Tag Archives: February

The Peril’s Of Justice

We as African Americans understand, as Richard Pryor famously said, when it comes to justice what we find is JUST-US! This statement could not be more profound today as it relates to some of the news stories that involve African Americans, namely the recent murder of the young child Trayvon Martin.

Frankly, this case takes me back nearly sixty-years when another young black child was murdered where the culprits did not receive due justice. I wonder if the story would be different if the victim was white and the shooter was black. I think we know the answer to that!!!

But I read a piece today written by Mr. Jonathan Capehart and like him I had the same questions that he asked in this article. First, he asked, what was Zimmerman’s relationship with the Sanford, Fla., police department? Then he asked why was Zimmerman portrayed as a volunteer neighborhood watch captain when he was not part of a registered neighborhood watch program? Further he asked, did the Sanford Police Department ever warn him about his activities in this unofficial capacity?

When you consider that Zimmerman was known to have placed, as it was reported, 46 calls to that department between Jan. 1, 2011, and the Feb. 26 shooting; did the Sanford police have specific orders on how to deal with him? Did they have a file on him? Did they have him on any kind of special watch list?

To these questions, the Police Chief said, “we don’t have the grounds to arrest him.” Yet, Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense was sufficient justification to not arrest him. My next question was why did Chief Lee accept Zimmerman’s self-defense plea on its face? Did the police run a background check on Zimmerman? Did his previous arrest, for resisting arrest without violence, raise any red flags with police? Did Lee attempt to establish probable cause? How did he go about it? Was Zimmerman tested for drugs or alcohol? If not, why not? Was Zimmerman’s gun confiscated? Was it tested? Where is that gun now?

These are all valid questions that demand answers.

Now, here are a few questions that come to mind with respect to the crime scene. What did police do with Trayvon’s body at the scene? What did police do with Trayvon’s body once taken from the scene? Why was it tested for drugs and alcohol? What did police do with Trayvon’s personal effects? Where is his cell phone? Did police try to contact Trayvon’s 16-year-old girlfriend, who was talking to him during the initial moments of the confrontation with Zimmerman and who tried several times to call him back? Hmmmm!

So as you can see there are many more questions than answers and frankly a thorough investigation would have answered these questions. Thankfully, the Department of Justice has decided to review the case to ensure that some of these questions are answered – maybe. There is such a thing as right and wrong; some things are right and some things are wrong. When you look at the aforementioned questions in this case that are unanswered – it stinks of wrong. Oh, and for sure racism!!!

There are so many more questions than answers and I pray we get them answered, and justice is served. With that said, I would suggest that you compare this to little Emmitt Till and recall the Peril’s Of Justice.

And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

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CELEBRATING THE BIRTH OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH

We have so much to celebrate during this Black History Month. Starting with the most significant historical accomplishment to date – having the first African American to become leader of the free world as President of these United States, as well as all of the storied achievements made by the ghost of the greats who have blaze mighty trails. As proud as I am for the many contributions African American’s have made to this great country and, dare I say, to the world, I am equally as confident that there is an abundance of history yet to be made.

So with this writing I would like to provide some insight into the creation of Black History Month. February is dedicated to this proud annual observance for the remembrance of those important people and events honoring the African America Diaspora. The story of Black History Month or the concept was conceived in Chicago during the summer of 1915. An alumnus of the University of Chicago with many friends in the city hosted a convention where Dr. Carter G. Woodson traveled from Washington DC to participate in a national celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of emancipation sponsored by the state of Illinois.

Thousands of African Americans traveled from across the country that summer to see exhibits highlighting the progress their people had made since the destruction of slavery. Awarded a doctorate at Harvard three years earlier, Dr. Woodson joined other exhibitors with a black history display. He was so enamored with the idea that he began the process of making this exhibit an annual event, which means we owe the celebration of Black History Month – to include the study of black history – to Dr. Woodson.

In 1924, his group responded with the creation of Negro History and Literature Week, which they renamed Negro Achievement Week. Their outreach was significant, but DR. Woodson desired greater impact. As he told students at the Hampton Institute, “We are going back to that beautiful history and it is going to inspire us to greater achievements.” In 1925, he decided that the Association had to shoulder the responsibility. He felt going forward with this idea would both create and popularize knowledge about black history.

He sent out a press release announcing Negro History Week in February of 1926. Dr. Woodson chose the second week of February because it marked the birthdays of two Americans who greatly influenced the lives and social condition of African Americans; Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass. Therefore, the myth that the month of February was selected because it is the shortest month – is not true.

Dr. Woodson also founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. What you might not know is that black history had barely begun to be studied or even documented when the tradition originated. Further, it is important to remember that blacks have been in America since August of 1619 when a Dutch man-of-war ship rode the tide into Jamestown, Virginia and the first slaves were dragged onto its shores. However, it was not until the 20th century that African American history gained a respectable presence in the history books.

From the beginning, Dr. Woodson was overwhelmed by the response to his call. Negro History Week appeared across the country in schools and in many public forums. The expanding black middle class became participants in and consumers of black literature and culture. Black history clubs sprang up, teachers demanded materials to instruct their pupils, and progressive whites supported their efforts. They set a theme for the annual celebration providing study materials such as pictures, lessons for teachers, plays for historical performances, and posters of important dates and people.

The 1960’s had a dramatic effect on the study and celebration of black history. Before the decade was over, Negro History Week would be well on its way to becoming Black History Month. The shift to a month-long celebration began even before Dr. Woodson’s death. As early as the 1940’s, blacks in West Virginia, a state where Dr. Woodson often spoke, began to celebrate February as Negro History Month. By the late 1960’s, as young blacks on college campuses became increasingly conscious of links with Africa, Black History Month replaced Negro History Week.

Within the Association, younger intellectuals, part of the awakening, prodded Woodson’s organization to change with the times. They succeeded and in 1976, fifty years after the first celebration, the Association used its influence to institutionalize the shifts from a week to a month and from Negro history to black history. Since the mid 1970’s, every American president, Democrat and Republican, has issued proclamations endorsing the Association’s annual theme.

During this Black History Month, I will resurrect my “Brownsville Series” expounding upon those legendary segregated communities that produced success and a profound legacy that should never be forgotten and always cherished for we are merely the sum of the whole.

JUST A SEASON
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