Showing posts from 2020

Tear it Down | MORE In The News #bigisms

In the News

Frederick Douglass, Seen Up Close
Jennifer Schuessler, July 3, 2020, The New York Times

In 2006, the historian David Blight had just given a talk about Frederick Douglass in Savannah, Ga., when he was introduced to Walter Evans, a retired surgeon and collector. Dr. Evans invited him to stop by the house and see his Douglass collection. Dr. Blight was cautiously intrigued.

But later, as Dr. Evans began laying out some carefully rebound scrapbooks on his dining room table, he was stunned to see page after page of newspaper clippings, letters and personal reminiscences of the escaped slave who became one of the most famous men in 19th century America.

They were the Douglass family scrapbooks, carefully assembled and annotated by Douglass’s sons — and all but unknown to scholars.

“I was astonished,” Dr. Blight recalled in an interview. “I’m not even sure I knew what I was seeing at first.”

Dr. Evans put it a bit more vividly. “I could see David’s head exploding,” he said.


In The News #bigisms

One of America’s Wealthiest States Might Pass Up an Opportunity to Tackle Housing Segregation
Jacqueline Rabe Thomas,  June 29, 2020, ProPublica with The Connecticut Mirror

On a recent Sunday, protesters marched through the center of Weston, a small, wealthy town in southwest Connecticut. They chanted “no justice, no peace” and raised handwritten signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “Silence is Violence.”

Somewhere in the crowd, Brian Murray hoisted his own message.

“Fact check: Weston, CT. No Black teachers. No Black police officers. No Black board members. No Black town of Weston government office members.”

Murray, one of the town’s few Black residents, viewed the June 7 protest through a different lens than his white neighbors.

“It was a photo opportunity. That’s all,” said Murray, a limo driver and father of five who moved his family to the town eight years ago.


Storm clouds on the horizon for U.S. human trafficking rankings
Luis C.deBaca, 29 June 2020, Thomson Reuters…

‘What To The Slave Is The Fourth Of July?’: Descendants Read Frederick D...


In The News #bigisms

Archives Department acknowledges role in distorting Alabama’s racial history
Mike Cason, Jun 23, 2020,

The Alabama Department of Archives & History said in a statement today that for much of the 20th century it promoted a view of history that favored the Confederacy and failed to document the lives and contributions of Black Alabamians.

Archives & History Director Steve Murray said he drafted the “Statement of Recommitment” that was approved by the agency’s Board of Trustees. Read the statement.

“The State of Alabama founded the department in 1901 to address a lack of proper management of government records, but also to serve a white southern concern for the preservation of Confederate history and the promotion of Lost Cause ideals,” the statement says. “For well over a half-century, the agency committed extensive resources to the acquisition of Confederate records and artifacts while declining to acquire and preserve materials documenting the lives and co…

Kimberly Jones - Speaking Out About Black Experiences in America


How Can We Win: Kimberly Jones Video


Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man - Episode 2 with Matthew McConaughey



After Years of Protest, Theodore Roosevelt Statue Will Be Removed From American Natural History MuseumHakim Bishara
An internal memo to the museum’s staff over the weekend was the first to announce the decision to remove the controversial statues on Central Park West.

Let’s Remember How Dark Teddy Roosevelt’s History Was Jon Schwarz - June 22, 2020 New York City’s American Museum of Natural History announced Sunday that it will remove its famous statue of President Teddy Roosevelt from its sidewalk entrance.
The museum’s president emphasized that the decision was made based on the statue’s “hierarchical composition” — Roosevelt is on horseback, flanked by an African man and a Native American man on foot — rather than the simple fact that it portrayed Roosevelt. The museum, co-founded by Roosevelt’s father, will keep Roosevelt’s name on its Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall, Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda, and Theodore Roosevelt Park.
This suggests that Americans still have not …

In The News #bigisms

At Yale, piecing together John Wilson’s 1952 lynching mural
Murray Whyte, June 11, 2020, Boston Globe

In 1950, John Wilson and his wife, Julia, set out from Boston for Mexico City in separate cars. Wilson had received a John Hay Whitney Fellowship to immerse himself in the social-political Mexican Mural Renaissance led by one of his idols, José Clemente Orozco. John and Julia were newlyweds — he was Black, she white — enamored but apart on that long, lonely road, and for very good reason: Their route took them through the Deep South, where the Ku Klux Klan was pursuing with rising zeal the vicious practice of lynching — the spectacle-murder of Black men and women by white civilian mobs.

“It mattered that John’s wife was white, and what that meant in terms of this narrative of mob violence,” said Crystal Feimster, a professor of African American Studies at Yale, and an expert on race- and gender-based violence. “He understood the stakes. He knew that they could come for him.”

Clemson Removes John C. Calhoun's Name from Honors College, Asks to Rename Tillman Hall

Vice President Calhoun was a slave owner and secessionist whose plantation became Clemson University; Tillman was a governor and white supremacist whose name adorns Clemson's most iconic building.

The Clemson University Board of Trustees has voted to remove John C. Calhoun's name from the Honors College and has requested the state Legislature to empower the school to rename Tillman Hall to its original name, Old Main. In a Friday morning vote, the board unanimously voted to remove Calhoun from the Honors College as recommended by Provost Bob Jones. The college was immediately rebranded The Clemson University Honors College.
Efforts like the ones to rename Clemson's Tillman Hall or the USC's Women's Dorm, which is named after Marion Sims, a scientist who performed surgery on enslaved women without consent, would require the Legislature's vote, which is why the group is focusing first on repealing the Heritage Act.  "I think the bottom line for a lo…

Jim Crow of the North (minnesota history)


News Headlines #bigisms #Covid-19

Columbus and his actions set the foundation for the exploitation and destruction of the lands and peoples in the Western Hemisphere. Many feel justified by taking down his statue. Yet, some people argue that removing statues and monuments of controversial figures is erasing history.
READ: An Opportunity for a New Interpretation of Christopher Columbus — Native News Online

Hyperallergic’s news team discusses the toppling of racist statues and considers how the quest for justice continues during protests worldwide.
LISTEN: The Monumental Impact of Black Lives Matter Protests

Mind you, I wasn’t planning on having this conversation with anybody because it was very traumatic for me. I didn’t want to talk about it, I just wanted them to have a diversity training just so that I could be more comfortable at work. They didn’t even do that. They didn’t even invite me into th…

The history behind Juneteenth and why it resonates today


In the News #bigisms #monuments | America, This Is Your Chance

America, This Is Your Chance
Michelle Alexander, June 8, 2020, The New York Times

Our democracy hangs in the balance. This is not an overstatement.

As protests, riots, and police violence roiled the nation last week, the president vowed to send the military to quell persistent rebellions and looting, whether governors wanted a military occupation or not. John Allen, a retired four-star Marine general, wrote that we may be witnessing the “beginning of the end of the American experiment” because of President Trump’s catastrophic failures.

Trump’s leadership has been disastrous. But it would be a mistake to place the blame on him alone. In part, we find ourselves here for the same reasons a civil war tore our nation apart more than 100 years ago: Too many citizens prefer to cling to brutal and unjust systems than to give up political power, the perceived benefits of white supremacy and an exploitative economic system. If we do not learn the lessons of history and choose a radica…

In Sickness and in Wealth


In The News #bigisms

‘The Condition of Black Life Is One of Mourning’
Claudia Rankine, June 22, 2015, The New York Times

Though the white liberal imagination likes to feel temporarily bad
about black suffering, there really is no mode of empathy that can
replicate the daily strain of knowing that as a black person you
can be killed for simply being black.
– Claudia Rankine

My Anger, God's Righteous Indignation (audio)
Willie Jennings, June 2, 2020, For the Life of the World (podcast)


Guest contributor Willie Jennings (Yale) offers a response to the death of George Floyd and the black experience of racism and police brutality. In order to practice the discipline of hope, he suggests that we must take hold of a shared anger, hate what God hates, reshape communities with attention to the violence of segregation, and rethink the formation of police officers and our understanding of criminality.


With these racist markers in place, there can be no peace
Karen L. Cox, June 5, 2020,

Indian Slavery

White Fragility


absolute power depends on absolute control over knowledge, which in turn necessitates absolute corruption

Little Man Little Man