Black History Month – Celebration, not appropriation

first_imgBlack History Month began as a weeklong celebration, proposed by Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) in 1926 to honor, in his words, the contributions, achievements and vibrant history of Negroes in the U.S. and the world. He believed Black people needed to demonstrate that they had a past, present and future.Woodson, an author, historian and early scholar studying African-American history, wrote “The Mis-Education of the Negro.” He was also known as “the father of Black history.” Woodson chose the month of February because of the birth dates of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.W.E.B. Du Bois (left), Nina Du Bois and James Weldon Johnson were key organizers of the 1917 march in Harlem, N.Y., against ongoing violence aimed at Black people, including the East St. Louis Race Riots, where white mobs claimed the lives of up to 250 African Americans and left nearly 6,000 fleeing from burning homes.The observance of Black history evolved from a week into Black History Month. This came about as a result of African Americans continuing to organize and struggle for racial justice and equality. Black people had been celebrating Black historical accomplishments and wanted official recognition.Under sustained pressure, fifty years later in 1976, at the height of the Black Power Movement, President Gerald Ford made Black History Month official, coincidentally or not, during the 200th anniversary of the American Revolutionary War.Government recognition of Black History Month also served the interests of the capitalist ruling class. Capitalism co-opts observances to its own end, whenever suitable. Many Black people were thus uplifted to a national height, but only because their legacies could serve the continuation of elitist politics.The official telling of Black history tends to be watered down and controlled. On the surface, Black History Month is a sound way to remember and celebrate the forebears of the struggle for mass liberation. But the ruling class, along with its political allies, promotes a contrived account of Black resistance that obscures the more militant histories and achievements of Black Americans. The Civil Rights Movement’s history is thereby diminished and legacies of racial injustices omitted.Celebrations in the U.S. don’t tend to affirm people whose histories are challenging. For the most part, celebratory aspects of Black History Month are reserved for figures whose history doesn’t upset the status quo. Selective retelling of Black history plays into the hands of the oppressor’s socioeconomic and political systems upon which it is based. This ignores and leaves out the radical foundations of those it claims to represent. Radical and revolutionary Black figures and agents of change are generally overlooked or diminished. Civil Rights leader W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963) focused on racial uplifting, economic strength and self-sufficiency for African Americans during the early 1900s. A sociologist, historian and author, DuBois was also a Pan-Africanist and co-founder of the NAACP. He wrote the groundbreaking “Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880” and “The Souls of Black Folks.”  But what’s ignored are his socialist politics and Communist Party USA membership, as well as his renouncing U.S. citizenship and self-exile to Ghana.The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is spotlighted, but not his more radical “Beyond Vietnam” speech. Rosa Parks did not just refuse to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Ala. — the full scope of her political life included fighting for global justice, especially during the U.S. war on Vietnam, along with fighting for racial, criminal and economic justice in the U.S.Rosa Parks being booked into the Montgomery, Ala., jail for defiantly breaking segregation laws on a city bus Dec. 1, 1955.The more militant histories of Black resistance and the achievements of African Americans like Malcolm X, Mabel and Robert Williams, the Black Panthers and the Deacons of Defense are also obscured by the ruling class and their political allies. These stories have been deliberately erased or co-opted when teaching U.S. history.Defend Black history and Black struggleThe merits of Black History Month continue to be debated in the U.S. One contention places the observance as being the opposite of so-called “American values” for focusing on a specific racial group. It insists the U.S. is a “color-blind” society. Profane attacks on Black history deny past and present achievements, against all odds, of African-descendant trailblazers in the U.S. and elsewhere.Another telling of Black history defends and speaks to the necessity of the observance due to the historical and current oppression of African Americans. Unique to the African-American experience are the nearly two-and-a-half centuries of being enslaved, followed by the legal practice of segregation and racial discrimination against Black people from 1880 to 1965, forbidding them to be in “white-only” spaces, in the South and the North, which also provided justification for killing Black people.There’s a saying that since Black History Month is commemorated in February, it can be deduced that white history “month” expands to the rest of the year.Movements aimed at transforming the social order have to continue to do so. It’s only when the basis of society is drastically altered that these differing histories can supersede current principles and policies. Until that time, Black History Month must exist and be defended –- not only from flagrant racist and right-wing attacks -– but also from liberals who view tokenism and Black tolerance as the only appropriate ways of representing and remembering the Black past.Truthful U.S. history reveals the great impact that Black Americans have had since colonial times. But this legacy must not and cannot be understood in ways that strengthen a dominant white view of the world, shown and seen mainly through that lens.The elite appropriate and rewrite history in order to quiet dissent. The more unsavory forces of racist and reactionary politics distort and attempt to do away with the history altogether. Black history will be synonymous with U.S. history only when there’s a solution to the “race” question. But this is way off into the future —  and not possible yet due to existing socioeconomic, political and cultural realities.Black History Month must be supported and widened, and not just in February. There’s need for continued advocacy directed at understanding Black history on more radical grounds, along with wider social movements aimed at overthrowing the status quo. Black History Month won’t be necessary when the long-existing racist environment is eliminated.Revisionist history erases and whitewashes Black history, but nevertheless that history has been and will ultimately be passed down through generations. Black people must continue to affirm their humanity, while refuting racist stories. Telling full, real and authentic stories helps fill the void left by incomplete textbooks. The U.S. needs to come to terms with its true past. The country has not fulfilled the promises that it says it is most proud of. Black history must be fought for — and against those who seek to eliminate it through opportunistic appropriation.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Journalist Li Yuanlong gets two years in prison for “subversive” Internet articles

first_img Related documents liyuanlong.pdfPDF – 128.85 KB Organisation News Follow the news on China ChinaAsia – Pacific News News News Help by sharing this information RSF_en June 2, 2021 Find out more 中文版本Reporters Without Borders voiced dismay at the sentence of two years in prison and two years loss of civil rights handed down today by a court in Bijie in the southwestern province of Guizhou on journalist Li Yuanlong of the Bijie Ribao daily newspaper for “inciting subversion of the state” in articles he posted on the Internet.The organisation also condemned the way the authorities took Li’s family hostage to make him write a “confession” for the trial, which was held in May although the verdict was not issued until today.“Li just did his job as a journalist by reporting on the hardships experienced by the poorest sectors of the population in the Chinese countryside,” Reporters Without Borders said. “He even raised funds to enable children to go back to school. It is an outrage that a person of such courage and integrity is being sent to prison.”Li’s lawyer, Li Jianqiang, said today on 64Tianwang : “The verdict and the entire judicial procedure are completely senseless. The Bijie court was accountable to higher authorities, which is the reason they took so long to issue a verdict.” He added that, despite everything, “this sentence is relatively light compared with other similar cases” and that he would discuss the possibility of an appeal with the family.Li’s family spent several months without any news of him following his arrest on 29 September 2005. He was finally formally charged on 9 February, but then his trial was postponed three times. According to a journalist writing for Boxun, the Guizhou Public Security Bureau needed all this time to prepare a case against him.In the end, the bureau reportedly kidnapped his wife and held her in a hotel room for 10 days and detained his 16-year-old son for a week in order to force him to write his “confession,” a 20,000-word document in which he admitted to “defaming the socialist system.” It was cited by the prosecution during the trial.Li posted many essays on the Internet in which he criticised the shortcomings of contemporary Chinese society and called for more freedom and democracy. Two of his essays, entitled “Becoming American in Spirit” and “The Banal Nature of Life and the Lamentable Nature of Death,” were considered particularly “serious” by the Communist Party of China.The party also criticised his reporting. “Li Yuanlong interviewed many poor children who were not getting any schooling,” his wife said last January. “The publication of his reports had a big impact and helped collect fund to pay for them to go back to school (…) The local party nonetheless banned him from publishing his interviews, accusing him of showing society in a negative light.”————-Create your blog with Reporters without borders: www.rsfblog.org Receive email alerts to go further China: Political commentator sentenced to eight months in prison China’s Cyber ​​Censorship Figures Democracies need “reciprocity mechanism” to combat propaganda by authoritarian regimes April 27, 2021 Find out more July 13, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Journalist Li Yuanlong gets two years in prison for “subversive” Internet articles ChinaAsia – Pacific March 12, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Power outage hits large portions of Manhattan in New York City

first_imgfranckreporter/iStockBy WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News(NEW YORK) — Large portions of Manhattan in New York City were without power Friday morning as at least 1.3 million people are still without power along the East Coast after Isaias wreaked havoc on the region earlier this week.Con Edison, the city’s main power company, said there are at least 123,808 customers without power, including those who had previously lost power as a result of the storm, as of 6:30 a.m. Friday.The new power outages in New York City Friday, according to Con Ed’s outage map, were in the Upper West Side, Harlem and Upper East Side neighborhoods.ConEd, in a statement to ABC News, said the supply has been restored to those areas.“We are investigating a problem on our transmission system that caused three networks in Manhattan to lose their electric supply at about 5:13 this morning,” ConEd said in a statement.A live camera from ABC News New York City station WABC-TV showed a large section of the Upper West Side completely dark. A station camera also showed the electricity out in the Upper East Side.Subways in the city are also being impacted because of the Manhattan power outage, according to the Metropolitan Transit Authority.Lines impacted, according to the MTA, include the A, B, C, D, 1,2,3, E, F, N, Q, and R trains.“Expect delays as we are getting reports of power outages in some parts of uptown Manhattan,” the MTA tweeted. “This is also affecting stations and third-rail power.”Thousands have been without power in the city this week as a result of Isaias.“We realize it is incredibly frustrating to be without power and that is why we are working around the clock to get customers back in service,” Robert Schimmenti, Con Edison’s senior vice president, Electric Operations, said in a statement Thursday. “We have additional mutual aid and contractor workers arriving each day to help us restore service safely. We assure our customers that our crews will remain on the job 24-7 until everyone has their power back.” Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more