Month: February 2012

February 3, 2012 / / links
February 3, 2012 / / islamophobia
February 2, 2012 / / Culturelicious
February 2, 2012 / / Culturelicious

By Arturo R. García

He was both the host and the ambassador for generations of artists, dancers, and music lovers. He was a journalist and an activist. And he was the conductor of “the hippest trip in America.”

Wednesday, everyone who ever listened to him wish viewers “love, peace, and soul” mourned the death of Don Cornelius, who was found in his home by police after apparently committing suicide.

Cornelius developed and hosted Soul Train, the kind of show that makes words like “influential” seem small. Soul Train ran for 35 years, making it the longest first-run syndicated show in history. But the show almost didn’t grow out of being a successful local program on WCIU-TV in Chicago.

Read the Post R.I.P Don Cornelius (1936-2012)

February 1, 2012 / / activism
By Guest Contributor RJ Young

Felecia Young remembered the day she walked into the Forrest County Courthouse in Hattiesburg, Miss. with her 11-year-old son, 9-year-old daughter, and mother on August 17, 1998.

The streets were barricaded. Buildings and streets showed the faces of police officers who were on site in case of a riot. An Aryan organization had threatened to demonstrate. But Young was determined to bear witness.

She and her children found seats in the balcony of the humid, packed courthouse.

“We sat in the balcony area, way up high,” Young said. “I don’t think I’d ever seen that area open, but they had to open it because there were so many people coming that there wasn’t any where to sit downstairs.”

Young is a black woman, born and raised in Hattiesburg. She attended high school there and graduated from the local college, the University of Southern Mississippi.

After serving six years in the Air Force, during which she visited or lived in 13 countries and earned the rank of captain before her commitment was fulfilled, she returned home, where she and her husband decided to raise their family. It was there where she became familiar with the Ku Klux Klan and its acts of violence. And the charismatic leader of the Klan’s Mississippi White Knights, Sam Bowers, was perhaps the most hateful person of them all.

At the courthouse, Young felt anxious, anticipatory, and inquisitive at beginnings of Bowers’ trial – his fifth trial, in fact, for the murder of Vernon Dahmer Sr. 22 years earlier. She wanted to take in the moment. Most of all, she wanted her children to see Bowers and to remember people like him are real. They exist.

“I wanted (my children) to have that historical perspective,” Young said. “A lot of people have sacrificed their lives so that you could have a better life than they had had.”

Read the Post Two Families, One Crime, And One Hard-Earned Right

February 1, 2012 / / black

By Arturo R. García

As Black History Month gets underway, a particular piece of history has attracted attention after being posted online.

The letter, dated Aug. 7 1865, was originally published in the New York Daily Tribune before being reprinted last month in The Freedmen’s Book, a free collection of letters produced as part of Project Gutenberg for public consumption. The Tribune, of course, was also the newspaper that first published Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents of A Slave Girl in serialized form, including this entry from 1963:

My mother was held as property by a maiden lady; when she marries, my younger sister was in her fourteenth year, whom they took into the family. She was as gentle as she was beautiful. Innocent and guileless child, the light of our desolate hearth! But oh, my heart bleeds to tell you of the misery and degradation she was forced to suffer in slavery. The monster who owned her had no humanity in his soul. The most sincere affection that his heart was capable of, could not make him faithful to his beautiful and wealthy bride the short time of three months, but every stratagem was used to seduce my sister. Mortified and tormented beyond endurance, this child came and threw herself on her mother’s bosom, the only place where she could seek refuge from her persecutor; and yet she could not protect her child that she bore into the world. On that bosom with bitter tears she told her troubles, and entreated her mother to save her.

And oh, Christian mothers! you that have daughters of your own, can you think of your sable sisters without offering a prayer to that God who created all in their behalf! My poor mother, naturally high-spirited, smarting under what she considered as the wrongs and outrages which her child had to bear, sought her master, entreating him to spare her child. Nothing could exceed his rage at this what he called impertinence. My mother was dragged to jail, there remained twenty-five days, with Negro traders to come in as they liked to examine her, as she was offered for sale. My sister was told that she must yield, or never expect to see her mother again.

Anderson’s letter to his former master, Colonel P.H. Anderson, resurfaced again Monday when it was posted on Letters of Note, an archival site that had already garnered attention from the likes of GQ Magazine in the past. And in the past 48 hours, the letter’s been mentioned on Yahoo, BoingBoing–which reported that both the Colonel and Jourdan’s existences had been confirmed–and other outlets.

Courtesy of The Freedmen’s Book, Jourdon Anderson’s letter is under the cut, in its entirety.
Read the Post The Ghost Writer: Jourdon Anderson And His Letter From The Freedmen’s Book

February 1, 2012 / / art