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The Racist History Behind The Term “Grandfather Clause”

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Many are aware of what the term “grandfather clause” means. It is a clause creating an exemption based on previously existing circumstances. Ratified in 1870, the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibited voter discrimination based on race. Even with this amendment, Black voters living in the South were prevented from voting in large numbers for nearly a century after its passage. Added to the amendment were new voter requirements, such as literacy tests, poll taxes, and residency/property ownership restrictions. Southern states would exempt white citizens from these new requirements if their ancestors (grandfathers) had the right to vote before the Civil War. Clearly, little to no Black voters would be able to meet these requirements.

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St. Augustine Four:  Unsung Heroes Of The Civil Rights Movement

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Youth and young adults were present and active in the civil rights movement. The St. Augustine Four, Audrey Nell Edwards, JoeAnn Anderson Ulmer, Willie Carl Singleton, and Samuel White are among the trailblazers who made their mark on the civil rights movement. 

The St. Augustine Four were arrested in July 1963 for attempting to integrate a whites-only lunch counter at a local Woolworths.  Following their arrest, local law enforcement tried to force them to promise they would no longer participate in further demonstrations.  The St. Augustine Four refused.  The group was also pressed to say the organizer of the movement in St. Augustine, Dr. Robert Hayling was to blame for contributing to the delinquency of minors. The St. Augustine Four again refused.

Backed by their families and the community, The St. Augustine Four stood firm, refusing to concede. In response, they were jailed by the sheriff and then sent to reform school.  The NAACP attempted to gain their release.  The judge informed them that the issue was now beyond local jurisdiction. It took special action from the governor of Florida to get them released in January of 1964 (nearly six months later). 

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Black Inventor William H. Richardson Patents Reversible Baby Carriage in 1889

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In 1889 the Black inventor, William H. Richardson, patented a new type of baby carriage. William Kent invented the first baby carriage in England in 1733. The carriage was accented with gold and silver and designed to be pulled by a miniature pony. Due to the expense of early strollers, they were inaccessible to most working-class families. Working-class families did have them had carriages made out of cheaper materials like wood or wicker.

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Yes! Black People Can Get Skin Cancer

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Time to spill the tea on skin cancer! If you have skin, you can get skin cancer. 3 Million+ people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. While it’s true that black people have a lower risk of developing skin cancer, it is also true that they are more likely to have lower survival rates when they are diagnosed. The Skin Cancer Foundation defines skin cancer as “the out-of-control growth of abnormal cells in the epidermis, the outermost skin layer, caused by unrepaired DNA damage that triggers mutations. These mutations lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by age 70.” The most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC).

People of all skin tones get skin cancer. And, yes, you can get skin cancer even without having prolonged sun exposure or sunburn. Skin cancer is often diagnosed in Black people at later stages. Even when found at an early stage (before it had spread), on average, statistics show that Black people don’t survive as long as White people. Later diagnosis can be deadly when a person has the type of skin cancer known as melanoma. Melanoma is less common than other skin cancers but is more dangerous because it can spread to other parts of the body if untreated. In general, any skin cancer can be challenging to treat in later stages. Fortunately, most skin cancers, including melanoma, can be cured with early detection.

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Jennifer King: 1st Black Positions Coach in NFL

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In December 2021, Jennifer King made history when she was named assistant running backs coach for the Washington NFL franchise. King is the second female assistant coach in the NFL. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive line coach Lori Locust is the first. 

Born in 1984, King is a native of Reidsville, North Carolina, her professional coaching career began with coaching basketball. She is the former head coach of the women’s basketball team at Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina. She led the team to a national championship in 2018. King previously played football with the Women’s Football Alliance. While coaching basketball, she was introduced to former Carolina head coach Rick Rivera. After expressing her interest in coaching football, he invited her to join the team as an intern. She also completed an internship with Rivera as part of the Washington franchise. The team then hired her as an assistant running backs coach in 2021. As a black woman in a male-dominated sport, King says that a woman doesn’t feel excluded or “othered”. She feels she has earned the respect of the team.

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Slavery & The Trail Of Tears

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Before it was “The South,” it was a native homeland. The southern United States is steeped in indigenous history. The history of Native people has often been muted in Southern American history. The 1830 Indian Removal Act aimed to remove Native Americans from their Southern homelands. U.S. Southern territory had the highest Native population density north of Mexico. 

European settlers coveted native lands because the soil was ideal for growing cotton. Many associated the Indian Removal act as being targeted at the Cherokee Nation. However, this legislation was widespread as it sought to remove all Native Americans west of the Mississippi River. 100,000 Indians were forced to leave their homelands.   

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Before The NBA:  The Black Fives Basketball Era (1904-1950)

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

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The game of basketball was invented in 1891. Teams were called “fives” because games were played with five players on the floor. Like the rest of society at the time, the sport was segregated. All black squads were called “Black Fives.” Between 1904-1950 is known as the “Black Fives Era” when the first all-black basketball teams began to play. The era ended when the NBA began to accept black players in 1950. Basketball was first introduced to the black community by Dr. Edwin B. Henderson in 1904. Due to Jim Crow segregation and discrimination, black teams were forbidden to play in white establishments. Black teams played in dance halls, churches, and other venues that would accept them. The games were popular social events in the black community. Often dances would be offered before and after games. 

Though stories about all-black male teams abound, dozens of African American female basketball teams also played during the Black Fives Era. The New York Girls was one of the first independent African American female teams. It was formed in 1910 in Manhattan and was a sister club affiliated with the Alpha Physical Culture club mens team. Their first game was played in February 1910 against The Jersey Girls

Both mens and womens teams received national coverage in the black press. The sport continued to grow in popularity with women despite “warnings” by many that basketball was dangerous for women. In 1911 one male physician declared that “basketball is injurious and should not be engaged in by girls or women…the nature of women should keep them from this dangerous sport.”

Click here to check out an informative short film from the New York Historical Society about the Black Fives Era.

Another installment of melanated mail has been delivered. Ponder, reflect, and pass it on. 

Mind The Gap: Clinical Signs & Symptoms Handbook For Black & Brown Skin Created By Medical School Student, Malone Mukwende

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Malone Mukwende

Malone Mukwende was born in Zimbabwe.  His interest in science and medicine developed at an early age.  After entering medical school at St. George’s University of London, 3 years ago, Mukwende observed that representations of black and brown patients were largely left out of study materials and textbooks.  This concerned because he and his classmates were only being taught how to diagnose conditions on white patients. Mukwende noted, “There was a lack of signs and symptoms on Black and Brown skin… and I didn’t understand why we weren’t getting taught the full spectrum of people. I’d ask people for answers and I couldn’t get the answer… I decided I needed to do something to challenge this issue myself.”

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Black Mail Quote

Black History: Special Delivery!!

Inequities and disparities are toxins planted with intention and inattention into the souls, soil, and systems within our communities. Our ‘strategies of choice’ in addressing inequities and disparities too often prioritize the comfort of the oppressor over and above the liberation of the oppressed.

Enid Gaddis, ©2021 All Rights Reserved

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