Thursday, February 26, 2009
Today, February 26, the United States Postal Service and Jackson State University is unveiling a stamp honoring two Civil Rights movement pioneers: Medgar Evers and Fannie Lou Hamer. Let's go buy some stamps!
Today is also Sisterdoc’s birthday. On this, the 44th anniversary of Jimmie Lee Jackson’s death, I use my birthday to memorialize him. His sacrifice propelled a chain of Civil Rights activist events that permits me, and millions of other Black folks, to truly live today.
Jimmie Lee Jackson was 26 years old, a church deacon, a hospital employee, and a recently discharged soldier. He desperately wanted to vote, and tried to register five times. He vowed to keep trying.
On February 18, 1965 Jimmie, his mother Viola Jackson, and her father (Jimmie’s grandfather) Cager Lee, age 82, walked over to Zion United Methodist Church in Marion, Alabama for a meeting. A Civil Rights worker was being held in the Marion city jail and the Black community was deeply concerned for his safety. Jimmie, his family, and others in the community left the church for the jail to engage in a peaceful “singing” protest—their plan was to direct their prayers and hymns toward jail.
The group was met at the jail by a barrier of city police, sheriff’s deputies, and Alabama state troopers. Minutes later, Alabama’s law enforcement decided that church folk singing for justice was a crime punishable by immediate death.
Jimmie and his family tried to get away from the police by ducking into a nearby café. Troopers followed them. They beat Cager with their billy clubs—battering his 82-year old body. Viola tried to shield her father, only to suffer the same brutality…somehow they both survived. As for Jimmie, state trooper James Bonard Fowler shot him twice in the stomach. Jimmie died on February 26, 1965.
On March 7, in response to Jimmie’s death, 600 Civil Rights activists marched to confront Gov. George Wallace to demand justice and equality in the name of Jimmie Lee Jackson and others. The marchers made it as far as Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge. The encounter with troopers became the infamous “Bloody Sunday” captured by television cameras and which was broadcast around the world.
One month after Jimmie’s death, on Thursday, March 25th, 25,000 activists marched to the Alabama state capitol. As a result, Pres. Lyndon Johnson would sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in August. Fowler denied Jimmie Lee Jackson the opportunity to see his octogenarian grandfather finally register to vote.
In 2005, Fowler admitted that he killed yet another Black man. He confessed, “This was a great big feller about 6 foot five. Big feller. He was black as it would be…His name was Johnny Johnson or something; I could never keep him straight from Jimmy Lee Jackson.” The man Fowler killed, on May 8, 1966, was Nathan Johnson, Jr. of Ensley, Alabama. Johnson was shot at point blank range three times in the chest.
In May 2007, Fowler was finally indicted for killing Jimmie. Fowler boasted: "I don’t think legally I could get convicted for murder now no matter how much politics they got ’cause after 40 years there ain’t no telling how many people is dead." In October 2008, Fowler's trial was postponed...justice awaits.
(Image: Jimmie Lee Jackson)
Monday, February 23, 2009
Strange But True #1: When you think of illegal trash dumping, most of us have images of old tires, garbage, perhaps some old appliances left in an overgrown lot somewhere. Not in Detroit. Last weekend, someone dumped ONE TON of frozen chickens in the MIDDLE of the city’s main street—Livernois. Imagine, riding down the street in your car, only to run into this mess. The chickens had been packed last year, and it seems they had spoiled (probably during one of the city’s many power outages). What’s pathetically funny about this incident is that it isn’t particularly unusual for the “D.” They Mayor said he hopes to bring a halt to such practices which happen all too frequently. Wow.
Strange But True #2: Imagine you are in your basement when you hear some burglars upstairs in your house. That is what happened to Patrick Rosario of Bellevue, Washington. But in a funny twist, it was the robbers who were “robbed.” Patrick called 911 as he quietly fled his home. When he got outside, he saw the burglars’ white Ford Windstar van—motor running—in his drive way. So, Patrick got in it and drove to a friend’s house up the street to wait for the police. When the thieves came out with Patrick’s 3 TVs, a computer, and jewelry, they found their wheels “stolen.” A witness said the men looked pretty “startled.” They had to take off running, leaving their loot behind. The police are looking for them…
Friday, February 20, 2009
By now we all know that Nadya Suleman has 14 babies. We all know that Nadya is not the most sympathetic figure. She is single, she has no job, and has no home of her own. She revealed that she was “obsessed” with having children, and underwent IVF treatment (a second time), after she already had 6 kids. Of her original six children, one is autistic, another has ADHD, and a third has mild autism.
If all that sounds incredible, what is crazier is that complete strangers have been sending Suleman death threats. These are potential murders intent on making 14 children orphans. Really?!
When these wackos couldn’t get near Suleman, they went after a public relations firm that was managing her media appearances. The Killeen Furtney Group had to end its relationship with Suleman after they received a bunch of emailed threats, 100+ graphically violent and potentially credible in their promise to kill members of the PR firm. The firm also got slammed with nasty phone messages. The hateful people also called the firm’s other clients, even threatening them!
That’s a lot of venom. What’s up with this?
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Prince Harry is being sent off to “equality and diversity” school, and none too soon. A few weeks ago, it came out that Prince Charles’ maybe baby--Harry looks a lot like Lady Di’s “special friend” James Hewitt-- likes to use racist language. In a video recently leaked, Harry can be heard calling an Asian, fellow squaddie a “Paki.” Racist! He teases another soldier about looking like a “rag head.” Racist, racist! In 2005, Harry went to a party dressed as a Nazi and wearing a swastika. Racist, racist, racist!!!
It seems Harry gets his hate through nurture and/or nature by way of his grandfather Prince Philip. In 2008, Philip is reported to have said he thought “Eastern women just sit around smoking pipes and eating all day.” In 2006, he is reported to have expressed the belief that the presence of Romanian orphanages is no mistake: “there’s so many over there you feel they breed them just to put them in orphanages.” In 2002, he wondered aloud if Australian Aborigines “still throw spears at each other.” In 1986, Philip warned British students visiting China to leave the country with the quickness or else they would end up “all slitty-eyed.” RACIST!!!!
Harry was recently promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, and claims he is committed to fighting the “war on terror.” From where I sit, he is the real terror.
(Image: Harry and Hewitt)
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I declare that for the next four years, linking monkeys with the Obama administration is off limits! It is a "Nipsey Russell-Gong Moment" for me. That is, it just doesn't feel right. I shouldn't be forced to get into arguments about when it is ok to associate monkeys with anything that has to do with Blackness versus when it is not. Spare us all--just leave monkeys out of it.
What is a “Nipsey Russell-Gong Moment?” Three decades ago, the great entertainer Nipsey Russell was a guest judge on The Gong Show. On one episode, a White male ventriloquist appeared as a contestant. His dummy was white, but he (inexplicably) sloppily painted it brown, hence, it looked a bit like blackface. As the man told bad, though not racist jokes, Russell gonged him. Russell explained that he gonged the man because something just wasn’t right. Sometimes things just feel wrong. If you get that feeling, don’t doubt yourself. Just gong ‘em!
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Sisterdoc has been growing her dredlocs (nothing "dreadful" about them) for more than a hot minute now…about seven years. Apart from thinking that those cheap “pack hair” hair weaves look atrocious, I won’t begrudge any sistah for how she gets her style on. I know some of you love the straight-as-a-board silky hair. If so, check out dominicanblowout.com. I read an article about Dominican stylists in the U.S. giving a chemical-free blowout that gets kinky/curly hair smooth as glass. It is supposed to be an all-natural process—just conditioner—no oil, no grease. It should last until you wash it, get it wet, sweat it out, or whatever.
Back in the day, I used to train it up to 135th Street in Harlem with one of my SisterGirlfriends so that she could get her hair relaxed “by the Dominicans.” The beauty shop, and others on the block, had signs in the window trumpeting “Dominican relaxer here!” Their relaxers were supposed to be over-fierce…getting hair straighter for longer. The beauticians also had good PR, invoking a proximity to “the motherland” as a source of their special expertise. Black women seeking a hair miracle would line up at the crack of dawn to get their ‘do did…and it wasn’t very expensive.
Interestingly, the secret to the blowout is some sort of Italian conditioner concoction. Ah, a multicultural effort is in play here.
Let’s hope this new hotness keeps your locks ever lovely. Peace y’all.