Monthly Archives: May 2012

“To Form A More Perfect Union”, United States Postal Service Stamp Issue Recognizing Civil Rights Landmark Events

 

10 PIVOTAL CIVIL RIGHTS EVENTS…
Executive Order 9981
On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981 mandating full integration in all branches of the U.S. military. By the time the Korean conflict ended in the following decade, this had largely been achieved. William H. Johnson's Training for War, a silk-screen print made circa 1941, recalls President Harry S. Truman's Executive Order.

Brown v. Board of Education

A unanimous ruling of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Brown v. Board of Education declared that separate educational facilities for black and white children are inherently unequal. The landmark ruling is suggested by Romare Bearden's lithograph, The Lamp (1984).

Montgomery Bus Boycott
After Rosa Parks was arrested on Dec. 1, 1955 for refusing to let a white passenger take her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, African Americans began a prolonged boycott of the bus company by walking or carpooling for more than a year. On Dec. 21, 1956, black passengers once again rode Montgomery City Lines. The Boycott is represented by a detail from Walking, a painting made in 1958 by Charles Alston.

Little Rock Nine
After the Supreme Court declared segregated schools unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), many public school systems were slow to adapt to the new legal reality. In 1957, nine courageous students became the first African Americans to attend Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, where they endured virulent harassment and received the protection of federal troops. George Hunt's painting America Cares (1997) remembers the nine courageous students.

Lunch Counter Sit-Ins
When four African-American college students placed an order at a "whites only" lunch counter in Greensboro, NC, in 1960, they sparked acts of civil disobedience in many other cities. The sit-in movement to integrate "whites- only" lunch counters is recalled by an exhibit created for the National Civil Rights Museum by StudioEIS, a design and fabrication firm in New York.

Freedom Riders

To test a ruling that outlawed segregation of bus stations and terminals serving interstate travelers, biracial groups of men and women volunteered to take bus rides through the South, using the "wrong" facilities at stops. Several Freedom Riders were injured because of mob violence instigated by segregationists, eliciting an outpouring of support and concern. A gouache by May Stevens, Freedom Riders, made in 1963, honors the men and women.

March on Washington

More than 250,000 people marched in Washington, DC for racial justice in 1963, and Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. March on Washington, painted in 1964 by Alma Thomas, commemorates the great demonstration.

Civil Rights Act of 1964

Designed to provide broad protections against discrimination on the basis of race, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Among its other provisions, the law prohibited discrimination in public accommodations such as hotels, restaurants and theaters. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is suggested by Dixie Cafe, a brush-and-ink drawing made in 1948 by Jacob Lawrence.

Selma March

In the spring of 1965, demonstrators demanding an end to discrimination gathered in Selma, Alabama, to march to the state capital, Montgomery, fifty miles away, This is represented by Selma March, an acrylic painting made in 1991 by Bernice Sims.

Voting Rights Act of 1965
With leaders of the civil rights movement standing by, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law, strengthening the federal government's ability to prevent state and local governments from denying citizens the right to vote because of their race. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is suggested by Bruce Davidson's photograph Youths on the Selma March, 1965.

These stamps were issued as a group (of 10) in 2005. A Great Recognition of the Movement! RLHSR.

Mr. Thurgood Marshall…Hero

 

58 YEARS AGO …
Led by Thurgood Marshall (middle of picture in coat) and a host of 'Dream Team' Attorneys as lawyers for the Plaintiffs, the United States Supreme Court issued its monumental ruling on school segregation in the Brown versus the Topeka Kansas Board of Education on May 17, 1954, with a unanimous (9–0) decision stating that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal."

The key holding of the Court was that, even if segregated black and white schools were of equal quality in facilities and teachers, segregation by itself was harmful to black students and unconstitutional. They found that a significant psychological and social disadvantage was given to black children from the nature of segregation itself, drawing on research conducted by Kenneth Clark assisted by June Shagaloff. This aspect was vital because the question was not whether the schools were "equal", which under Plessy they nominally should have been, but whether the doctrine of separate was constitutional. The justices answered with a strong "no".

It also held that school segregation violated the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The following year the Court ordered desegregation "with all deliberate speed."

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Thurgood Marshall graduated with honors from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. His exclusion from the University of Maryland's Law School due to racial discrimination, marked a turning point in his life. As a result, he attended the Howard University Law School, and graduated first in his class in 1933. Early in his career he traveled throughout the South and argued thirty-two cases before the Supreme Court, winning twenty-nine. Charles H. Houston persuaded him to leave private law practice and join the NAACP legal staff in New York, where he remained from 1936 until 1961. In 1939, Marshall became the first director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Marshall as Solicitor General in 1965 and nominated him to a seat on the United States Supreme Court in 1967 from which he retired in 1991. Justice Marshall died in 1993.

An open letter from Rev. Otis Moss III to the Black Clergy

My Brother:

Tell your brethren who are part of your ministerial coalition to “live their faith and not legislate their faith” for the Constitution is designed to protect the rights of all. We must learn to be more than a one-issue community and seek the beloved community where we may not all agree, but we all recognize the fingerprint of the Divine upon all of humanity.

There is no doubt people who are same-gender-loving who occupy prominent places in the body of Christ. For the clergy to hide from true dialogue with quick dismissive claims devised from poor biblical scholarship is as sinful as unthoughtful acceptance of a theological position. When we make biblical claims without sound interpretation we run the risk of adopting a doctrinal position of deep conviction but devoid of love. Deep faith may resonate in our position, but it is the ethic of love that forces us to prayerfully reexamine our position.

The question I believe we should pose to our congregations is, “Should all Americans have the same civil rights?” This is a radically different question than the one you raised with the ministers, “Does the church have the right to perform or not perform certain religious rites.” There is difference between rights and rites. We should never misconstrue rights designed to protect diverse individuals in a pluralistic society versus religious rites designed by faith communities to communicate a theological or doctrinal perspective. These two questions are answered in two fundamentally different arenas. One is answered in the arena of civic debate where the Constitution is the document of authority. The other is answered in the realm of ecclesiastical councils where theology, conscience and biblical mandates are the guiding ethos. I do not believe ecclesiastical councils are equipped to shape civic legislation nor are civic representatives equipped to shape religious rituals and doctrine.

The institution of marriage is not under attack as a result of the President’s words. Marriage was under attack years ago by men who viewed women as property and children as trophies of sexual prowess. Marriage is under attack by low wages, high incarceration, unfair tax policy, unemployment, and lack of education. Marriage is under attack by clergy who proclaim monogamy yet think nothing of stepping outside the bonds of marriage to have multiple affairs with “preaching groupies.” Same-gender couples did not cause the high divorce rate, but our adolescent views of relationships and our inability as a community to come to grips with the ethic of love and commitment did. We still confuse sex with love and romance with commitment.

My father, who is a veteran of the civil rights movement and retired pastor, eloquently stated the critical nature of this election when speaking to ministers this past week who claim they will pull support from the President as a result of his position. He stated, “Our Ancestors prayed for 389 years to place a person of color in the White House. They led over 200 slave revolts, fought in 11 wars, one being a civil war where over 600,000 people died. Our mothers fought and were killed for women’s suffrage, our grandparents were lynched for the civil rights bill of 1964 and the voting rights act of 1965…my father never had the opportunity to vote and I believe it is my sacred duty to pull the lever for every member of my family who was denied the right to vote. I will not allow narrow-minded ministers or regressive politicians the satisfaction of keeping me from my sacred right to vote to shape the future for my grandchildren.”

“The institution of marriage is not under attack as a result of the President’s words.”

Gay and lesbian citizens did not cause the economic crash, foreclosures, and attack upon health care. Poor underfunded schools were not created because people desire equal protection under the law. We have much work to do as a community, and to claim the President of the United States must hold your theological position is absurd. He is President of the United States of America not the President of the Baptist convention or Bishop of the Sanctified or Holiness Church. He is called to protect the rights of Jew and Gentile, male and female, young and old, Gay and straight, black and white, Atheist and Agnostic. It should be noted the President offered no legislation, or executive order, or present an argument before the Supreme Court. He simply stated his personal conviction.

If we dare steal away from the noise of this debate, we will realize as a church we are called to “Do justice, live mercy and walk humbly with God.” Gay people have never been the enemy; and when we use rhetoric to suggest they are the source of our problems we lie on God and cause tears to flow from the eyes of Christ.

I am not asking you to change your position, but I am stating we must stay in dialogue and not allow our own personal emotional prejudices or doctrines to prevent us from seeing the possibilities of a beloved community.

November is fast approaching, and the spirits of Ella Baker, Septima Clarke, Fannie Lou Hammer, Rosa Parks, A. Phillip Randolph, James Orange, Medgar Evers and Martin Luther, King Jr. stand in the balcony of heaven raising the question, “Will you do justice, live mercy and walk humbly with our God?” Emmitt Till and the four little girls who were assassinated in Alabama during worship did not die for a Sunday sermonic sound bite to show disdain for one group of God’s people. They were killed by an evil act enacted by men who believed in doctrine over love. We serve in ministry this day because of a man who believed in love over doctrine and died on a hill called Calvary in a dusty Palestinian community 2,000 years ago. Do not let the rhetoric of this debate keep you from the polls, my friend.

Asking you to imagine a beloved community, your brother and friend,

Otis Moss, III
Senior Pastor
Trinity UCC

SPECIAL NOTE…The video of Rev. Moss is located in the "Links" Section on the right of this Front Page.  RLHSR.

For the Bible Thumpers…Black and White

For the Bible Thumping Marriage Experts …especially the Black Bible Thumpers who have obviously joined their Tea Party Bible Thumping Brethren…to bash President Obama's position on Marriage Equality.

Since most of you are now Bible Marriage Experts …you are also obviously experts on social issues too…yet I do not recall hearing your voices on the social ills that have plagued this country for centuries. Not unless your Bible teaches myopia and tunnel vision.

So…What does your Bible say about the marriage of one man to many wives? What does your Bible say about interracial marriages? What does your Bible say about helping your fellow man…you know the homeless…the sick…the hungry children? What does your Bible say about Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you? What does your Bible say about Slavery? What does your Bible say about worshiping that visible vestige of slavery…The Confederate Flag? What does your Bible say about racism and racial discrimination? What does your Bible say about age and sex discrimination?

My Christian Bible does not myopia or tunnel vision. And the Civil Rights Movement was based in part of the teachings of Jesus Christ.

BTW…after you help your Tea Party Brethren and Sisters fight against this marriage level of civil rights …who do you think they are going to come after next? Huh?

The Struggles Continues…RLHSR.

TPM Nick R. Martin May 8, 2012-White Supremacist Leader, Crew Nabbed In Fla. Terror

The race war, he believed, was coming. So Florida white supremacist leader Marcus Faella instructed his followers over the past two years to prepare for it.

The preparations, according to law enforcement documents made public this week, included stockpiling weapons, experimenting with the creation of ricin and plotting some sort of “disturbance” on Orlando City Hall.

In a series of arrests that began on Friday, a joint terrorism task force that included the FBI and local police moved in on the Florida chapter of the white supremacist organization American Front.

They arrested Faella, his wife Patti Faella and eight other people on suspicion of a number of offenses, including hate crimes and training a paramilitary group. Prosecutors with the Ninth Circuit State Attorney’s Office said on Tuesday they were working on putting together felony charges for the 10 members.

An affidavit for Faella’s arrest said investigators were working with an informant in the organization since mid 2010. Agent Kelly Boaz, an investigator with the state attorney’s office, wrote that the unnamed informant started as an outsider but eventually became a “patched” or recognized member of American Front.

In the months since, the informant allegedly documented Faella, 39, becoming increasingly erratic and ordering his followers to commit crimes on the group’s behalf. The informant took secret photos and videos of Faella teaching certain members, including convicted felons, to shoot guns and prepare for a race war in a compound fortified with railroad timbers and cement pilings that he established on his property in Saint Cloud, Fla.

In mid February, investigators learned the group’s preparations were growing.

“Faella started planning to cause a disturbance at City Hall in Orlando, Florida,” the affidavit said. “Faella advised that the AF had been dormant too long and wanted to cause a disturbance so the media would report on it and bring new members to the AF.”

The document said Faella had been experimenting with making ricin, a poison, though it’s not clear whether he was successful in that effort.

This spring, according to the document, Faella learned that anarchists and a group of non-racist skinheads were planning to participate in May Day activities in Florida, so he wanted to plan an attack on the groups.

The informant told investigators that Faella and his followers began to fashion sign holders that could somehow be used to conceal weapons. They planned to travel to the May Day activities and apparently pose as protestors.

During the preparations for the event, however, Faella began to become suspicious of the informant. At an April 28 gathering at a movie theater in Melbourne, Fla., Faella told the informant and other members of the group to hand over their cell phones.

“If I find out any of you are informants I will f***ing kill you,” Faella said, according to the affidavit. The informant was able to remove a memory card from the phone before handing it over. But it was too late. The informant got nervous and ran away.

The affidavit said the informant called police and gave them a statement. It said the person was now willing to testify.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, American Front has been around since 1987 but was thought to be hobbled since the death of the group’s California leader in 2011.

However, the affidavit shows that the group appeared to be growing in recent months, including a big expansion by the group’s Oregon chapter, which the informant said had been doing many of the same things as the Florida group.

The other members of the Florida chapter arrested since Friday are Dustin Perry, Diane Stevens, Christopher Brooks, Richard Stockdale, Jennifer McGowan, Mark McGowan, Paul Jackson and Kent McLellan.

 

My Comments…

Do you mean Racial Terrorism is still going on in this country? What about the Declaration of Independence? What about the Constitution? What about the Judiciary…both State and Federal? What about the US Supreme Court? What about Law Enforcement? What about Homeland Security? Don't they protect citizens against this abhorrent behavior? Oh…not Blacks. Oh… none of them count when you are dealing with Racial Terrorism because you say history shows there is no such thing as Racial Terrorism. Oh…and you say the only thing that really matters is the Republicant Tea Party Party setting the atmosphere for continued core racism in this country. Well…Why didn't you say so?

 

The Struggle Continues…RLHSR.