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An American Shame

“Disclaimer: This piece is long but it is knowledge everyone should know.”

2There have been many ways to suppress people over time; unfortunately, African Americans have endured the brunt of these efforts. As we know, the history of America reports that it was not only African American’s who were subjected or affected by these efforts. What I can report is that it was always a minority affected by these laws meant to ensure a permanent underclass.

This ideology began as indentured servants, then slavery, segregation, and now could it be conservatism. In each of these classifications there was a design called laws Black Codes, which I suppose make these immoral sanctions sound gentler. The truth is the sole purpose was to suppression rights. Kinda like the agenda behind the States Rights dog-whistles we hear today.

Black Codes were laws passed designed specifically to take away civil rights and civil liberties of African American on the state and local levels. This is the reason Conservatives desire a return to “States Rights” and speak of taking back their country because at the state level they can be unimpeded in turning back the hands of time.

Although, most of the discriminatory legislation, in terms of Black Codes, were used more often by Southern states to control the labor, movements and activities of newly freed slaves at the end of the Civil War. But as Malcolm X once said, “Anywhere south of Canada was south” meaning wherever you were in America you were subjected to discrimination in terms of the “separate but equal” laws, which was the law of the land.

The Black Codes of the 1860’s are not the same as the Jim Crow laws. The Black Codes were in reaction to the abolition of slavery and the South’s defeat in the Civil War. Southern legislatures enacted them during Reconstruction. The Jim Crow era began later, nearer to the end of the 19th century after Reconstruction, with its unwritten laws.

Then there were sundown laws, which meant Blacks, could not live or be caught in certain towns after dark. In some cases, signs were placed at the town’s borders with statements similar to the one posted in Hawthorne California that read “Nigger, Don’t Let The Sun Set On YOU In Hawthorne” in the 1930’s. In some cases, exclusions were official town policy, restrictive covenants, or the policy was enforced through intimidation.

After the abolition of slavery by the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which prior to that African Americans were considered 3/5’s human. Therefore, all former slave states adopted Black Codes. During 1865 every Southern state passed Black Codes that restricted the Freemen, who were emancipated but not yet full citizens. While they pursued re-admission to the Union, the Southern states provided freedmen with limited second-class civil rights and no voting rights. Southern plantation owners feared that they would lose their land. Having convinced themselves that slavery was justified, planters feared African Americans wouldn’t work without coercion. The Black Codes were an attempt to control them and to ensure they did not claim social equality.

The Black Codes outraged public opinion in the North because it seemed the South was creating a form of quasi-slavery to evade the results of the war. After winning large majorities in the 1866 elections, the Republicans put the South under military rule. They held new elections in which the Freedmen could vote. Suffrage was also expanded to poor whites. The new governments repealed all the Black Codes; they were never reenacted – OFFICALLY.

Many of these things are unknown to the generations of today because these injustices have been erased from our history and very little of it is taught in today’s classroom. For example, a sundown town was a town that was all white on purpose. The term was widely used in the United States and Canada in areas from Ohio to Oregon and well into the South. Even in Canada many towns in Southern Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec, were sundown towns prior to 1982, when it was outlawed. The term came from signs that were allegedly posted stating that people of color had to leave the town by sundown. They were also sometimes known as “sunset towns” or “gray towns”. Let me ask if you have ever been to a million dollar community – sound familiar.

The black codes that were enacted immediately after the Civil War, though varying from state to state, were all intended to secure a steady supply of cheap labor and all continued to assume the inferiority of the freed slaves. The black codes had their roots in the slave codes that had formerly been in effect. The premise behind chattel slavery in America was that slaves were property, and, as such, they had few or no legal rights. The slave codes, in their many loosely defined forms, were seen as effective tools against slave unrest, particularly as a hedge against uprisings and runaways. Enforcement of slave codes also varied, but corporal punishment was widely and harshly employed.

Let me highlight this example: In Texas, the Eleventh Legislature produced these codes in 1866. The intent of the legislation was to reaffirm the inferior position that slaves and free blacks had held in antebellum Texas and to regulate black labor. The codes reflected the unwillingness of white Texans to accept blacks as equals. You do remember “Juneteenth”? In addition, the Texans also feared that freedmen would not work unless coerced. Thus the codes continued legal discrimination between whites and blacks. The legislature, when it amended the 1856 penal code, emphasized the continuing line between whites and blacks by defining all individuals with one-eighth or more African blood as persons of color, subject to special provisions in the law.

Minorities were systematically excluded from living in or sometimes even passing through these communities after the sun went down. This allowed maids and workmen to provide unskilled labor during the day. Sociologists have described this as the nadir of American race relations. Sundown towns existed throughout the nation, but most often were located in the northern states that were not pre-Civil War slave states. There have not been any de jure sundown towns in the country since legislation in the 1960’s was inspired by the Civil Rights Movement, although de facto sundown towns and counties, where no black family lives – still exist.

Therefore, we see hints of it in the racism that has raised its ugly head and risen to the surface of society’s consciousness, particularly in this political climate. Since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and especially since the Civil Rights Act of 1968 prohibited racial discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing, the number of sundown towns has decreased.

However, as sociologist suggest it is impossible to precisely count the number of sundown towns at any given time, because most towns have not kept records of the ordinances or signs that marked the town’s sundown status. It is important to note that sundown status meant more than just African Americans not being able to live in these towns. Essentially any African Americans or other groups who came into sundown towns after sundown were subject to harassment, threats, and violent acts; up to and including lynching.

As one historian has noted, “Racial segregation was hardly a new phenomenon because slavery had fixed the status of most blacks, no need was felt for statutory measures segregating the races. These restrictive Black Codes have morphed in one form or another to achieve its desired effect to maintain a superior status by the powers that be. I am only suggesting that we know and understand history for it will open the mind to what the future may present.

Frankly, if you don’t know where you came from you will never get to where you are going. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective!!!


Anyone Remember Bush

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I read an article that said Obama was the worst president in modern times, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll. This caused me to recall the Bush years! Has everyone forgotten what it was like when Bush was president! I am sure most people understand that time is our most valuable commodity; 1440 minutes each day is all we get. Unfortunately, once spent it can never be returned, which means we have less time in front of us, than we have behind us. Another way of putting it is that we are dying slowly, and I mean that literally, from a life standpoint and from the standpoint of life, which is a combination of many yesterdays.

The new century began with few highlights although the nineties were prosperous under Clinton, which was a sign of the low-lights to come. As a precursor, the decade began with a huge scam called Y2K. Remember, the world was supposed to end when all of the computers shut down – it didn’t. We witnessed the nation’s capital paralyzed with fear because of two psychopaths known as the DC Snipers. At its resolution, we received a huge shock, when it was discovered that the terrorists were two black men. It was believed, particularly by black people, crimes such as this were committed by others.

Amazingly, a stolen election in 2000 gave the nation a Texas Governor best known for putting more people to death via the prison system than anyone else in America. He and his partner in crime, you know the guy that shot his hunting partner in the face, leaving the scene, and the wounded     apologized for catching the bullet. This ushered in an era of “Gangsta Politics.”

It was on his watch that the country was attacked, although some say it was a false flag operation, on the morning of September 11, 2001. The world changed as we knew it when the unthinkable happened. The culprits were nineteen guys with razor blades who high-jacked four commercial planes crashing them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and crashing another into a Pennsylvania field killing thousands – a horrible tragedy.

It worst attack upon America since WWII, while George was reading a kiddy’s book at the time. Let me pause to offer my condolences to the families of those lives lost. But something has always puzzled me; they were able to find bones, identify rings and watches of victims but never found any of the black boxes from any of the planes.

The United States under the direction of the new regime responded to the attacks by launching a “War on Terror” invading the “Graveyard of Empires” (Afghanistan) to depose the Taliban, who had harbored al-Qaeda terrorists. Our government enacted what became known as the Patriot Act giving them the power to do anything they wanted super-ceding all or most Constitutional rights, which made George – King. Then Bush and company invaded Iraq.

He and the shooter used this event to invade two nations under the guise of lies and manufactured “BS”, like “weapons of mass-destruction.” These endless wars caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands, and countless others were wounded with nothing close to a victory in sight. They then funneled all of the money authorized for the war to a company once headed by “Shooter.” They hired mercenaries and had the leader of Iraq hung, who had nothing to do with the 911 attack. When, in fact, the villain known as Osama Bin Laden, who was like the invisible man they never tried to find, while Osama put out more videos than Tupac. They have satellites that can tell the time on your watch from space, yet they can’t find this guy.

George and company went into this war with what they called the “Coalition of the Willing”, which was a group nation’s supporting the US so small and insignificant that no one knew they were on this planet. They introduced us to torture, rendition, secret prisons, and opened a place called GTMO (Guantanamo Bay).

However, the most reprehensible act of George’s reign, aside from refusing to attend any of the NAACP conventions, was his regime’s response to Hurricane Katrina. As it was happening, he was enjoying a birthday party and did not take an interest in New Orleans or the drowning the black people dying. Not to mention, everyone on earth watched the televised images of visibly shaken and frustrated political leaders, and of residents who remained stranded on rooftops because of flood waters, without food, water, and shelter. He sent his friend “Brownie” down to help and told us what a great job Brownie did.

Deaths from thirst, exhaustion and violence days after the storm had passed, fueled more criticism, as did the dilemma of the evacuees being called “refugees” at facilities such as the Louisiana Superdome (designed to handle 800, yet 30,000 arrived) and the New Orleans Civic Center (not designed as an evacuation center, yet 25,000 arrived). Of the 60,000 people stranded in New Orleans, the Coast Guard rescued more than 33,500 people of which most were black. Some alleged that race and class contributed to delays in the government’s response.

This caused many to agree with rapper Kanye West, who veered off script at a benefit concert for the victims to harshly criticize the government’s response to the crisis, saying “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” I am sure you will never forget the images of how America abandoned its poor people. They can get aid anywhere in the world in a heartbeat, yet did not attempt to do so for its own citizens.

I’ll fast forward to the election season of 2008. The country was in disarray as we endured a presidential primary election campaign that seems too lasted forever. Actually, it was kinda like the Mod Squad – one Black, one woman, and an OLD guy. This is very significant because the Black guy beat a formidable opponent in the wife of who many black people thought was the closest we would get to a black president – Brother Bill. Now, during the campaign in support of his wife Bill digressed a few time letting us know that he was still a white man.

I have learned that there comes a time when time itself needs a change and after the brutal reign of “King George”. White people thought Bush was so bad; they elected a black man to replace him. Under Bush, the economic situation was a mess and compared to the Great Depression. Unemployment rocketed, home foreclosures skyrocketed as everyone struggled financially, and investment money seems dry up as Wall Street was bailed out with government funds.

Then the unimaginable happened – the election of a Black man as president of these United States; something no one living or dead ever thought would happen. I cannot think of a single event more significant in world history, or at least since the resurrection of Christ, to compare it too. Ironically, the thought of a scripture comes to mind, which tells us “the first will be last, and the last will be first.”

Since Obama’s election or in spite of – there has been talk of secession and the Tea Party was born instigated by the Drugster, the Alcoholic, Caribou Barbie, and of course Fox crowd comparing Obama to Hitler. Many prayed for his death, and that of his family using Bible verses to rally their faithful (Psalm 109:8). Yet, Obama lives and save the nation from the devastation caused by George and company. Today, two terms later, they say Obama is the worst president in modern times.

Comparing Obama to Bush is as different as black and white; night and day. So, in my view the perception is based on the color of his skin! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


A Practical Thought For Our Survival

1I am of the opinion that African Americans remain a nation of people living in a nation without a nationality. There are some who will say because 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 systems that exist within the country designed to protect the system for what some call the real Americans. 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.

Dr. Carter G. Woodson wrote the powerful novel “The Mis-Education of the Negro” in 1933, or thereabout, and in it he 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!

Dr. Woodson also said, “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 this system that was not created in our best interest. Therefore, I say it is time to remove the shackles of bondage that mentally restrain many communities and the minds of our people. 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’re dead. I say we have the right to live NOW!

I want to propose an idea that could be the answer to our salvation. There are about 42 million African Americans living in America. If each African American were to contribute just one dollar each week that would add up to forty-million dollars each week. Multiply that time’s fifty-two weeks and that’s over two-trillion dollars annually. We have people who run some of the world’s largest corporations who could manage that kind of money – invest it and make more money and as such many of the problems we face would go away.

If you find a problem with that – just think about how much most give to some pimp in the pulpit each Sunday and merely get a show and nothing else in return. Hmmm!!!

Overtime we’ve won many civil rights battles, which should never have had to be fought. 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. Happy Birthday Dr. Woodson – I wish we had listened! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


Remembering Juneteeth

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We must never forget Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that those enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863.

The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance. Many attempts to explain the two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years.

The story often told is of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another story is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. Then there is yet another story that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. All of which, or neither of these version, could be true. Certainly, for some, President Lincoln’s authority over the rebellious states was in question. Regardless, the conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory.

One of General Granger’s first orders of business was to read to the people of Texas, General Order Number 3 which began most significantly with:

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”

The reactions to this profound news ranged from pure shock to immediate jubilation. While many lingered to learn of this new employer to employee relationship, many left before these offers were completely off the lips of their former ‘masters’ – attesting to the varying conditions on the plantations and the realization of freedom. Even with nowhere to go, many felt that leaving the plantation would be their first grasp of freedom.

North was a logical destination and for many it represented true freedom, while the desire to reach family members in neighboring states drove the some into Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Settling into these new areas as free men and women brought on new realities and the challenges of establishing a heretofore non-existent status for black people in America. Recounting the memories of that great day in June of 1865 and its festivities would serve as motivation as well as a release from the growing pressures encountered in their new territory. The celebration of June 19th was coined “Juneteenth” and grew with more participation from descendants.

The Juneteenth celebration was a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date. A range of activities were provided to entertain the masses, many of which continue in the tradition today. Juneteenth almost always focused on education and self improvement. Thus, often guest speakers are brought in, and the elders are called upon to recount the events of the past. Prayer services were also a major part of these celebrations.

The Civil Rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s yielded both positive and negative results for the Juneteenth celebrations. While it pulled many of the African American youth away and into the struggle for racial equality, many linked these struggles to the historical struggles of their ancestors. This was evidenced by student demonstrators involved in the Atlanta civil rights campaign in the early 1960’s, who wore Juneteenth freedom buttons. Again in 1968, Juneteenth received another strong resurgence through Poor Peoples March to Washington D.C. Rev. Ralph Abernathy’s call for people of all races, creeds, economic levels and professions to come to Washington to show support for the poor.

Juneteenth today, celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures. As it takes on a more national, symbolic and even global perspective, the events of 1865 in Texas are not forgotten, for all of the roots tie back to this fertile soil from which a national day of pride is growing.

The future of Juneteenth looks bright as the number of cities and states creating Juneteenth committees continues to increase. Respect and appreciation for all of our differences grow out of exposure and working together. Getting involved and supporting Juneteenth celebrations creates new bonds of friendship and understanding among us. This indeed brightens our future – and that is the Spirit of Juneteenth. So lest not forget!!! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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Young Gun Down

11The most amazing thing happened Tuesday night that marked the first time since 1899 that the House majority leader was defeated in a primary election; and badly I might add. The prevailing wisdom, at least according to the winner, Cantor was too liberal. Fact of the matter, Cantor should be ashamed of his twelve year tenure because he did nothing and was part of the worst congress in the country’s history, commonly known as “the Do Nothing Congress”.

You proclaimed himself one of the “Young Guns” of the Republican Party, which is nothing more than a code-word for the “New Jim Crow”. This guy was in line to be the next Speaker of the House when John Boehner decided he was tired of herding the opposition. The majority leader was the number two man in congress and the third most powerful republican in Washington. He was also an Arden voice against the president, yet he called himself a patriot.

His loss was devastating and a humiliating defeat. It was sweet vindication that the Republican strategy of stoking up faux-populism of just saying no and never proposing a solution to any problem has blown up spectacularly. Because in their gorgeously gerrymandered districts, their own voters felt things like shouting down the government didn’t go far enough. They said; government is the problem to which I would agree because it was Cantor and folks like that is the problem.

Moving on; the problem as I see it, if Cantor was too liberal – what do you think the guy who beat him to take his place will be like. The endpoint of this insane ideology is the election of a Tea Partiers that if like the rest are not interested in governing at all. Rather dismantling government. It is the mission of the institutional Republicans to gamble that obstructionism alone would give them power are seeing their fortunes turn, and their majority become meaningless.

They simple don’t want any government action on any issue. They want the current trend to continue to allow states rights to be the objective where individual municipalities push forward minimum wage laws because the federal government is paralyzed. Meanwhile, the gap between the rich and the poor widens every day, and Republicans have convinced many rural Americans that the problem is the tax rate on the wealthy. He also voted all of the fifty plus times to take healthcare away from American citizens.

We should be very skepticism of anything changing for the better. Cantor’s replacement will bring more of the same – nothing. But if college professor Dave Brat’s upset victory over the House majority leader indeed spells doom will certainly bring more of the same.

Here’s the irony. Cantor’s defeat had nothing to do with immigration, amnesty, or the border. It had everything to do with arrogance and the fact that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely – they realized like his cohorts simply did nothing, but leverage their positions to benefit themselves.

In an even more satisfying irony because Cantor was one of the greatest proponent of not cooperating with the administration on every piece of legislation proposed by the president. He, along with his compatriot Paul Ryan, instead has championed “broadening the tax base,” otherwise known as taxing the poor.

So overnight, he became a political dead man walking within hours of his defeat and resigned from his leadership position. So forgive me for having little joy in my heart, even if it means we get another Tea Partier in the House. For a bit, it feels as though there is some sense of justice for the left. No matter how much power you accumulate, your own monstrous sentiments can come back to bite you. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Stranger Than Fiction

2I’ve lived for more than a minute, and have seen and heard many things. I repeatedly say that we should be leery of the messenger and most media in general. Oh hell, I will be blunt – some of these nuts that appear on Fox and Fools who they try present as responsible are more in the relm of lunacy. I don’t have enough paper to name the long list of them, but we have seen how they promote and give airtime to people who are just “bat shit crazy”!

I was surfing the net the other day and came across an article, which contained  some of the most outlandish remarks I think I have every read from a so-called Christian!!! If you read my writings via this medium, you know I have spoken out against religion. It is not that I don’t believe in someone greater than I; rather it is to say that organized religion has become such a sham and some of the stuff the faithful say “In Jesus Name” is really going to have a problem on judgment day when they meet him. He is NOT going to be happy.

According to the Daily Currant, who reported and if you watch Fox you may have seen it. My favorite fool, Caribou Barbie, the onetime half governor and failed Vice Presidential candidate made the most ridiculous statement about the death penalty known to man. Palin claimed that Jesus Christ advocated for the death penalty his entire life until his final day on Earth. This was so outlandish that it even shocked Fox and Friends hosts when she said that her position is inspired by Jesus’ own stance in biblical times.

She repeated it again saying, “I know the liberals hate it when you start mentioning the Bible, but the truth is Jesus fought for the death penalty until the day he died. He was a tireless advocate of being tough on crime and making sure the criminals can’t be out there raping and murdering people… Unfortunately, Jesus’ ideas were never implemented and the Roman Empire fell as result. But here in America we’ve always followed Jesus’ advice on the death penalty, and that’s why we have the lowest crime rate in the world.”

Ok Boo-Boo, first there was no such thing as Christianity while Jesus lived and remember the Roman’s threw them to the lions for a few hundred years after the faith was born. Of course, facts appeared lost on Palin, however, who somehow did not see the irony in her assertion that history’s most famous capital punishment casualty was an advocate for the practice. One of the shows hosts, corrected her “Jesus never directly addressed capital punishment in the Bible…  and I have to say, since he himself was executed, I doubt he is really that big a fan of the death penalty.” Caribou Barbie replied, “What do you mean Jesus was executed I thought he was crucified?” I think this requires a Lord Jesus!!!

This is not the first time she has said insane remarks. Everyone knows Easter is a Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after he was crucified by the Romans in the 1st century A.D. It is the most important holiday for Eastern and Orthodox Christians. When she said, Jesus celebrated Easter, again is outlandish because the holiday is celebrate because he died and rose from the grave.

According to Palin’s view, “Jesus would gather all the townspeople around and would listen to their stories about the meaning of Easter in their lives. Then he would teach them how to love one another, how to protest Roman abortion clinics and how to properly convert homosexuals. You can’t even do things like that these days without getting called out by some wacko left-wing human rights group. Christians had more freedom under Roman rule than we do now in our own country! We need to return Easter back to the way it was when Jesus was alive.”

She has also said, “If I were President waterboarding is how we’d Baptize Terrorists”. Palin took to her Facebook page to defend her comments. “Darn right I’d do whatever it takes to foil [terrorists’] murderous jihadist plots – including waterboarding,” she wrote. I can recall the first slave ship named the “Good Ship Jesus” beginning hundreds of years of misery, which fools like this claimed it was what Jesus wanted. Further, they also used the Bible and Christianity to sanction the most brutal and amoral crime the world has known.

Let me close by saying believe half of what you see and none of what you hear, as fools come in all manner of so-called Christian folk. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


“Damned Dirty Ape!” Politico Blasts Black MSNBC News Anchor Via Twitter

And you say racism is dead…


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