‘What, to the American Slave, Is Your 4th of July?’

As the fourth of July approaches in the aftermath of the massacre of the South Carolina nine, history continues to repeat itself with church burnings, and protests against the confederate flag still flying above government buildings in the south. 163 years later Douglass’ words are still poignant. The question remains, how will we break the cycle of systemic racism and the infrastructure that it thrives in? Excerpt from a speech by Frederick Douglass, July 5, 1852, Rochester, New York “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.”

The Boston Police And FBI Assassination Of Usaama Rahim!!

The Boston Police have a long history and tradition of shooting down unarmed and innocent Black men in acts of “police use of deadly force.” Their latest act was the collaboration with the FBI in the recent assassination of an Afrikan/Black man named Usaama Rahim. It was alleged by Boston Police Commissioner William Evans that Rahim had been “radicalized by ISIS” and had been under surveillance for at least two weeks. That was the police version of the story and immediately raised questions of its validity and quality of truth. Also Massachusetts Congressman Stephan Lynch spoke in behalf of the police in stating that Usaama Rahim “had been under observation for the last two years.” Our response to Lynch would be that we as Afrikan/ Black men have all been under “observation for the last 400 years. So whats new!!! Apparently Usaama Rahim was on his way to work at approximately 7:15 AM near a mall in Roslindale, MA. He was approached by four members of the FBI and on Boston cop who have been described as members of the Joint Anti-Terrorism Task Force. By the way the story was told by Evans, you would think that Rahim came face to face with smiling “officer friendlies.” The reality is that he was surrounded in a hostile manner and it was claimed that he had a knife as he was shot down in cold blood. The Boston Police and FBI immediately went into “untruth mode” by describing the killing of Rahim... Continue reading →

The Klu Klux Klan Culture of the Boston Police Department

During slavery, white slave masters hired white men who became what was to become known as “slave catchers.” The job of these low life men was to track down, capture and return runaway slaves to their respective slave owner. Over time the “slave catchers” evolved into what became police departments. Although having the mandate to prevent crime and maintain the peace, a prime component of the police through the years has been and continues to be to “serve and protect white people and “observe and oppress Afrikan/Black people. Fast forward to present day 2015 and you will find police brutality and use of “deadly force” against Afrikan/Black people to be of epidemic proportions. It has become the focal point of discussion in many towns and cities all across the country. Prime examples would be Ferguson, Missouri, Cleveland, Ohio and Baltimore, Maryland with the recent police murder of Freddie Gray. People have been in the streets nationwide with the stated goal of changing the criminal “culture” of the police. It is a waste of time as the mentality in the police station houses in this country is one of “us against them (Afrikan/Black people).” This is not about ‘good cop versus bad cop,” but rather a “culture of police violence against Afrikan/Black people that has existed for hundreds of years!! You only have to look right here in Boston wherein Mayor Walsh and police commissioner Evans try to promote the false image that the police in this city are different from... Continue reading →

What It Means To Be A Black American On Independence Day

Source: Getty

“I remember you was conflicted, misusing your influence..”

Having a sense of patriotism to the country we call America can be fleeting.

After all, as a millennial and an African-American (with sprinkles of West Indian and Puerto Rican seeds), I can unapologetically say I've felt proud to be an American about four times in my life.

In a timeline of sorts, it started with the love felt around New York after September 11, 2001, both times Barack Obama won the presidency, marching with thousands to demand justice for Blacks killed at the hands of police officers as of late and last week's plethora of wins (Affordable Health Act's secureness for all, marriage equality for the LGBT community and everyone stepping up to bring down the Confederate flag).

These moments gave me a sense of pride and fulfillment to know my country is actually growing up. We did it. We're finally free. Right?

What followed was a cultural and racial divide that still lingers on today. How can I feel patriotic when my brothers and sisters are profiled from the projects hallways to corporate buildings?

For me, to love America is to love all the greatness and hardships it represents. My love-hate story with America isn't new and essentially not exclusive to me.

“Sometimes I did the same abusing my power, full of resentment…”

It's hard to see America from different perspectives other than our own. We're a melting pot of culture. I won't say African-Americans are at the bottom of said pot, but we aren't the ones stirring it. Statistics have shown nearly 500 people have been killed at the hands of police officers since the beginning of the year (a hefty portion of those are African-Americans, people in crises or mentally ill people). Other studies also show that terror attacks inflicted on Americans ...read more

MLK Statue Will Replace White Supremacist On Georgia Capitol Grounds

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the country's most lauded citizens, will be finally honored by his home state with a sculpture on its capitol grounds.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus) announced this week that the state has selected artist Andy Davis to create the piece. The sculpture will be placed on the northeast quadrant of the Capitol grounds overlooking Liberty Plaza, replacing a likeness of 19th century politician and newspaperman Tom Watson, a white supremacist. Watson's statute was removed from the Georgia Capitol lawn in November 2013, reports local station WMAZ-13.

“Placing a statue of Dr. King at the Capitol of his home state is a long overdue honor,” Gov. Deal said in a statement. “I am confident that Andy Davis' past works, including a statue of Ray Charles in the singer's hometown of Albany, have prepared him well for this historic project. I commend Rep. Smyre for his diligent efforts and leadership on this project and I look forward to seeing the final work of art.”

The new statue will be built with private money. Its final cost has not yet been determined, though estimates amount to $350,000 reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Rep. Smyre, an African-American, said it was important that they chose a Georgian to do the piece. Lei Yixin, a Master sculptor from China, did King's Memorial on the U.S. mall in 2011.

...read more

Last Funeral For Victim of Charleston Shooting in Columbia

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The last of the victims of the Charleston church shooting to be eulogized was remembered Thursday as a man known by the nickname “Super,” who lived his life with a driving force to serve his fellow men and his God.

Family members, religious colleagues and school friends packed the pews Thursday at the Bethel AME church in Columbia for the funeral of the 74-year-old Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr.

Simmons is the last of the nine victims of the June 17 shootings at the predominantly black Charleston's Emanuel AME to be buried. They were shot at a Bible study Simmons regularly attended.

A white man, Dylann Storm Roof, faces nine counts of murder in the slayings.

During the course of his career with the AME church, Simmons served at or was a minister at eight AME churches in the state, his associates recalled.

“This man never rested. He always worked. He always had work to do,” said state Sen. John Scott, D-Columbia, in remarks at the funeral.

“He had a driving force to take care of other people,” Scott said.

Many of those attending were colleagues from Simmons' days at Allen University, where he earned an undergraduate degree in education administration. He earned a master's degree in social work from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, and a master's of divinity from the Lutheran Seminary in Columbia.

Simmons had worked as a counselor and teacher at the state's Department of Corrections and as a counselor with the Veterans Administration in Columbia. Speakers also recalled his varied days working as an insurance broker, a bus operator, and an active member of the AME church across the state.

One of his school fellows recalled they became great friends because they shared the same last name, but weren't related.

“Everyone called him “Super” because he was a super kind ...read more

Suspect in DC Mansion Slayings Fires His Defense Attorneys

WASHINGTON (AP) — A man accused in the slayings of a wealthy family and their housekeeper inside a Washington mansion fired his defense attorneys on Thursday and will once again be represented by public defenders.

Daron Wint, 34, made the decision at the start of a scheduled preliminary hearing, which was then postponed.

Wint was arrested in May, a week after the slayings of corporate executive Savvas Savopoulos; his wife, Amy; their 10-year-old son, Philip; and a housekeeper, Veralicia Figueroa. According to police, he held the family captive for 18 hours inside their mansion in a wealthy northwest Washington neighborhood. After he received a $40,000 ransom, police said, Wint beat and stabbed the victims to death, set their house on fire and fled in a Porsche belonging to the family.

Defense attorney Sean Hanover said he and Wint “had a difference of opinion” that led Wint to dismiss him and a colleague who was handling immigration matters. He did not detail what the disagreement was about.

Hanover also said he believes there are multiple people who were involved in the slayings who are still at large, and he said he thinks Wint was “set up,” although he did not elaborate. Police have said in court documents that they believe more than one person was involved in the elaborate crime, but no other suspects have been identified and no one else has been arrested.

“We have done a lot of investigation since we first got on this case,” Hanover said. “We believe he was set up.”

Hanover said Wint had expressed sorrow over the victims' deaths. One of the Savopouloses' daughters, 19-year-old Abigail, was in the courtroom on Thursday, watching stoically as Wint conferred with his attorneys and the judge. The daughter, who like her sister was away at boarding school at the time of the slayings, ...read more

June Jobs Report Shows Unemployment Down For African-Americans

The U.S. jobs report for June, 2015 was released today over all, things continue to go in the right direction in general. Even unemployment for African Americans edged down slightly to 9.5 percent from 10.2 percent in May, according to the US Dept. of Labor.

Unfortunately, Blacks still make up the largest unemployed sector. But overall, U.S. employers added a solid 223,000 jobs in June, and the unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent, a seven-year low.

The numbers show the job market moving close to full health and raising expectations that the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates as early as September.

On the one hand the overall June numbers are good news for President Obama, but of course it's a reminder that he's basically failed at lowering the unemployment rate for brothers and sisters, although it's not like he hasn't tried to push job creation and expansion before an apathetic Congress.

As Newsone pointed out, he touched on economic disparities in employment opportunities for Blacks during his eulogy for the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney in the wake of the massacre at Emanuel AME church in Charleston, S.C.

...read more

The White House Walks Back Higher Education Ratings After Meeting Resistance From Schools

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama dearly wanted to get the government in the business of rating colleges and universities based on value and affordability, promising a new system by 2015. Now that goal is shriveling under the weight of a concerted opposition from universities, lawmakers and bureaucrats in Obama's own administration.

Nearly two years after the president, standing before a crowd of 7,000 at the University at Buffalo, unveiled the bold proposal as a way to curb soaring college costs, his administration has quietly but drastically scaled back the initiative. No longer does the federal government intend to use a formula to score schools based on factors like price, average student debt and graduation rates, as Obama had envisioned.

Instead, the new tool will allow prospective students to decide which factors are important to them, then draw their own conclusions from the statistics. But officials couldn't point to any new statistics the tool will offer that aren't already available through existing government websites.

Abandoning the original plan marked the latest in a series of stumbles for Obama's education priorities. In his 2013 State of the Union address, Obama called for expanding access to pre-kindergarten to all American children, and in his 2015 address, he pushed a $60 billion plan to offer two years of free community college. Neither proposal has gained any traction.

The Education Department said it's still determining what the revised college tool will look like, but that it's still on track to roll it out by the start of the 2015-2016 academic year, roughly two months from now.

“It is anything but a retreat,” Education Department Undersecretary Ted Mitchell said in an interview. “It's a retooling and, we think, an advance on the original concept.”

Yet Obama's goal, as he described when he announced the plan in August 2013, was to create ...read more

EXCLUSIVE: Director Shan Nicholson Reveals How Gang Culture Sprouted Hip Hop In Documentary ‘Rubble Kings’

The key elements of hip-hop have been well documented over the years, but director Shan Nicholson uncovers the layers of what brought the genre into fruition by exploring the gang culture of the 60's and 70's in the brilliant 2015 documentary, “Rubble Kings.”

With hope, a Kickstarter fund and a little help from a Hollywood funny man, “Rubble Kings” was created over the span of eight years. Nicholson, a former DJ, spoke to NewsOne about the journey, hip-hop's true roots and how the current climate of social injustice regarding African-Americans mirrors the tales of yesteryear.

New York was often seen as many things between 1968 and 1975 — a gritty wanderlust of big business and culture was often one of them. Diving into the forefront of gang culture, Nicholson zeroes on ‘The Ghetto Brothers,' one of the biggest gangs in the Bronx. Ghetto Brothers leaders Carlos “Karate Charlie” Suarez and Benji “Yellow” Melendez, in comical and serious detail, paint a picture of the life that once took over the concrete jungle.

Early hip-hop pioneers like Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa, as well as gang members from beyond the Bronx also reflect on how the loss of one life prompted a borough-wide truce and later the block parties that helped grow what we know now as rap music.

The film, narrated by John Leguizamo, is executively produced by Jim Carrey. Nicholson says the Hollywood support was appreciated, but the process was a history lesson in its self. After speaking with Bronx historians, gang members, the women that stood by them and politicians like the late mayor Ed Koch, the director believed the story needed to be told.

“In the beginning we were totally under-financed but we believed in it and just grinded it out,” Nicholson told NewsOne. “I knew someone with a camera, they knew ...read more