It Ain't About Race
By Claire Carew
Cleaning up the gutters
Soaking up the rains
They forgot to mention this kind
The beatings in the alleys
The kicks and blows to black men
Out came our ancestors vex and
Studying what the hell to do
Sorry Bro it had to be you
64 years old,
Owner of several properties,
Walking the French Quarters
To buy cancer sticks cigarettes
Dare to ask a cop about a curfew
Dare to say that wasn’t right
No you have GOT to be drunk
Bang, pop blows to your head
Blood gurgles and pours out of
You lay on the ground in
Revealing to the world yet again
that lies in the darkness of
New Orleans streets
The forgotten story our ancestors
Another beating of our own
Another attempt to wake us up
Our ancestors restless journey from
dust to dust
By Joe Williams III
Sometimes when the racists turn up the heat, it makes you want
to go out and buy a shotgun. I watched as the New Orleans
police punched, kicked, and cussed an old black man. TV
camera rolling, they punched, and punched, and punched.
Robert Davis eye was so big, and blood oozed from his body onto
the hurricane streets of New Orleans. Thousands of New
Orleans residents had just become homeless, some dead, but the
bloody rage of a few cops spoke of how senseless a black life
appeared to them.
I tried to explain it to my son, but
words could not reach his tender mind concerning the
historical reality behind the beating.
It is his first time, but it was a
repeated scene from my whole life. I grew up in
New Orleans, when a black man couldn't party in the
French Quarters. I was a victim of a couple of
those "cop beatings." They don't really
hurt that much when you are young, but a 64 year old,
retired teacher, it must have hurt. It must have
raised anger inside of him. It must have made him
feel less than human, to be beat down like an animal.
I wish he would have been packing.
Former Secretary of Education, William Bennett, better
known in the black community as "Wild Bill," said that
every black baby in America should be aborted.
guess we need to buy ourselves some "protection" against
politicians like Bennett. When Bennett speaks of the womb of
white women he cries, "Pro-Life," but when he speaks of
the womb of black women, he screams, "abortion." Now,
if Bennett was just an ordinary politician, then I would
not be screaming, Bloody Mary."
However, he was the Secretary of Education. He was in charge
of what our children and grandchildren learned in school.
Oh, by the way, that black man the cops beat in New Orleans was a
school teacher, but that didn't matter, just like Bennett doesn't
care if the aborted womb was Condoleeza Rice, and the New Orleans
officers didn't care if their punching bag victim was a Colin
* * *
Joe, I'm glad you mentioned that story.
I got the AP story and the photos. They beat him just like a
nigger. And they didn't care that he was middle-class and owned a
few properties. They busted him up again and again and locked him
up. And now the Negro said it had nothing to do with race.
When is black oppression ever about race? When
will Negroes leave the traditional political parties and organize
independently? Why are Negroes afraid to think of a black
political party? Why are they afraid to even talk about it,
discuss it? I am not talking about a revolutionary party, or a
socialist party, or a Black Panther Party, just a plain black
political party that's willing to defend the poor, that is
for the liberation of the poor, and stand for elections on
that issue? Are we the walking dead, zombies on the man's
plantations, unwillingly to go out in the wilderness, on our own?
I know the plantation is comfortable. There you
got some roof, a regular meal (though not too much meat), a few
rags passed down for our bodies. A little salve for our sores.
Assurances that tomorrow will be no worse than today, more or
less, why are we so content? Who speaks of integrity and
dignity these days? We love the little life that our oppressors
have granted us and we are convinced, damn near
unanimous, that we cannot do without our masters. Is that all that
black life is now, just getting by?
Just because they took the signs down,
that didn't make us free. Integrating into evil has not made us
free. Do we have any love for our women, our children, our
grandchildren, the coming generations. What legacy will we really
leave for them, that a few did well? Well, what about the rest?
Have they convinced us so easily, that half of us is of no
account, no matter, dispensable?
You speak of William Bennett, the Republican
operative. Well, James Carville, Clinton's man, "the most
influential Democratic strategist of our time," spoke
here in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins on the hopes of a Democratic
win in 2008. Here is his message for Democratic Party Negroes:
Carville also demanded greater personal
responsibility from the poor, urging teenagers to "stay
in school longer and get pregnant less". . . that the
public accept the need to work longer before retirement
and include smaller cost-of-living increases in Social
Security for the sake of the country" (Johns
Hopkins News-Letter, 29 September 2005).
He ain't talking about helping the poor. He's
talking about more of the abuse of the poor. For Carville, the
poor not only have to work two and three jobs to make ends meet,
not only do they have to withstand criminalization, but we must
endure also snide remarks about our lack of morality and in
addition allow the national budget to be balanced on
the backs of the aged, after he and is kin have given trillions of
dollars to the rich. Like Bennett, black babies don't appeal to
him. What gall!
Now I haven't heard one Negro politician
complain about Carville, Clinton's boy from Baton Rouge, Louisiana,
who is married to a right wing Republican. Now they are all in the
same bed. But we are going to go out next year and vote for these
Democrats and we're going to go with their game in 2008. And we
will be so pleased with ourselves. Keep in mind that New Orleans
is a Democratic city. Is there no such thing any more as Negro
shame, nor pride? -- Rudy
* * *
Justice Department Probes New
Retired Schoolteacher Disputes Police Report
By Ross Sneyd, AP
NEW ORLEANS (Oct. 11) - Robert Davis stood at
the corner of Bourbon and Conti streets in the French Quarter and
stared in disbelief at the brown stain on the sidewalk.
"It that my blood? It must be," said
the 64-year-old retired elementary schoolteacher, who was arrested
and repeatedly punched by police over the weekend. "I didn't
know I was bleeding that bad."
The confrontation, captured on videotape and
broadcast across the country, has put another unwanted spotlight
on the beleaguered, exhausted police force in this storm-struck
Three officers pleaded not guilty to charges
stemming from the incident and the U.S. Justice Department opened
a civil rights investigation.
Davis disputed contentions by police that he
had been drinking.
"I haven't had a drink in 25 years,"
Davis said Monday.
"I didn't do anything. I was going to get
a pack of cigarettes and taking my evening constitutional,"
he said, using an expression that means an evening walk.
The two city police officers accused in the
beating, and a third accused of grabbing and shoving an Associated
Press Television News producer who helped capture the encounter on
tape, pleaded not guilty to battery charges and were released
After a hearing, at which trial was set for
Jan. 11, officers Lance Schilling, Robert Evangelist and S.M.
Smith were released on bond. They left without commenting. They
were suspended without pay Sunday.
Police Superintendent Warren Riley said any
misconduct found in an investigation would be dealt with swiftly.
He noted the video showed "a portion of that incident."
"The actions that were observed on this
video are certainly unacceptable by this department," Riley
Davis is black; the three city police officers
seen on the tape are white. But Davis and police officials have
said they don't believe race was a factor.
Two other officials in the video appeared to be
federal officers, according to police. Numerous agencies have sent
officers to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and police
spokesman Marlon Defillo said it would be up to their commanders
to decide if they would face charges.
Davis had stitches under his swollen left eye,
a bandage around a finger and complained of aches in his left
shoulder and soreness in his back. His lawyer said he suffered
fractures to his cheek and eye socket.
The confrontation came as the New Orleans
Police Department - long plagued by allegations of brutality and
corruption - struggles with the aftermath of Katrina and the
resignation last month of Police Superintendent Eddie Compass.
Davis said the confrontation began after he had
approached a mounted police officer Saturday to ask about curfews
in the city when another officer interrupted.
"This other guy interfered and I said he
shouldn't," Davis said. "I started to cross the street
and - bam - I got it. ... All I know is this guy attacked me and
said, 'I will kick your ass,' and they proceeded to do it."
The APTN tape shows an officer hitting Davis at
least four times in the head. Davis appeared to resist, twisting
and flailing as he was dragged to the ground by four officers.
Davis' lawyer, Joseph Bruno, said his client did not resist
Another officer also kneed Davis and punched
him twice. Davis was pushed to the sidewalk with blood streaming
down his arm and into the gutter. The officers accused of striking
Davis were identified as Schilling and Evangelist.
During the arrest, another officer, identified
as Smith, ordered an APTN producer and cameraman to stop
recording. When producer Rich Matthews held up his credentials,
the officer grabbed him, leaned him backward over a car, jabbed
him in the stomach and unleashed a profanity-laced tirade.
Davis had returned to New Orleans over the
weekend from Atlanta to inspect six properties owned by members of
his family, intending to clean them up or figure out how to
He's no longer sure he'll return permanently to the
city he's called home for 28 years.
"That's up in the air. The chaos that's
here - I don't know," he said.
Associated Press writer
Rachel LaCorte contributed to this report. 10-11-05 08:34 EDT
* * *
Claire Carew was born in Guyana and is
of African, Arawak and European ancestry. She began her visual
arts career over 25 years ago with a Bachelor of Arts from the
University of Guelph and studies at private art schools.
Carew also holds a Diploma in Education, a Visual Arts
Specialist from McGill University and has completed studies in
drama at the University of Toronto. Carew’s work has been
shown in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Her work is also
in private collections in Brussels, England, Guyana and Russia.
posted 12 October 2005
* * *
* * *
* * *
1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus
By Charles C. Mann
a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous
New Revelations of the Americas Before
Columbus, in which he
provides a sweeping and provocative
examination of North and South America
prior to the arrival of Christopher
Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched
but so wonderfully written that it’s
anything but exhausting to read. With
1493, Mann has taken it to a
new, truly global level. Building on the
groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby
The Columbian Exchange and, I’m
proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer),
Mann has written nothing less than the
story of our world: how a planet of what
were once several autonomous continents
is quickly becoming a single,
Mann not only talked to countless
scientists and researchers; he visited
the places he writes about, and as a
consequence, the book has a marvelously
wide-ranging yet personal feel as we
follow Mann from one far-flung corner of
the world to the next. And always, the
prose is masterful. In telling the
improbable story of how Spanish and
Chinese cultures collided in the
Philippines in the sixteenth century, he
takes us to the island of Mindoro whose
“southern coast consists of a number of
small bays, one next to another like
tooth marks in an apple.” We learn how
the spread of malaria, the potato,
tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar
cane have disrupted and convulsed the
planet and will continue to do so until
we are finally living on one integrated
or at least close-to-integrated Earth.
Whether or not the human instigators of
all this remarkable change will survive
the process they helped to initiate more
than five hundred years ago remains,
Mann suggests in this monumental and
revelatory book, an open question.
* * *
Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in
By Melissa V.
According to the
author, this society has historically exerted
considerable pressure on black females to fit into one
of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the
Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless
Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to
white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of
those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the
relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable
temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as
an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the
characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television
shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
points out how the propagation of these harmful myths
have served the mainstream culture well. For instance,
the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for
black females to feel a maternal instinct towards
As for the source
of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their
own bodies during slavery given that they were being
auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless,
it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate
the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate
The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
* * *
Ancient African Nations
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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
Only a Pawn in Their Game
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for
George Jackson /
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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
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update 19 February 2012