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Civil Rights Movement

Before The Montgomery Bus Boycott There Was The Baton Rouge Bus Boycott

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Baton Rouge

On June 15, 1953, the Baton Rouge Bus Boycott occurred. It was the first Black bus boycott in in the U.S. Years before the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the black residents of Baton Rouge took a stand against racism and segregation. In 1950, the city began to require all residents to use segregated public bussing. Prior to this, black residents utilized black-owned public transportation and required all residents to use the city’s public transportation which enforced segregated seating. Black residents had to sit at the back half of the bus or stand, even if seats in the “white” section were empty. Black passengers comprised 80% of bus passengers and were fed up with standing up on buses while “white” seats remained empty, particularly after the company had raised fares from ten to fifteen cents in January 1953. Continue reading “Before The Montgomery Bus Boycott There Was The Baton Rouge Bus Boycott”

“Ballad of Birmingham” By Dudley Randall

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Dudley-Randall
Dudley Randall (1914 – 2000)

 

Ballad of Birmingham was written by African-American poet Dudley Randall (1914-2000).  Randall was Detroit, MI’s first African American to become Poet Laureate.  Randall was born in Washington DC.  The family relocated to Detroit, Michigan when he was 4 years old.  Randall’s first poem was published in the Detroit Free Press when he was just 13 years old. 

Randall owned and operated Broadside Press publishing company between 1965-1977.  Broadside published many leading African American authors including Melvin Tolson, Sonia Sanchez, Audre Lorde, Gwendolyn Brooks, Etheridge Knight, Margaret Walker, and others.  

One of the poems penned by Randall was “Ballad of Birmingham”  The poem chronicles the story of a mother who refused to allow her child to participate in a civil rights march.  However, the mother did give the child permission to go to church.  The powerful imagery of the poem honors the life of little girls killed in the Birmingham Church bombing.  It also demonstrates the irony of how the mother believed she was choosing a safer option for her child only to have them killed at church, which in theory should have been safer than the March.  

Ballad of Birmingham

By Dudley Randall (1914 – 2000)

(On the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963)

“Mother dear, may I go downtown
Instead of out to play,
And march the streets of Birmingham
In a Freedom March today?”
“No, baby, no, you may not go,
For the dogs are fierce and wild,
And clubs and hoses, guns and jails
Aren’t good for a little child.”
“But, mother, I won’t be alone.
Other children will go with me,
And march the streets of Birmingham
To make our country free.”
“No, baby, no, you may not go,
For I fear those guns will fire.
But you may go to church instead
And sing in the children’s choir.”
She has combed and brushed her night-dark hair,
And bathed rose petal sweet,
And drawn white gloves on her small brown hands,
And white shoes on her feet.
The mother smiled to know her child
Was in the sacred place,
But that smile was the last smile
To come upon her face.
For when she heard the explosion,
Her eyes grew wet and wild.
She raced through the streets of Birmingham
Calling for her child.
She clawed through bits of glass and brick,
Then lifted out a shoe.
“O, here’s the shoe my baby wore,
But, baby, where are you?”

Dr. Willa B. Player: 1st Black Female College President Of A 4-Year Fully Accredited Liberal Arts College

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PlayerWilla
Dr. Willa B. Player (1917-2003)

Dr. Willa Beatrice Player (1917 – 2003) was an African American educator and civil rights, activist. She made history by becoming the first African American woman to lead a four year, fully accredited liberal arts college.  Player took the helm as president of Bennett College for Women from 1956-1966.

Continue reading “Dr. Willa B. Player: 1st Black Female College President Of A 4-Year Fully Accredited Liberal Arts College”

1956 Christmas Fire Bombing

Black History: Special Delivery!!

On Christmas Day 1956, the home of civil rights activist, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth was fire bombed by the KKK. Shuttlesworth sought to test the recent supreme court ruling to desegregate public transportation that resulted from the Montgomery Bus Boycott. His home was destroyed by the blast. The church also sustained damage. After the blast, he commented, “God made me dynamite proof. ”

Undeterred, he boarded public buses on December 26 and was arrested along with 20 other blacks. Shuttlesworth died at the age of 89 in 2011.

 

Source:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.biography.com/.amp/people/fred-shuttlesworth-21389361

 

 

Police Dogs and Anti-Black Violence – AAIHS

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The use of violence as a tool to oppress and subjugate people of color is well documented. Many have seen images of African American protestors during the Civil Rights movement being viciously attacked by dogs. This was not a phenomenon only common to the American Civil Rights Movement. The use of dogs to inflict violence upon people of color is well documented both in the U.S. and abroad. Dogs were often used to inflict punishment on enslaved persons. They were also used to track enslaved persons who ran away. The use of dogs was not ask haphazard. Dogs were specially bred for this purpose.

In an article published by the African American Intellectual Society (AAHIS), Tyler Parry, associate professor at the California State University, Fullerton, candidly shares this troubling and violent history.

Some of our readers may recall the viral video of an African-American man being mauled by a police dog in Florida in July 2017. This incident is also highlighted in the article as well. Click below to view the video. Note the images in the video are disturbing:

Click on the link below to view the article.

http://www.aaihs.org/police-dogs-and-anti-black-violence/

Source: http://www.aaihs.org

54th Anniversary of “I Have A Dream Speech”

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Photo Credit: Library of Congress

August 28, 2017 marks the 54th anniversary of the historic “I Have A Dream Speech” given by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, in Washington, DC during the March on Washington.  More than 200,000 flooded the capital for the historic speech.  Below are some little known facts about the March that you may not know.

  • The March on Washington along with the speech given by Dr. King was said to pressure President Kennedy to approve federal civil rights legislation in Congress.
  • Dr. King was not the “originator” of the “I have a dream” language contained in his speech. It is likely that this language was first used by then 22 year old Prathia Hall after the burning of the Mount Olive Baptist Church in 1962.  King had preached at a church service following the bombing.  Prathia Hall prayed during the service.  During her prayer she shared the “I have a dream” language.  Check out our previous Black Mail post for more information on Prathia Hall.  https://wordpress.com/post/blackmail4u.com/169
  • Originally, the speech was entitled, “Normalcy – Never Again” and did not contain any “I have a dream” wording. Dr. King was encouraged by gospel singer Mahalia Jackson who whispered to him during the speech, “Tell ‘em about the dream Martin.  Tell em’ about the dream.“
  • Dr. King was the last speaker of the day. Many of the march participants, had already left to return to their homes and missed the historic speech.
  • William Sullivan, head of the FBI’s domestic intelligence division wrote a memo after the speech labeling Dr. King “as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro, and national security.”
  • King’s speech, initially did not get much attention in the media. The march itself received most of the media attention.  By the time of King’s death in 1968, the speech, had been largely forgotten.
  • Dr. King first shared, “I have a dream” during a speech in Detroit two months before the March on Washington. Several of his staffers actually tried to discourage him from using the language again.

Check out a video excerpt of the speech:

Source(s):

Blackmail4u.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I47Y6VHc3Ms&feature=yout

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/08/i-have-a-dream-speech-facts-trivia.html

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/28/us/mlk-i-have-a-dream-9-things/index.html

Darnell Lamont Walker Quote

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“I am the descendant of a WHOLE BUNCH OF BLACK FOLK who couldn’t be broken.”

-Darnell Lamont Walker

48th Anniversary – Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Funeral Procession of Martin Luther King Jr
Mule drawn Carriage carries body of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during funeral procession in 1968.

 

Shortly before his death, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had traveled to Memphis, TN to support black sanitation workers in their quest for higher wages and better working conditions. King had become increasingly more vocal about the economic disenfranchisement and discrimination faced by blacks. The rally hoped to draw 6,000 people. On the original date of the march, Dr. King and his supporters withdrew from the march; feeling that the presence of the Black Panther might provoke violence. King later returned to Memphis to attend a second march that was planned. He hoped that this march would be a peaceful one.

Upon arriving, King checked into the Lorraine Motel. Despite security considerations, King chose to stay at the motel. During his earlier visit, he had been criticized for staying at the Holiday Inn because it was viewed as too “lavish”. On the evening of April 4th, King came out onto the balcony of his hotel room on the second floor. He began talking to friends on the ground below. At 6:05pm, a shot suddenly rang out, hitting King. He collapsed immediately. King had been shot by a sniper and was hit in the neck and head. He was pronounced dead at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Memphis. Continue reading “48th Anniversary – Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Moneta Sleet, Jr.: 1st African American To Win Pulitzer Prize For Journalism

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

 

Moneta Sleet, Jr. (1926 – 1996) captured the images and experiences of the civil rights movement and the struggle for equality in the U.S. and Africa. Sleet is perhaps best known for his award winning photo taken at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. of Coretta Scott King her daughter Bernice who was 5 years old at the time. He received the Pulitzer Prize in journalism for the photo.  He was the first African American to receive the Pulitzer Prize for journalism.  Sleet first began photographing the civil rights movement when he traveled to Montgomery, AL in 1955 to cover the Montgomery Bus Boycott lead by Martin Luther King, Jr. As fate would have it, Sleet would cover both the “birth” of the civil rights movement, as well as the funeral of its leader, and everything in-between. Sleet was also known for his coverage of various independence ceremonies and celebrations in Africa.
Continue reading “Moneta Sleet, Jr.: 1st African American To Win Pulitzer Prize For Journalism”

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