Picture of first sit-in August 13, 1960 and closed lunch counter. “It was never about a hot dog and a Coke®!” More »
Members of the 1960 Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP TODAY---with Marjorie Meeks Brown, Dr. Arnett E. Girardeau, Iona Godfrey King, Rometa Graham Porter, Isaac Carnes, Alton Yates. More »
With NAACP National Executive Secretary Roy Wilkins in 1960 when he spoke in Jacksonville at one of the NAACP Mass Meetings. More »
With Dr. Michael Eric Dyson-Speaker at the 2009 Jacksonville Branch NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner. More »
With Dr. Charles Ogletree, the Harvard Law School Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, and Founding and Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice...and the Speaker at the 2008 Jacksonville Branch NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner. Dr. Ogletree taught both Michelle Obama and President Obama at Harvard Law School. More »
Ruby Hurley and Ella Baker, two of 12 Civil Rights Icons immortalized in the 2009 USPS Stamp Issue-Civil Rights Pioneers. More »
Mrs. Ruby Hurley, Southeastern Regional Director NAACP and our 1960 NAACP Youth Council Surrogate Mother. More »
50th Anniversary Commemoration of the 1960 Sit-ins and Ax Handle Saturday with members of the 1960 Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP. From left...Issac Carnes, Marjorie Meeks Brown, Mary Chisholm Underwood, Iona Godfrey King, and Ann Albertie Hurst (yep my wife). In the rear of the Pulpit area at Bethel Baptist Institutional Church...from left...Ms. Adora Nweze, President of the Florida State Conference of Branches NAACP; Rev. Dr. Randolph Bracy; Isaiah Rumlin, President of the Jacksonville Branch; and Bethel Senior Co-Pastor, Bishop Rudolph McKissick Sr. More »
Dr. Johnnetta Cole, Speaker at the 2013 ASALH National Convention Banquet in Jacksonville, Florida. More »
Dr. Robert Hayling, Me, and Charlie Cobb at the 2014 Florida Heritage Book Festival for our presentation on the Civil Rights/Freedom Summer Movement. More »
MEMO TO THE SO-CALLED BLACK BOURGEOIS…
Just because Whites tell you that you are different, special, and have arrived do not make it so. Because you do not cross the St. Johns River to “visit the ghetto” does not mean you are different…because you think driving a BMW makes you special, does not make it so…because you live in a gated community does not mean you have arrived. You are intimidated from talking about racism even though you are Black and experience racism everyday because you are afraid your "bringing it up" will make your White Friends uncomfortable…might interfere with your social schedule…might mean your White friends will not invite you to play a round with them at the golf course … might mean "they" will not invite you to sit with them in their luxury box at a Jaguar game…might mean you cannot join the ladies for another spa therapy session. You keep your collective mouths closed for fear that talking about your great history and the history of your people would give you a militant/radical label and make you less acceptable. You deny your great legacy and do not talk about Black History because its honesty could also make your White friends uncomfortable. Malcolm X famously asked in a television interview, "What do you call an educated Negro with a B.A. or an M.A., with a B.S., or a PhD?" The answer? "You call him a Nigger because that is what Whites call you. Let me add it does not make a difference how much money you make … where you live …what you drive …or where you work, Nigger is still the response. Black Wannabees, for your Reality check, look in the mirror, and yes, THAT IS a Black face looking back at you in the mirror. Just a little information and truth to keep you from continuing to fool yourself.
Thanks for the invitation. If you do not invite me to speak to your “Boo-Zhee” get together again. I will understand. The Struggle Continues. RLHSR.
This is the Celebration of Treasonous War Criminals who took up arms against the United States in order to defend the South's practice of enslaving Black people in chains, and forcing them to work to enrich White property owners. It was not the North against the South. It was an enemy government —The Confederacy—which sought to overthrow the United States of America. You can claim Southern Heritage; BUT also claim the Racism and the Core Racist Attitudes on which YOUR Southern Heritage stands.
Save your Confederate Money Boys…The South Will Rise Again. But in the meantime…YOU STILL LOST!!!!
The Struggle Continues. RLHSR.
White America and the White Press always play up a Black person's mixed ancestrage as if to make the point Blacks cannot achieve without White blood. President Barack Obama immediately comes to mind. Now they have latched on to Prince. There is the writer of a piece on the United Kingdom's Independent website who wrote about how she related to Prince because of his artistry, as well as the fact that he was mixed race, like she is. But the joke is on the White media and White America. Prince was Black…Prince's mother was BLACK…and Prince's Father was BLACK. In other words, Prince WAS a musical genius WITHOUT having White Blood. Imagine That!
BTW and this is especially for Bible Thumping White Christians…Since the Garden of Eden was in Africa and since both Adam and Eve were Black (the earthly material to form them was African dirt/soil and not beach sand) and by the same rules, Whites have achieved with a proportionate share of Black Blood.
The Struggle Continues. RLHSR.
JUST A FEW REMINDERS…
The Civil Rights Movement and the Struggle has always been fought ONE BATTLE AT A TIME.
*** When Edgar Daniel Nixon, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and A. Philip Randolph “went after” the segregated Montgomery Bus Ordinance, they knew they had to challenge the ordinance in court and they had to have someone arrested first to get the case in the court system. The boycott was effective but the Montgomery Bus Challenge was not won UNTIL the U. S. Supreme Court declared the segregated ordinance of Montgomery Unconstitutional. One battle at a time.
*** When A. Philip Randolph first “went after” President Franklin D. Roosevelt challenging the president to integrate the Federal workplace even though he knew we also need to “integrate” this country. Then he “went after” Harry Truman to integrate the military and then John F. Kennedy to integrate “Public Accommodations et al” and provide jobs. One battle at a time.
*** When the Civil Rights Bill was passed in 1964 even though we needed the Voting Rights Act TOO, civil rights came first. The next year came the Voting Rights Act of 1965. One battle at a time.
All of this is to show that the Struggle anticipates winning one battle at a time. Not complicated. To even get a Black face on currency is monumental. It is not conspiratorial. It does not make a difference where Andrew Jackson goes…In a few years, his face will no longer “grace” the front of a Twenty dollar bill. We never had a Black face on currency before, and we did not open our mouths to complain. Now that it has happened, we are all experts on what should or should not happen while standing on the sidelines as critics. I quite often have young Blacks tell me, if I had sat at those lunch counters, and if ANY White person said anything to me, I would have slapped them in their mouth. Really? Because you were so big and bad and you had such armed numbers in your favor? The Black Community was not monolithic. We DID NOT have thousands demonstrating and sitting in. The numbers would increase some later, but in the beginning we had the few that we had, and we fought with what we had. One Step at a Time.
Slavery made capitalism in this country.
Slavery built Wall Street.
Slavery built banks.
Slavery built Insurance companies.
Slavery built Transportation Giants.
Enslaved persons built buildings on Ivy League campuses AND on college campuses throughout the South.
A friend posted on Facebook last night that he was having a listening party for Prince's Music and a viewing of "Purple Rain" for his household and it was mandatory listening and viewing for his children—teenagers or close to teenagers. I laughed as others did in good fun and knowing him you knew he was serious…and he was in a parental way. I thought about that later. Martin and his wife are musically talented; so music appreciation is not a parttime effort in his household. Yet he is making sure his children REALLY KNOW and appreciate Prince and his legacy. The fact that Prince looks like him is also a consideration. How many of us take the time to really tell and explain to our children and anyone who will listen about some of the Black musical geniuses, and other Black geniuses across the spectrum who lived (or didn't live) during our lifetime? It is a part of OUR legacy.
We use the term "musical genius" too often and too lightly but Prince was a musical genius. The fact his music and his genius was so profound, we take for granted. Yet throughout the world, tributes are pouring in from countries and their people acknowledging who and what Prince and his music meant to them. When your music impacts an entire planet, that is a testimony to your Genius. Martin Carter is making sure his children know who and what Prince was and the Black Legacy and The Genius he represented to music. I really like that. HATS OFF TO YOU MARTIN AND HEATHER. After all, Unless WE Tell It…It Never Gets Told!
The Struggle Continues. RLHSR.
THE PRESS COVERS DONALD TRUMP as if he is an honorable candidate running for president. Donald Trump is a Deceitful, Narrow Minded, Intolerant, Unprincipled, Wealthy Racist…appealing to Racists of all sorts, including Low Information Garden Variety Racists…and the White press and many in White America refuse to call him a Racist. The Press is Trump's PR Arm covering his every move as if he has some new found formula of leadership.
Every word Donald Trump utters is a testimony to his racism; and yet the press hangs on his every ridiculous and hateful word. Whites flock to Trump as if the South will rise again …Jim Crow Laws will soon return…Colored and White signs will show up again…and a return to Slavery will Make America Great Again by providing Whites with another Free Labor Economy. Why would White America support a Racist unless they are Racist and like Trump's racist pronouncements? America is very much STILL a Racist country and obviously many in White America like it that way.
The Struggle Continues. RLHSR.
Rodney, When will you Stop Talking About Racism?
I will stop talking about Racism when you stop thinking Racism is an urban legend and does not exist.
I will stop talking about Racism when you stop valuing me more as a Black athlete than as a Black student.
I will stop talking about Racism when you stop romanticizing about the Civil War.
I will stop talking about Racism when you admit the Civil War was fought to maintain slavery and only to maintain slavery.
I will stop talking about Racism when you finally admit and teach the factual information that 12 presidents before Abraham Lincoln owned slaves and 8 of the 12 owned slaves while in the White House.
I will stop talking about Racism when you admit you are responsible for slavery instead of your convenient reasoning and excuses Africans are responsible.
I will stop talking about Racism when you apologize for slavery and the Jim Crow laws you passed to rationalize your opinion Blacks are less than equals.
I will stop talking about Racism when WE can figure an adequate and just compensation —spelled REPARATIONS—for the 300 years of involuntary free labor by my ancestors.
I will stop talking about Racism when you decide to include in American History textbooks the many contributions by Blacks.
I will stop talking about Racism when you admit the Ku Klux Klan was and is a bunch of homespun, cowardly, racist terrorists.
I will stop talking about Racism when you stop denying affirmative action as a tool to right a wrong which has existed since slavery.
I will stop talking about Racism when you understand government created the problem and government should fix it.
I will stop talking about Racism when prosecutors stop fabricating ways to unfairly prosecute Blacks.
I will stop talking about Racism when prosecutors stop re-writing the “probable cause” intent of a Grand Jury to ensure a White Policeman who murdered a Black youth is never charged for the crime.
I will stop talking about Racism when you when you stop saying your refusal to provide health insurance is only budget related.
I will stop talking about Racism when elected officials stop passing laws which eliminate and restrict my right to vote.
I will stop talking about Racism when elected officials stop proving how racist they are by passing laws which prove how racist they are.
I will stop talking about Racism when state and federal judges stop proving how racist they are by interpreting laws which prove how racist they are.
I will stop talking about Racism when you start valuing Black Life.
I will never see the end of Racism during my lifetime therefore my fight against Racism will never end.
SOMETIMES WE NEED TO REMIND OURSELVES.
This from the New York Times in October 1991
I disagree with the article that Uncle Clarence Thomas would "replace" Thurgood Marshall. He simply has been sitting in Thurgood Marshall's chair for the last 24+ years. Thomas has not earned the right to clean Thurgood Marshall's toilet. Of course the Senators who were Uncle Clarence most vocal supporters were the Racists in the Senate –especially those from the South–whom you would expect. They were hard supporters for their "colored boy" and he has rewarded them well. Thank President George H. W. Bush —the father of all the "Weeds"–for the almost 25 years and counting of stupidity and ignorance and civil rights suppression votes by Uncle Clarence.
The Struggle Continues. RLHSR.
Once again… FOX and the Republicant Party trots out these Black suck-ups to criticize and insult President Obama and by inference to criticize and insult themselves. White Racists LOVE to see Blacks dance to their music…while singing their party line. They also know this Black Yokel Law Enforcement officer has no integrity…no scruples…no honor…no decency…and no ethics. So Racist Republicants laugh at him and the Uncle Bens/Aunt Staceys/Aunt Omarossas/Uncle Hermans/Uncle Black Preachers/Brother and Sister Black Christians who have all sold their souls for the Massa's dollar and a place in the BIG HOUSE where all Good Niggers go when they get a reward. Bottom Line…We Still have Slaves—not enslaved persons—Slaves…They Just Cost More.
The Struggle Continues. RLHSR.
To Some White Folks and other Fellow Travelers…
I am not going to summarize both of these books. Stephen O'Connor's book Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings was published this month -April, 2016– and re-imagines Thomas Jefferson relationships with Sally Hemings as a Love Story. It is an obvious fantasy and one Whites always tell even when they know their heroes are not heroes. Annette Gordon Reed wrote two books about Thomas Jefferson and Sarah "Sally" Hemings and realistically deals with Thomas Jefferson as the documented vile, insensitive slave owning human being he was. The Hemingses of Monticello won the Pulitzer Prize. Reed's books tells the truth. O'Connor's book is a fantasy.
I know it is hard for White Folks to admit White Privilege…and White Supremacy…and I also know many of you think Africans "created" Slavery. So it is understandable you cannot imagine Thomas Jefferson, one of your so-called White Founding Father Heroes as the owner of 150 enslaved persons…and that he owned slaves when he was a sitting president. Yet he did. AND he never freed any of HIS enslaved persons while he was alive.
This "founding father" had his first child –spelled rape–with Sarah Sally Hemings, one of his slaves when she was 15. It was not consensual. Thomas Jefferson "fathered" six children Sally Hemings and they were all born into slavery and as enslaved persons. The Thomas Jefferson Historical Society denied this "fabricated union" in their words. Thank God for DNA which in 1998 proved the descendants of Sally Hemings were also the descendants of Thomas Jefferson.
So White Historians…continue to write your "glorious" fantasized stories about your White Founding "Gods." And you can try and defend him all you want …BUT… Thomas Jefferson was a Hypocritical…Lying…Slave Owning…Rapist and a Pedophile. PERIOD.
The Struggle Continues. RLHSR.
You fought a WAR to preserve Slavery and a Free Labor Economy and YOU LOST! You started the WAR because of your wallets and your pocketbooks. When your Southern States seceded, you created an Enemy government called the Confederacy. Every member of the Confederacy Enemy government —Jefferson Davis and his cabinet…Robert E. Lee and his Generals…and the Confederacy Soldiers…should have been tried for Treason and as War Criminals for seeking to overthrow the United States of America. BUT…Andrew Johnson, Vice President under Abraham Lincoln and who became president after Lincoln was assassinated, was a South sympathizer and a Slavery supporter —yet another reason among the many why Lincoln was assassinated. Racist President Andrew Johnson gave all members of the Confederacy a Blanket Amnesty precluding the filing of charges against them for War Crimes. You have NO Confederacy Heritage. It is all YOUR LIES because YOU LOST, and because Southern White Racists LIKE YOU will not admit the so-called Civil War was about SLAVERY!
The Struggle Continues. RLHSR.
I went to the Jacksonville International Airport with my son to celebrate the triumphant return of the Ribault Lady Trojans National Champion Basketball team back to Jacksonville. And although my son graduated from Raines and “bleeds” Cardinal Red and Silver Gray, going to the airport tonight was not about the rivalry of Raines and Ribault, but the ecstatic dignity of the moment.
Raines and Ribault are probably the only schools so situated in this county and perhaps in the state of Florida. Raines was built less than a mile from Ribault to forestall integration. Then the neighborhoods around Ribault changed from White to Black almost overnight after two “enterprising” White realtors moved two Black families into Sherwood Forest and Harborview. White flight began immediately and did not stop until Ribault became a Black school. Thus a rivalry began….a heated and spirited rivalry, but not a bad blood rivalry. Students at Raines and Ribault are friends. Their parents attended Raines and Ribault and they lived in the same neighborhoods.
Correspondingly their children attend Raines and Ribault and live in the same neighborhoods. Yet the lines were blurred this Saturday night as I watched Raines Vikings fans join with Ribault Trojans fan by the hundreds to welcome the triumphant Lady Trojans Basketball team back to town as Dick Sporting Goods National Girls Basketball champions. I could not help but reflect on the historical significance of the moment.
*My mind flashed back to 1958 when segregated Matthew W. Gilbert Junior Senior High School won the first state public school championship and the pride we all felt and especially the Eastside of Jacksonville, but because of racism and segregation they had to wait 50 years for their recognition;
*I thought about 1964 when Bob Hayes won two Gold medals in the Tokyo Japan Olympics and put Jacksonville on the map and yet was only received as a hero in Jacksonville’s Black community;
*I thought about Coach Welton Coffey and the Raines Vikings in what was arguably the strongest division in high school football in the state winning Florida’s 1997 4A championship and the pride the Northwest side felt making Raines only the second Duval County high school to win a state championship 39 years after Gilbert in 1958;
*I thought about Alfred Austin, who got the ball to rolling at Ribault and the pride we felt on the Northwest side as he coached the Ribault Lady Trojans to an unheard of 8 State Girls Basketball Championships;
*And in this ultimate moment of reflection while sitting at the airport, I thought about Coach Sheila Seymore-Pennick and the 2016 edition of The Ribault Lady Trojans Basketball team, who after winning the 2016 Florida State 5A Basketball Championship went to New York City and Madison Square Garden for the Dick’s Sporting Goods National Girls Basketball Tournament. This tournament pits the best high school girls basketball teams in the country and Coach Sheila Seymore-Pennick and the Ribault Lady Trojans took care of business by beating the Number One ranked girls’ basketball team in the country, Riverdale Baptist from Maryland.
What makes this monumental accomplishment so noteworthy is this is the FIRST National Team Championship at any level for Jacksonville. And yet, these young ladies come from the Northwest side of Jacksonville. Yep the Northwest side of Jacksonville.
*You know that so-called crime ridden section of Jacksonville that always leads the local news each night and that section that no one is concerned about until there are problems.
*You know that so-called crime ridden section where according to professional educators the schools are in such bad shape they barely exist and multiple changes are necessary.
*You know that so-called crime ridden section of Jacksonville where according to the media you take your life in your hands just to walk across the street.
*Yet that so-called crime ridden section has produced the Ribault Lady Trojans, the BEST and the FINEST young ladies basketball team in the country; and which by the way also includes several student athletes who will graduate from Ribault in a dual curriculum with their Associate of Arts degree.
Coach Sheila Seymore-Pennick and the Lady Trojans have put Jacksonville on the map…AGAIN. The publicity Jacksonville has received through ESPN and the work of the Lady Trojans is the stuff a Chamber of Commerce can only dream about. They garnered this national honor for themselves and their school and the school system and their community and their parents. And in spite of, they garnered this national honor for a city, which by its action, gives less than a tinker’s damn about them as Black students from a predominantly Black school.
In the meantime Jacksonville, RECOGNIZE these Lady Trojans and their coach in a style and a manner befitting NATIONAL CHAMPIONS. They have given you recognition and prominence which you do not deserve but you will richly benefit. They are the first and only National Champion Jacksonville has and they represent a public high school. Imagine That? A tweak and a couple of comments on the internet do not quite get it. Let’s see Jacksonville, IF YOU are up to the task and up to the Moment.