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Civil Rights Activist Rosa Parks


 

On This Day: February 4

Rosa Parks
Born: February 4, 1913
Died: October 24, 2005
Age: 92 years old
Birthplace: Tuskegee, AL, United States
Occupation: Activist

Early Life & Family

Rosa Parks was born Rosa Louise McCauley on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. After her parents, James and Leona McCauley, separated when Rosa was two, Rosa’s mother moved the family to Pine Level, Alabama to live with her parents, Rose and Sylvester Edwards. Both were former slaves and strong advocates for racial equality; the family lived on the Edwards’ farm, where Rosa would spend her youth. In one experience, Rosa’s grandfather stood in front of their house with a shotgun while Ku Klux Klan members marched down the street.

Childhood and Education

Rosa Parks’ childhood brought her early experiences with racial discrimination and activism for racial equality. Taught to read by her mother at a young age, Rosa attended a segregated, one-room school in Pine Level, Alabama, that often lacked adequate school supplies such as desks. African-American students were forced to walk to the 1st- through 6th-grade schoolhouse, while the city of Pine Level provided bus transportation as well as a new school building for white students.

Through the rest of Rosa’s education, she attended segregated schools in Montgomery, including the city’s Industrial School for Girls (beginning at age 11). In 1929, while in the 11th grade and attending a laboratory school for secondary education led by the Alabama State Teachers College for Negroes, Rosa left school to attend to both her sick grandmother and mother back in Pine Level. She never returned to her studies; instead, she got a job at a shirt factory in Montgomery.

In 1932, at age 19, Rosa met and married Raymond Parks, a barber and an active member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. With Raymond’s support, Rosa earned her high school degree in 1933. She soon became actively involved in civil rights issues by joining the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP in 1943, serving as the chapter’s youth leader as well as secretary to NAACP President E.D. Nixon — a post she held until 1957.

Life After the Bus Boycott

Although she had become a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement, Rosa Parks suffered hardship in the months following her arrest in Montgomery and the subsequent boycott. She lost her department store job and her husband was fired after his boss forbade him to talk about his wife or their legal case. Unable to find work, they eventually left Montgomery; the couple, along with Rosa’s mother, moved to Detroit, Michigan. There, Rosa made a new life for herself, working as a secretary and receptionist in U.S. Representative John Conyer’s congressional office. She also served on the board of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

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Freddie Stowers ~ Honor and recognition Long Overdue – Black History


NMAAHC -- National Museum of African American History and Culture

Lonnie Bunch, museum director, historian, lecturer, and author, is proud to present A Page from Our American Story, a regular on-line series for Museum supporters. It will showcase individuals and events in the African American experience, placing these stories in the context of a larger story — our American story.

A Page From Our American Story

Grave of Cpl Freddie Stowers
Grave of CPL Freddie Stowers
at Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery
in France.

Freddie Stowers, the grandson of a South Carolina slave, holds a unique spot in America’s pantheon of war heroes — as the only African American awarded the Medal of Honor for service in World War I. Stowers’ story, however, must be told in two parts.

The first part of the story is his act of heroism in 1918; the second part is that it took more than 72 years before Stowers finally received the recognition he was due.

The United States was the last major combatant to enter World War I, the “war to end all wars.” The conflict began in Europe in 1914, but in the U.S., isolationist sentiments were strong resulting in a foreign policy of non-intervention. However, in April 1917, after a German U-boat sank the British ship Lusitania, killing 128 Americans on board, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war on Germany. Three months later, on July 3, 1917, American troops landed in France.

Corporal Freddie Stowers came to France as part of the all-black Company C, 371st Regiment, 93rd Division that deployed in September, 1918. His service in France was short but courageous and memorable.

More than 50 years after the Civil War, America’s military was still segregated. The French, however, had no such rules, and Stowers and Company C were sent to the front lines to serve alongside French troops.

On September 28, just days after arriving in France, Stowers’ company was in the midst of an attack on Hill 188, Champagne Marne Sector, France, when enemy forces appeared to be giving up.

According to the War Department, German soldiers emerged from their trenches waving a white flag, arms in the air — military actions that signal surrender. It was a ruse, however. As Americans, including Cpl. Stowers, went to capture the “surrendering” Germans, another wave of the enemy arose and opened fire.

Very quickly, Company C’s lieutenant and non-commissioned officers were killed in the fight. This left the 21-year-old Stowers in command. Without hesitation, he implored his men to advance on the Germans.

Stowers would be mortally shot during the exchange. Wounded and dying, Stowers continued to fight on, inspiring his men to push the enemy back. With Stowers leading the counter-attack, Americans took out an enemy machine gun position and went on to capture Hill 188.

Following the battle, Stowers’ commanding officer nominated him for the Medal of Honor, but the nomination was never processed. The Pentagon said the paperwork was misplaced. Some raise the possibility that the nomination wasn’t misplaced at all, but deliberately lost. They point to the fact that American troops were segregated and suggest that racial bias in the military might be the reason for Stowers’ missing paperwork.

The final part of Freddie Stowers’ story begins in 1990. As the Department of Defense began to modernize its data systems, it ordered a review of all battlefield medal nominations. When Stowers’ recommendation was found, the Pentagon quickly took action to give the corporal the long overdue recognition and honor he deserved.

Freddie Stowers MOH Ceremony in 1991.
After the posthumous presentation of the Medal of Honor
to the sisters of Corporal (CPL) Freddie Stowers by
President George H. W. Bush, Mrs. Barbara Bush and
Mary Bowens admire the Medal of Honor certificate.
Ms Bowens is CPL Stowers’ sister. His other sister
Georgina Palmer (far left) looks on. CPL Stowers is the
only Black American to receive the Medal for action during
World War I. Photo: Robert Ward, DOD PA, April 4, 1991.

On April 24, 1991, more than 72 years after Stowers made the ultimate sacrifice for his nation, his sisters Georgiana Palmer and Mary Bowens, 88- and 77-years-old at the time, were presented his Medal of Honor by President George H. W. Bush.

Long before Stowers was honored by his nation, he, along with other members of Company C, received recognition from the French government: “For extraordinary heroism under fire.” Stowers and his unit received the Croix de Guerre – the French War Cross — the highest military medal France awards to allied soldiers.

Prior to World War I, 49 African Americans had been awarded the Medal of Honor, including 25 men who fought for the Union in the Civil War. There were 119 Medals of Honor recipients in World War I, with Stowers being the only African American. His long overdue recognition in 1991 is a small but important sign of the progress we as a nation have made.

Lonnie Bunch, Director All the best,
Lonnie Bunch
Director

P.S. We can only reach our $250 million goal with your help. I hope you will consider making a donation or becoming a Charter Member today.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the newest member of the Smithsonian Institution’s family of extraordinary museums.

 

The museum will be far more than a collection of objects. The Museum will be a powerful, positive force in the national discussion about race and the important role African Americans have played in the American story — a museum that will make all Americans proud.

Rand Paul — — reminders


Freshman Congressman Rand Paul … Celebrated his Teapublican victory at a Private Country Club …

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) said yesterday that Kentucky GOP U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul’s positions should be the positions of the Republican Party. “I think a lot of us in the Republican Party would like to see Rand Paul and his voting and how he will vote in the U.S. Senate [become] the position of the Republican Party,” Bunning told reporters. Bunning, however, didn’t endorse Paul’s controversial view of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.TP

Rand Paul has been reported stating,  he would (modify)? maybe abolish Dept of Education, Farm Subsidies, Slash Medicare, Fair Housing Act, American Disabilities Act and believes any Public entity should be subjected to the rule of law but Private Ownership should have the right to refuse service to anyone they want; which, makes one wonder if Rand actually understands the 1964 Civil Rights Act or how and who potential business owners get the right to do business, Public or Private … uh City, State, Federal business license ….

From NBC’s John Yang
LOUISVILLE — Rand Paul wasn’t the only Tea Party-favored candidate to defeat an establishment candidate in Kentucky today.

UPS pilot Todd Lally ran away with the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth in Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District, which centers on Louisville. He beat three candidates, including Jeff Reetz, a Pizza Hut franchise owner who was the favorite of the House Republican campaign committee.

Lally is strongly pro-gun rights and anti-abortion rights. The Louisville Courier-Journal‘s editorial page said that during his endorsement interview, he said President Obama wouldn’t be able to get a security clearance if he wasn’t president and said health care reform was for the benefit of “freeloaders.”

Rachel Maddow interviews Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul about how he reconciles his views on small government with civil rights, racism and segregation.

WASHINGTON – Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul said Friday that President Barack Obama’s criticism of BP in the wake of the Gulf oil debacle sounds “really un-American.”  Paul, already facing a backlash over remarks earlier this week about civil rights legislation, criticized the Obama administration for declaring it will put its “boot heel on the throat of BP.” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs used similar language shortly after the spill.  In an interview Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Paul says the president’s response is part of the “blame game” that’s played in the United States. msnbc

The morning after he declined to endorse the totality of the Civil Rights Act in his much-discussed appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show, Dr. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) copped to feeling regret — not over his comments, but rather his decision to be interviewed by Maddow in the first place.

“It was a poor political decision and probably won’t be happening anytime in the near future,” the Tea Party endorsed Senate candidate said on the Laura Ingraham show on Thursday morning. “Because, yeah, they can play things and want to say, ‘Oh you believed in beating up people that were trying to sit in restaurants in the 1960s.’ And that is such a ridiculous notion and something that no rational person is in favor of. [But] she went on and on about that.”

Blaming the messenger is a tactic often used by politicians when the message itself is to blame. And Paul’s appearance on the Maddow show on Wednesday night was anything but bland. For 15 minutes, he and the host went back and forth in debating where there should be limits to government efforts to desegregate private institutions (Paul was skeptical that the government should play any role at all). But the notion that the MSNBC host was somehow unloading liberal hostilities on him doesn’t jibe with the fact that Paul got the same type of treatment during an NPR interview earlier that morning — or, for that matter, that a conservative voice on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough, seemed aghast at his answers. “He needs to come up with an answer today, or Kentucky will be Arizona: a battleground for ugly, racial politics,” Scarborough said. “He has 24 hours.”

(Paul, in fact, chose Maddow’s show to initially launch his Senate candidacy a year prior to last night’s appearance.)

Paul did seem to draw back (or tighten) his discussion of the Civil Rights Act during his interview with Ingraham.

“These are settled issues in the Civil Rights Act,” he said. “I have no intention of bringing up anything related to the Civil Rights Act… I think [segregation] is sort of a stain and blight on our history — so, no, I have never really favored any change in the Civil Rights Act or any of that. But they have seemed to unleash the loony left on me.”

In April of last year, Dr. Rand Paul was the featured guest speaker at an event held by the Constitution Party of Minnesota, whose stated goals include “restor[ing] American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations.”

Bruce Wilson

Bruce Wilson

Writes on religion and politics

Rand Paul Keynoted 2009 Rally for Far-Right Constitution Party

All you really need to know about Christian Reconstructionism is in the title of a January 2008 Talk To Action story of mine, More From The Biblical Stoning & Legalized Slavery Movement.

Enter Rand Paul.

Amidst the hullaballoo over Republican Rand Paul’s upset victory in the Kentucky GOP primary for US Senate, one of the few journalists to raise the issue of Paul’s somewhat uncomfortable proximity to Christian Reconstructionism has been Alternet’s Adele Stan, who observes that Rand Paul’s father Ron Paul is personal friends with one of the bigger names in the Christian Reconstructionist movement, Howard Phillips, founder of the US Taxpayers Party — now re-branded as The Constitution Party. But there’s much more direct evidence tying Ran Paul to the Constitution Party, whose national platform declares,

“The goal of the Constitution Party is to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations…The U.S. Constitution established a Republic rooted in Biblical law”

As Adele Stan notes, Phillips gave a keynote address at the Ron Paul For President Convention in Minneapolis a year and a half ago. And, Ron Paul endorsed the 2008 Constitution Party’s presidential candidate in the 2008 election, Chuck Baldwin.

As it’s said, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In a May 21, 2009 appearance on the Alex Jones Show, Rand Paul affirmed that his political beliefs were extremely close to those of his father Ron:

Alex Jones: “You’re basically what I would call a chip off the old block. Your policies are basically identical to your father, correct?”Rand Paul: “I’d say we’d be very very similar. We might present the message sometimes differently.. I think in some ways the message has to be broadened and made more appealing to the entire Republican electorate because you have to win a primary.” [Rand Paul on Alex Jones, 5/21/09]

So it isn’t altogether surprising that Rand Paul could be found, in April 2009, at a rally held by a political party that’s been heavily influenced by a movement whose founder, Rousas Rushdoony, advocated executing homosexuals by stoning, wanted to reimpose the institution of slavery, and maintained that the Sun rotated around the Earth.

[below – video from Minneapolis “End the Fed” rally establishes that Rand Paul was in the vicinity prior to the Minnesota Constitution Party rally later that day. Note: the rally itself was not held by the MN Constitution Party.]

On April 25, 2009, Rand Paul was the featured guest speaker at The Constitution Party of Minnesota’s “event of the year.” I’ve found video of Rand Paul at an afternoon Minneapolis rally, so he was without a doubt in the vicinity.

Just to make sure I talked to Tammy Houle, whose phone number is the Minnesota Constitution Party listed contact number, and she confirmed to me that Rand Paul had indeed spoken at the April 25th evening event.

The odd thing about Rand and Ron Paul’s political tendency is that it offers liberals and progressives a number of points of agreement, probably more than with more ‘mainstream’ conservative GOP politicians. For example, Ron Paul has been a principled opponent of the invasion of Iraq and US military adventurism in the Mideast generally, and Rand Paul espouses the same position.

But it’s hard to get much more extreme than Christian Reconstructionism, whose founder Rushdoony was a Holocaust denier, a racist, a creationist, and an advocate for slavery who claimed that African-American slaves were lucky.

Weigh it for yourself — Howard Phillips, who founded the Constitution Party, has, according to journalist Frederick Clarkson, described Rousas J. Rushdoony as “my wise counseler.”

As Rushdoony wrote in Politics of Guilt and Pity:

The white man is being systematically indoctrinated into believing that he is guilty of enslaving and abusing the Negro. Granted that some Negroes were mistreated as slaves, the fact still remains that nowhere in all history or in the world today has the Negro been better off. The life expectancy of the Negro increased when he was transported to America. He was not taken from freedom into slavery, but from a vicious slavery to degenerate chiefs to a generally benevolent slavery in the United States. There is not the slightest evidence that any American Negro had ever lived in a “free society” in Africa; even the idea did not exist in Africa. The move from Africa to America was a vast increase of freedom for the Negro…

None of this, of course, is Rand Paul’s direct responsibility. But it certainly is suggestive.

And so, without further ado, here’s the April 9, 2009 post advertising Rand Paul’s April 25th appearance at the Minnesota Constitution Party “Liberty Banquet 2009” that’s posted on Ronpaulforums.com :

The Constitution Party of Minnesota announces with anticipation, the event of the year — Liberty Banquet 2009Patriots and statesmen will come together on April 25th to hear featured guest,

Dr. RAND PAUL

Don’t miss this opportunity to unite with other like-minded folks for an evening of inspiration and motivation. The evening begins at 5:00 pm with a social hour, dinner at 6:00, followed by introductions and guest speakers. Preceding Dr. Paul, we will hear a few words from the two tenacious gentlemen that recently accepted the co-chairmanship of the CPMN Veteran’s Coalition, Leon Moe and John Salsbury.

The Chaska VFW will be the location of the event, which is located one block west of the intersection of Old Hwy. 212 and Hwy. 41 near downtown Chaska. The cost of tickets is $30 per person or 4 for $100. Get yours soon by sending payment to CPMN Treasurer, Patricia Becker, 23078 – 21st Avenue, St. Augusta, MN 56301.

Related News On Huffington Post:

A version of this post was originally published on Talk To Action.

Related News On Huffington Post:

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African Americans in Full Color – in memory of Black History


NMAAHC -- National Museum of African American History and Culture

Lonnie Bunch, museum director, historian, lecturer, and author, is proud to present A Page from Our American Story, a regular on-line series for Museum supporters. It will showcase individuals and events in the African American experience, placing these stories in the context of a larger story — our American story.A Page From Our American Story

African Americans in Full Color

In the first half of the twentieth century, Americans became fascinated with photo journalism. Pictures were literally “worth a thousand words” as full-color magazines and tabloid newspapers became the rage.

Publications targeted to African American audiences that featured illustrations and photographs began appearing in the early 1900s. One of the earliest to effectively use illustrations and photography was The Crisis, the official publication of the NAACP. Seeking to educate and inform its readers with scholarly articles, the covers of the journal and its entertainment section were designed to appeal to the masses of African Americans.

In the 1930s, we see pictorial magazines such as Abbott’s Monthly, published by Robert Sengstacke Abbott, the founder of the Chicago Defender newspaper, and Flash, which billed itself as a “weekly newspicture magazine.” Published in Washington, D.C., Flash contained a mixture of news, gossip and advertisements and articles on racial issues, providing an overview of the highs and the lows of Black life in the 1930’s.

In 1942, African American businessman John H. Johnson founded the Johnson Publishing Company, a corporation that would go on to publish the well-known magazines Ebony, Jet, Tan, and Ebony Jr. The magazines promoted African American achievements and affirmative black imagery in popular culture, which appealed to readers … and to advertisers. Mr. Johnson was a savvy businessman and used the statistics of a rising black middle class to persuade companies and businesses that it was in their economic “self-interest” to advertise in his magazines to reach African American consumers.

With the success of the Johnson Publishing Company’s magazines, other magazines targeted to African Americans quickly came on the scene. For example, in 1947 Horace J. Blackwell published Negro Achievements, a magazine highlighting African American success articles and featuring reader-submitted true confessions stories. After Blackwell died in 1949, a white businessman named George Levitan bought the company and renamed the publication Sepia. This publication featured columns by writer John Howard Griffin, a white man who darkened his skin and wrote about his treatment in the segregated South, that eventually became the best-selling book Black Like Me.

Whether featuring positive images of African Americans, inspiration stories, news features or commentaries on racism, the rise of African American magazines defied long-held racial stereotypes through rich storytelling, in-depth reporting, and stunning photography.

Due to a variety of economic, editorial, and other factors, most of these magazines have ceased being published. Yet today some African American magazines are still a thriving part of popular culture. Johnson Publishing Company’s Ebony and its digital sites reach nearly 72% of African Americans and have a following of over 20.4 million people.

 dd-enews-temp-lonnie-bunch-2.jpg All the best,

Lonnie Bunch
Director

P.S. We can only reach our $250 million goal with your help. I hope you will consider making a donation or becoming a Charter Member today.

To read past Our American Stories, visit our archives.

Horace Julian Bond


NMAAHC -- National Museum of African American History and Culture

“We are better people because he walked
among us for a while.”

 
Julian Bond

Julian Bond came of age during that critical time in this nation’s history when winning equal rights for all took a great deal: a clear head, a big heart, a razor-sharp intellect, and a way with words.

Julian Bond had it all. And he could wrap all of it up to create whatever was needed at the time – either a tool or a weapon, a poem or a sermon. He was driven by a commitment to make America better.

While a Morehouse-based member of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), helping to organize the Freedom Summer of 1964 and its massive voter registration drive in Mississippi, Julian Bond took to task the American public and President Lyndon B. Johnson.

“We have learned through bitter experience in the past three years that the judicial, legislative and executive bodies of Mississippi form a wall of absolute resistance to granting civil rights to Negroes. It is our conviction that only a massive effort by the country backed by the full power of the President can offer some hope for even minimal change in Mississippi.”

Those words came from a letter Julian Bond wrote on April 28, 1964 to one of America’s most inspiring writers, James Baldwin. He was writing to encourage Baldwin to join a “jury” to hear “testimony” about Civil Rights violations from African Americans facing discrimination in employment, housing, and voting rights in Mississippi. Under a plan designed by SNCC and other members of the Council of Federated Organizations, the testimony would be presented to the President so he would be moved to create a government-sanctioned way to protect the Freedom Summer workers.

“The President must be made to understand that this responsibility rests with him, and him alone, and that neither he nor the American people can afford to jeopardize the lives of the people who will be working in Mississippi this summer by failing to take the necessary precautions before the summer begins.”

Bond’s letter to Baldwin has entered the collections of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It will be used alongside similar documents to show how people like Julian Bond helped design and fuel the Civil Rights Movement.

Bond was so committed to helping us tell that story well, that he became a member of the museum’s Civil Rights History Project advisory committee. In that role he helped us land interviews with some of the most important workers in the movement; he also conducted two of the more than 150 interviews for this oral history project. One was with Lawrence Guyot, the director of the 1964 Freedom Summer project in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Julian Bond wrote his letter to James Baldwin in 1964 at the age of 23. Less than three years later he would be awarded his seat in the Georgia House of Representatives by a unanimous decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. Four years after that, in 1971, he would become the founding president of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Nearly 30 years later, in 1998, he would take the helm of the NAACP serving as its national chairman for an astonishing 12 years.

Julian Bond has spent his life as a champion in the campaign for equality. Much of what we as a nation know about compassion and commitment, we have learned from Julian Bond, the people he emulated and the people he inspired. We are sad because he has left us. And we are deeply honored that we had him for as long as we did … to help us help America live up to her promises. We are better people because he walked among us for a while.

Thank you, Horace Julian Bond.

Lonnie_Signature.jpg
Lonnie G. Bunch
Founding Director
Smithsonian
National Museum of African American History and Culture