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Reparations Matter: Accountability Begins with Understanding

by Douglas Haynes | February 2021
Last month’s violent insurrection at the US Capitol overshadowed the re-introduction of H.R. 40 on January 4, 2021. Introduced by Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee  (D-Texas), this bill provides for funding for a commission to study and develop reparation proposals for African Americans. The two events could not be more different. One was a violent assault on the US Congress by extremists. The other reflected the deliberate law-making process of a modern democracy. In seeking to de-certify the votes of millions of Americans, the protestors sought nothing less than the restoration of white supremacy in the slogans “Make America Great Again” or “Take Back Our Country.” By contrast, the co-sponsors of the House bill called on the federal government to finally come to terms with the costs and consequences of the legal enslavement and differential treatment of Black people in both the past and present.
TAGS: [Strategies] [2020’s] [Reparations] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [White Privilege] [Systemic Racism] [Black Lives Matter] [Social Justice] [Definitions] [Slavery] [Politics] [History]

We Were the Last of the Nice Negro Girls

by Anna Deavere Smith  |  February 2021
This article is part of “Inheritance,” a project about American history and Black life.
In 1968, history found us at a small women’s college, forging our Black identity and empowering our defiance. I knew nothing about the multitude of small colleges across the U.S. that had been founded, many by religious institutions, for the specific purpose of educating white women. Nor did I know anything about “suitcase schools,” some of which had reputations as glorified finishing schools where girls were focused on meeting boys attending nearby institutions. (They were called “suitcase schools” because on Fridays the girls took off to spend the weekend with their prospective husbands.) But in 1966, as my counselor put it to my mother, many of these all-girls colleges were “looking for nice Negro girls like Anna.” My father did not like the idea. He was adamant that I attend Howard or Morgan State or some other historically Black college or university, just as he and his siblings and my older cousins had done. My mother and I made our case about “opportunity.” He became emphatic: If I went to a white women’s college, he said, I’d have no social life. This was a legitimate concern—but up to that point, my father’s strictness had severely circumscribed my “social life.” Now he was suddenly concerned about it?
TAGS: [Strategies] [2020’s] [History] [Systemic Racism] [Black Lives Matter] [-ing While Black] [White Privilege] [White Culture] [Policing] [Social Justice] [Assumptions]

How the GI Bill’s Promise Was Denied to a Million Black WWII Veterans; The Sweeping Bill Promised Prosperity to Veterans. So Why Didn’t Black Americans Benefit?

by Erin Blakemore | September 2019
When Eugene Burnett saw the neat tract houses of Levittown, New York, he knew he wanted to buy one. It was 1949, and he was ready to settle down in a larger home with his family. The newly established Long Island suburb seemed like the perfect place to begin their postwar life—one that, he hoped, would be improved with the help of the GI Bill, a piece of sweeping legislation aimed at helping World War II veterans like Burnett prosper after the war. But when he spoke with a salesman about buying the house using a GI Bill-guaranteed mortgage, the door to suburban life in Levittown slammed firmly in his face. The suburb wasn’t open to Black residents.
TAGS: [Strategies] [2010’s] [Systemic Racism] [Racial Covenants] [Black Lives Matter] [Economics] [White Privilege] [White Culture] [White Supremacy] [Denial] [Housing] [Politics] [History] [Social Justice]

How U.S. Backed Banks Robbed Ex-Slaves of $66 Million

by Jared Brown | Month Unknown 2016
In 1871, Congress authorized banks to provide business loans and mortgages. Paradoxically, such mortgages and loans were usually administered to whites at the expense of black depositors. Risky investments and lending patterns, coupled with cronyism and corruption at the level of upper management, slowly undermined the stability of the bank. According to Black Past, “By 1874, massive fraud among upper management and among the board of director had taken its toll on the bank. Moreover, economic instability brought upon by the Panic of 1873, coupled with the bank’s rapid expansion, proved disastrous.” The Freedmen’s Bank was officially closed on June 29, 1874. At the point of closing, 61,144 black depositors were robbed of the modern equivalent of $66 million. The failure of the bank left many black depositors and borrowers distrustful of the white banking community, especially since the Freedmen’s Bank was established and managed by white men.
TAGS: [Strategies] [2010’s] [Systemic Racism] [History] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [White Privilege] [Slavery] [Accountability] [Social Justice] [Economics] [Denial] [Racial Covenants] [Black Lives Matter]

Tignon Laws: The Dreadful Rule That Banned Black Women from Displaying Their Hair

by Farida Dawkins | February 2018
…  there was a time when black women weren’t allowed to display their hair in public. Keep reading to learn about the Tignon Laws and how it was used to fuel racial tensions in the United States. A tignon (tiyon) is a headdress used to conceal hair.  It was adorned by free and slave Creole women of African ancestry in Louisiana in 1786.  The sumptuary law was enacted under Governor Esteban Rodriguez Miró.  The regulation was meant as a means to regulate the style of dress and appearance for people of color.  Black women’s features often attracted male white, French, and Spanish suitors and their beauty was a perceived threat to white women. The tignon law was a tactic used to combat the men pursuing and engaging in affairs with Creole women. Simply put, black women competed too openly with white women by dressing elegantly and possessing note-worth beauty.
TAGS: [Strategies] [2010’s] [Systemic Racism] [Silencing POC] [Black Lives Matter] [Definitions] [Denial] [White Supremacy] [White Privilege] [Slavery] [History]

Indiana Republicans Boo Black Lawmakers Speaking About Discrimination

by Stephen A. Crockett Jr. | February 2021
Nothing says discrimination like booing a Black person trying to talk about discrimination. Such is life during a floor debate inside the Indiana Statehouse on Thursday in which Black lawmakers claimed that a bill would allow students in the largely white St. Joseph County township to leave the racially diverse South Bend Community Schools to join a smaller, rural school made up of mostly white students.
TAGS: [Strategies] [2020’s] [Systemic Racism] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [White Privilege] [Social Justice] [Black Lives Matter] [-ing While Black] [Politics] [Silencing POC]

The Shameful Existence of Sundown Towns in America

by BLACKTHEN | February 2021
Don’t let the sun set on you in a sundown town. That’s what signs at the city limits of all-white communities warned when African-Americans were not allowed to live there or even visit after the sun set. This method of exclusion was often held by an official policy or restrictive covenant-. The practice of excluding blacks from American towns was so prevalent that, by 1936, it became the impetus for Harlem civic leader Victor Green to pen the Negro Motorist Green-Book, a guide designed to help African-American travelers avoid places where they could be harassed, threatened, or even killed. Today, it is illegal for sundown towns to exist on paper due to the 1968 Fair Housing Act, but some believe that communities remain sundown by reputation and reluctance to diversify.
TAGS: [Strategies] [2020’s] [History] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [White Privilege] [Systemic Racism] [Racial Covenants]

Black Cop Who Shot a White Woman Sentenced to 12 1/2 Years in Prison

by blacknews.com | June 2019
The sentencing came two days after Noor’s lawyers asked the judge for no jail time or even just “less time than what sentencing guidelines call for.” They claimed that Noor showed a rather good attitude and sense of remorse during trial. Noor, who is a 33-year old Somali-American, was responding to a 911 call of a possible assault near the caller’s house. Noor was with his partner, Matthew Harrity, when they arrived on the scene and he saw a woman in a pink shirt with blond hair outside of Harrity’s window. Noor said that when the woman raised her right arm, he was threatened and his initial reaction was to fire one shot. “My intent was to stop the threat and save my partner’s life,” he said. Afterwards, he said he immediately realized that he had shot an innocent woman. The woman named Justine Damond is an Australian and she was the one who called 911 at that time. He remorsefully said on the stand, “I felt like my whole world came crashing down. I couldn’t breathe.”
TAGS: [Strategies] [2010’s] [Justice System] [Systemic Racism] [Policing] [Police Shootings] [White Privilege] [White Culture]

8 Facts You Should Know about Racial Injustice in the Criminal Legal System; Racial discrimination Has Been Ingrained in the Criminal Legal System from Its Earliest Days and Persists Today.

by Daniele Selby |  February 2021
The legacy of slavery, racist Jim Crow laws, and hateful lynchings has translated into modern-day mass incarceration and the disproportionate imprisonment of Black people. No where is that seen more clearly than in prisons like the Mississippi State Penitentiary — also known as Parchman Farm —  and Louisiana’s Angola prison, which were built on and modeled after slave plantations and where several Innocence Project clients have been incarcerated. Racial discrimination and bias has been ingrained in the criminal legal and law enforcement system from its earliest days and continues to pervade every level of the system today. The Innocence Project, with your support, is committed to addressing these injustices. These eight statistics highlight the ways in which racial inequality persists in the criminal legal system today and contributes to wrongful conviction.
TAGS: [Strategies] [2020’s] [Slavery] [Justice System] [History] [Prison System] [Systemic Racism] [Social Justice] [Racial Bias] [Black Lives Matter] [Police Shootings] [Policing] [Accountability] [-ing While Black] [Racial Terrorism]

Environmental Racism in Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley’, Must End, Say UN Human Rights Experts

by UN News | March 2021
The further industrialization of so-called “Cancer Alley” in the southern United States, known for its pollution-emitting chemical plants, should be halted according to a large group of independent UN human rights experts, who on Tuesday branded it a form of “environmental racism”. Originally dubbed “Plantation Country”, Cancer Alley, which is located in the southern state of Louisiana along the lower Mississippi River where enslaved Africans were forced to labour, serves as an industrial hub, with nearly 150 oil refineries, plastics plants and chemical facilities.  The ever-widening corridor of petrochemical plants has not only polluted the surrounding water and air, but also subjected the mostly African American residents in St. James Parish to cancer, respiratory diseases and other health problems. “This form of environmental racism poses serious and disproportionate threats to the enjoyment of several human rights of its largely African American residents, including the right to equality and non-discrimination, the right to life, the right to health, right to an adequate standard of living and cultural rights”, the experts said.
TAGS: [Strategies] [2020’s] [Environment] [Health Disparities] [Slavery] [Black Lives Matter] [Social Justice] [Politics] [Systemic Racism] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [White Privilege]

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Dear White People

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