the segregation law using the post-Civil War 14th Amendment’s equal-protection clause.

Plessy, a shoemaker from the Treme neighborhood, volunteered for the job and was the perfect candidate. Seven-eighths white but he was “colored” in the eyes of the law. He bought a first-class ticket, sat in the white rail car, and when asked to leave, he answered that he was colored, refused to leave and was arrested by a private detective. It had all been worked out in advance.

Homer Plessy’s paternal grandfather was Germain Plessy, a white Frenchman, arrived in New Orleans with thousands of other Haitian expatriates, who fled Haiti in the wake of the slave rebellion led by Toussaint L’Ouverture that wrested Haiti from Napoleon in the 1790’s. Homer Plessy was born less than three months after the issuance of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The New Orleans city directory from 1886-1924 listed his occupations as shoemaker, laborer, clerk, and insurance agent.

As a young man, Plessy displayed a social awareness and served as vice president of the 1880’s educational reform group. At age thirty, shoemaker Homer Plessy was younger than most members of the Comité des Citoyens. His only attribute to this effort was being white enough to gain access to the train and black enough to be arrested for doing so. He volunteered for a mission rife with unpredictable consequences and backlashes. This shoemaker sought to make an impact on society that was larger than simply making its shoes.

The Comité des Citoyens (“Citizens’ Committee”) was a civil rights group made up of African Americans, whites, and Creoles. The committee vigorously opposed the recently enacted Separate Car Act and other segregation laws. They retained a white New York City attorney, Albion Winegar Tourgée, who had previously fought for the rights of African Americans.

In 1892, the Citizens’ Committee asked Plessy to agree to violate Louisiana’s Separate Car law that required the segregation of passenger trains by race. On June 7, 1892, Plessy, then thirty years old and resembling in skin color and physical features a white male, bought a first-class ticket on the East Louisiana Railroad running between New Orleans and Covington, the seat of St. Tammany Parish. He sat in the “whites-only” passenger car. When the conductor came to collect his ticket, Plessy told him that he was 7/8 white and that he refused to sit in the “blacks-only” car. Plessy was immediately arrested by Detective Chris C. Cain, put into the Orleans Parish jail, and released the next day on a $500 bond.

Plessy’s case was heard before Judge John Howard Ferguson one month after his arrest. Tourgée argued that Plessy’s civil rights, as granted by the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, had been violated. Ferguson denied this argument and ruled that Louisiana, under state law, had the power to set rules that regulated railroad business within its borders speaking to what segregationist call “States Rights.”

The Louisiana State Supreme Court affirmed Ferguson’s ruling and refused to grant a rehearing, but did allow a petition for writ of error. This petition was accepted by the United States Supreme Court and four years later, in April 1896, arguments for Plessy v. Ferguson began. Tourgée argued that the state of Louisiana had violated the Thirteenth Amendment that granted freedom to the slaves; and the Fourteenth Amendment, that stated, “no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, and property, without due process of law.”

On May 18, 1896, Justice Henry Billings Brown delivered the majority opinion in favor of the State of Louisiana. In part, the opinion read, “The object of the Fourteenth Amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the absolute equality of the two races before the law, but in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based on color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political equality, or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to the either. … If the two races are to meet upon terms of social equality, it must be the result of voluntary consent of the individuals.”

The lone dissenting vote was cast by Justice John Marshall Harlan, a Kentucky Republican. In his dissenting opinion, the first Justice Harlan wrote: “I am of opinion that the statute of Louisiana is inconsistent with the personal liberty of citizens, white and black, in that state and hostile to both the spirit and letter of the Constitution of the United States.”

The “Separate but Equal” doctrine, enshrined by the Plessy ruling, remained valid until 1954, when it was overturned by the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education and later outlawed completely by the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. Though the Plessy case did not involve education, it formed the legal basis of separate school systems for the following fifty-eight years.

22After the Supreme Court ruling, Plessy faded back into relative anonymity. He fathered children, continued to participate in the religious and social life of his community, and later sold and collected insurance for the People’s Life Insurance Company. Plessy died in 1925 at the age of sixty-one, with his obituary reading, “Homer Plessy — on Sunday, March 1, 1925, at 5:10 a.m. beloved husband of Louise Bordenave.” He was buried in the Debergue-Blanco family tomb in St. Louis Cemetery #1.

Know and understand where you came for in order to know where you are going. History often repeats itself and with the makeup of today’s Supreme Court, who knows what might develop. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


Remembering Trayvon Martin

On this day, a year ago, a coward was acquitted in the murder of Trayvon Martin. Everyone PLEASE take a moment to remember the injustice of this child’s murder as he is now a symbol of injustice, alongside of Emmett Till and others. Next time, it could be your child… God bless you Trayvon.

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JUST US!

jail

My message for today comes from a powerful video that you should be sure to WATCH. Every single thing the speaker is saying can be proven without a shadow of a doubt. Just look at the power of the prison lobby and the massive increase in prison population since the 1980’s.

America has MORE prisoners in jail than China or any other country on the planet. How is it possible that we have a higher prison population than China who is extremely oppressive and has four times our total population? The overwhelming proportion of the population are people of color. How can this be when we represent such a small portion of the overall population?

I’m sharing this message with hopes that it is food for thought. Stop dancing to the tomb!!! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


Resurrection

African American remains a nation of people living in a notion without a nationality. Some will say, America has a black president – how could that be? Well, this speaks to the institutions within the context of society that dictates the continuation of the system that exists within the country. It is because of this system, which has been in existence from the founding of America that has caused the demise of people of color.

Let me speak to the concept of leadership according to Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who wrote the powerful novel “The Mis-Education of the Negro” in 1933, or there about, challenged his readers to become empowered by doing for themselves.

He said: “Regardless of what we are taught history shows that it does not matter who is in power… those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they did in the beginning.” This speaks volumes.

I believe, if you can control a man is thinking you never have to worry about what he thinks. I will speak for me, no matter how messed up the world is and the minds of man; I am glad God made me! We must take responsibility for ourselves because life demands the survival of the fittest, just like in all other parts of the animal kingdom. As a people, African Americans have waited far too long and become much too dependent on those who are in charge of the system.

Therefore, I say it is time to remove the shackles of bondage that mentally remain in many communities and in the minds of man. Malcolm X once said, “We spend too much time singing and not enough time swinging”. Let me be clear, I did not repeat this statement to advocate violence. Rather to suggest that we have spent centuries believing, following, and listening to the messages communicated to us by those who control our destiny – making us believe that there is a better place for us when we are dead. I say we have a right to live NOW!

I want to propose an idea that could be the answer to our salvation. There is about 38 – 40 million African Americans living in America. If each person contributed one dollar per week; it would add up to forty million dollars. Multiply that time’s fifty-two weeks; that’s over two-trillion dollars annually. We have people who run some of the world’s largest corporations who could manage that money – invest it and make more money and as such many of the problems we face would go away.

Overtime we’ve won many civil rights battles, which should never have had to be fought as human beings. Yet, we still don’t have the necessities we need to survive. So I say, as tenacious beings, it is time for survival and the time is now – if for no other reason than for our children. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Have you worn your hoodie lately?

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Legacy – A New Season 

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Just a Season


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