This Saturday, ChangeLab and OneAmerica are hosting an event in Seattle called The Past, Present & Future of Multiracial Solidarity. In preparation, I t
See on www.changelabinfo.com
This Saturday, ChangeLab and OneAmerica are hosting an event in Seattle called The Past, Present & Future of Multiracial Solidarity. In preparation, I t
See on www.changelabinfo.com
“Wikipedia defines “propaganda” as “a form of communication that is aimed towards influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position by presenting only one side of an argument. Propaganda is usually repeated and dispersed over a wide variety of media in order to create the chosen result in audience attitudes.”
It amazes me how much we tend to underestimate the role white supremacist propaganda plays in creating, justifying and maintaining our oppression. Certainly this phenomenon impacts several groups of people, but my focus in this article is on Black people.
What purposes do white supremacy and racism serve?
All you need do is view Marlon Riggs’ pioneering documentary “Ethnic Notions” to appreciate white America’s long and systemic effort to thoroughly degrade and denigrate the Black image and psyche. But why so much effort toward this sinister goal? At its core, white supremacy postulates the lie that whites are innately superior to and therefore naturally poised to dominate and oppress people of color. The theory of racism falsely justifies this lie by assigning value and ranking to people based on their presumed racial category. Naturally, “white” people and those resembling them are assumed to be superior in almost every form of human expression and activity including but not limited to: beauty, intelligence, ability, leadership, potential, hygiene, health, judgment, ethics, etc.
Racism serves multiple purposes. It provides pseudo empirical evidence to “support” the false claims of innate white superiority and Black inferiority. On one hand, it justifies…”; Read more here
About the Author Agyei Tyehimba
John Smith; “How can you say I have white privilege? Why do you insult me so?” Response: ”Privilege isnt something to be ashamed of John Smith. Its something to be aware of”
See on www.tumblr.com
John Smith; “How can you say I have white privilege? Why do you insult me so?” Response: ”Privilege isnt something to be ashamed of John Smith. Its something to be aware of”
See on www.tumblr.com
A few days ago the Q-Center, Portland, Oregon’s aspiring LGBTQ community hub, hosted a discussion about racism. The event was organized in response to a mos
See on www.changelabinfo.com
In yet the latest display of Mississippi Jim Crow racism, death row inmate William Jerome Manning is set to be executed by lethal injection in the state of Mississippi TONIGHT at 6 p.m.! This, in s…
See on ushypocrisy.com
Source: http://www.techyville.com/2013/04/social-media/attorney-explains-stop-and-frisk-law-your-rights/ . by Bahiya Lawrence, Esq. Some of us have witnessed it, others have experienced it, but mos…
See on moorbey.wordpress.com
Symonds, there is a description of someone who has sustained a brain injury. After a period of unconsciousness he would be ‘unaware of his environment and be inaccessible . . . He is at first…
(by Samantha Tesner)
(by Samantha Tesner)
“…Paisley recently summed up the song by saying,
There are two little channels in each chorus that really steal the pie. One of them is, ‘We’re still picking up the pieces, walking on eggshells, fighting over yesterday,’ and the other is, ‘Paying for the mistakes that a lot of folks made long before we came.’ We’re all left holding the bag here, left with the burden of these generations. And I think the younger generations are really kind of looking for ways out of this.
He’s right. Those two lines, along with the “looking for ways out of this” slip do sum up the point of the song. Basically it says that 1) we’re carrying around baggage from a racist past we had nothing to do with, 2) the baggage is equally burdensome for all, so 3) let’s just move on and leave the past in the past.
That’s the three count of color blind racism. And it’s exactly what makes it so hard to have a meaningful conversation on race in the U.S.
It doesn’t matter that none of us owned slaves. It matters not a whit that no one living invented Jim Crow nor lifted a rifle in the American Indian Wars. Nor does it matter than none of us were signatories to legislation excluding Asian immigrants, nor party to the mass internment of Japanese Americans.
None of us forced Mexico to sell California, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Wyoming to the U.S. after the Mexican-American War for a sum that amounts to less than five hundred million of today’s dollars. But that doesn’t matter. It’s equally irrelevant that the last of the white planters who colluded with the U.S. government to hatch a coup against the Hawaiian kingdom, stealing Hawaiian sovereignty and nearly wiping out the Native Hawaiian people, died generations ago.
What matters is that all the raping, stealing, plundering and enslavement in the name of white supremacy did actually happen. And the legacy of that history is much more burdensome and problematic for us all than simple racial resentment…” Read more at ChangeLabInfo by
Author: Scot Nacagawa
“Youngest person ever executed in the US. Yes. He’s Black”; http://straightfromthea.com/2011/09/28/george-junius-stinney-jr/
See on straightfromthea.com
On February 3rd, while sports — and Beyonce — lovers were distracted by the Super Bowl, Dr. Randy Short began to spread the word via social media that Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of transcendent human rights activist El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X), had been arrested by the FBI while en route to…
Unfortunately, the system of white supremacy developed in the western world, has caused far too many African people in America to believe that the problem we face as a people is “us.” We must remind ourselves, time and time again, that African people in America were captured from Africa and brought to America against our will.
Source: http://blackcommentator.com/ I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressors and those who do the the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those w…
See on moorbey.wordpress.com
“The lack of confidence of the Negro in himself and in his possibilities is what has kept him down. His mis-education has been a perfect success in this respect.” The Mis-Education of the Negro, Dr…
See on moorbey.wordpress.com
From The Ramparts Junious Ricardo Stanton Black History Is World History As we celebrate Black H…
"…As we celebrate Black History Month let us be open minded enough to realize we have the power and duty to expand the celebration of ourselves and our legacy …"; http://moorbey.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/black-history-is-world-history/
See on moorbey.wordpress.com
”We are all human; we are all together in this world and the troubles we face. Care for one another. Why? Because, when it comes down to it, we’re all that we’ve got.
“People are not born racist”. This is one of the facts of life- You are not born a bigot or prejudiced. Your beliefs are shaped by your parents, peers, role models, etc. Meaning that what they think usually forms the way that you think. And the issue of racism in South Africa is one that still prevails to this day. This article doesn’t point fingers, its aim is not to blame or justify nor to re-run the past. This article is for you- The next generation. You are making history and shaping that future with every action and belief you hold. Think about what you believe and why that is then read on.
When I was in a car ride with a taxi cab driver I had the unpleasant surprise of witnessing racism first hand. I won’t go into what he did or said but the point is, it’s out there. It hurts. It’s unnecessary. And it’s stupid. Being racist to some seems like something to be proud of.
Then you get racists who claim not to be, saying they just “prefer” their own race. Then you get the people who deny it point blank when pressed simply because they know it’s something to be ashamed of. And they’re right.
But one thing these people have in common is the fact that they are not helping us go anywhere. They hinder progress in a progressive, changing world. Racism has been the one withstanding prejudice through all time and it started with the notion that because we act different, speak different, have different cultures, skin colours and beliefs we must, logically, be different. However if you’re living in the 21st Century (which you are) you would know that these differences occur simply because of where you are born and to whom. That we are all, essentially, the same inside; blood, bone, heart and because of this we all feel the same things; pain, love, heartache, despair, hope…
Prejudice comes from one thing: A fear of the unknown. Fear of the unknown traps us, it keeps us huddled inside of the little capsule of the world that we know and are comfortable with. Fear of the unknown is what makes us afraid of the supernatural and also of each other. We’re scared subconsciously of “different”; scared because society condemns “different”, because another person may believe different things and we’re not quite sure how that makes us feel, because we’re scared to push our boundaries out of that little bubble and try to understand what it’s like for others. A different culture, a different way of thinking, a different way of life. We can’t identify and so we judge and so we stereotype because, let’s face it, it’s easier. And ignorance is bliss. It’s so much easier to just give someone a label and be done with it. Isn’t it?
But by doing so, by stereotyping, generalising and by letting fear of the unknown inhibit us we are doing just that; inhibiting ourselves. Stopping ourselves from growing; from learning. And we all know that to live a life staying the same without changing or bettering ourselves is to live a stale one; one that grows boring and isn’t rich with diversity and knowledge. I don’t know about you but it sounds damn exciting to me to get to know the people I cross paths with or at least a little about what makes them themselves. I find joy in understanding, even if I don’t agree with, their ideas and opinions.
A lot of people say “It’s not my problem”, when they see someone being discriminated against. But that’s not the truth.
My friend, one of the most special people I’ll ever meet who filled a room with his presence and put a smile on everyone’s face even when he felt torn inside, died in Afghanistan in September. He was killed by a suicide bomber because of an American organisation who made a video condemning Islam. You may have heard about it. And what angered me most was that it was so unfair; so unfair someone so good had to die so young for someone else’s hate and prejudices. I’m talking about the organisation that made the video knowing the repercussions it would have but deeming it worthy.
You thought I meant Islam, didn’t you? I didn’t; Because it’s easy to blame Islam for his death. And lets face it, unless you actually sat down and actually ‘thought’ about it, yeah ‘think’, as in ‘for yourself’, you probably do blame Islam. Why? Because that is what you have been TOLD. Through the media. Through those who control the media. Now lets try this for a second… the ‘thinking’ thing huh? So what we have so far is what we perceive, through the media, i.e. my friend Steven’s life came to an end when he was blown up by a suicide bomber. FACT.
So, looking at just that, at what we have so far, yes Islam is to blame no doubt. But, for this experiement sake, we’re not going to just leave it at ‘what we now through what we’ve been TOLD’ after all, we are adults here aren’t we so surely, we don’t just blindly do as we’ve been told (Apartheid another great example here. We’ve experienced first hand, okay, not me personally because I am not a black South African, but many are and hopefully those that aren’t have learned about just how damaging and hurtful ‘doing as one is told’ can be)? So, for the sake of this experiment, we’re going to actually ‘THINK’. So what we have is Stevens death was brought about by an Islamic suicide bomber. Now, in the naturaly ‘thought process’ an adult would think “but why?” “Surely there must be a reason, I mean no-one is going to kill anyone without reason/motive”? Bringing us to “so why then?”
And to answer this, I read a comment on one of my mothers wall posts actually, which I think about summed it up; “…if through your actions, the life of my family members are endangered, eg. you drove your vehicle into mine, and got out and shoot you, that would be a bit extreme dont you think?” My mother agreed. HOWEVER she went further as to say “and, on the same token, if you KNEW that by shooting me my death would be revenged resulting in the definite death of your family, would you still go ahead and shoot me?”. No response. Would you, the reader, still go ahead and shoot me, knowing full well that you were risking the lives of those dear to you?
What about if it was not the lives of your loved ones that were at risk, but the loved ones of another? Would you then go ahead and put into action a stream of events that would or could result in the death of another?
Where am I going with this? Stevens death may have been caused by an Islamic suicide bomber BUT due to a stream of events put into effect by someone who did not know him, someone, being the publisher of Charlie Hebdo, a French publication amongst others, an American org. who deemed it fit, that despite warnings of “leave us alone”, “leave our prophet alone”, “leave our religion and culture alone”, “you need not understand it you merely need to RESPECT it and as ‘we’ leave you by, LEAVE US BE for we have as much right as you to our own religion, culture and beliefs”, the two org. above deemed Steve’s life to be a worthy sacrifice in exchange for their wanton greed and superiority and need to control. For their own prejudice.
Do you see how prejudice, even if it doesn’t maybe affect YOU directly, it affects people and that’s what matters. We need to learn to stand up for each other instead of against each other.
We are all human. That is the truth. We are all together in this world, fighting for what we believe. But we fight separately and against each other. Does that make sense? It doesn’t, right. We neglect each other, hate each other and watch as another human starves, cry to ourselves about how bad the world is but we don’t do anything about it. We need to stick together, care for each other, even if that’s just a little bit; a smile, a donation, some time volunteering, a marathon fundraiser and the simplest of all: Empathy. That’s what’s going to save the world; not grand gestures, not hate and blaming; just simply acknowledging each other as worthy and equal and showing this by getting to know the people around us, sharing a simple smile or doing a nice thing, even if you don’t need to like picking up a pen someone dropped. It’s that simple and it starts with you. This is the call to come together.”
Author: Zoya-Laken (aka ‘Zee-Tesner’)
Mixed Culture, Mixed Heritage, Mixed Identity
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“When I posted this video, there were a great many people who started to tell their own stories. It was one of those posts that actually made me happy because with every story that people told, anyone could come back later and see that this was not an isolated incident. Someone that maybe had doubts that the video was somehow staged, could see that it was in fact, the norm.
To everyone that added their own personal stories, I thank you.
Now, to the person that decided that they would justify the situation. This is for you. First off, fuck you. Second, go to hell.
Before I go on, I will say that the person in question did end up deleting their comment. I am going to chose to believe that it was because they saw the error of their ways and not because after it was pointed out, people went to their page to call them a douchbag. (Didn’t think I knew about that, didja?) Anyway, since I have no actual proof of the reasoning behind it, I am going to CHOSE to believe that the person had a “See the light” moment and that is why they deleted their comments.
I still want to address said comments because I keep seeing this excuse and it needs to be talked about. I’ve seen it called a few different things but we’ll go with the “Bystander Effect.”
For those that don’t know, the Bystander Effect is when people are all sort of standing around watching a crime being committed and doing/saying nothing to stop it. The idea is that they are afraid of what will happen to them personally, not that they don’t want to help the victim. Also, there is an additional idea attached that they believe “Someone else” will do something.
I have a BIG problem with this…”; Read more—> http://racismschool.tumblr.com/post/37155656257/the-bystander-effect
Reblogged now from racismschool (Originally from racismschool)
For anyone who’s been an avid viewer of U.S. television within the past two decades or so, it would likely seem impossible to imagine a time when most Americans offered anything less than absolute admiration and praise for the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King easily is the most celebrated icon of the 1950’s-‘60’s Civil Rights Movement, and he’s been rightfully embraced as an American hero with an iconic status usually reserved for U.S.
“…I have decided to start the New Year with a letter to you all. It is a letter that implores you to wake up and smell Africa with a fresh white nose.
Before you get angry and defensive, think of this letter as a crash course survival kit for navigating a new reality, and please be assured that if you take heed of the call in this letter your life will change in miraculous ways. Once the blinkers are off the world is a much more colourful and celebratory place to engage in.
Let me begin by wholeheartedly apologising for what my ancestors did to the people of South Africa and inviting you to do the same. I reject their legacy as much as is possible and, as you already know, have made it a life mission to deconstruct the phallocentric white view of ”white as right” and the misguided precept that white is central to all reality.
I reject the discourse of white domination but I acknowledge that I was brought up in this construct. Though my single-mother household was never economically privileged we were privileged by virtue of our skin colour and my mother was given assistance by the state that a woman of colour was denied.
I call on white people to reflect on …”; Read more
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.
See on Scoop.it – White’s Only Osocio – The best of non-profit advertising and marketing for social causes See on osocio.org
“…On Feb. 19, 1975, I was arrested on trumped up charges of two counts of armed robbery and rape of a female employee of a Zachary shoe store. Five days later, while being held over in the EBR Parish prison for arraignment and an evidentiary hearing on Feb. 24, 1975, between the hours of 12:30 a.m. and one o’clock a.m. – and mind you, this was my first time ever being in anything that serious – it happened.
First time in jail, one must fight or become something less than man. So while being in the dungeon on Feb. 24, 1975, I was awakened by the steel door being opened. It was already eight of us packed into this hole built for three at the most. And naked. Yes, they used to make you strip before going in there to promote homosexuality and to further humiliate you.
The door opened, air rushed in – momentary relief. The captain and a fat guy in a suit. In low voices guys were saying that’s Ossie Brown, the district attorney. I had heard of him, but didn’t know him from the first Adam.
“Come out. Put on your clothing.”
“Whitmore, come forward now.”
I stepped out. Got my clothing. Black and white striped uniform and shorts.
I was led into the interrogation room. Just this guy and myself.
“My name is Ossie Brown. I am the district attorney of EBRP. You might have seen me on TV before.”
“Well, there are a few things that I want to discuss with you.”
Mind you, I had a lawyer at this time. I was represented by the Public Defenders’ Office.
D.A.: “I know you are charged with the robbery and rape that happened at Bill’s Shoe Store out in Zachary. And the victims say you are not the perpetrator. These charges will be dropped.”
I was starting to feel better. I was going home.
D.A.: “You knew who Marshall Bond was?”
“Marshall Bond, who was murdered at his farm out there in Zachary?”
Zulu’s close friendship with the Angola 3 and their having formed the core of the first prison chapter of the Black Panther Party, an empowering influence that strikes terror in the hearts of prison officials everywhere, is one reason he has been targeted for decades.
That question really threw me for a loop, because what does that have to do with this? Had I known then that this nightmare was being born, I would have run through that concrete and steel wall head first.
The D.A. had a confession already drawn up. He wanted me to turn state’s evidence on a guy he wanted to put this murder on. I didn’t know what state’s evidence was. He says: “I want you to take the stand against this guy and say what’s in this confession.”
I went crazy for real then. “I need my lawyer, guard. I want my lawyer, guard. Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“Whitmore, I am the district attorney. I am the only one who can help you. My word is three times that of yours. If I say you said something or did something, who are they going to believe: me or you?”
I said the truth. He said his truth.
“I will send you to Angola for the rest of your life. Do you know what they do in Angola, Whitmore? Sign this, and I will help you.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about.”
The D.A. started to tell me things about me and my family that had me spooked. Where my mom and dad, brother and sister worked. The things I was involved in during integration. A fight that a friend and I had with a group of white boys in 1972. It wasn’t until much later that I realized that my family and I had been under observation. Yes, plain old COINTELPRO.
After his lengthy persuading, saying, “I am the only one who can help you; I will send you to Angola for the rest of your life if you do not do what I say,” D.A. Ossie Brown said: “I am going to step out for a while. I am going to send someone in to speak with you.”
This whole ordeal started between the hours of 12:30 a.m. and 1 a.m.
Three guys walked in in plain clothing: “We are with Mr. Brown’s office. And we understand that you are ready to cooperate with us. First we need you to sign this” – speaking of the confession.
“I am ready to go back to the hole. I need my lawyer.”
After the hollering, punch here, there. Chokeholds. Grabbing. I was finally taken out of the interrogation room and put into a holding tank – a big cell. This was at 4:00 in the morning, because right after that guys from all over the jail started to fill the tank. I asked someone: “Where is everybody going?” He said: “To court.” Court, huh.
A few minutes later breakfast came. The steel trays. Milk and coffee, pancakes, syrup and some pork. I drank the coffee and gave the rest away. Later when the trays were picked up, the guys were talking to their homies on different topics.
About 8 o’clock, guards with lots of handcuffs appeared. “All right, listen up. As I call your name, step out – two to a cuff.”
This is the reason why I have been saying that I was kidnapped out of East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, EBRPP.
Two plain clothes detectives appeared at the gate: “Whitmore, come forward. Hands behind your back.”
“Where am I going?” “Court. Turn around, hands behind your back.”
I was cuffed, taken down the hall, stepped out where everyone is being stacked into the patty wagon that looked like an armored car. This way, we went around the patty wagon to a car with no marking on it. I began to feel strange. They left the prison. The car went down Harden Boulevard – at the light, taking a right, not a left, that would take you to downtown Baton Rouge.
“Where are you taking me?” About 15 times. Then one of them said: “You should have done the right thing.”
I was taken to the police station in Zachary and put in a room – minutes later, to another building across the street from the bank and the Bonds’ family home. Then, a detective came in.
“Whitmore, Mr. Brown wants you to know are you ready to cooperate?”
“I want to talk with my lawyer. Let me call home. I need my lawyer.”
“You had your chance.”
Zulu and his good friend, Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3
A few minutes later, I was put back into the car, and was taken to the wooded area on Bond’s property. Cops, about eight to 10, the D.A. Ossie Brown, two guys off in the distance with dark glasses, jackets and jeans on.
The two detectives spoke with Ossie Brown. He came to the car. “Whitmore, are you ready to cooperate?”
“Get my lawyer. I want to see my lawyer.”
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid. Fact is, I was scared to death. Who knew where I was?
D.A. Ossie Brown said, “Get him out of the car.”
I was roughly pulled from the car. The D.A.: “Are you going to cooperate?”
“I need my lawyer.”
Ossie Brown turned away. Still cuffed, I was grabbed by the neck by one of the detectives from behind in a chokehold. The other one started beating me on my body.
The D.A. Ossie Brown: “Whitmore, are you ready to cooperate?”
“Why are you doing this? I need my lawyer. Take the cuffs off.”
The Bonds’ car came into sight. “Do you see that car?” the D.A. said. “You know who that is, don’t you? I can help you.” The D.A. said: “Stop the car.”
The cop behind me hit me directly in my spinal cord. I fell backward, and he applied a chokehold on me.
“Let him up,” D.A. Ossie Brown says. “You died trying to escape. Send the car on.”
“OK, OK. I will help. I need you to sign this.”
“I don’t know what it says.” A hit to the stomach. “I will tell you what it says.” “Man, I don’t know nothing about this.” D.A.: “Are you going to cooperate?”
I was cuffed, put back into the car and taken to a backroom in Zachary City Hall. Three guys come in. I was beaten some more, asked a million questions. That evening I was taken to a building in downtown Baton Rouge. This had been going on forever. I had not slept since leaving the dungeon at East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.
While in this room, still handcuffed, a cop put the phone to my ear. It was Ossie Brown’s voice, saying: “Whitmore. I am the only one who can help you. Sign that document.”
They kept questioning me. Hollering at me. Slapping me on the sides of my head and in my face.
This is how the so-called confession came about. The tape was spliced to get it to say what they wanted. This is why the audio was so poor. And they, my lawyer, the assistant D.A. and judge had to go into the judge’s chambers to make out what was being said. The judge told the jury, “It’s his voice,” but nothing was said that could help him.
About 7:15 p.m., I was taken to another building, called the Taylor Building, where they wanted me to take a lie-detector test. This was torture in every sense of the word. Deprived of sleep, food; hollering, shaking, beating, isolation – all of those tactics are considered torture.
Another phone call. D.A. Ossie Brown: “Whitmore, cooperate. I am the only one who can help you.”
“I need my lawyer.” I was being represented by Alton Moran of the Public Defenders’ Office.
I agreed to take the lie-detector test. I was asked what color blocks were, my name, my mom’s name. I jumped up, pulled the wires off of my hand, and went to grab the machine. Three of them bum-rushed me through the door and pinned me to the floor, cuffed me. “Man, fuck y’all.”
It was 8 p.m. when three cops took me over to the downtown jail on the top floor. The three signed a log book and time-in. They talked in low voices.
One of the cops at the desk said, “Come with me.” I was put in isolation right behind the desk. I was put in the hole, handcuffs removed. I was brought two sandwiches. I ate them and tried to go to sleep. But all night I was being woken up. “Whitmore, Whitmore, wake up.” “What?” He laughed and walked off. This went on all night.
Early the next morning I was taken to another building. The torture started up again. Until I broke down and said most of what they told me. And I signed that confession. They got what they wanted.
I was taken back to the downtown jail, put back into isolation, where I must have slept two and a half days.
The third or fourth day, the lawyer showed up. I told him everything. He got me moved to a regular cell. And asked me how the hell did this happen? He left, headed for the D.A.’s office, he said.
I stayed in that roach-infested old downtown jail for five months before being transferred back to the EBRPP.
In August 1975, at my evidentiary hearing on the two counts of armed robbery and the rape charge, they were all dismissed by Judge Elmo Lear, because both victims said I was not the man who committed the robbery and rape in that store, nor was I there when it happened.
Although the charges had been dismissed, I still could not go home with my mother, father, sister Jeanette, because of the Aug. 15, 1973, murder of the mayor.
Nearly one year later, on July 14, 1976, the evil empire struck. D.A. Ossie Brown made good on his word. That he could send me to Angola even if I were innocent. He filed a joint bill of information, accusing me and Perry Lee Payne of two counts of armed robbery of the very store both victims 11 months earlier said I did not commit. However, both victims picked my co-defendant out as the perpetrator.
On Sept. 27, our trial began on what was supposed to be two counts of robbery, but the whole trial and evidence was of rape. In three days of rape trial, my name never came up. My state lawyer objected and asked for a verdict (post-verdict judgment) of acquittal, because the trial was of Payne’s rape of the female victim. Denied.
Both victims again took the stand and cleared me of any crime. On Sept. 29, the jury deliberated, returned to the courtroom 20 minutes later to ask Judge John S. Covington how could I be charged or found guilty of anything, when I have not committed a crime? The judge went on this long outdrawn shit, confusing the jury.
I jumped up: “Your honor, you are confusing them.”
“Sit down! Order in my court, Mr. Whitmore. Sit down.”
My lawyer: “Kenny, Kenny, let me handle it.”
He made the objection. Overruled.
The jury went back to deliberate. But returned to the court about 15 minutes later. The judge asked, “What is it this time?” The foreman: “We do not understand. How can Whitmore be charged with anything?” The judge starts to read from a book. I raise my hand and tell my lawyer to object. He does. I ask the judge could he just tell the jury in plain language? No. The D.A. follows the jury to the jury-room door, hollering, “You better not find him not guilty, you hear me?”
The jury returned three minutes later for the third time and did as the judge instructed: You must find them both guilty. “We have a verdict, your honor.”
As to Perry Lee Payne: guilty on both counts. As to Kenny Whitmore: guilty on both counts.
Shortly thereafter, the court ordered a pre-sentence investigation report. On March 14, 1977, probation and parole agent James P. Patin submitted his report to the sentencing judge.
A pre-sentence investigation report is a background report into your life. From pre-school to the present. And the judge will base your sentencing range on that report and the seriousness of the crime.
This is my first conviction. I have never been in a “boys’ home,” “juvenile hall” or any of those places.
On April 15, 1977, Judge John S. Covington sentenced me on count 1 to 75 years without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence. Count 2 he sentenced me to 50 years of hard labor, with the sentences to run consecutively. I was led off upstairs when my dad and sister asked the judge for 10 minutes to talk with me. A 125 year sentence for absolutely nothing.
It took me until 1985 when the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals granted me a hearing, and this is when I found out that the sentencing judge used the pre-sentence investigation report to sentence me by. The report was padded with false charges: It had me being charged with eight counts of armed robbery, two murders. It also gave me a juvenile record from age 12-16, saying I spent time in Juvenile Hall for theft, felony theft, a count of aggravated burglary for which I was placed in Juvenile Hall. My records were padded with all of that erroneous information. To make sure that my appeals would be denied. They have been.
I will not get a favorable decision. I did not, when I went before the state’s Pardon Board in 2000. My alleged criminal history was the only thing they wanted to talk about – and they did not want to hear that it was fabricated.
The Clerk of Court continues to tell me that the pre-sentence report and the witness and victim’s testimonies are under seal and that I cannot get them. These are issues that I continue to fight in court to this day.
On the 1973 robbery and murder of the mayor of Zachary, La., I went on trial on Jan. 3-6, 1977, for second-degree murder and armed robbery. The only evidence against me was a spliced partially audible so-called confession, and a rusty bucket. I have yet to find out what the bucket had to do with anything. It’s the bucket that the judge told the jury about, that on the inaudible part of the confession I said I took this bucket from the mayor’s farm after he was killed. And took it to a park. A recreational center. And that bucket was found in the exact same spot as I was alleged to have said. That was it. No other evidence.
Zulu back in the day
The jury deliberated for about an hour before returning a verdict of “guilty as charged.” Two of them voted to acquit me of all charges.
On March 14, 1977, I was sentenced to life on count 1 without the benefit of probation or parole or suspension of sentence for 20 years, meaning after 20 years I become eligible for parole; or the judge can suspend my sentence right now and resentence me to 20 years.
On count 2, armed robbery, I was sentenced to 99 years of hard labor. This sentence for the robbery is an illegal sentence, because it was used as the underlying felony to convict me of the murder.
I know from research that I can win a reversal of both of my sentences, but I will need counsel to do so. I have tried filing pro se, but anyone with any legal knowledge of the Louisiana judicial system knows that a pro se application is stamped “denied” no matter how grantable the application is. It’s like incarcerated individuals are punished for becoming knowledgeable of a system that binds us. I dare you with an 11th grade education to sit there in prison and point out constitutional violations that our system has denied. I am in grave need of assistance of counsel.
I arrived here at Louisiana State Plantation at Angola, La., in March 1978. Within an hour I was thrown into CCR: solitary confinement. I was placed on D-Tier, the so-called militant tier. I met and befriended some of the most righteous brothers in my life during those hellish years in this battlefield.
I became a member of the Angola Chapter of the Black Panther Party and in keeping with the spirit and ideology of the Panther Party, we did what we had to in order to perfect change. And in doing so, I went through a political education that I was not – and that I am still not – afraid to use in my everyday life here behind enemy lines. But as with juridical education, when one educates oneself politically on the plantation, one is punished because of one’s views of what daily hell is, or what rotten half-prepared food is, or what constitutes torture.
I say this is torture: Being held in this solitary confinement cage where I can stand in the middle of the floor, extend my arms, and touch both walls. For the last 34 years, 23 hours a day is by definition torture.
They say it is because of my political education, affiliation with the Angola 3 – Shaka, King and Chairman Hooks – and my ties to the Black Panther Party.
I say it is because of their white supremacy affiliation, and ties to the 1950s-1990s terrorist groups here in The Boot.
“In the fell clutch of circumstance / I have not winced, nor cried aloud, / Under the bludgeonings of chance / My head is bloody, but unbowed.” – from “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley
Send our brother some love and light: Kenny Zulu Whitmore, 86468 – D/HAWK – 4L, Louisiana State Prison, Angola, LA 70712. A letter was written on Nov. 16 to U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Dr. Juan Mendez calling for an investigation of the torture Zulu endured in 1975. He has been behind enemy lines over 35 years
“…I’m keenly aware that I’m often privileged to speak critically about race and have my voice and perspectives valued in ways that my friends and colleagues of color can rarely assume. To many, I’m a curiosity – a white person speaking frankly and passionately about race – how about that? And, I’ve been rewarded to be embraced as a sister, friend and ally in the struggle for racial and social justice, freedom and self-determination.
Nonetheless, I know too, there’s a flipside.
I mark myself when I speak critically about Racism. White Supremacy. Whiteness. And yes, White People.
And, I will pay costs for doing so. Certainly, I will pay less of the direct, material costs that people of color pay for their activism; let alone their simply “being non-white” in the world – costs they don’t choose but which have been chosen for them. But at a bare minimum I can count on paying psychic and personal ones.
I often feel deeply misunderstood: curiosity-turned-grotesque; ally-turned-enemy. My academic and experiential knowledge – that which I’ve dedicated my life’s work to – is dismissed by many people, particularly many (most?) white people. I know that the racialized socialization most white people experience both ensures this will happen (often with near-automation) and provides many tools for my invalidation. Rationalizations, justifications, retorts that explain away racial causes for racial outcomes and solidify our collective white privilege – all plentifully available. To these folks I am at best, unrealistic idealist working from the “unreality” of the ivory tower – at worst, I am crazy, misinformed, brainwashed, hateful, evil. Fill in the blank. I know these are costs that have long been born by people of color; choosing to be a white anti-racist means they are my costs now too.
Unlike people of color, I’m much less likely to have a “natural” community of support around me, to encourage me in my efforts – and indeed, love me for them. Choosing to be a white anti-racist scholar-activist has meant that I often feel alienated, particularly from fellow whites who I wish to call “brother” and “sister.” Always difficult, this alienation is most painful when it distances me from the people in my life I deeply love, including family. Even when it doesn’t include direct animosity (which it often doesn’t), please know, feeling at all outside of the circle of family I call “home” hurts.
If I need advice on financial matters I call my brother. He’s an analyst. If I need to know something about home or car repair, I call one of my other brothers. Between them they know how to fix just about anything. I call my sister for any number of the hundreds of things about which she has knowledge. And what of my expertise? I have long been regarded by my family as someone who has a good head on my shoulders, who possesses both intelligence and common sense. I know white worlds well and have been privy to the worlds of people of color in ways that most white people I know have not. I have 20 years of an awareness forged by scholarship and deeply intimate relationships – things learned in and outside of classrooms, in the real worlds of workplaces and homes and countless public spaces. Nonetheless, I sense my knowledge as something to be tolerated, but rarely sought, rarely praised; at times, resented. Perhaps they feel I don’t understand them. Perhaps they feel they don’t understand me. I’m not sure. And then again, they’ve never asked, what in the world did make you choose this unusual path? People of color ask me that all the time.
Usually the white people in my social circles can ignore my racially politicized self as we play out a sort of implicit “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy of our own. I imagine they may think “You know, that’s just Jenni – she studies race, she hangs out with black people, she listens to hip hop – she’s just like that.” And then we all agree to pretend that doesn’t matter. But racial barometer moments make the work of ignoring personal racial politics harder to do, for me and therefore, for them.
There was a time I listened to a voice of fear in my head and managed the expression of my politics (little ‘p’) with some of the white people in my life, including my family. If I wanted to post a race critical article or idea on Facebook, for example, I sometimes excluded certain people in my white networks from the posting. Even though I knew this was a direct violation of my personal politics, I did it. Not with a lot of people, but with some. Not all of the time, but on occasion.
And then Trayvon Martin was killed. Parents mourned. African American families anguished, outraged, protested. Precious life and potential wasted; signs of an all-too-familiar and well-documented miscarriage of justice afoot.
I’m not new to the game. I can offer a sharp, race critical analysis of probably any social issue, including the structural patterns that both define and create a tragic outcome like this. Nonetheless, this societal racial barometer was a personal one too. It forced me to call my failed integrity – however “minor” and “reasonable” – into question. I decided then that I had to be, as Audre Lorde encouraged, “deliberate and afraid of nothing.”
I knew I must crush any remaining shred of fear that might ever silence me. Because mothers and fathers panicked for the lives of their sons and daughters. Because the many people of color I love, too, struggle to raise their children healthy and happy and productive and in love with themselves in a world that devalues them and “encodes crime and drugs and lust and danger on their bodies,” (as Joyce captured so perfectly and tragically). Because there are those in this world that will desperately and unflinchingly and dispassionately explain away their murders as the result of anything other than racism. Because these are, quite literally, matters of life and death. Who was I to be called sister/friend/ally if I was complicit in any way with shielding anyone from these truths? And so many, many more.
I don’t hate white people – or myself. I do not operate out of a sense of guilt. I don’t have some blind or romanticized or misappropriated love for people of color. And though as a sociologist I am trained to examine the social forces that impact people’s lives, I am never blinded from recognizing the power of personal responsibility, of using personal agency to direct the course of our lives positively, to the best of our abilities as people. As I recently told my sister, I am only doing what I believe is just and right, and I’m never going to stop. In that way, I’m certainly a product of the background I share with my siblings, who are giving, kind, wonderful, beautifully-intentioned people. We are each the product of our parents, who taught us to live out our integrity by their example.
In riding the wake of these personal reflections I came to a sad conclusion: that many of the white people I care about in my life will love me (hopefully) in spite of what I do, but maybe never for it. I know the more fearless I become, the more of a problem I am. Even if there is no direct confrontation, the very way I life my life may be experienced as an implicit challenge. But, as I’ve learned through personal experience in the past, the challenges of our lives often create potentialities.
I think of what DuBois wrote about the famous abolitionist John Brown, written into history as a crazy, fanatical murderer, put to death for his criminal actions in working toward the cause of justice.
DuBois wrote that as people at the time watched his trial unfold “wider and wider circles were beginning dimly and more clearly to recognize that his lawlessness was in obedience to the highest call of self-sacrifice for the welfare of his fellow men. They began to ask themselves, What is this cause that can inspire such devotion?” I often meditate on this thought. I try to hold onto the hope that in continuing to seek and speak truth and work toward justice, even as I pay different costs for doing so, some might ask “What is this cause that can inspire such devotion?”
I’m no John Brown. No. But I will stand forever, side-by-side, with all my brothers and sisters in the struggle, whoever they may be.”Author: ~ Jennifer Mueller (see link below to full article)http://www.racismreview.com/blog/2012/04/06/white-anti-racism-do-it-anyway/
All the world is a white stage - Even though whites have never been more than a third of mankind, white history is what matters. Thousands of years of history in India, China, Africa and so on do not matter apart … Continue reading
“For a lot of people, the notion of a white privilege is a difficult one to grasp. As sociologist Peggy McIntosh argues in “***White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” white privilege is akin to an invisible package of unearned assets that whites can count on cashing in each day. As just one example, McIntosh notes that she “can go shopping alone most of the time,” well assured she “will not be followed or harassed.” Despite plenty of empirical evidence attesting to the existence of white privilege, many people—white people, in particular—are unable to recognize it in their daily lives. This invisibility appears to be by design, and indeed, unearned privileges are powerful and persistent precisely because whites are socialized not to see them. Yet failing to acknowledge unearned privilege is failing to acknowledge the existence of institutionalized racism, and what is not acknowledged stands little chance of being fixed. In the above clip, author and educator Joy DeGruy recounts a story about a time she read more … and
**** Read ‘White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack’ in this blog
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“Denial is a fixture of contemporary racial discourse. Reflecting segregation and the entrenched nature of white privilege, the efforts to deny through citing a mythical black middle-class, as if the black middle-class reveals some post-racial reality, defies the facts on … Continue reading
See on Scoop.it – White’s Only http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-david-j-leonard/black-middle-class-reality_b_1774493.html See on innerstandingisness.wordpress.com
Provides a history of South Africa from ancient times to today.
See on www.historyofnations.net
The United States has a dignity problem. The concept of dignity is recognized by law in countries all over the world. [via @UsaSlumdog]
See on edition.cnn.com
In the middle of the 1970s, as cracks were beginning to appear in South Africa’s policy of racial segregation, a young photographer set out to record what life was like under such a political system.
Then in his early 20s, Steve Bloom – now better known for his wildlife photography – witnessed the hardships facing black South Africans, and the force used by the authorities to try to quell protest.
His images – some never seen publicly before – are now going on show in central London. Take a look at some of them here.
‘Beneath the surface’ is at Guardian Gallery in central London from 1 to 28 June 2012. Presented by the London Festival of Photography.
When white people, including activists and people of faith, decide to work on undoing racism, our conscious motivation is usually sincere and often heartfelt. We say we want to be reliable allies, that we want to take our places at the multi-cultural table.
Why then do so many people, peace organizations, and communities, founder in the shallows, often at the discussion or workshop level, even before any structural changes are implemented? What often trips us up is a relatively unconscious agenda that tends to dull and limit our perceptions, acting like a filter so we can’t quite get the multi-cultural table in focus. What is this hidden agenda? Many times it is an unconscious (to us) belief that we own the table.
People of color clearly see the belief acted out. We then proceed to act on that belief without ever rationally processing it. We expend a lot of energy trying to appear cooperative and friendly while going through all sorts of contortions to maintain control of the table.
And why do we do that? Are we evil people? No, we are tapping into a deep need we share with most human beings – the need for safety, security and a positive self-image.
Our problem is, as white people, we’ve equated security with control. This is equally as true of the white peace community or people of faith as any other subset in society. In fact, it can take a more pernicious twist because our chosen path is lined with teaching about servant theology and hte power of nonviolent struggle while at the same time our obtuseness to the racial contradictions undercut these powerful teachings that could contribute to world peace and liberation.
As we begin to nibble at the edges of this deep and pervasive system of racism we
experience various levels of personal questioning, discomfort and bewilderment about our responsibility. When we look at what is means to be white in North America, James Edler says, “it affects every receptor we have and sits hard in the lap of every family, community, organization, institution and system to which we belong.”
Facing racism on a personal level and within our organizations is hard work and it can feel like we’re out of control of the terms of engagement. So we often tie up a great deal of our cognitive and emotional energy in efforts to maintain a distance between the sickness of racism and our own lives. But racism cannot be undone at a distance – the only way out is through sitting with whatever emotions come up, through listening to others, and listening with a more objective ear to what is coming out of our mouths, or noticing what thoughts are lurking unspoken but are actually being unconsciously acted out.
Part of this requires developing a more objective eye and ear to what we are doing each day. This can be difficult work. How and why de we keep at it? A powerful motivation is the understanding that undoing racism presents tremendous opportunity for self-awareness and the letting go of a crippling disease within us – a disease of fear and a facade that limits our capabilities.
A side effect of letting our various facades dissolve is the possibility of then being blessed with richer, more intimate and diverse relationships with everyone.
Aha! And then we are in a position to work shoulder to shoulder in a genuinely multicultural peacemaking organization. Without the participation of all reflections of the image of God, our hope and work for world peace is a mirage. However, bringing our unconscious belief systems to the surface is an ongoing and lifetime project. We start here by identifying a few common games we play to keep a distance between us and the perpetuation of racism.
Each of the games contain a kernel of truth and that’s what makes them so seductive and easy to use. But remember, a partial truth in one situation can be a stumbling block to open communication in another context.
This list is not exhaustive, and the variations on each game are endless. What is important is to identify the games we personally use and how we use them organizationally, and even more important, let them go so we can move ahead towards taking an appropriate and useful place at the multi-cultural table.
DESCRIPTION OF GAMES
“Where are the Blacks” Game:
This game demands that members of minority groups be present in order for us to understand ourselves. Underlying the demand is a prevailing myth in the white community namely to deal with racism must be a 50-50 deal. After 350+ years of being told there is a racial problem in this country, we begin our awakening, but still seem to need confirmation that there is a problem. In contrast, we seem to be able to talk about politics without a politician around, or crime without a criminal. There is a deeper undercurrent here about our expectation that people of color need to come running when the time to go to work is determined by the oppressor. The analogy is a White person with her/his foot on the neck of a person of color, saying to the person on the floor, “What can I do?”
Racism Isn’t the Only Problem Game:
This popular game starts with someone saying that there are many other inter-related problems besides racism – problems like sexism, poverty, or crime. That is true, but when used in an undoing racism workshop, it often serves to deflect our discomfort in dealing with racism and the possibility of being decentered.
Instant Solution Game:
This is played by insisting that the answer is education or housing or jobs (or whatever) and wants to jump into campaign mode to solve the problem. Yes, these are all important aspects of the web of racism, and yes, they will require our action, but jumping on one issue prematurely serves to short circuit and important process. It deflects the conversation prematurely to an exclusively external focus so we can avoid deepening our understanding of our relationship to the web and seeing that internal shifts are also required.
The Geography Game:
This game involves pointing to another region as the one with the problem. “It’s the southern states,” if you are in the U.S.; “It’s a U.S. problem,” if you’re Canadian; “It’s a problem in the cities,” if you’re in a rural area, etc. First of all this problem ignores the fact that racism is systemic and affects everyone and that it was set up by white people to benefit white people and operates whether people of color are in the region or not. Secondly, it neatly absolves us of focusing on our own lives and participation in systemic racism.
I Don’t See Color Game:
On the surface this can sound like a noble sentiment, but by sweeping ethnic differences under the rug we keep ourselves comfortable with no need to engage with other people’s experience of the world.
It Happened in the Past Game:
This game is an attempt to excuse white people of the “even worse” racial violence of the past. For example, in talking about white people’s relationship with black people it can be used to say, “It’s terrible that so many of them were killed and had their land taken over, but it can’t be undone and they have to
accept that the past is the past.” This game avoids the problem that white people continue to enjoy living on ill-gotten land without acknowledging it. It ignores the fact that black peoples have sacred relationships with land that continues to be taken over at a fast rate through mining, logging and hydroelectric industries. Saying, “It happened in the past,” does not consider that the 85-90% genocide of Afrikan peoples across North and South America since Columbus is carried on today through white government policies and related suicidal despair in Indigenous communities. In addition, this game is based on Western/white understandings of chronological time and land ownership and necessarily ignores other understandings of time and land.
“I’m Learning About Their Culture” Game:
This game is closely related to other games including…
• “We’re All One in Spirit” Game;
• “I Have an Indian Name” Game; and
• “I’ve Been in a Sweat Lodge (and am therefore enlightened and no longer racist” Game.
The identification of this game does not suggest it’s bad for white and Indigenous people to be friends with each other, nor that white people should ignore the stories of indigenous peoples. It does not even suggest the impossibility of white people having transformative experiences in sweat lodges or other typically non-white ceremonies. But it is a dangerous game when used to say that because a white person has gained some knowledge of Indigenous or other non-white cultures, she/he no longer participates in racist systems. It is a dangerous game when white people use it to identify so closely with non-white cultures, on an emotional level, that they no longer see the necessity of doing the hard work of decolonizing and undoing their own racism and the racist acts and policies of their governments.
“Other whites are Bad; I’m the Exception” Game:
This game is tempting especially for those white people who have put energy into undoing their own racism and who may even have put themselves at risk to do so. In overcoming the temptation of this game, it is important for white people to…
• recognize the typically-invisible white privileges that they have come to rely on every day of their lives and remember that people of color have not been able to rely on them;
• remember that in a racist system with whites living out and within a strong superiority illusion and structure, white people (including those who work against their own racism) always have the choice of putting themselves in a safe-feeling environment to “rest” from undoing racism work for days/weeks/months on end, while people of color have no choice but to experience the effects of racism every day.
You’ve Come a Long Way Baby Game:
Like all effective games, this has an element of truth, but it becomes dangerous when it is used as an excuse to not investigate further to see how the system has nuanced itself to keep white benefits intact even though slavery and legal discrimination has been cut.
• Distinguished Lecturer Game;
• Black Expert Game;
• Find the Racist Game;
• After I Become a Millionaire Game;
• Definition Game;
• Maintain Niceness Game; and
• Why Can’t We All Just Get Along Game
Each of us has our specialty games. One way of dropping the games and becoming real is to name and describe them out loud, get them outside of ourselves so we can see them for what they are. You are invited to send in your personal games to become part of this list.
Dorothy Friesen: Adapted from an article by James Edler written in the 1980s entitled “Distancing Behaviors Among White Groups Dealing With Racism.”
I HAVE never looked at myself, at the colour of my skin and felt I deserve less opportunities to become who I want to be.
See on www.couriermail.com.au
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WHETHER INTERNATIONAL OR DOMESTIC, NATIONAL OR LOCAL, BRANDS AND AGENCIES CONTINUE TO PUT OUT MATERIAL IN PRINT, TELEVISION AND WEB ADS FILLED WITH RACISM. RE-BLOGGED FROM “INNERSTANDINGISNESS” Click to read full post
Africans, Arabs, Indians and Chinese had been travelling the Indian ocean waters for centuries before these so-called unknown waters were ‘discovered’ and charted by the Europeans. Since the early 15th century, Portuguese incursions into the Indian Ocean, Europeans required the maritime knowledge of the region’s indigenous mariners. Portuguese expansion in the sixteenth century relied on the charts of Arab, Moslem Gujarati and Malabar pilots. The Portuguese experienced considerable crew losses during the six to eight month journey to India and voluntary or involuntary recruitment of crew from within the Indian Ocean territories was essential for the return voyage.
The Dutch, entering the intra-Asian trade in the seventeenth century, also brought African seamen (free or enslaved) from West Africa to the Cape Colony and then across the Indian Ocean to Indonesia and to the Dejima Island, Japan. A forgotten feature of the seventeenth century, especially in the Western Indian Ocean, was the presence of African pirates aboard ships captained by men of all nationalities, including Africans.
The English East India Company ousted the Portuguese and Dutch in the Indian Ocean by the beginning of the eighteenth century and was just as starved for crew as its predecessors. Initially they searched among the Indo-Portuguese Christian community of Calcutta and Madras. Men from these communities were known as Lascars – a term originating from the Persian and Arabic “Al-Ashkar” and converted into Lascarim by the Portuguese.
When the Royal Navy rose to control the Indian ocean in the 19th century, African crews were indispensible. By 1890 over 12% of Royal Navy crew were Africans and this carried through into the third decade of the 20th century. Because of the strong naval presence at the Cape, in Simonstown, the African seamen of Kru, Siddi, Zanzibari and Ethiopian origins are an important and oft overlooked part of the roots of the people of Cape Town.
Also amongst the black sailors of the Royal Navy were African American seamen. In1775, the British were forced to consider how best to bolster their forces in North America. They sought to gain allies the American slaves and offered freedom to any slave who left his rebel master and joined the British forces. The loss of the American colonies to the British in 1776 resulted in the transportation of thousands of African-American soldiers to Britain. Many went to work in the merchant and royal navies. William Hall, born in Nova Scotia in 1827, was part of a Naval Brigade in November 1857 on HMS Shannon that helped relieve the British Residency at Lucknow, India. He was the son of a freed slave. He was the first black man to be awarded the Victoria Cross.
The ‘Prize Slaves’
In 1806, a Royal Navy squadron was established at Simon’s Town. This Cape Station was to be responsible for the entire African Coast from Freetown in West Africa around the Cape to Somalia in the Horn of Africa including the islands of the Atlantic (St. Helena and Ascension). By the time of the Abolition of Slave Trade in 1807, there was a strong Royal Navy presence in the South Atlantic. The demand for labour in South Africa had increased partly due to the Abolition Act itself. The capture of slave ships and their human cargo of ‘Prize Negroes’ became an important source of revenue for the Royal Navy. These Africans were “liberated” at Cape Town where they were “apprenticed”. In fact these men, women and children were granted to local farmers and tradesmen and were a little better off than slaves. Some were granted to the Royal Navy. This “apprentice” system indentured the freed slaves to an employer for fourteen years.
The 1807 Abolition Act initially applied to the Atlantic and only to British ships and actually served as the basis to increase the slave trade in the Indian Ocean. The first stage in the British attempts to end the Indian Ocean slave trade began in 1822 when the Moresby Treaty was signed by Captain Fairfax Moresby of the Royal Navy and Sultan Seyyid Sa’id. This Treaty forbade the sale of slaves to Christian traders and ships sailing from the Zanzibar Sultanate south of Cape Delgado, or east of a line from Diu (Gujarat) to Socotra. The East India Company’s monopoly over trade in India ended in 1814 and in China in 1833. In 1839 a British force from Bombay under Captain S. B. Haines attacked and captured Aden, an event that was to signal a change in Britain’s position in the Indian Ocean from the East India Company based commercial role to that of a quasi-total domination by the Royal Navy.
The new ‘Prize Slaves’ were often from Mozambique Island or elsewhere in Portuguese East Africa. The ending of slavery in 1838 resulted in a further labour shortage in South Africa. In the Cape of Good Hope the period of indenture for freed slaves, had been gradually shortened, and by 1839 new arrivals were bound for seven years and their children were now free from indenture. In 1842 the Royal Navy was granted the right to search Portuguese vessels south of the equator. However, it was only in 1843 that a Royal Navy warship of the anti-slavery squadron based at Simon’s Town ventured as far north as Zanzibar. As a result of the Anglo-Portuguese diplomatic moves, the Royal Navy ships based at Simon’s Town took a more serious role in the liberation of Africans from the Portuguese East Africa.
The ‘Prize Slaves’ and their descendants established their own settlements at Simon’s Town and at Papendorp (Woodstock today) where they initially worked to carry goods from the lighters on the beach. The British government stipulated the registration and “marking” of newly-arrived ‘Prize Slaves’, who would now be indentured by auction. A difference from the slavery period was that under the new system, families were kept together. Children under thirteen were obliged to work for their masters but could not be separated from their mothers and the Prize Negroes had to receive a payment from their masters. Such payment however was quite nominal. It was only by 1856, some 24 years after the abolition that the last large groups of ‘Prize Slaves’ came to the Cape. But this was still not the final curtain on ‘Prize Slaves’ being brought to the Cape as the very last group – the Ormoros, arrived in 1890.
The Kru – Freemen of the Atlantic
As ‘indentures’ became scarcer in the 1850s, the Cape government began to recruit indentured labour for the Drakenstein farmlands from Botswana, the Congo, Malawi and Mozambique. They also attempted to employ freemen from the Kru people from West Africa. These and others such as the Siddis, Zanzibaris and Somalis were, over time, to integrate mainly into the Coloured population of the Cape as well as into the Xhosa community. In the Atlantic Ocean, the Kru people of Liberia were famous as mariners. For centuries they had served aboard European and American trading ships as sailors, cooks and interpreters. Kru traditions suggest that they originated from the interior and probably reached their present territory by the sixteenth century. They belong to a group of peoples who occupy more than half the territory of present day Republic of Liberia. By the eighteenth century they were working on European ships. During the slave trade period, the Kru are said to have extracted a promise from the European traders that they should not be taken as slaves. In return, they allowed slaves from the interiors to be brought across their territory.
The traditional Kru facial tattoo – a vertical line at the centre of the forehead said to represent the mast of a ship – was adopted during this period in order to be identified by the slavers. By the 1830s the Kru had become indispensible to the Royal Navy.
The Kru had proved to be good workers and later in 1861, Rear-Admiral Walker requested the Admiralty to let him use ‘Kru men’ (Kroomen) on the Cape Station in South Africa. In January 1862, authorisation was received for large ships to carry ten Kru men plus one Head Kru man and a second Head Kru man, while the smaller ships were allowed six with two supervisors. Since that period, vessels ordered for the Cape of Good Hope called at Sierra Leone for the purpose of contracting Kru men. In his General Memo 24 of 1862, Walker informed the captains in the squadron, much to their surprise of the approval. By 1863 every ship on the Cape station carried Kru men numbering nearly 100 on the East Coast of Africa, although the number of vessels had been reduced to three ships.
In 1864 the Admiralty merged the Cape with the East Indies Command in an attempt to compensate for the low number of ships. From around 1869 the Royal Navy also began employing Zanzibaris as interpreters and crewmen. Naval commanders pursued the suppression of slave trade with varied vigour. There were never more than six or seven ships available, operating sometimes from the Cape of Good Hope Station and after 1869 also from the East Indies Station.
The Sidis, Zanzibaris and Somalis – Freedmen of the Indian Ocean
There were essentially three types of freedmen employed by the Royal Navy: Africans liberated by the navy and employed directly; Africans liberated and taken by the Royal Navy to be employed in Bombay and the Seychelles; and manumitted Africans employed in the ports of East Africa. All of these men were termed “Seedies” by the Royal Navy (Spelt “Sidis”in East Africa and in India)
The term ‘Siddi’ has an old history in India, Sri Lanka and the Indonesian islands where over a number of centuries African slaves, sailors, traders and mercenaries settled and formed communities. By the nineteenth-century when the English began to use the term in the Royal Navy its meaning under those circumstances changed. Of course the original meaning continued with the Siddi communities in India. In the Royal Navy ‘Sidis’ or ‘Seedies’ came to denote Muslim seamen originally from the Swahili coast, especially Zanzibar, particularly sailors and harbour workers. British census records indicate the birthplaces, names and occupations of Sidis which helps to differentiate between three groups of Sidis.
After being deposited in Bombay by British ships, young African freedmen sometimes entered the British navy as cabin boys. In 1864, more than half of the two thousand Africans in Bombay earned their living as sailors or in related maritime work. Younger Africans were sent to mission schools such as the one at Nasik, where they learned various skills. Between 1861 and 1872, the Royal Navy delivered 2,409 “liberated” Africans to the Seychelles. Many of these were indentured to planters, but some were employed by the Royal Navy. Sidis from the Seychelles usually bore European names and were likely to be Christians. Most Sidis however were Muslim.
Many Sidis were escapees or manumitted slaves. Records often show their birthplace as Zanzibar, where slaves or freedmen constituted a significant portion of the population. Frequently they are shown as born at a port known for its slave market such as Zanzibar, Kilwa, or Mozambique.
A plan was announced by the Admiralty on 7th April 1870 to end the service of the Kru men on the East Coast but it was met with opposition from the officers of the Cape Station. This move was prompted by the difficulty in bringing the West African Kru men back and forth to the East African Station. It was therefore decided by the Admiralty that Sidis should replace Kru men. Commodore Heath was totally opposed to the change as were most of the officiating ship commanders on the station. So while Sidis were introduced and became the larger numbers, small numbers of Kru would continue in service. External African seamen continued in service at Simonstown through to the 1930s when local Coloured and Xhosa men began to be deployed by the navy. By this time many of the local recruits may have counted amongst their own roots, these external African forebears.
A record of the crew of HMS Nimble operating in the late 1800s shows that out of a total crew of sixty-one, there were five “Seedy Boys”, three Zanzibaris and one from the Comoro Islands. One of the Zanzibaris by the name of Tom Nimble was a slave freed by HMS Nimble. Another “seedy boy” called Jack Ropeman is described as born in ‘Kilwa’. It illustrates how broadly the British used the term ‘Sidi’ which in this context must be differentiated from its older historic usage.
The Royal Navy did liberate many slaves from Eastern Africa and was in a serious dilemma regarding their future. With the increase in the price of sugar in the 1870s and a shortage of labour in Natal, the Royal Navy “freed” almost 600 Africans in Durban between 1873 and 1880. Many of these people were nominally Moslems and the Zulus called these freed East Africans Zanzibaris, while the Indians called them “Siddhis” after the Afro-Asians in India.
In 1881, records also show that amongst the ‘Sidis’ the Royal Navy employed Somalis as interpreters. At the Royal Navy base at Aden a Somali community had sprung up and were being employed by the British Merchant Navy. On board HMS Dryad there were seventeen “Seedie Boys”, seven of who are shown as born in Zanzibar, and eleven in the Arabian Peninsula (Muscat, Oman, Aden and Jeddah). Only one of these, Happy Jack, has an English name, all of the rest have Muslim names. Clearly Happy Jack is a freedman; however it is very likely that most of the others are also freedmen. To illustrate how loosely used terms metamorphis into narrow ethnic terms and result in a skewing of history over time, these liberated Africans from East Africa and the Arabian Sea came to be known as Zanzibaris in South Africa. During a strike in 1884 resulting in labour shortages, several hundreds of these ‘Zanzibaris’ were brought to South Africa and housed in stables at Hope Street, Cape Town, to alleviate the labour ‘shortage’.
By 1901 the Royal Navy employed Africans from a wide variety of ethnicities and fromthe entire Western Indian Ocean. A good example is the 1901 census for HMS High Flyer. This includes seamen from Zanzibar, Mozambique, South Africa, Nyassa, India (Siddi) and Seychelles. There were also 33 Goans (mainly bandsmen and cooks) and a Singhalese on board. In fact the role of the Moslem Siddhis from the Swahili coast was rapidly replaced by the figure of the Somali stoker – often recruited from Aden or Berbera. The Royal Navy term of “Seedie” changed to “Somali” on May 14, 1934 at the Court of Buckingham Palace because most recruits were now from Somaliland.
African seamen in the form of the Habshis and Siddhis (older meaning) were a force to be reckoned with by both Asian and European powers until the eighteenth century. The decline of these African naval forces coincides with a rise in African slavery – especially in the Western basin of the Indian Ocean. Much of this human trade was conducted in Arab, European or Indian shipping. The decline of the influence of the East India Company was coupled with the rise of the Royal Navy in the Indian Ocean. The Royal Navy became the vehicle of migrations of an array of African settlers at the Cape. The impact on our roots and heritage of the introduction of the Kru, the Sidis, the Zanzibaris and the Somalis by the Royal Navy in Cape Town is one of the best kept secrets in Cape genealogies.
Re-blogged from: http://cape-slavery-heritage.iblog.co.za/
SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
18 August Biko is arrested. Steve Biko was travelling in a car with a friend Peter Jones, an executive member of the BPC. Lieut stopped the car outside the King William’s Town limits at a roadblock. Oosthuizen of the Security Police. The two men were taken to Grahamstown; the next day they were taken to Walmer Jail, Port Elizabeth and held under Section 6 of the Terrorism Act, in the custody of the Security Police under the command of Colonel Goosen.
He is kept naked in a cell for 20 days Port Elizabeth
For the next twenty days Biko was kept at Walmer Police Station, naked, manacled, and not allowed out of his cell even for air or exercise. His daily ration of food was soup, magewu, * bread, jam and coffee.
According to the sergeant in command, the soup and magewu were refused, and Biko ate little bread
2 September, Magistrate’ visits. On 1 September a magistrate made a formal visit to Biko in his cell. Biko complained that he had not even been permitted to wash himself. He asked the magistrate for water and soap to wash himself and a washcloth and comb.
He asked: “Is it compulsory that I have to be naked? I have been naked since I came here”. The magistrate made no reply.
6 September Biko taken for interrogation to Room 619 Sanlam Building in Port Elizabeth
On the morning of 6 September, Biko was taken from the Walmer Street prison by security police, and brought to Room 619, Sanlam Building, for interrogation. The police state that they were with him from 10.30 a.m. until 6 p.m. From 6 p.m. he was in the care of the ‘night squad’ (led by Lt. Wilken) naked, handcuffed and with one leg chained to a grille.
Room 619 at 7a.m on 7 September
Major Harold Snyman, head of the interrogation team of five, arrived at 7 a.m. and according to his statement, removed Biko’s leg-irons and handcuffs. At this time, or very close to it, Biko received the blows that caused brain damage and resulted in his death five days later. The police were unable to continue their interrogation. Biko was again handcuffed and chained to the grille.
7.30 am. on 7 September, Biko already has brain injury
Colonel Goosen was informed that there had been an “incident”. At 7.30 he arrived at Room 619 and spoke to Biko, who, he said, seemed incoherent and talked in a slurred manner. There was a visible swelling on his upper lip.
9.30 am. Dr. Lang gives medical check-up
The district surgeon, Dr. Lang, was called in. He examined Biko in the presence of Col. Goosen. At the Colonel’s request he made out a certificate that there was no evidence of any abnormality or pathology on Biko.
Night of 7 September. Biko lies on mat, chained and in leg irons
The Security Police attempted once more to interrogate Biko, but he was totally unresponsive. For the rest of that day, and for that night, Biko lay on a mat on the office floor, manacled and chained by his leg as before.
8 September Dr. Lang comes and brings Dr. Tucker
Dr. Lang returned. Col. Goosen told him that Biko had not urinated during the past 24 hours, and had refused all offers of food. Lang re-examined Biko, and then requested that the chief district surgeon. Dr. B. J. Tucker, examine Biko with him.
Although the trousers Biko had been wearing (for the interrogation) and the blankets were now soaked with urine. Dr. Lang noticed no change and Dr. Tucker did not question Biko. It was decided to transfer him to the prison hospital.
Evenings of 8 September, Biko is taken to prison hospital
A specialist physician. Dr. Hersch, was consulted, it was agreed that a lumbar puncture should be performed. Biko was transferred to the prison hospital.
Night of 8 September Prison hospital.
A warder stated that during the night of 8 September he twice found Biko lying in a bath, the first time clothed in a bath filled with water; the second time the bath was empty.
The lumbar puncture was performed early in the morning.
Hersch informed Lang that the lumbar puncture showed he cerebro-spinal fluid to be bloodstained. It was decided to consult a neuro-surgeon, Mr. Keeley, by telephone; Keeley gave the opinion that there was no evidence of brain damage, but Biko should be kept under observation.
He saw no reason why Biko should not be transferred back from hospital to the Security Police, provided he was kept under observation.
11 September Biko is taken back a cell
In the morning the Security Police took Biko from the hospital, and bed, back to a cell at Walmer Police Station. He was left on a mat on the cement floor of the cell, naked under the blankets.
He is found collapsed
A few hours later a warder found Biko lying on the floor with foam at his mouth, and glassy-eyed. He informed Major Fischer, who phoned Col. Goosen.
He is driven naked through the night to Pretoria
Dr. Tucker examined Biko at 3.20 p.m. and saw no objection to Goosen sending Biko on a journey of 740 miles by road to Pretoria. Naked and manacled, he was left lying on the floor of a Land-Rover, with nothing except a container of water.
11-12 September Pretoria Prison
He was carried into the prison hospital and left on the floor of a cell, without any medical records, 11 hours after leaving Port Elizabeth.
12 September Dr. van Zyl gives intravenous drip
Several hours later, a newly qualified doctor, with no medical information about him other than that he was refusing to eat, ordered an intravenous drip.
Some time that night Biko died, unattended.
The inquest of Steve Biko was not simply an exceptional event; it was, in a sense, a revelation of racism, of the way it has distorted ordinary people, and the way it has destroyed all morality and decency in a rich and beautiful country.
personnel at the Inquest
Mr. K. von Lieres
Mr. Marthinus Prins, assisted by Professor I. Gordon of the Natal University Medical School, and Professor J. Oliver o f the University of the Orange Free State Medical School
Counsel for Biko Family
Mr. Sydney Kentridge, assisted by Mr. E. Wentzel and Mr. G. Bizos
Counsel for the police
Mr. Retief van Rooyen, assisted by Mr. J. M. C. Smit
Counsel for the Doctors
Mr. B. de V. Pickard, assisted by Dr. Marquard de Villiers
Colonel Pieter Goosen, Chief of the Security Police in the Eastern Cape Major Harold Snyman, leader of the day interrogation Team of whom the four other members were:
Captain D. P. Siebert
Warrant Officer Marx
Warrant Officer Beneke
Detective Sergeant Nieuwoudt
Lieut. E. Wilken (security police)
Warrant Officer Fouche
Sgt. P. J. Van Vuuren
Dr. Ivor Lang, district surgeon
Dr. B. J. Tucker, chief district surgeon
Dr. C. Hersch, consultant
Dr. van Zyl district, surgeon Pretoria
Dr. Loubser, state pathologist Dr. Gluckman, for Biko family Professor I. Simpson Professor Proctor
Police Investigating Officer
by Laura Savage The federal government is at it again! They have placed the legendary Black Panther leader, Assata Shakur, on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list. Yes, you read correctly: terroris…
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“…convicted for the fatal shooting of E. B. Knight, a white Cuthbert, Georgia mill operator she was hired to care for after he broke his leg… Baker was sentenced to death following a one-day trial before an all-white, all-male jury.”; http://straightfromthea.com/2011/09/26/never-forget-meet-the-only-woman-ever-executed-in-georgia-yes-shes-black/
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