Tag Archives: urban

SHUTDOWN: Snakes In The House

13The snake has always been deemed the reptile most associated with evil. I don’t want to sound too biblical but we remember the story of Adam and Eve! So from the very beginning of this Republican ideological conflict within their “Klan” things have intensified since the so-called “Young Guns” arrived. It is obvious they want to destroy America or at least want America to fail, which reminds me of what it must have been like in the years leading to the American Civil War.

This move to shut down the US Government over Obamacare is like “putting pins in a voodoo doll” that looks like President of Obama. By the way, the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and the law takes effect today. This insanity of consequences be damn is just another attempt to damage the legacy of President Obama – if not destroy it. In other words these so-call patriots are nothing more than “terrorists”.

The Tea-party populism has moved quickly to do everything they can to attack and destroy American. Hence, we will see a revolt against the Republican “establishment” or a revolt against anyone who accepts the constraints of a political reality. Conservatives are excommunicated not for holding the wrong convictions but for rational calculations of their convictions.

The U.S. government began a shutdown today for the first time in 17 years after a Congress bitterly divided over President Obama’s signature health-care initiative failed to reach agreement to fund federal agencies. So the so-called “job creators” allowed millions of Americans to be out of work confirms that this is the worst Congress in history. These so-called patriots have declared war on us all.

I don’t like to name names but the generals of the this confederacy have names like Cruz, Boehner, McConnell, Ryan, Cantor, and about twenty crazies hell bent on political disaster have all the virtue of an un-intellectual clown circus.

The impasse means 800,000 federal workers will be furloughed, national parks, monuments and museums, as well as most federal offices, will close. Tens of thousands of air-traffic controllers, prison guards and Border Patrol agents will be required to serve without pay.

In a last-minute ray of hope for active-duty troops, Congress approved and sent to the White House an agreement to keep issuing military paychecks. But Obama warned that the broader economy, which is finally starting to recover from the shocks of the Bush years, would take a substantial hit if congressional gridlock shutters “America’s largest employer.”

“Keeping the people’s government open is not a concession to me. Keeping vital services running and hundreds of thousands of Americans on the job is not something you ‘give’ to the other side. It’s our basic responsibility,” Obama said in a statement Monday evening at the White House.

Privately, senior Republicans predicted that the closure would last at least a week. A fraction of today’s House Republicans were on Capitol Hill in 1995 and 1996 when a Republican-led Congress last shut down the government in a dispute over the budget with a Democratic president. Younger lawmakers don’t remember the pain the shutdown caused constituents, senior and the poor and many of them now question the conventional wisdom that the closures weakened the GOP presidential candidate in 1996 and nearly cost the party control of the House.

So for all of the folks who support those so-called patriots, who wear the funny hats, pointed or otherwise, will now feel the pain of their insanity. So yes, I’ll say these terrorists or teajadists are snakes in the house. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…



A Mighty Soldier

12Last week the world lost a mighty soldier with the passing Dr. Evelyn Lowery to which I offer my heartfelt sympathy to her husband, the great Joseph Lowery and family. Dr. Lowery fought the good fight until her last days on this earth and I thank you.

She fought hard for her people and mentored women everywhere. She was the epitome of what should be described as a strong black woman always by her husband’s side as he rose to become one of the great leaders of the civil rights movement.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution tells a story about how Mrs. Lowery only had one incident where she didn’t march beside her husband. In 1979, they were in Decatur, Alabama, protesting the conviction of Tommy Lee Hines, a disabled man who’d been accused of raping a white woman. Her husband felt that there would be danger, so he had his wife ride in a Buick behind the marchers.

The group was confronted by the KKK and shots were fired. The car was hit by two bullets and she barely got away. “I could hear them yelling ‘Kill ‘em all!’ she said. “It lasted probably about 10 minutes, but it seemed like an eternity.” The couple still keeps the Buick in their driveway as a reminder of the struggle that they fought in order to help secure the rights that black people have to this day.

“My beloved Evelyn was a special woman, whose life was committed to service, especially around the issues of empowering women,” Joseph Lowery said in a statement. “She was a wonderful mother and wife, and I thank God that she didn’t suffer any pain and that I was blessed having her as my partner, my confidant and my best friend for close to 70 years. I will miss her each and every day, but as a man of faith, I know that she is with her God.”

Evelyn and her husband were married on April 5, 1948.  So, that’s 65-years of marriage which will soon transform into an eternity. Mrs. Lowery died from a stroke this week at the age of 88. For all of you great work; I pray that your soul rest in peace. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

A Portrait Of Urban Terror

1On May 31st in Tulsa, Oklahoma police dropped dynamite on the flourishing Black neighborhood of Greenwood bombing it from the air destroying what was known as “Black Wall Street”.

Andre Jones wrote a great piece that recounts a very important part of a relatively recent African American history that most people know very little about. In Philadelphia an organization known as MOVE were bombed much in the same way. The city sanctioned this massacre that took place on May 13th, 1985 in the Cobbs Creek neighborhood of West Philadelphia.

Here is the story:

The MOVE organization was initially founded by John Africa (born Vincent Leaphart), who dropped out of high school at age 16 with a third grade reading level. After serving in the Korean War and becoming disgusted at the American “class system”, John met Donald Glassey, a social worker at University of Pennsylvania. Though John was, for all purposes, functionally illiterate – this did not stop him from making astute observations about how society operated. Glassey who became quite interested in John’s ideas offering to transcribe those thoughts. This cumulated into a three-hundred page manuscript that became known as “The Guidelines” – the “bible” of the MOVE organization.

The original name of MOVE was actually “Christian Movement for Life”, which was shortened to “the Movement” and ended up being simply called MOVE. Though considered a black liberation group by many, The MOVE organization attracted both black and white members who were frustrated with society and needed “answers” to many societal ills. MOVE seemed to provide answers to those questions.

MOVE’s back-to-nature approach involved eating only raw food, eschewing soap and electricity, and refusing to practice any type of birth control measures. After hearing various complaints from neighbors regarding various intolerable living habits of the MOVE members, such as loud and profane proselytizing through the use of a bullhorn and composting which created a rodent issue among other health hazards, the city and its then mayor, Frank Rizzo, decided to get involved.

In May of 1977, MOVE members started appearing on their porch at 307-309 N 33rd St, in Powelton Village wearing military outfits and brandishing firearms in response to an order to vacate the premises (owned by Donald Glassey). This set off a 14 month siege which tragically ended on August 8th, 1978 with a police officer being killed in a shootout with MOVE members. The MOVE home was demolished, and nine of its members were sentenced to prison terms ranging from thirty to one hundred years (those members are now known as “The MOVE 9”). Two years later, MOVE relocated to 6221 Osage Avenue in the Cobbs Creek area of West Philadelphia where the same problems presented themselves along with new ones.

After numerous complaints from neighbors along with various indictments of MOVE members for various crimes, on March 13, 1985, the Philadelphia Police Department attempted to remove and arrest indicted MOVE members from the Osage Avenue building.  As before, this resulted in an armed standoff with the Philadelphia Police Department.  This time they went a drastic step further, dropping two improvised bombs made of C-4 and Tovex (a dynamite substitute and a water gel explosive used in underwater mining), on the roof of the MOVE home. The deadly attack left 11 of 13 MOVE members who were inside the home dead, five of which were children. The resulting fire destroyed 61 homes and left 240 people homeless. Philadelphia is the second American city to use explosives on its own constituents and became known as “The City That Bombed Itself”.

A Federal jury found that Police Commissioner Gregore J. Sambor and Fire Commissioner William C. Richmond made a decision to allow the resulting fire to burn for almost an hour (the bombs did not create the desired effect), creating the aforementioned disaster. They awarded the two remaining survivors, Ramona Africa and young Birdie Africa (Michael Ward), a total of $1.5 million in civil damages, finding the City of Philadelphia liable for the fire that ended up killing 11 MOVE members and turning a working class city block into ashes. Over twenty families are still battling the City of Philadelphia to pay for their demolished homes.

We think America is a great place, which is true but often times it is not so much for people of color. History has shown that it will repeat itself – thanks for the reminder Andre Jones. An atrocity such as this could happen to you. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

The Case That Changed America

brown-v-board-of-educationOn May 17, 1954, the Warren Court’s unanimous (9-0) decision stated that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” This was the day that the landmark Brown v Board of Education Supreme Court decision changed the face of America unlike any other decision before or since.

This major ruling was the cornerstone that laid the foundation for all of the civil rights African American’s know today, just as the late Thurgood Marshall, who brilliantly argued and won this case envisioned. It is also very appropriate to recognize the skillful talent of Justice Marshall for his more than fifty victories before the Supreme Court, more than any other attorney in history.

The Brown Case, as it is known, was not the first such case regarding civil rights argued before the Supreme Court. It was just the most significant of what some would say was the final battle in the courts that had been fought by African American parents since 1849, which started with Roberts v. City of Boston, Massachusetts. It is also important to note that Kansas was the site of eleven such cases spanning from 1881 to 1949.

The case was named after Oliver Brown one of 200 plaintiffs. The Brown case was initiated and organized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) leadership who recruited African American parents in Topeka, Kansas for a class action suit against the local school board. The Supreme Court combined five cases under the heading Brown v. Board of Education: Delaware, Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The ultimate goal sought by the NAACP was to end the practice of “separate but equal” throughout every segment of society, including public transportation, dining facilities, public schools and all forms of public accommodations.

The Brown Supreme Court ruling determined racial segregation in public education was unconstitutional in Brown I, the first opinion. The court’s implementation mandated “with all deliberate speed” in 1955 known as Brown II. In 1979, twenty five years later, there was a Brown III because Topeka was not living up to the earlier Supreme Court ruling, which resulted in Topeka Public Schools building three magnet schools to comply with the court’s findings.

As had been the case since Homer Plessy, the subject in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 when the U.S. Supreme Court decided that a Louisiana law mandating separate but equal accommodations for blacks and whites on intrastate railroads was constitutional. This decision provided the legal foundation to justify many other actions by state and local governments to socially separate blacks and whites.

Now that I have provided some history related to the case let me add my commentary. It has been said that as sure as things change they remain the same. First, it took 60 year to overturn Plessy with Brown and it took “with all deliberate speed” 13 years for integration to begin fully. During this period of time from 1954 to 1967, governors blocked school entrances and actually closed schools rather than comply with the law of the land. I am not going to touch on the violence that caused Presidents to send the US Army and National Guard troops to schools in order to protect the safety of those the ruling was intended benefit as a result of the Brown decision.

Since then, and over time, many scams have been devised to disenfranchise minorities and African Americans in particular. I need only remind you of “No Child Left Behind” where we see persistent patterns of underachievement for lower-income students on standardized test scores. These standardized tests serve as gatekeepers to a child’s academic future, which I don’t believe was the spirit of the Brown case.

Malcolm X famously said, only a fool would allow his enemy to educate his people. Just think about the deplorable education system and the fact that most of what is taught, particularly when it comes to history, is a fallacy. Then consider the extremely high dropout rates among our children. For example, it has been reported that in the City of Baltimore more than two thirds of all students who enter high school do not graduate.

After fifty-five years, it is not unreasonable to seek and ask that the spirit of Brown be honored with effective and meaningful equal rights under the law. I understand that public education was not created to develop minds rather it was intended to simply teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. It was created to maintain a permanent underclass. Much like it was then, a travesty, in many ways it remains a travesty for the children in most Urban Public School System’s.

I, like Dr. King believe in the dream but we have unfinished business and as it stands – it is a dream deferred. That’s why it is imperative for us to celebrate this milestone and continue the struggle as the ghosts of so many greats who died for this principle: “education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair”.

And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…



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