Category Archives: ~ Culture & History

Voting is a Right NOT a Privilege ~~ The Struggle continues


votingTime to pass the Voting Rights Act, change redistricting rules and make it easier for ALL Americans to VOTE

Dear America

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” -George Santayana (16 December 1863 in Madrid, Spain – 26 September 1952 in Rome, Italy) was a philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist.

 On March 7, 1965, hundreds of brave unarmed nonviolent women and men dared to March for African Americans right to vote.

The fact is that less than 1% of eligible Blacks could vote or register to vote.

People organized a Peaceful Protest March from Selma to the state capitol in Montgomery. However, as these protesters crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge to Montgomery the police, some riding on horses had, looking back, a predetermined  tactical intervention against protesters, police proceeded to engage in “excessive use of force” brutally beating protesters such as #RepJohnLewis   some of these officers actually killed using their nightsticks,  sprayed water cannons while others used tear gas. These kids had no weapons, they did NOT fight back, but showed courage and strength. We must never forget that some of our fellow  Americans died for the right to vote in an adverse harmful environment, hastily retreated while journalists and photographers became witnesses to the violence and suffering .

The brutal reaction by the police was not only caught on tape it forced then President Johnson, who was once against civil rights programs as a Senator to call on Congress for equal voting rights for all on March 15.

SelmaMarch

The Voting Act of 1965 was signed into law on August 6; is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S.

A day that started out peacefully quickly descended into an awful johnlewisbeatwithknightstickugly March of death for the right to vote called ,”Bloody Sunday”.

Now, some 48 years later, a new “Jim Crow” era has emerged with a major step backward in the fight for civil and voting rights. There are conservative states targeting not only African Americans but also Senior citizens, first time voters, early voting, Students, low income, immigrants and the undocumented though Republicans call them (illegals) Dreamers. In addition, Governors from Republican controlled States are allowing election officials to purge voters, people without birth certificates were given limited or completely denied access to the voting booth failing to meet new voter ID regulations in time and were treated like possible (illegals). This  is the 21st Century; we should be on a progressive path toward equality for all not one that will re-engage folks in the act of racism or exclusion leading to suppressing participation in the election process. This year, new stricter voter ID legislation is pending in thirty-one states. This includes, voter ID proposals in thirteen states with proposals to strengthen existing voter ID laws in ten states, and eight states that will amend the new voter ID laws passed in 2011.

We need to push back  on all attempts to suppress the right to Vote.

With so much at stake, it is time to stop sitting on the sidelines. If we are going to succeed, Conservative lawmakers NEED to hear our Voices.

We cannot let the naysayers turn back the clock on Voting Rights or the next generation.

Thank You for Taking Action

     Takeaction2

Official Google blog – Nelson Mandela


Nelson Mandela Born: July 18, 1918  Age: 94 years oldBirthplace: Transkei, South AfricaOccupation: World Leader, Journalist

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin,  or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if  they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more  naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”  – Nelson Mandela

Last year we announced a $1.25 million grant to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory to help preserve and digitize thousands of archival documents, photographs and videos about Nelson Mandela.  Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory (NMCM) is committed to documenting the life and times of one of the world’s greatest statesmen and spreading his story to promote social justice throughout the world.
Today, the Mandela archive has become a reality.  Along with historians, educationalists, researchers, activists and many others around the world, you can access a wealth of information and knowledge about the life and legacy of this extraordinary African leader.  The new online multimedia archive includes Mandela’s correspondence with family, comrades and friends, diaries written during his 27 years of imprisonment, and notes he made while leading the negotiations that ended apartheid in South Africa. The archive will also include the earliest-known photo of Mr. Mandela and never-before seen drafts of Mr. Mandela’s manuscripts for the sequel to his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom.

We’ve worked closely with the NMCM to create an interactive online experience which we hope will inspire you as much as us.  You can search and browse the archives to explore different parts of Mandela’s life and work in depth: Early Life, Prison Years, Presidential Years, Retirement, Books for Mandela, Young People and My Moments with a Legend.
For example, you might be interested in Nelson Mandela’s personal memories of the time he was incarcerated and click into the Prison Years exhibit. You can immediately see a curated set of materials threaded together into a broader narrative. These include handwritten notes on his desk calendars, which show, for example, that he met President F.W. De Klerk for the first time on December 13, 1989 for two and a half hours in prison; the Warrants of Committal issued by the Supreme Court which sent him to prison; the earliest known photo of Nelson Mandela’s prison cell on Robben Island circa 1971; and a personal letterwritten from prison in 1963 to his daughters, Zeni and Zindzi, after their mother was arrested, complete with transcript.

From there, you might want to see all the letters held by the archive, and click “See more” in the letters category, where you can discover all personal letters or use the time filter to explore his diaries and calendars written between 1988 and 1998, where you can see that in the last page of the last diary, he met with President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda to exchange ideas about the situation in northern Uganda. If you were a researcher, you can search through various fragments of Madiba’s memory that relate to Ahmed Kathrada, his long-time comrade, politician and anti-apartheid activist, where you can find photos, videos, manuscripts and letters that relate to him.
Finally, by clicking into the exhibit, My Moments with a Legend, you can go beyond Madiba’s personal materials to get a diverse perspective through photos, videos and stories, via the memories of people like Archbishop Desmond Tutu, F.W. De Klerk and Nomfundo Walaza, a community worker.

The Nelson Mandela Digital Archive project is an initiative by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and the Google Cultural Institute, which helps to preserve and promote our diverse cultural and historical heritage. Some of our other initiatives include the Art Project, digitizing the Dead Sea Scrolls and bringing the Yad Vashem Holocaust materials online.
You can start exploring the Nelson Mandela archive right now at archive.nelsonmandela.org.  We hope you’ll be inspired by this influential leader—the face of South Africa’s transition to democracy.
Posted by Mark Yoshitake, Product Manager, Google’s Cultural Institute

9 Things You May Not know about the Declaration of Independence


By Elizabeth Harrison
Independence Day, or the Fourth of July, celebrates the adoption by the Continental Congress of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. On the 236th birthday of the United States, explore nine surprising facts about one of America’s most important founding documents.


1. The Declaration of Independence wasn’t signed on July 4, 1776.
On July 1, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, and on the following day 12 of the 13 colonies voted in favor of Richard Henry Lee’s motion for independence. The delegates then spent the next two days debating and revising the language of a statement drafted by Thomas Jefferson. On July 4, Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence, and as a result the date is celebrated as Independence Day. Nearly a month would go by, however, before the actual signing of the document took place. First, New York’s delegates didn’t officially give their support until July 9 because their home assembly hadn’t yet authorized them to vote in favor of independence. Next, it took two weeks for the Declaration to be “engrossed”—written on parchment in a clear hand. Most of the delegates signed on August 2, but several—Elbridge Gerry, Oliver Wolcott, Lewis Morris, Thomas McKean and Matthew Thornton—signed on a later date. (Two others, John Dickinson and Robert R. Livingston, never signed at all.) The signed parchment copy now resides at the National Archives in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, alongside the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

2. More than one copy exists.
After the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, the “Committee of Five”—Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston—was charged with overseeing the reproduction of the approved text. This was completed at the shop of Philadelphia printer John Dunlap. On July 5, Dunlap’s copies were dispatched across the 13 colonies to newspapers, local officials and the commanders of the Continental troops. These rare documents, known as “Dunlap broadsides,” predate the engrossed version signed by the delegates. Of the hundreds thought to have been printed on the night of July 4, only 26 copies survive. Most are held in museum and library collections, but three are privately owned.

3. When news of the Declaration of Independence reached New York City, it started a riot.
By July 9, 1776, a copy of the Declaration of Independence had reached New York City. With hundreds of British naval ships occupying New York Harbor, revolutionary spirit and military tensions were running high. George Washington, commander of the Continental forces in New York, read the document aloud in front of City Hall. A raucous crowd cheered the inspiring words, and later that day tore down a nearby statue of George III. The statue was subsequently melted down and shaped into more than 42,000 musket balls for the fledgling American army.

4. Eight of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were born in Britain.
While the majority of the members of the Second Continental Congress were native-born Americans, eight of the men voting for independence from Britain were born there. Gwinnett Button and Robert Morris were born in England, Francis Lewis was born in Wales, James Wilson and John Witherspoon were born in Scotland, George Taylor and Matthew Thornton were born in Ireland and James Smith hailed from Northern Ireland.

5. One signer later recanted.
Richard Stockton, a lawyer from Princeton, New Jersey, became the only signer of the Declaration of Independence to recant his support of the revolution. On November 30, 1776, the hapless delegate was captured by the British and thrown in jail. After months of harsh treatment and meager rations, Stockton repudiated his signature on the Declaration of Independence and swore his allegiance to King George III. A broken man when he regained his freedom, he took a new oath of loyalty to the state of New Jersey in December 1777.

6. There was a 44-year age difference between the youngest and oldest signers.
The oldest signer was Benjamin Franklin, 70 years old when he scrawled his name on the parchment. The youngest was Edward Rutledge, a lawyer from South Carolina who was only 26 at the time. Rutledge narrowly beat out fellow South Carolinian Thomas Lynch Jr., just four months his senior, for the title.

7. Two additional copies have been found in the last 25 years.
In 1989, a Philadelphia man found an original Dunlap Broadside hidden in the back of a picture frame he bought at a flea market for $4. One of the few surviving copies from the official first printing of the Declaration, it was in excellent condition and sold for $8.1 million in 2000. A 26th known Dunlap broadside emerged at the British National Archives in 2009, hidden for centuries in a box of papers captured from American colonists during the Revolutionary War. One of three Dunlap broadsides at the National Archives, the copy remains there to this day.

8. The Declaration of Independence spent World War II in Fort Knox.
On December 23, 1941, just over two weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the signed Declaration, together with the Constitution, was removed from public display and prepared for evacuation out of Washington, D.C. Under the supervision of armed guards, the founding document was packed in a specially designed container, latched with padlocks, sealed with lead and placed in a larger box. All told, 150 pounds of protective gear surrounded the parchment. On December 26 and 27, accompanied by Secret Service agents, it traveled by train to Louisville, Kentucky, where a cavalry troop of the 13th Armored Division escorted it to Fort Knox. The Declaration was returned to Washington, D.C., in 1944.

9. There is something written on the back of the Declaration of Independence.
In the movie “National Treasure,” Nicholas Cage’s character claims that the back of the Declaration contains a treasure map with encrypted instructions from the founding fathers, written in invisible ink. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There is, however, a simpler message, written upside-down across the bottom of the signed document: “Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776.” No one knows who exactly wrote this or when, but during the Revolutionary War years the parchment was frequently rolled up for transport. It’s thought that the text was added as a label.

a sport not many focus on … Golf & Women of Colour – reminder


Wethepeople

So, I’m flipping through my newest 2015 Essence from back to front because of the horoscope section and as I’m looking I see a section called “trending topics” reporting that the USTA just appointed former tennis player Katrina Adams, President, CEO and chairman of the board and the first African American to fill the role. So, more things have changed in the World of Sports in which women of colour historically have not dominated.  While flipping through my 2014 issue of Essence with various fashions it was became obvious that this is not just about fashion, though the title gave me that impression and had to share given the history. In fact, it is about a Woman named Renee Powell and some young Women who were introduced to her and who have chosen her as their mentor. Now, the surprise to most would be that these brightly fashionable women are people of colour and that the article is about golf or as they say, “One of America’s favourite pastimes.”  In fact my family lived just a few blocks away from a golf course and while golf wasn’t my choice the history of golf was well known in our house, including a couple of good along with the bad and the really ugly stories of racism. It is a sad day to know that the practice is still alive and well, though tiger woods did shatter the glass ceiling some. The art of discrimination is subtle these days, while the stories of’ the good ‘olé boys club were worse, golf is a work in progress. The article tells us about the ups and downs of Powell’s life and daily experiences as a young girl to becoming one of four African-American women qualifying for golf’s top pro-circuit … The LPGA Tour that included Althea Gibson, LaRee Pearl Sugg, Shasta Avery Hardt and Renee Powell. Their legacy on the links is gone into in depth. They list the youngest pro at 17, four others including the niece of tiger woods who also has a great story, but what is even more exciting is that after Powell retired she now owns her own golf club, is the golf pro. She also teaches and mentors a new generation of girls/women of colour who love the game and are willing to take it as far as they can. Golfing is not cheap, so, if you have an opportunity to donate to your area’s youth sports club or make time to teach train and expose kids of colour to golf … do it!

Oh and the article on Golf is in Essence and was written by Connie Aitcheson

and … “Trending Topics” is in the February issue of Essence