Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Here we are 47 years after the Voting Rights Act being signed into law and seperatist state rights politicians want to have it stripped: ""The record is replete with evidence to show that you should" continue the act reauthorized by Congress in 2006, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said early in the 75-minute hearing. "There's been a real record to what Alabama has done to earn its place on the list."
Justice Elena Kagan also pointed to Alabama's dark history of racism, noting the state's presence at the tops of various lists for challenges pertaining to sections of the Voting Rights Act." http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2013/02/us_supreme_court_justices_poin.html
"Once again, race is front and center at the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday. And once again, the bull's eye is the 1965 Voting Rights Act, widely viewed as the most effective and successful civil rights legislation in American history. Upheld five times by the court, the law now appears to be on life support." http://www.npr.org/2013/02/27/173012038/supreme-court-weighs-future-of-voting-rights-act
Voting Rights Testimonials
Monday, February 4, 2013
Jul 26, 1937- Titled "Enjoying Their Freedom." Byline on reverse of photo reads: Samuel Liebowitz and the 4 youths he defended in the famed Scottsboro case wave farewell as they leave for New York after viewing a movie at Cincinnati. Those freed are Eugene Williams, Roy Wright, Willie Roberson and Olen Montgomery. (original press photo owned by G. Morgan purchased from Historical Images-Memphis, Tn. May 9, 2012)
There is much being said about the exoneration of the Scottsboro Defendants known as the "Scottsboro Boys." But is it the right thing to do, will it correct the old sickness of racism or right the wrong of 80 years ago?
No, unless there is an action to correct current injustice and racial discrimination.
I do not believe the legislature has any power to reverse a judicial decision of a court of law in a criminal case. That is called the separation of powers, Alabama Constitution - Article III, Section 43; U.S. Constitution Articles 1,2,3. The governor cannot pardon a dead person according to the Department of Pardons. "State rules don’t allow posthumous pardons by the state parole board."
Quotes from the above article on al.com: ""It’s past time to right this wrong that was perpetrated back 80 years ago,” said Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, one of the sponsors of the legislation. Historian Wayne Flynt said it is almost universally agreed by people who have studied the case that the nine youths were not guilty."
The wrong of 80 years ago was corrected by the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act and the removal of racist Jim Crow laws from our justice system. In this case politicians and others are seeking publicity from the suffering of the Scottsboro Defendants. Mr. Flynt's comments are true, however "it is almost universally agreed...the nine youths were not guilty" is not a valid reason for a pardon or exoneration.
What does an exoneration for the Scottsboro Defendants do today to correct injustice and facilitate race relations education? Nothing unless:
1) Significant indigent defense funds must be provided for the poor. Currently the large majority of prisoners in Alabama and the United States are minorities. According to Department of Justice statistics http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/p11.pdf (Table 7 of the link pg 7) minority males comprise nearly twice the number of whites in the prison system. When looking at the statistics for the incarceration rates per 100,000 population the racial discrimination is dramatic and revealing (table 8, pg 8 of the DOJ document link); for male minorities (black and hispanic) the incarceration rate is 8.9 times the rate for white incarcerations; for female minorities the incarceration rate is equally dismal at 3.9 times the incarceration rate for white females. To solve this problem adequate defense funds must be provided and race relations education programs addressing discrimination and racism in our schools must be implemented.
2) Funding for race relations education in our school system designed to address the age old disease of racism. The creation of a Race Relations Education position within our school systems to: a)develop a race relations curriculum, and b) teach race relations related subjects for the purpose of ending racism in our state. An example may be found in Seattle, Washington: "The position comes with a broad job description that includes developing a district wide program to train staff, parents and community members on cultural awareness and understanding; devising instructional methods designed to combat institutional racism; and responding to requests for information and support from schools, departments, staff and families. http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Seattle-Pub...
If an Act of the Legislature to provide adequate indigent defense funds and a state wide system of race relations education was created in the name of the Scottsboro Defendants and attached to any bill which would attempt to exonerate the Scottsboro Defendants then the efforts of many would be well worth it. As it stands the current effort to pardon or exonerate the Scottsboro Defendants is nothing more than a charade and feel good effort to facilitate publicity for politicians and glory seekers. The bottom line is this: Race Relations Education is the key to end racial discrimination, "put your money where your mouth is" Legislature and Governor stop the glory seeking on the backs of the Scottsboro Defendants horrendous suffering at the hands of Jim Crow injustice.
"Let Justice be done though the heavens may fall." Judge James E Horton. Original photo from World Wide Photo's Cleveland Bureau (owned by G. Morgan purchased on Jun 29, 2011 from Historical Images, Memphis, Tn.) Reverse reads:
Friday, February 1, 2013
AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH http://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/
On August 28, 1963, at the March on Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. began his speech by declaring, "Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity ... In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check."
In 2013 the country will commemorate two events that changed the course of the nation – the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the 1963 March on Washington. Standing as milestone moments in the grand sweep of American history, these achievements were the culmination of decades of struggles by individuals – both famous and unknown – who believed in the American promise that this nation was dedicated to the proposition that "all men are created equal." Separated by 100 years, they are linked together in a larger story of freedom and the American experience.
To commemorate these two pivotal achievements, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture will present an exhibition that explores the historical context of these two crucial events, their accomplishments and limitations, and their impact on the generations that followed. The exhibition will be on view from Dec. 14, 2012 through Sept. 15, 2013. http://americanhistory.si.edu/exhibitions/changing-america
BLACK HISTORY MONTH - SCOTTSBORO, ALABAMA, Daily Sentinel
James Allen, Boys & Girls Club-Scottsboro "We do our best to keep the kids busy," says Allen. "If they're busy, you don't have to worry about them getting in trouble." http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_b901f154-5698-11e1-9299-001871e3ce6c.html
Scottsboro 6th Annual MLK Day Keynote by Doug Williams
RESOLUTION TO EXONERATE THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS
"A press conference is scheduled in Montgomery on Monday, Feb. 4 to announce a resolution calling for the exoneration of the Scottsboro Boys." http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_2fe9d33a-6bcf-11e2-a04f-0019bb2963f4.html
The exoneration effort is a feel good endeavor to bolster politicians and whites who feel guilty about racism. For some white politicians it gives them the opportunity to say: "“It’s important that we right the wrongs as best we can.”" It does nothing toward ending racism or correcting the historical past. A real impact would be a bill in the legislature which supports and mandates state wide Race Relations education in our school system as part of American and Alabama History.
Another viable suggestion would be an apology to African Americans in the state by the Governor and Legislature for the racist practices of Jim Crow leadership and laws in Alabama with the assurance that such injustice will never occur again. I do not think that will occur; what probably will occur is the attempt to reverse the decision of a court by an unconstitutional act violating the Seperation of Powers of our government. "Two wrongs never make a right."
The current plan to pardon or exonerate will make politicians feel good and support those who are grand standing charlatans, but it does nothing toward ending racism and fostering race relations education.
"ALABAMA CIVIL RIGHTS" How Birmingham changed our nation: http://www.al.com/civil-rights/
BLACK FOLKS AND CASH CROPS
REMEMBERING THE LEGACY - AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE MILITARY
AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH IMAGE GALLERY 2013 - LaBonneVivante