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 However, the inability of the United States Department of Justice to bring to justice those

guilty of denying constitutional protected rights to Negroes in the South points up

the need for adequate Federal legislation to protect all of us in the exercise of our

rights throughout the South. In other words, we must have Federal protection of the right

to live, to speak out, to organize and to insist upon our constitutionally protected rights.



Blacks, Unions, & Organizing in the South, 1956-1996


Compiled by Rudolph Lewis

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Marshal & The AFL-CIO

AFL-CIO Report of Convention Proceedings (1956)


Mr. Meany, officers and friends: 

On behalf of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and those we represent, I want to say that it is more than a pleasure to be here this afternoon. 

I have condensed what I want to say on paper for a very simple reason: that is the only way I know to get something over in short fashion. I hope you will bear with me in reading, because I for one consider this one of the most important periods of our lives insofar as the actual practice of the survival of democracy is concerned.

We in the NAACP salute the merged AFL and CIO as an example of further consolidation of forces seeking justice for all Americans. The additional strength from this merger will most certainly be used for the benefit of the country in general. A large measure of the success in the fight for human dignity that has come about has resulted from the recognition by organized labor of the need of extending labor's fight from inside the plant to the community in general. So, those of us in the fight for justice for Negro Americans can now depend upon an even stronger support from this new consolidated arm of organized labor.

While great progress toward removing racial injustice from American life has been made in the past two decades, we have found that the real task is and will be the job of bringing established principles of law into every day practice in local communities. Experience during the past two years has made it clear to everyone concerned that real opposition to law and order is being built up in areas of the South. This opposition is being built up on the local level.

In backward areas of the South, the so-called 'good people' of these states have banded themselves in organizations such as the White Citizens Councils of Mississippi and other similar organizations. These local groups have grown during the past six months into state organizations and will, in short order cross state lines. While these organizations are set up for the ostensible purpose of 'using every lawful means' to preserve racial segregation and other forms of discrimination including the denial of the right to vote.

In truth and in fact these organizations are creating the type of atmosphere which now makes it possible to run Negroes out of business, to discharge Negroes from employment and even to threaten and murder poor defenseless Negroes in Mississippi. Of course, the White Citizens Councils deny any responsibility for these murders. However, they cannot deny that they created the atmosphere of disregard for the established law of the land. This atmosphere makes it possible for murderers to go free and unpunished. This atmosphere of lawlessness must be changed.

The murder of Rev. G.W. Lee in Belzoni, Miss., for insisting on his right to vote, the murder of Lamar Smith for insisting on the right to register and the unprovoked murder of little Emmett Till has focused national and world wide attention on Mississippi. These murders and other forms of intimidation point up but definitely the complete absence of protection for groups in the South. Of course, those of us who have been in this fight for any period of time have known of this lack of protection for Negroes along with similar lack of protection of the rights of organized labor in many areas of the South. It is a sad commentary to realize that many of us require cold-blooded murders in order to rally us to action.

The whole vicious program against Negroes in the South will without doubt lead to further violence and pressures against organized labor. One of the biggest jobs ahead for this consolidated bloc of labor leaders is to organize the unorganized in the South. Recent developments of lawlessness and opposition to voting and desegregation of education makes it clear that organized labor must insist that it be done throughout the South but must insist that it be done on a completely integrated basis without any compromise in the slightest detail to the segregated policies prevalent in areas of the South.

The Negro in the South has refused to compromise on the question of racial segregation in public education and other public facilities. Organized labor must refuse to compromise in its organizing even in the South. Between the two, we can rally other good forces of the South to the end that justice will prevail.

However, the inability of the United States Department of Justice to bring to justice those guilty of denying constitutional protected rights to Negroes in the South points up the need for adequate Federal legislation to protect all of us in the exercise of our rights throughout the South. In other words, we must have Federal protection of the right to live, to speak out, to organize and to insist upon our constitutionally protected rights. States such as Mississippi have demonstrated their unwillingness as well to protect these rights.

Therefore, we must use our combined strength to secure from Congress adequate anti-lynching legislation, anti-poll tax legislation and a strengthening of the federal Civil Rights Statutes as a bulwark against unprovoked violence in our every day work. We must, in addition, insist upon strong FEPC legislation and necessary safeguards in Federal appropriations in schools, housing and other facilities which will prevent Federal money from being used to continue segregation in opposition to the law of the land.

It should also be noted that this vicious anti-Negro program extends to white citizens who dare to speak out for justice for Negroes. It is highly significant that in many areas of the deep South organized labor is being bracketed in the same position as the Negro.

In this great expansion program of bringing great industries into the South, organized labor has a more important task than ever before in seeing to it that the plants involved are not only organized on a completely non-racial basis but that the communities surrounding these plants are run in a democratic fashion which today means, according to the law of the land, the absence of racial segregation. Anything short of this will merely mean that the expansion program in the South will become a further example of extended racial discrimination on an even larger scale. At this late date, it goes without saying that organized labor has a terrific stake in vigorously opposing racial segregation in community life whether it be in the North or South.

Despite all of the organized opposition to desegregation, it is important to remember that the solid South is broken for the first time on the question of race. As of today, twelve of the seventeen Southern states are now admitting Negroes to graduate and professional schools. Some thirty-odd private universities of the South have opened their doors to Negroes and it is just a short matter of time until all will be opened up.

It is also worthy of note that on the elementary and high school levels portions of either of the seventeen Southern states and the District of Columbia have moved toward integration of public schools and this has been accomplished in less then two years. This is the type of progress that has solidified the unreconstructed areas which are now more determined than ever to do everything possible to prevent integration of public schools.

In the latest drive toward desegregation as a result of recent Supreme Court decisions we have found that the good people of the South are either afraid or unwilling to oppose the pro-segregationist groups. We find that most of the Southern press is against integration of public schools. We find that church organizations for the most part will go no further than to merely adopt innocuous resolutions in favor of desegregation.

If the desegregation job is to be done, it will have to be done on the local level. If we are to be successful in this task we will need more than ever before the support of organizations such as those here represented who are in a position to transform resolutions into action programs on the local level.

The type of diehard opposition now being built up in the South will not disappear overnight and we cannot blow it away. It will only be removed by intelligent cooperative leadership of those Americans who have more at stake than others. Together we can do the job.

Thurgood Marshall, Special Counsel, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

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Mary L. Dudziak. Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall's African Journey (2008)



"Effectively sketches those events in the civil rights movement... Dudziak's clarity and careful documentation make her book accessible to the general reader and a valuable tool for African and African-American studies."
—Publishers Weekly

"Dudziak brings out with impressive clarity how Thurgood Marshall's greatness stemmed from his Whitman-esque ability to contain multitudes: committed to the rule of law, he could chide Kenya's new leadership for departing even slightly from it, work for justice in segregated America, and sustain a relationship with young civil rights activists taking direct and 'illegal' action in the early 1960s."

—Mark Tushnet, Harvard Law School and author of Making Civil Rights Law: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court, 1956-1961

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"In this gem of a book, Mary Dudziak brings vividly to life the important but little known history of Thurgood Marshall's intense involvement with Kenya during its journey toward independence in the 1960s. This great champion of the American civil rights struggle never relinquished his hope that democracy and equality would one day flourish in Kenya, even as he became painfully aware of the obstacles that stood in the path of this dream. A powerful and poignant story, beautifully told."
—Gary Gerstle, Vanderbilt University and author of American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century

"By dint of creative and exhaustive research, Mary Dudziak has written an excellent book about a facet of Thurgood Marshall's career that has never before received substantial attention. Who knew that 'Mr. Civil Rights' contributed significantly to African as well as American legal systems. All students of this great man's life owe a major debt to Professor Dudziak's labors."
—Randall Kennedy, Harvard Law School and author of Sellout: The Politics of Racial Betrayal

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Marshall, LBJ and the Court

LBJ Broke New Ground; Will the Next President Have a Similar Opportunity?

When he tap Thurgood Marshall for the U.S. Supreme Court in the summer of 1967, Lyndon Baines Johnson made history: The great-grandson of an African American slave was nominated to join the nation’s highest court.

“Lyndon Johnson was tremendously proud of the nomination,” says USC legal scholar Mary L. Dudziak. “Johnson was focused on what the achievement would say to all the African American children in the land, what they could aspire to in their own lives.”

After the Marshall appointment, it would be another 14 years before another appointment of equal symbolism occurred: the nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor by Ronald Reagan.

In the past two decades, the nomination and confirmation process has been more about the politics of right vs. left than about reflecting the new diversity of America, says Dudziak, who sees the upcoming centennial of Marshall’s birth on July 2 as an opportunity to reflect on the politics and symbolism of Supreme Court nominees.

Dudziak’s new book, Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall's African Journey, traces Marshall’s progression from civil rights attorney to a legal figure of international prominence who, among other achievements, crafted a draft bill of rights for Kenya, which in the early 1960s was transitioning into statehood after years of British colonial rule.

“Marshall had faith in law as a means of social change,” says Dudziak. “It came out of his experience trying to achieve social change in a context that was laced with violence. He believed that law had historically played a role in putting down African Americans through slavery and disenfranchisement — and that it was in part through law that equality would be achieved.”

Marshall’s faith was ultimately returned when he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, despite the long shadows of prejudice and the social unrest of the period. Marshall said of LBJ, “I don’t see how he got it through, but he did,” notes Dudziak in her book. “This is a shining hour,” Sen. Mike Mansfield said when announcing the news to Johnson. “We have come a long, long way toward equal access to the Constitution’s promise.”

Will the next president of the United States have a chance to make history with a Supreme Court nomination? Dudziak says an obvious opportunity — the appointment of an openly-gay jurist to the court — could become a political battleground, as Marshall’s nomination was. But with more support for full inclusion of gays and lesbians, this milestone will eventually be achieved, she says.

Dudziak believes there is an opportunity for the next president to speak directly to the American public through the nomination process. “Either candidate might break barriers and make history with a court appointment,” she concludes.

Source: Exporting American Dreams Blog

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Thurgood Marshall Speaks To Obama From Beyond the Grave

By Dan Froomkin


Barack Obama and I went to see "Thurgood" at the Kennedy Center over the weekend. We didn't exactly go together. In fact we didn't even go on the same night (he went Friday, I went Saturday). But if we had anything like the same experience, the president emerged inspired and emboldened. Then again, considering the timing, and his recent choice of Supreme Court nominee, maybe he emerged abashed. "Thurgood" is the extraordinary one-man show in which actor Laurence Fishburne completely transforms himself into Thurgood Marshall, the civil rights hero who became the first African-American Supreme Court Justice.

Fishburne's Thurgood is a compelling, funny, ferociously independent-minded man, and as George Stevens Jr.'s electrifying script reveals, his most dramatic moments actually came before he donned judicial robes, during his 25 years as a lawyer for the NAACP bravely using the law as a weapon to end legal segregation in this country. His most celebrated victory was the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case, in which the Supreme Court declared an end to the "separate but equal" system of racial segregation in public schools.

Watching Marshall's life unfold is exhilarating—a moving testament to one principled man's ability to change a whole society for the better. And watching it on Saturday night, I couldn't help but feel like the night before, Fishburne must have been directing his performance to one member of the audience in particular. The real message of "Thurgood" is a celebration of courage—Marshall's, mostly, but also LBJ's, for nominating such a controversial figure to the bench and then twisting the requisite arms in the Senate to get him confirmed. And that's where it gets a bit double-edged. Because the play reminds us that there was a time when courage was not necessarily disqualifying from public service.

Marshall, in his time, was a radical—and I gather there was some talk of his drinking and carousing, too, for good measure. But Johnson picked him and stuck by him. By contrast, rather than nominate a modern-day radical—say, an outspoken gay rights activist—or even someone dramatically on the left side of the legal spectrum, Obama recently picked Elena Kagan, whose most significant qualification appears to have been that she successfully avoided doing anything the least bit controversial—or courageous— over the course of her long legal career. Sure, the civil rights battles aren't as big as they were anymore (thank goodness) but there's still a lot to be courageous about. Maybe next time—assuming he gets a next time—Obama will be bolder.

God knows Republican presidents aren't bashful about who they nominate. Indeed, the one downside to seeing "Thurgood" is that it makes the first President Bush's decision to replace him with right-wing puppet Clarence Thomas feel like a fresh wound. I wonder what Obama took away from his night at the theater. I know he must have been impressed by Fishburne's tour-de-force performance, if nothing else. Maybe he could take a lesson there: Even if you're not Thurgood Marshall, act like you are.

14 June 2010

Source: HuffingtonPost

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Laurence Fishburne stars in Thurgood written by George Stevens Jr., the dramatic retelling of the life of Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to be appointed to the Supreme Court.

Jun 1 - 20, 2010  Eisenhower Theater  / 90 minutes   $25.00 - $90.00

Laurence Fishburne in Thurgood, A play by George Stevens Jr., Directed by Leonard Foglia

Absorbing, at times even stirring—The New York Times
"There ought to be a law--all bio-dramas should be as vivid and entertaining as Thurgood.—New York Daily News
"Rich in history, humanity and humor—New York Daily News
In Thurgood, Tony Award–winning actor Laurence Fishburne reprises his Broadway role as Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to be appointed to the Supreme Court. From his early days as the civil rights lawyer who argued Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, a landmark case which led to the end of institutionalized segregation, to his appointment to the highest court in the land, Thurgood Marshall stood for justice while lifting the standing of his race.
In a fictional lecture on his life given by Thurgood Marshall at his alma mater, Howard University, Fishburne deftly shifts among characters, moving from Thurgood as a young and spirited man to a pensive Justice full of wisdom, and at times inhabiting the friends and foes that were met along the way. "Fishburne is magnetic as Marshall," says the New York Daily News. "He captures the justice's drive and everyday essence as well as his wry—if sometimes crass—wit." In the end, Thurgood proves that it is possible to work within the rule of law while remaining true to the rule of the heart.   Performance Timing:  90 minutes without intermission.

Source:  Kennedy Center

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A Defiant Life: Thurgood Marshall & The Persistence of Racism in America

By Howard Ball

Thurgood Marshall's extraordinary contribution to civil rights and overcoming racism is more topical than ever, as the national debate on race and the overturning of affirmative action policies make headlines nationwide. Howard Ball, author of eighteen books on the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary, has done copious research for this incisive biography to present an authoritative portrait of Marshall the jurist. Born to a middle-class black family in "Jim Crow" Baltimore at the turn of the century, Marshall's race informed his worldview from an early age. He was rejected by the University of Maryland Law School because of the color of his skin. He then attended Howard University's Law School, where his racial consciousness was awakened by the brilliant lawyer and activist Charlie Houston. Marshall suddenly knew what he wanted to be: a civil rights lawyer, one of Houston's "social engineers." As the chief attorney for the NAACP, he developed the strategy for the legal challenge to racial discrimination. His soaring achievements and his lasting impact on the nation's legal system--as the NAACP's advocate, as a federal appeals court judge, as President Lyndon Johnson's solicitor general, and finally as the first African American Supreme Court Justice--are symbolized by Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark case that ended legal segregation in public schools.

Using race as the defining theme, Ball spotlights Marshall's genius in working within the legal system to further his lifelong commitment to racial equality. With the help of numerous, previously unpublished sources, Ball presents a lucid account of Marshall's illustrious career and his historic impact on American civil rights.

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Africa Makes Some Noise—Documentary on contemporary music from Africa

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



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#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
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#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
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#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

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#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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A Matter Of Law: A Memoir Of Struggle In The Cause Of Equal Rights

By Robert L. Carter and Foreword by John Hope Franklin

Robert Lee Carter (March 11, 1917 – January 3, 2012) insisted on using the research of the psychologist Kenneth B. Clark to attack segregated schools, a daring courtroom tactic in the eyes of some civil rights lawyers. Experiments by Mr. Clark and his wife, Mamie, showed that black children suffered in their learning and development by being segregated. Mr. Clark’s testimony proved crucial in persuading the court to act, Mr. Carter wrote in a 2004 book, “A Matter of Law: A Memoir of Struggle in the Cause of Equal Rights.” As chief deputy to the imposing Mr. Marshall, who was to become the first black Supreme Court justice, Mr. Carter labored for years in his shadow. In the privacy of legal conferences, Mr. Carter was seen as the house radical, always urging his colleagues to push legal and constitutional positions to the limits. He recalled that Mr. Marshall had encouraged him to play the gadfly:

“I was younger and more radical than many of the people Thurgood would have in, I guess. But he’d never let them shut me up.” Robert Lee Carter was born in Caryville, in the Florida Panhandle . . . . NYTimes   Oral History  Archive   / Pedagogical Uses of African Histories  /  Dedication to Human Rights and Human Kindness

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

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.     

Professor Perry 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 Caucasian babies.

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Obama's America and the New Jim Crow (Michelle Alexander) / Michelle_Alexander Part II Democracy Now (Video)

Michelle Alexander Speaks At Riverside Church /  part 2 of 4  / part 3 of 4  / part 4 of 4

There are more African Americans under correctional control today--in prison or jail, on probation or parole—than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began. If you take into account prisoners, a large majority of African American men in some urban areas, like Chicago, have been labeled felons for life. These men are part of a growing undercaste, not class, caste—a group of people who are permanently relegated, by law, to an inferior second-class status. They can be denied the right to vote, automatically excluded from juries, and legally discriminated against in employment, housing, access to education and public benefits—much as their grandparents and great-grandparents once were during the Jim Crow era.Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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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 Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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