Social movements over the years have taught us that politeness and respectabiility rarely result in lasting social change. When 15-year-old Claudette Colvin first resisted public bus segregation in Alabama on March 2, 1955, she did so knowing that she’d be classified as unruly, dangerous, and a threat to the very fabric of American society. Nine months later, when Rosa Parks did the same, it was groundswell effect of women like Colvin’s actions which helped to shift the public’s attention to the nonviolent but very disruptive actions of Blacks in Montgomery, Alabama. But these women, their fellow organizers and their tactics weren’t polite. So, why is anyone demanding politeness from young Black organizers today?
On February 1, 1968, two Black Memphis sanitation workers were crushed to death when the compactor on their truck was accidentally triggered. It was the last in a series of events that would eventually lead the city’s majority Black sanitation workforce to go on strike, demanding safer work conditions, better wages, and union recognition. What makes this strike even more significant is that these Black workers were fighting for comprehensive economic justice in the context of the 1960s Freedom Struggle, which demanded an end to state-sanctioned racial violence in all its forms.
By: Lamont Lilly
“The nineteenth century lynch mob cuts off ears, toes and fingers, strips off flesh and distributes portions of the body as souvenirs among the crowd.” ~Ida B. Wells
Lennon Lacy did not hang himself; he was lynched! He did not commit suicide; he was murdered! Capturing the correct language is so critical in this case, which is probably why mainstream media has refused to cover it. The correct language reflects a history America would rather not share, while “lynching” is a word most Black folk would rather forget. The harsh reality is that Lennon Lacy, a 17 year old Black kid from North Carolina was lynched just two months ago.
By: Terrence Chappell
I’m starting to suspect that white people and the word nigger are mutually exclusive. Of course I’m joking, but what is it about this term that seems to attract such constant diction among a select few of Anglos? Out of an entire privileged life of yeses and open doors, is it because usage of this word is off limits? Someone help me understand.
The following post is from the Chicago Reader. It was written by Steve Bogira.
By: Steve Bogira
e many Chicagoans, Latoya Winters was stunned by the fatal shooting of 11-year-old Shamiya Adams at a sleepover in July. Shamiya and several friends were in the bedroom of a home in West Garfield Park. They were circled around a pretend campfire, about to microwave s’mores, when a bullet fired at some boys outside came through a window. It struck Shamiya in the head; she died the next morning.
The following post originally appears on Mic. It was written by Eileen Shim.
By: Eileen Shim
The news: Philadelphia may be the City of Brotherly Love, but as these pictures show, we could all use a little more of that in our lives.
Last Saturday, a group of artists decided to stage a silent protest in front of the LOVE statue, an iconic Philly landmark. The group seized on what was perhaps the most gruesome detail from Michael Brown’s shooting death in Missouri: the fact that his body was left uncovered on the street in broad daylight for hours.
The following post originally appears on The Root. It was written by Keli Goff.
By: Keli Goff
For the last several days, rapper 50 Cent and boxer Floyd Mayweather have engaged in the favorite pastime of any 21st-century celebrity with a Twitter account and an ego: feuding. While in the old days you might have had to stand on a street corner and shout insults at a nemesis face-to-face, with a few neighborhood friends to cheer you on, today Instagram, Twitter and every other form of social media make the entire world observers to celebrities doing modern-day versions of “the dozens.”
The following post originally appeared in the New York Times. It was written by Motoko Rich and Mosi Secret.
By: Motoko Rich and Mosi Secret
As schools in and around Ferguson, Mo., prepared to open, Tom Lawson, chairman of the social studies department of McCluer High School, planned to ask his students some very basic questions.
The following post originated from the Chicago Tribune. It was written by John Kass. While this is a controversial subject, it is worth debating in the black community.
By: John Kass
Antonio Smith, 9 years old, was assassinated the other day. He was Chicago’s youngest fatal shooting victim this year. He was shot at least four times and fell in a backyard on the South Side. And when I went out there on 71st and Woodlawn less than 24 hours after he was murdered, here’s what I didn’t see:
I didn’t see protesters waving their hands in the air for network TV cameras. I didn’t see the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson playing their usual roles in the political race card game.
The following post originally appears on Gawker. It was written by Jazmine Hughes.
By: Jazmine Hughes
A Tumblr quote floated over to me about around the time of Trayvon Martin’s murder, from a Jonathan Lethem book that I’ve never read (The Fortress of Solitude). At this point, I don’t really need to read it, because it’s already asked me the most important question I’ve heard in a long time: “At what age is a black boy when he learns he’s scary?”
The following feature originally appears on the Windy City Times. It was written by Gretchen Rachel Blickensderfer.
By: Gretchen Rachel Blickensderfer
According to the most recent numbers, one in six transgender individuals report having been imprisoned at some point in their lives. The history of horrific abuses they often suffered in jail have been well-documented—trans* women housed with men and, so, subjected to rape and violent assault from fellow inmates while prison staff have looked the other way; denial of hormone medication or access to mental-health counseling; and sometimes extended periods of solitary confinement “for their own protection,” which yields devastating psychological consequences.
The following post was published in the New York Times. It was written by Peter Baker and Matt Apuzzo.
By: Peter Baker and Matt Apuzzo
The two men in open-collar shirts sat facing each other, papers and a BlackBerry strewn on a coffee table, sober looks on both their faces. One leaned forward, gesturing with his left hand, clearly doing the talking. The other sat back in his chair, two fingers pressed to his temple as he listened intently.
When violence erupted last week after a police shooting in Missouri, President Obama and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. huddled on Martha’s Vineyard where both were on vacation. But as the most powerful African-Americans in the nation confront its enduring racial divide, they come at it from fundamentally different backgrounds and points of view.
The following post was written by Jameson Parker. It originally appears on Addicting Info.
By: Jameson Parker
The fatal police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old black man by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, is certainly egregious overstep of police force, but not necessarily out of the ordinary. Sadly, it’s a scenario that is being played out week after week on city streets across the United States every year.
According to data compiled by the FBI, in a seven year period ending in 2012 an average of nearly two black people were killed by police every week. Even more troublesome: Almost 20% of those killed were under the age of 21, more than double the rate of whites of the same age group. If you are black, being young doesn’t seem to protect you.
The following post originally appears on Dame Magazine. It was written by Jameson Parker.
By: Kirsten West Savali
It is impossible to turn my eyes away from Ferguson, Missouri.
As law enforcement continues to use military weapons to terrorize protesters seeking justice for slain teen Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was gunned down by police officer Darren Wilson on August 9, the ache in my soul is primitive and all-encompassing.
Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, has written an open letter to the family of Michael Brown, the teenager who was killed by Darren Wilson, a member of the Ferguson (Mo.) police department.
In the letter published on TIME.com on Monday, Fulton offers her support and advice during this difficult time.