Posts from the ‘Civil Rights Movement’ Category

Don’t Be a Sucker

Don’t Be a Sucker is a short propaganda film produced by the U.S. War Department, released on July 4, 1943 and re-released in 1947. It has anti-racist and anti-fascist themes. The film was supposedly created to make the case for the desegregation of the United States armed forces [paradoxically I dare say] but ultimately upholds America as a nation of minorities that must unite in order to thrive. It’s terrifying that seventy years later the film’s messages are all too relevant. [17:26 minutes] Please share this with your people everywhere:

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Van Jones ~ Plain Truth and Direct Action

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Jan. 26, 2017, Mill Valley, CA
I was lucky enough to be in the audience last Thursday, Jan. 26th, when Van Jones spoke at the Mill Valley Rec Center. Jones is a personable, humble dynamo—not so impressed with himself that he couldn’t be giddy and lose his mind when Oprah called him in his hotel room recently. He told me I had a wonderful last name, I told him I’m sure we’re cousins—feels like he could be that handsome cousin all the girl cousins have a crush on and the boy cousins want to be. Read more…

National Amnesia & Bipartisan Disorder

Anita’s Note ~ Come on people. Have we really forgotten that the same country that elected Barack Obama elected Donald Trump? And that country participated in the Middle Passage slave trade for 245 YEARS? And that same was the architect of what W.E.B. Dubois described as “the freedom to destroy freedom”? As a result our country suffers from what I’m calling bipartisan disorder* (scroll down for definition & let me know if somebody else is calling it that, too).

I love what is good about America—and there’s a lot to love—doesn’t mean choosing to forget the horrors. Trump has delivered a wake-up call. Let’s not turn over and go back to sleep.

A few minutes a go I took a break from revising the novel to indulge in content for my next blog post—my reward for six hours of writing/revising. The words “national+amnesia” popped into my head like an original idea. Not. A quick search  lead me to an op-ed by Ana Paulina Lee, assistant professor of Luso-Brazilian Studies at Columbia University, NYC. Ms. Lee has eloquently told it like it is and gave me permission to re-blog

Guest Blogger

 

Ana Paulina Lee, Columbia University

“How would one think differently of the United States if we were to think of it not as a nation built by immigrants — a national myth — but rather as a nation built on slavery and the removal of Indigenous people from their land?” ~ Ana Paulina Lee “Op-Ed; The Perils of National Amnesia.” Truth-out.org. 7 Jul. 2016.

*bi•par•ti•san dis•or•der
noun
a political disorder marked by alternating periods of national elation and depression brought on by how one casts one’s votes.  ~ Anita Gail Jones

“Students across the US, regardless of their background, may graduate from college without ever learning about inconvenient histories. Yet, national forgetting is powerful. It enables ideology like racial supremacy to not only exist, but evolve.” ~ Ana Paulina Lee “Op-Ed; The Perils of National Amnesia.” Truth-out.org. 7 Jul. 2016.

“…histories of racial violence are not over. And we need our classrooms and our culture — and not just Jesse Williams — to tell that truth.” ~ Ana Paulina Lee

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Still I Rise ~ Maya Angelou

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From Maya Angelou’s 1978 poem “And Still I Rise”.

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Maya Angelou 1928 ~ 2014

Through her words, her undeniable presence and voice she left an indelible mark on the world. She wrote this poem two years into President Jimmy Carter’s term; the year Harvey Milk became the first openly gay member of the San Francisco City Council. Who knew that 36 years later the poem’s sentiment would be still be so relevant. Watch a video of her reading And Still I Rise

 Transcript of this video version~

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
Just ’cause I walk as if I have oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like suns and like moons,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hope springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my sassiness upset you?
Don’t take it so hard
Just ’cause I laugh as if I have gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You can shoot me with your words,
You can cut me with your eyes,
You can kill me with your hatefulness,
But just like life, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness offend you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance as if I have diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past rooted in pain
I rise
A black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak miraculously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the hope and the dream of the slave,
And so—naturally there I go rising…

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Freedom Singers at the White House

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Need an alternative to football after your turkey dinner? Check out this video. Especially important for the young folk among you…

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Adjustments,Tucks and Plans

Guest Blogger:
Karen Lindquist, Southern California 

Anita’s Note~ Kudos to my niece, Karen Roehrick Lindquist, who wrote this first as a comment to my post: My Letter to the Young Folk. Her powerful sentiment left me in tears. Lucky for us Karen agreed to having the comment published as a post to share with all of you. Many people are asking, “What do we do now?” After reading this you will have some ideas on that…

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist waits, expecting it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” ~ William Arthur Ward

Thank you for your continued guidance Aunt Anita…as I woke to my alarm last Wednesday morning and learned the “official” call, I had to pick my jaw and heart up off the floor, make my coffee, get out the door and get to the hospital where I take care of almost exclusively Latino families whose child is experiencing a serious medical condition. And when I got to my unit, the air was eery and thick. Generally I’m there before the kids wake up so I’m slipping into each room silently checking tubes and drains and medication and safety equipment before I ever see those little eyes open.

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On Wednesday the TVs in each room were quietly broadcasting various newscasts. Moms and dads and grandmas were soundlessly, dazedly watching. As I tucked and adjusted and straightened, I made eye contact with those parents and thankfully no words were needed as my heart had gone from the floor to my throat and there would have been nothing my voice could have produced. Each room, I did my checking and felt those parents and felt the weight of our new reality.


And then when Hillary spoke that morning, the unit paused and I watched with my Latino and black and Muslim and female colleagues and together we fought back tears and anger. And then the day marched on as it had to so we could treat, heal, and love those families. Then the week marched on and the waves of sadness, grief, disbelief, and fear have rolled in.

It’s traumatic. It’s traumatic to witness the destruction of our friends’ and neighbors’ civil rights. Just ask those who have come before us. We are witness to a(nother) surge of open white supremacy and hate speech. And it’s traumatic. As with all trauma it can be difficult to navigate.

I am encouraged by those who call for action and preparation…I like adjustments, I like tucks and I like plans. But I fear that calls for unity are delicately disguised calls for acceptance. I cannot accept. I cannot stand in the face of this and call it a difference of opinion. I’m not grieving because of our different viewpoints on social and political issues. I grieve because Trump’s hate rhetoric is bigoted harassment toward our vulnerable people and his election is a sign that—for at least half of our voting country—this is acceptable.

I thought only the fringes of society could possibly overlook his misogynist, racist, homophobic, sexist values and actually vote for him. This cannot be normalized, it cannot be woven into normal life. I am thankful for those who are called to protest and activate. For me, while I might not hold that picket sign, I’ll continue to be a helper. I will continue to help and love and value all different people no matter their race, religion, how much they have, who they love, what they believe in…I will be a helper…and lean on those who have been here before to help me.

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“We Shall Not Be Moved” ~ March On Washington 1963

America has been here before.

Watch this video of the Freedom Singers that preeminent day 53 years ago.

The Freedom Singers began in Albany, Georgia in 1962 during the Civil Rights Movement. From L-R: Charles Neblett (bass), Bernice Johnshon Reagon (alto) Cordell Reagon (tenor), unknown and Rutha Harris (soprano). This performance was at The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Tuesday, August 28, 1963.

We shall not, we shall not be moved
Just like a tree planted by the water,
We shall not be moved.

May 27, 2014 ~ After North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis refuses to meet with North Carolinians, a sit-in turns into a church service lead by Rev.William J. Barber, President of the NC NAACP:

Other versions of the song: http://civilrightssongs.blogspot.com/2015/02/we-shall-not-be-moved-lyrics-videos-and.html

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Freedom Riders at the March on Washington, 1963

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Civil rights organizer Karen House at ’63 March.

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Paul Newman at ’63 March

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Marchers cool their feet in the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, ’63 March on Washington

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March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom: 8.28.63

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