Tag Archives: African American

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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