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Operation Breadbasket: Economic Empowerment Program Of The Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Black History: Special Delivery!!

 

Operation Breadbasket was launched in 1962 by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Martin Luther King, jr., stated, “The fundamental premise of Breadbasket is a simple one. Negroes need not patronize a business which denies them jobs, or advancement or plain courtesy…..Many retail businesses and consumer goods industries deplete the ghetto by selling to Negroes without returning to the community any profits through fair hiring practices”. Operation Breadbasket’s first leader was Fred Bennette. Continue reading “Operation Breadbasket: Economic Empowerment Program Of The Southern Christian Leadership Conference”

Negritude: Disorder Of Being Black

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Dr. Benjamin Rush is known as the “Father Of American Psychiatry”. He was also an abolitionist.  Rush believed that blacks suffered from a disorder he called “Negritude” due then having dark skin.   He described this condition as being akin to leprosy.  The only cure for the condition was to become white.

Dr. Rush sited the case of Henry Moss, a slave who lost his dark skin color (probably through vitigulo),  to support his claim of Negritude being a medical condition.  He thought being black was a curable skin disease.  Rush wrote that “Whites should not tyrannize over [blacks], for their disease should entitle them to a double portion of humanity. However, by the same token, whites should not intermarry with them, for this would tend to infect posterity with the ‘disorder’… attempts must be made to cure the disease.”

Some of our Black Mail readers may remember our previous post about “Drapetomania”, a condition used to that characterized the desire of slaves to run away and seek freedom as an illness.

Scientific racism is institutional and systemic. It exists today.

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Mississippi Appendectomy: History of Involuntary Sterilization of African American Women

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fannie lou hamer
Fannie Lou Hamer 1917-1977

The term, “Mississippi Appendectomy” was popularized by Civil Rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer. It refers to involuntary sterilization procedures that were performed on African American women. While having surgery to remove a tumor, in 1961 Hamer was given a hysterectomy without her knowledge or consent by a white doctor as a part of the state of Mississippi’s plan to reduce the number of poor blacks in the state. Hysterectomies or tubal ligations were performed on many other poor black women against their will and without their knowledge. Due to rampant discrimination and prejudice there was a belief that certain individuals of color or poor women in general were “unfit” to reproduce.

These forced/coerced sterilizations took place across the country but were considered particularly frequent in the deep south. Poor women, women with physical disabilities, or characteristics for which physicians deemed these women “unfit to reproduce” were often targeted for sterilization. Poor white women and Native Americans were also subjected to these types of coercive sterilization practices. Women outside the U.S. were also subjected to these involuntary sterilization procedures.

Albert Cleage: Founder The Shrine of The Black Madonna

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Albert Cleage

Rev. Albert B. Cleage 1911-2000 (later changed his name to Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman) was a theologian, nationalist, civil rights leader and father. He was a major influence on Detroit politics and black nationalism. He established the Central United Church of Christ in Detroit in 1956.

Cleage had become disenchanted with the white hierarchy of his denomination. Though he had served in integrated church settings; it seemed disheartening to him because he felt that he continued to witness racism and unfair treatment.

In 1970, shortly after the unveiling of an 18-foot painting of a Black Madonna in his church, the name was changed to Shrine of the Black Madonna and the Pan African Orthodox Christian Church denomination was created. The church also maintained the Shrine of The Black Madonna Cultural Center.  It was a hub of progressive, African-centered, religious, cultural and political activity. He contended, that Christ and many of his disciples were African in origin and suggested that Europeans had captured and twisted Christianity to assist in their enslaving Africans. He argued strongly for African American control of their own fate.

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Albert Cleage in front of Shrine of The Black Madonna in Detroit

Cleage did not believe in integration for blacks. He felt that it was important for blacks to obtain and maintain an economic, political, and social environment independently. He founded the City-wide Citizens Action Committee to support black businesses. He also promoted the education of black children by black teachers.

In the 1970s, Cleage expanded the church to Atlanta and Houston. Cleage was also very active in politics. Though he ran for office several times, he never won. However, his candidacies and advocacy led to the creation of the Black Slate, an organization that was instrumental in electing Detroit’s first Black mayor, Coleman Young, as well as other political officials. Cleage was also very instrumental as part of the 1960’s Black Power Movement.  He authored 2 books, “The Black Messiah” and “Black Christian Nationalism.”

Growing up in Detroit, The Shrine Of The Black Madonna Cultural Center was an icon in Black community. But I was not fully aware of its origins or impact. I’m wondering if any of the Black Mail blog readers are familiar with Albert Cleage?

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Browder vs. Gayle Supreme Court Ruling That Declared Segregation of Public Transportation Illegal

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Many may be familiar with Montgomery Bus Boycott which lasted from December 1955 to December 1956; launched to protest the unfair treatment of blacks on public buses. But do you know about the Supreme Court case that ended the bus boycott? The Browder vs. Gayle law suit was filed by civil rights attorneys to protest segregation of public buses in Montgomery, Alabama.   The plaintiffs in the law suit were: Claudette Colvin, Mary Louise Smith, Susie McDonald, Aurelia Browder, and Jeanette Reese. Jeanette Reese withdrew her participation due to receiving many threats.  There was consideration as filing this lawsuit using Rosa Parks as the plaintiff.  However, it was felt that the case might be delayed unnecessarily or even dropped.  So it move forward with the other women instead.

In November 1956, a three judge panel declared that segregation of public transportation was unconstitutional. This was a big victory for the civil rights movement. Browder vs. Gayle followed the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education ruling which declared that segregation of public schools as being unconstitutional.   Read the article below for more info!

http://browdervsgayle.weebly.com/the-montgomery-bus-boycott.html

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7/22/15: PBS Documentary “Slavery By Another Name”

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“SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME” is a PBS documentary that chronicles the beginnings of using forced labor in prisons dating back to the 1800’s. This is not a new phenomenon! Gives a great historical context.  The movie can be viewed in it’s entirety by clicking on the link below:

http://www.slaverybyanothername.com/pbs-film/

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