Showing posts from January, 2020

How One Man's Story Offers a New Way to Understand Slave Insurrection

How One Man's Story Offers a New Way to Understand Slave Insurrection
by Vincent Brown
Wager, also known by his African name, Apongo, was a leader of the largest slave rebellion in the 18th century British Empire. But long before taking his part in the great Jamaican insurrection of 1760– 1761, commonly called Tacky’s Revolt, he had been on a remarkable odyssey.
Apongo had been a military leader in West Africa during a period of imperial expansion and intensive warfare there. During this time, he had even been a notable guest of John Cope, a chief agent of Cape Coast Castle, Britain’s principal fort on the Gold Coast. Captured and sold at some point in the 1740s, Apongo became the property of Captain Arthur Forrest of HMS Wager, who renamed him for the Royal Navy warship. Wager came in bondage to Forrest’s plantation in Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica, where he again encountered John Cope, who had retired to his own Jamaican estate. Occasionally, Cope would entertain his…

The War of Races: Colfax Massacre

It was high noon on Easter 1873 when the white mob came riding into Colfax.
Five months earlier, Louisiana had held its second election since the end of the Civil War and the beginning of Black male suffrage. But some whites had refused to recognize the result, and former Confederate soldiers had committed acts of racial violence across the state.
When a former slave was fatally shot near Colfax, around 150 Black men holed up inside the river town’s courthouse to wait for federal troops.
Instead, they were met by the mob.“Boys, this is a struggle for white supremacy,” one Ku Klux Klan leader told the mob, according to Charles Lane’s “The Day Freedom Died.”
Armed with superior weaponry — including a small cannon — the mob set the courthouse on fire and shot anyone who emerged. When some Blacks tried to surrender by waving handkerchiefs, they were mowed down and their remains were desecrated. 
Anywhere from 62 to 81 African Americans were killed, according to Lane, a Washington Post editoria…

In The News #bigisms

The Long War Against Slavery
Casey Cep, January 27, 2020, The New Yorker

Casey Cep reviews Vincent Brown's Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War

“Here’s to the next insurrection of the negroes in the West Indies,” Samuel Johnson once toasted at an Oxford dinner party, or so James Boswell claims. The veracity of Boswell’s biography—including its representation of Johnson’s position on slavery—has long been contested. In the course of more than a thousand pages, little mention is made of Johnson’s long-term servant, Francis Barber, who came into the writer’s house as a child after being taken to London from the Jamaican sugar plantation where he was born into slavery. Some of the surviving pages of Johnson’s notes for his famous dictionary have Barber’s handwriting on the back; there are scraps on which a twelve-year-old Barber practiced his own name while learning to write. Thirty years later, Johnson died and left Barber a sizable inheritance. But Boswell …

How Politics divides and shapes history books

This is a real big issue here in the US. The dumbing down of history has always been an issue.

The Fight to Decolonize the Museums

Nowhere in the United States is a museum controversy so heated as at New York City’s venerable American Museum of Natural History. Its 5 million annual visitors have included, for four years now, hundreds of demonstrators who have trooped through the museum on an Anti–Columbus Day Tour. They chant, drum, dance, and unfurl banners: rename the day. respect the ancestors. decolonize! reclaim! imagine! They deliver speeches demanding changes, a few of which the museum is slowly making.
The battles to decolonize museums.
Elsewhere in the United States, the Museum of Man, in San Diego, recently hired a Navajo educator as its “director of decolonization” and announced that it would no longer display human remains without tribal consent.
Many of the signs on exhibits are now apologetic. Colonialism “remains a very controversial period,” one says gingerly.LINK

Task Force Report Calls For Sweeping Changes To Maine Tribes' Relationship To State Government

A new report is proposing sweeping changes in the way Maine’s tribes interact with state government. The findings come from a task force charged with reviewing the landmark 1980 Indian land claims act.
The nearly 300-page report details conflicts that have arisen over competing interpretations of the settlement act. It also lays out how the act has resulted in Maine tribes being treated differently than most of the nation’s native Americans, with limited powers of self determination.

Difficult pieces of American history

The exhibition Making Mammy: A Caricature of Black Womanhood, 1840–1940 at the California African American Museum (CAAM) looks at this phenomenon through films, photographs, and articles of material culture, showing just how widespread and insidious this manufactured caricature became. In conjunction with the exhibition, assistant curator Taylor Bythewood-Porter and African-American memorabilia collector Gail Deculus-Johnson will host a discussion on collecting Black Americana. The pair will talk about the value of these important, but difficult pieces of American history, as well as address the ethical questions that accompany collecting them.

READ: Learn About the History and Value of Black Americana Collectibles

In The News #bigisms

Sasha Turner , January 14, 2020, Black Perspectives

We are living in a “memory boom” he says. From Charleston to New York, the national mall and university halls, on land and at sea, we’ve been busy. Taking down and putting up. And taking down and putting up. Again. Monuments and memorials. Remember they say. Remember. The accomplishments, the foundings, the triumphs (abolition not slavery). Remember they say. Remember. The founding fathers (neverfounding mothers). But whose memory? “They ask me to remember
But they want me to remember their memories
And I keep on remembering
Mine” Remember we say. Remember. The genocides. The wars. The crimes against humanity. Remember we say. “You stole us. You sold us. You owe us.” Remember we say. Remember. What do I remember about 1619? “I remember on the slave ship how they brutalize the very soul.”

'A Doubtful Freedom’
David W. Blight, January 16, 2020, The New York Review

David Blight reviews The War Before the War: Fugitive Sl…

Very Stable Genius?

Oh, and that isn’t all. This self-absorbed, egomaniacal, arrogant, bag of Cheetos vomit even toyed with the idea of giving himself the Medal of Freedom.
At 417 pages, A Very Stable Genius explores Trump’s disastrous first three years in office and includes such hits as “What the fuck am I doing?” and “When can I meet Putin?” Even the title of the book is a narcissistic noodle from Trump’s own mouth, as he literally called himself a very stable genius. According to the Post, which received an early copy of the book that’s scheduled to be released TODAY, Trump has no clue what the fuck he’s doing, and much like a child who’s been promised to meet the driver of the Oscar Mayer hotdog car, early on, Trump pushed through meetings and normal presidential stuff so that he could get to the good part: Boo loving with Russian president Vladimir Putin—or as Trump calls him, “Zaddy.”
Source: New Book Sheds Light on Trump's Dark Mind

++comment on The Root:
The excerpt from this book tha…

Gardner files federal suit via Ku Klux Klan Act

Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner has filed a federal lawsuit through the Ku Klux Klan Act, alleging a civil rights conspiracy at the hands of a lengthy list of entities: the City of St. Louis, the St. Louis Police Officers Association (SLPOA), the police union’s spokesman Jeffrey Roorda, retired police officer Charles Lane, Special Prosecutor Gerard Carmody, and his children and employees Patrick Carmody and Ryann Carmody.
Gardner alleges that her attempts to address St. Louis’ long history of racial inequality and prejudice in the criminal justice system have been met with a “broad campaign of collusive conduct” to get her out of office before she can implement her progressive agenda. This allegedly includes the “unprecedented appointment of a white, ethically-conflicted special prosecutor to investigate the activities of Gardner’s office and a patently overbroad and unconstitutional ransacking of the office’s electronic files.”
Source: Gardner files federal suit via Ku Klux Klan Act…

The Invention of WHITE PEOPLE... Idea of "Race" #bigisms

The History of The Idea of Race… and Why It Race originated as a folk idea and ideology about human differences; it was a social invention, not a product of science. Historians have documented when, and to a great extent, how race as an ideology came into our culture and our consciousness. This is the story that I will briefly tell here. ** Is Race Just An Invention? - The Odyssey Online Could it be that the biggest problem in our country is completely made up? What a lot of people are not aware of is that "race" is an invention, not an actual concept. "Race" actually started off as a folk idea; the true meaning of the word in our society deals with social realities. ** TheInventionofthe White Race - Theodore W. Allen - Google ... TheInventionofthe White Race

White Women and the Politics of White Supremacy

We talk with Dr. Elizabeth McRae, author of Mothers of Massive Resistance: White Women and the Politics of White Supremacy, about what her research tells us about contemporary school segregation -- and the hope her work gives for it’s dismantling.

LISTEN: Ep 11 - White Women and the Politics of White Supremacy | Integrated Schools

Congress deleted the line to avoid tackling issue of slavery

What A Line Deleted From the Declaration of Independence Teaches Us About Thomas Jeffersonby M. Andrew HolowchakCongress deleted the line to avoid tackling issue of slavery.  In his first draft of Declaration of Independence, Jefferson listed a “long train of abuses & usurpations,” at the hand of King George III.
 His hypocrisy aside, Jefferson is to be lauded for articulating his anti-slavery views in his draft of the document, even if the paragraph was axed.

Cécile Fromont

Cécile Fromont talks about the circulation of African visual, material, and religious culture in the context of the Slave Trade within the early modern Atlantic world.  Professor Fromont’s writing and teaching focus on the visual, material, and religious culture of Africa and Latin America with a special emphasis on the early modern period and on the Portuguese-speaking Atlantic World. Her first book, The Art of Conversion: Christian Visual Culture in the Kingdom of Kongo won a number of awards. Her essays on African and Latin American art have appeared in Colonial Latin American Review, African Arts, RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, as well as various edited volumes and exhibition catalogues.  Learn more about Cécile Fromont.

In the News #bigisms

The radical black newspaper that declared 'none are free unless all are free’
Kerri Greenidge, 3 January 2020, The Guardian

In 1901, William Monroe Trotter founded the Guardian newspaper in Boston. At that time, the more famous Guardian – the one you’re now reading – was published in Manchester, and Trotter had never traveled further than Chillicothe, Ohio. By the time he died in 1934, however, Trotter and the Boston Guardian had a similar effect on transnational black radical politics as the Manchester Guardian had on British liberalism.

Trotter’s vow that the Guardian “hold a mirror up to nature” invoked a black radical tradition rooted in 18th century transatlantic slave rebellion and the militant abolition of African diasporic communities throughout the Americas. The Manchester Guardian, in contrast, supported progressive racial reform of America’s so-called “negro problem” even as it adhered to a liberal tradition that diluted the radical “colored world democracy” t…

1619 Project (update)

The New York Times1619 Project made waves this year, and it seems to resonated with a great deal of people. Recently a group of historians wrote a letter to the Times to refute some of the historical accuracy, and the letter, as well as the newspaper’s response, are worth your time to read. The newspaper’s response begins:Since The 1619 Project was published in August, we have received a great deal of feedback from readers, many of them educators, academics and historians. A majority have reacted positively to the project, but there have also been criticisms. Some I would describe as constructive, noting episodes we might have overlooked; others have treated the work more harshly. We are happy to accept all of this input, as it helps us continue to think deeply about the subject of slavery and its legacy. The letter from Professors Bynum, McPherson, Oakes, Wilentz and Wood differs from the previous critiques we have received in that it contains the first major request f…

Racial Amnesia: Not Just Tulsa

Reblogged from AGR Daily News: Not Just Tulsa: Five Other Race Massacres That Devastated Black America | News | BET Despite some people claiming America was “great” for Black people seven years after the Civil War, Black men and women were being massacred in plain sight. One of the most horrific incidents -- at least, that we know of -- was April of 1873 in Colfax, Louisiana. Read more… 159 more words There were far more than five "race wars" against Blacks in the US. In addition to killing thousands of African Americans, they also leveled thriving Black communities (homes and businesses) to the ground: Not Just Tulsa: Five Other Race Massacres That Devastated Black America | News | BETby stuartbramhall

In the News #bigisms

'We loved each other': America’s first racially integrated all-girl swing band
Megan Mayhew Bergman, Monday 16, December 2019, The Guardian

Rosalind Cron is a vibrant 95-year-old in red lipstick. She stands 4ft 8in tall, and is the keeper of a beautiful, under-told story about America’s first racially integrated, all-girl swing band, the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. She is one of two surviving Sweethearts in their 90s, and a lucid, bright storyteller.

She greeted me on an early December afternoon in her assisted living facility outside of Los Angeles, where she had made room for a piano and memorabilia.

The International Sweethearts broke attendance records at places such as Washington DC’s Howard Theatre, Harlem’s Apollo Theater, Cincinnati’s Cotton Club and the Riviera in St Louis. They played in the same venues as Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie, were considered some of the most talented musicians of their day and toured France and Germany as a USO act i…

Indian Slavery


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

Little Man Little Man