"The renowned scholar, author and activist Dr. Cornel West, joins us to discuss his latest book, "Black Prophetic Fire." West engages in conversation with the German scholar and thinker Christa Buschendorf about six revolutionary African-American leaders: Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ella Baker, Malcolm X and Ida B. Wells. Even as the United States is led by its first black president, West says he is fearful that we may be "witnessing the death of black prophetic fire in our time."
Mary Turner was a 19-year-old black woman born in 1899 to Perry Graham and Elizabeth Johnson in Brooks County, Georgia. When Turner was eight months pregnant, she was murdered after she publicly denounced the unlawful extrajudicial killing of her husband, Hazel Turner.
On the evening of May 16, 1918, a white planter who was known to abuse and beat his workers, Hampton Smith, was shot and killed on the plantation by a black worker, 18-year-old Sidney Johnson. Smith resolved the labor shortage through the use of convict labor, paid Johnson’s $30 fine (Johnson had been convicted of playing dice), and forced him to work on his plantation.
Johnson had been beaten several times by Smith, even days before Smith’s death; he was beaten severely by Smith for refusing to work while he was sick. Smith also had a long history with Mary Turner and her husband. Turner’s husband had been sentenced to the chain gang when he threatened Smith for beating Mary.
Smith’s murder was followed by a week-long mob-driven manhunt in which at least 13 people were killed. Among those killed was Mary’s husband, Hayes Turner, who was seized from custody after his arrest on the morning of May 18, 1918, and lynched.
Mary became distraught after the murder of her husband. She denied that her husband had been involved in Smith’s killing, publicly opposed her husband’s murder, and threatened to have members of the mob arrested. The mob then turned against her, determined to “teach her a lesson.”
She was able to flee, but the mob found her and took her to Folsom Bridge, where they hung her upside down from a tree, doused her in gasoline and motor oil, and set her on fire. While Turner was still alive, a member of the mob split her abdomen open with a knife. Her unborn child fell on the ground, where it cried before it was stomped on and crushed. Finally, Turner’s body was riddled with hundreds of bullets. Mary Turner and her child were cut down and buried near the tree. A whiskey bottle marked the grave.
The murders of Hayes and Mary Turner caused a brief national outcry. Following the lynchings, more black residents fled the area, despite threats against the lives of anyone who tried to leave.
Laura Nelson and her son L.D. Nelson were lynched on May 25, 1911 near Okemah, the county seat of Okfuskee County, Oklahoma. Laura, her husband Austin, and their teenage son L.D. had been taken into custody after George Loney and three others arrived at their home on May 2, 1911 to investigate the theft of a cow. The son shot Loney, who then bled to death, while Laura was reportedly the first one to grab the gun and both were charged with murder.
These are actual tiny child handcuffs used by the US government to restrain captured Native American children and drag them away from their families to send them to boarding schools where their identities, cultures and their rights to speak their Native languages were forcefully stripped away from them. (Photo: US government)
The Black Power Movement in the United States inspired many movements around the globe. It was inspired by the efforts of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which later turned in to the Black Panther Party, and The Black Arts Movement. The Black Power Movement also entangled with the Civil Rights Movement. Black Power in the United States called for Black pride, political equality, Black economic independence and stability, educational freedom and equality, proper living conditions, and equal protection under the law. The idea of Black Power brought about tremendous political strides, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
I have long wanted to write a piece about the abolitionist, John Brown, because he was a man of action and a man who would not be deterred from his mission of abolishing slavery. He was more significant in eradicating slavery than any single individual at the time. As you know, history has not been kind to his legacy and therefore, anything reported about Brown is in no way told in a positive light. He is projected as a wild crazy white man that lost his mind, but that was not the case at all.
Junípero Serra (1713-1784), a Spanish priest, founded nine of the 21 Spanish missions of California, set up to bring Native Americans to Christ. He has been called the last conquistador, a destroyer of cultures.
Serra went with soldiers to round up people, forcing them to stay and work at the missions. Each mission had a church, a school – and a whipping post. Those who would not work were whipped. As you can imagine, there were uprisings at the missions and attempts by Native Americans to free their people from them.
Serra wanted to change not just their religion, but their names, their languages and their way of life.
The missions were, in effect, re-education camps. They turned the Native Americans who lived along the coast of California – the Kumeyaay, Tongva, Juaneño, Chumash and Ohlone peoples – into labourers for the gente de razón, the “people of reason” – aka, the Spanish and their hangers-on.
Serra converted thousands – yet tens of thousands died. When he arrived in California there were 65,000 Native Americans. By 1832, only a fourth were left: 17,000.
The libraries of Timbuktu (by the 1300s) in Mali contain over 400,000 manuscripts, mostly from the city’s glory days from the 1300s to the 1500s. The manuscripts range from contracts and sales receipts to books of religion, law, poetry, astronomy and history. Thanks to Timbuktu’s hot, dry weather (it stands at the edge of the Sahara), its deep love of books and its history as a seat of high learning, it has preserved an amazing treasure from Africa’s past.
Lena Baker, an African-American mother of three holds the esteemed honor of being the only woman ever electrocuted in Georgia’s electric chair, she was also issued a pardon 6 decades after her 1945 death by execution.
Baker was convicted for the fatal shooting of E. B. Knight, a white Cuthbert, Georgia mill operator she was hired to care for after he broke his leg. She was 44 at the time of her execution.
Patrice Lumumba(1925-1961), a Congolese freedom fighter, was the first democratically elected prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo (known as Zaire from 1971 to 1997). He was only in office a few months: the CIA and Belgium, with the help of Mobutu, had him killed. Mobutu went on to become a puppet dictator for the US.
The desegregation of Little Rock Central High School in September 1957 brought to the surface the vile racism of whites, both within the community and outside it. A huge, nasty mob formed around the high school on September 4, the day that nine black students were to integrate the school. The nine black students were, Minnijean Brown, Terrance Roberts, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Patillo, Gloria Ray, Jefferson Thomas, and Carlotta Walls. Horrible acts of hate and violence were directed at them.
The purpose of sharing these video’s for Black People living in America on this day, of this year, during this Black History Month is the hope that black people will understand that after four-hundred years their condition has not changed one iota - because black people have no wealth.
Tariq Nasheed, also known as Tariq Elite, is a young black author, documentary film producer, media personality, satirist, Internet radio host, relationship expert, and social commentator, focusing on the psychology of dating and African American social history. Tariq is profound, and dare I say one of a kind as his works explore the hidden history of African America people.
Monday, October 12th is Columbus Day, which we have celebrated in this country since the eighteenth century… and that’s probably long enough. When you find out the actual facts of what Columbus did when he got to America, you’ll find one of the darkest chapters in American history. Cenk Uygur and John Iadarola (Think Tank), hosts of the The Young Turks, break it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.
Abubakari II (1300s), also known as Abu Bakr II or Mansa Bakari II, was a ruler of the Mali Empire, brother of Mansa Musa. In 1311, he set out west across the Atlantic Ocean, 181 years before Columbus.
Slavery is not merely forced labour but where said labourers can be bought and sold, where they become a form of property. That makes it different than, say, serfdom, military conscription or prison labour.
When Ida B. Wells was 22, she was asked by a conductor of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Company to give up her seat on the train to a white man. She refused, and the conductor attempted to forcibly drag her out of her seat. Wells wouldn’t budge.
“The moment he caught hold of my arm I fastened my teeth in the back of his hand,” she wrote in her autobiography. “I had braced my feet against the seat in front and was holding to the back, and as he had already been badly bitten he didn’t try it again by himself. He went forward and got the baggageman and another man to help him and of course they succeeded in dragging me out.”
The year was 1884 — about 70 years before Rosa Parks would refuse to give up her seat on an Alabama bus. Wells’ life was full of such moments of courage and principle. Born into slavery in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862, Wells was a vocal civil rights activist, suffragist and journalist who dedicated her life to fighting inequality.
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