Tag Archives: African American

Juneteenth and the end of slavery

Juneteenth is being celebrated by demanding that all the continuing remnants of slavery, in the form of broad inequality faced by African Americans on all fronts and police violence and mass incarceration be eliminated. People of all nationalities and backgrounds together continue to affirm their convictions for new arrangements and their own empowerment, through protests as well as other forms of resistance.

By Dougal MacDonald

June 19, 1865 or Juneteenth (also known as Freedom Day) is celebrated across the United States in appreciation of the vital contributions made by African Americans in emancipating the four million people enslaved by the system of slave labour and in carrying forward the fight for justice and equality before and since the U.S. Civil War. Recent actions across the U.S. salute the determined and undaunted resistance to police violence, government impunity, and demands for accountability and for change that favours the people.

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International Commission of legal experts recommends investigation of US for crimes against humanity

On April 27, the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence in the United States held a press conference where it released the final 188-page report of its investigations into the U.S. for its violations of human rights of its citizens and residents of African descent, concluding these crimes warrant prosecution under international law.

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Anniversary of the murder of George Floyd

May 25 was the first anniversary of the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota. All across the U.S. and the world people are condemning the continuous killings of black people and the fact that police are permitted to act with impunity. They are calling for fundamental transformations and accountability and an end to the open season on black people by the police and injustice system.

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Reflections on Malcolm X’s legacy

By ISAAC SANEY

This Sunday, February 21st, 2021 marks the 56th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, who later took the name El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz after his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1964. As a revolutionary internationalist and a leader of the Black liberation struggle, Malcolm X shaped and influenced a generation of Black activists, artists, revolutionaries and intellectuals. His impact has been profound and lasting. The assassination’s anniversary is, therefore, a time for serious contemplation of his legacy. Continue reading

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Use of state-backed racist militias in the United States

Resistance persists against state-organized attempts to undermine movement for change

Memorial and march in Rochester, New York, September 3, 2020, for Daniel Prude who died in police custody in March 2020.

In the United States, the ruling circles and their elected representatives are going all out to undermine the growing movement for change. They are portraying those protesting for rights and against police violence and impunity as the source of conflict and violence which is, in fact, caused by the state. They also claim the way forward is by choosing sides in the November election or other reliance on the state machinery. Continue reading

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‘We Charge Genocide’ – Forerunner at UN of Black Lives Matter

https://www.blackpast.org/wp-content/uploads/We_Charge_Genocide-The_Crime_of_Government_Against_the_Negro_People_by_William_L_Patterson_-1970.jpg

By W. T. Whitney, Jr.

The police killing of George Floyd on May 25 provoked demonstrations worldwide. The United Nations Human Rights Council on June 17 debated a draft resolution introduced by the “African Group” of nations that condemned “structural racism endemic to the criminal justice system in the United States.” The African nations were responding to a letter from the families of murder victims George Floyd, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, and Michael Brown; 600 human rights organizations had endorsed it.

Other U.S. appeals for relief from racist violence had arrived at the United Nations. The National Negro Congress and the NAACP delivered petitions in 1946 and 1947, respectively. Three years after the United Nations ratified its Genocide Convention, the New York-based Civil Rights Congress in 1951 submitted a petition to the United Nations. The title was: “We Charge Genocide: The Crime of the Government against the Negro People.”1 Continue reading

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Reality Check: Globe and Mail’s fake news about Biden and Harris

The Globe and Mail declares in its quarter-page lead story today “Historic selection makes California senator the first woman of colour on a U.S. presidential ticket” (“Biden selects Kamala Harris as running mate,” August 12). This is fake news.

Charlene Mitchell, America’s first Black female presidential candidate | Wikimedia Commons

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This Day. Jack Johnson demolishes Jim Jeffries and the racist myth of the ‘Great White Hope’

Jack Johnson | United States Library of Congress

By amateursport.wordpress.com

On July 3, 1910 one century ago this day in Reno, Nevada, African-American boxer Jack Johnson knocked out the white supremacist Jim Jeffries, triggering a series of racist attacks across the United States; about 20 Blacks died, and hundreds were injured. Johnson holds a seminal position not only in boxing but also in athletics and in the movement for the rights of all. Continue reading

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This day. The Black Power salute

1968.Black Power salute

October 16 marks the 50th anniversary of the historic Black Power protest at the 1968 Olympics 200 metre medal ceremony by African American athletes Tommie Smith (centre) and John Carlos (right), the gold and bronze medalists. Peter Norman (left), the silver medalist from Australia and an opponent of the White Australia policy, displayed the badge of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR). This was – and is – a powerful example of defiance in the face of racist oppression, in particular, and for human rights for all, in general. Continue reading

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This day. George Jackson

September 23, 1941 – August 21, 1971

George Lester Jackson was an African-American activist, author and member of the Black Panther Party. When Jackson was 18 years old, he was sentenced from one year to life for stealing US$70 from a gas station. He spent the next 11 years in prison, eight and a half of them in solitary confinement. Continue reading

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Brief reflection on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination 

By ISAAC SANEY*

Martin Luther King and Malcolm X

Today, April 4th, 2018, marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. King’s influence and impact is profound and lasting, shaping a generation of Black activists, artists, and intellectuals. His assassination’s anniversary is, therefore, a time for serious contemplation of his legacy.

In the years following the 1963 March On Washington, he augmented his eloquent and poignant “I Have a Dream” vision with a deepening opposition to Washington’s foreign policy and to the economic system that produced aggression abroad and inequality and poverty at home. Continue reading

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Anniversary of assassination of Malcolm X – Reflections on Malcolm X’s legacy

Malcolm X (1925 - 1965) at an outdoor rally, probably in New York City | Bob Parent/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Malcolm X (1925 – 1965) at an outdoor rally, probably in New York City | Bob Parent/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

By ISAAC SANEY

February 21, 2016 marks the 51st anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, who later took the name El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz after his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1964. As a revolutionary internationalist and a leader of the Black liberation struggle, Malcolm X shaped and influenced a generation of Black activists, artists, revolutionaries and intellectuals. His impact has been profound and lasting. The anniversary of his assassination is, therefore, a time for serious contemplation on his legacy. Continue reading

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The Case Against To Kill a Mockingbird

mockingbird down and outOn February 19, news agencies announced the death of the American author Harper Lee. The Toronto Star warmly eulogized a writer “whose child’s-eye view of racial injustice in a small Southern town, To Kill a Mockingbird, became standard reading for millions of young people and an Oscar-winning film.” Published in 1960, it received the Pulitzer Prize and George Bush awarded Lee the 2007 Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony held at the White House. In 2015, fifty five years later, Robert Murdoch’s HarperCollins published Lee’s Go Set A Watchman, only her second novel but actually written prior to Mockingbird. Watchman sold more than 1 million copies and was described as “the fastest selling” book in HarperCollins’ history. It was called a “fraud” and an “epic money grab” in the New York Times.

In 1996, “intense community pressure” by the African Canadian community in Nova Scotia successfully managed to remove this and two other novels from the Department of Education’s list of recommended, authorized books. They meant that they could no longer be purchased from the provincial government.

In 2002, a committee consisting of parents and educators, seconded by members of the Black Educators’ Association (BEA), recommended that the book “be removed from school use altogether.” Further, the community courageously boycotted a theatrical production in Halifax on the basis that it did not reflect the black experience and falsified historical reality. Continue reading

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US: Miami police use black mug shots for target practice

Daily Mail, UK – Members of the North Miami Beach Police have been caught using photos of actual black teenagers for target practice.

This was discovered during an incident last month when Sgt. Valerie Deant, a clarinet player in the Florida Army National Guard’s 13th Army Band, showed up at the Medley Firearms Training Center after members of the department had been practicing, and recognized one of their targets – a mugshot of her brother from when he was just 18-years-old.

The other targets were also black men, and some just teenagers. But now the department is defending the practice.

North Miami Beach Police Chief J. Scott Dennis says there is nothing wrong with this practice at all however, and even defends its use.

‘Our policies were not violated,’ Dennis said.

‘There is no discipline forthcoming from the individuals who were involved with this.’

Dennis said it is common practice to use actual mugshots, and members of the same ethnic group help with facial recognition exercises.

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US: Due process, grand jury process and Ferguson

By MARJORIE COHEN*

You know the fix is in when a suspect who shot an unarmed man voluntarily provides four hours of un-cross examined testimony to a grand jury without taking the Fifth.

On August 9, Ferguson, Missouri Police Officer Darren Wilson gunned down 18-year-old African American Michael Brown. Since that fateful day, people across the country have protested against racial profiling, excessive police force, and the failure of the criminal justice system to provide accountability.

The nail in the coffin of “equal justice under law” came on November 24, when the St. Louis County grand jury refused to indict Wilson for any criminal charges in the shooting death of Brown. In a virtually unprecedented move, St. Louis Prosecutor Robert McCulloch in effect deputized the grand jurors to sit as triers of fact as in a jury trial. Continue reading

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From Halifax to Ferguson: Hands up don’t shoot!

By EL JONES*, August 19, 2014

How many more youth?

Hands up don’t shoot

The media hides the truth

Hands up don’t shoot!

What is at the root?

Hands up don’t shoot!

Black people still strange fruit

Hands up don’t shoot! Continue reading

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This day in 1955: Rosa Parks took her seat on the bus

Rosa Parks in Halifax in August 1998 at the annual Africville Reunion in Seaview Park | Paul Adams (Click to enlarge)

Rosa Parks in Halifax in August 1998 at the annual Africville Reunion in Seaview Park | Paul Adams (Click to enlarge)

1955 (1 December): The status of non-persons for African Americans was the target of the modern US civil rights movement. With untold sacrifice it led to more historic successes. The movement was strengthened by the courageous action of one person. Rosa Parks, 42, a black seamstress living in Montgomery, Alabama, refused to sit in the back of a public bus as required by segregationist laws then in effect. “Whites Only” or “Coloreds Only” were the signs marking this separation at the entrance to restaurants, hotels, water fountains, private buildings, schools, etc. The cruel and absurd segregationist law in the long trail of slavery in the American South stated that if a Black person was sitting on a bus and a white person wanted that seat, the former would have to stand and allow the latter to sit.

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UN Committee condemns US for racial disparity, police brutality

PBS (aug. 29 ) –The United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has published a scathing report analyzing the current state of racial justice in the United States. Citing the August 9th shooting of 18 year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri and the rise of stand-your-ground laws, the committee expressed deep concerns about the ways in which the American justice system handles racially charged events. Continue reading

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Segregation is back in US schools

Until 1964 the United States was officially an apartheid society where African Americans faced civil death. Now, it is an unofficial apartheid society, as the following reports demonstrate.

Reuters / Tami Chappell

Reuters | Tami Chappell

RT (May 15) – Sixty years after the Supreme Curt ruled that segregated public schools were unconstitutional, a new university report has found many of the gains of integration have been reversed.

In a report published Thursday by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, researchers found that while schools aren’t as segregated as they were before the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954, much of the progress that had been made after 1967 has been lost. Continue reading

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Freedom of the press, US style: Who killed Gary Webb?

The journalist who exposed the crimes of Luis Posada Carriles | JEAN-GUY ALLARD*

garywebb-articleHAVANA (January 5) – Like few journalists before him, Gary Webb exposed the CIA’s evil schemes in the drug world and revealed to the US public how the country’s African-American neighbourhoods were inundated with crack as part of drug trafficking designed to supply the Nicaraguan Contras with money and weapons.  Continue reading

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Panther

Review by Progress, African and Caribbean Progressive Study Group, London

The Mario Van Peebles film “Panther” tells the story of the rise and development of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, founded in October 1966 in Oakland, California. The founding of this party is regarded by many as one of the political high points of the 1960’s, a decade marked for it’s social and political upheavals across the world. Continue reading

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