Honor Juneteenth By Closing The Racial Wealth Divide

Khalil Bendib / OtherWords.org

By Jessicah Pierre for Other Words – On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas. They carried some historic news: Slavery had finally and completely ended, they declared. All of America’s enslaved people were now free, some two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. That day in June would soon become “Juneteenth,” a holiday still celebrated in communities across the United States. African Americans have now been free from slavery for over 150 years. Over the course of those years, the United States has made some appreciable and even impressive progress. In 1964, passage of the Civil Rights Act toppled Jim Crow. A year later, the Voting Rights Act challenged discriminatory voting laws. We’ve even seen the election — and re-election — of the nation’s first black president. So why, amid all this progress, does the Juneteenth holiday still resonate so powerfully for so many Americans Because Juneteenth reminds us how far we have yet to go. Racial inequality remains one of the top issues of our time. Black households, research shows, continue to lag economically behind their white counterparts, in both income and wealth.

The Invisible Threads Of Gender, Race, And Slavery

Enslaved African Americans hoe and plow the earth and cut piles of sweet potatoes on a South Carolina plantation, circa 1862-3 (Image courtesy of Library of Congress).

By Sasha Turner for Black Perspectives – On March 24, 2017 the United Nations commemorated its ten-year anniversary for the International Day of Remembrance honoring the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. This year, the theme chosen for the commemoration is “Remember Slavery: Recognizing the Legacy and Contributions of People of African Descent.” In the keynote address, delivered by Lonnie Bunch, the founding director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture urgently called on us to be vigilant in recognizing the ways in which the legacy of slavery continues today. Cloaking the history of slavery in silence, Bunch argues, permits the violence of slavery to live on, dishonoring the struggles, losses, and strength experienced by our ancestors. It is fitting that the UN-designated International Day of Remembrance falls on March 25, coinciding with Women’s History Month. Indeed, any attempt to remember the enslavement of African peoples is incomplete without considering women’s experiences in slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.

Lost Manuscript Contains Eyewitness Account Of Tulsa Race Massacre Of 1921


By Allison Keyes for Smithsonian – The manuscript, “The Tulsa Race Riot and Three of Its Victims,” by B.C. Franklin was recovered from a storage area in 2015 and donated to the African American History Museum. (NMAAHC), Gift from Tulsa Friends and John W. and Karen R. Franklin) An Oklahoma lawyer details the attack by hundreds of whites on the thriving black neighborhood where hundreds died 95 years ago. The ten-page manuscript is typewritten, on yellowed legal paper, and folded in thirds. But the words, an eyewitness account of the May 31, 1921, racial massacre that destroyed what was known as Tulsa, Oklahoma’s “Black Wall Street,” are searing. “I could see planes circling in mid-air.

Race, History And The #ScienceMarch

A pro-science sign at the Women's March in New York, January 21, 2017. (Photo: MTSOfan / Flickr)

By Christopher F. Petrella for Black Perspectives – Donald Trump is an anti-science president. In fact, his entire raison d’être — perhaps unsurprisingly — stands at cross-purposes with the scientific method, systematic inquiry, and even the basic notion of evidentiary support. In the few days since his inauguration, Trump has already prohibited scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from speaking to the public about their research. Moreover, the White House recently expunged U.S. National Park Service (NPS) Twitter content highlighting the threat of climate change. In the wake of Trump’s dictates, concerned scientists have taken to social media to plan a protest in Washington, DC…

Pondiscio Exposes Split In Ed Reform Camps Over Role Of Race

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By John Thompson for Living In Dialogue – Although I wouldn’t spend too much time eavesdropping on the civil war between liberal and conservative reformers, it is fun to periodically check it out. The first of the loudest shots in their internecine conflict was issued by Fordham’s Robert Pondiscio in the aptly titled post “The Left’s Drive to Push Conservatives Out of Education Reform.” He condemned “social justice warriors” who “no longer feel any compunction about accusing their conservative brethren of racism and worse.”

America’s Racial Wealth Divide Is Nothing Short Of Shocking

“Suffocating Black Wealth,” an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib

By Dedrick Asante-Muhammad and Chuck Collins for Other Worlds – Most media coverage of racial injustice has understandably focused on our country’s unfair policing and criminal justice system. But to fully understand the current reality of racial inequality in America, we also need to take an honest look at our nation’s shocking wealth disparities. Wealth — the total assets a family owns after the bills are paid — is the safety net we all need to help us get through the tough times and invest in our futures. And its polarization along racial lines is striking.

Rejecting Postracialism: Whiteness, Morality And Decency

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By Richard Raber for Daily Maverick – Beginning with the contention that most white people view racism conceptually as bad, evil or at least something that is undesirable to be associated with, it is disheartening to see so much support for reactionary #AllLivesMatter, #BlueLivesMatter and similar postracial rhetoric from ostensibly decent people. White America must seek to understand our own existence and its relation to the lived realities of both others and ourselves.

America’s Huge Racial Wealth Gap Is No Accident

Ellie / Flickr

By Josh Hoxie for Other Worlds – Party platforms are dense and often morosely boring documents filled with wonkish policy proposals and partisan jeers at the other side. At over 40 pages, this year’s Democratic Party platform lives up to its predecessors in length and ennui. However, it also includes a section not yet seen in platforms from either side: an acknowledgement of the racial wealth gap.

The President Is Wrong About Dallas, Wrong About Race

President Obama observes a ceremony to honor NATO soldiers at the NATO summit in Warsaw on Friday. (photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

By William Boardman for Reader Supported News – hat the President expressed is a conventional wisdom meme, and it is both inadequate and false in so many ways, but it reflects the unhealthy American zeitgeist all too well. Probably this argument will offend some people, but its purpose is to get beyond the popular willingness to be offended and get to a more considered place of comprehension. But first we have to find our way out the mental squirrel cage that keeps our public discourse from viewing our country, our world, and even ourselves with any kind of healthy sense of wholeness and interconnectedness.

Being Black Still Barrier To Rural Cooperative Board Membership


By John Farrell for ILSR – In 32 years, little has changed for electric cooperatives in the South. A recent study published by The Rural Power Project shared results of a similar survey (of 313 cooperative boards) and found just 90 blacks among the 3,000 board members. This 4% proportion of African American board leadership is in states where the black population represents more than 22% of the total. The disparity is even higher between men and women, with men representing 90% of board members but only half the population.

Not Much Difference In Recent Years, But Over 40 Years Blacks Make Progress

The civil rights leader Martin Luther KI

By Jesse J. Holland for Associated Press – African-Americans are doing about the same as they have in previous years as the nation rises out of the Great Recession, and much better than they did when its first “State of Black America” report came out 40 years ago, the National Urban League said Tuesday. The new report, “Locked Out: Education, Jobs & Justice,” looks at how blacks and Hispanics have been doing in the United States over the last few years and how they were doing in 1976, the year the National Urban League began issuing its annual report.

Black Study, Black Struggle

Christopher Metzger

By Robin D. G. Kelley for Boston Review – In the fall of 2015, college campuses were engulfed by fires ignited in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. This is not to say that college students had until then been quiet in the face of police violence against black Americans. Throughout the previous year, it had often been college students who hit the streets, blocked traffic, occupied the halls of justice and malls of America, disrupted political campaign rallies, and risked arrest to protest the torture and suffocation of Eric Garner…

UN Panel Recommends Changes To U.S. School Discipline

Black children playing

By Evie Blad for Education Week – A panel of experts convened by the United Nations has recommended changes to U.S. school discipline, including the removal of police from schools, to equitable treatment of black youths. The U.N. working group of experts on people of African descent visited various cities around the United States in January, hearing testimony from experts and advocacy groups about equity concerns in areas like criminal justice, housing, and education. Those included student groups who’ve pushed for a reduction in zero-tolerance discipline policies in schools and a South Carolina student who was arrested for protesting her classmate’s violent arrest…

How Economics And Race Drive America’s Great Divide

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By Lynn Parramore for Institute for New Economic Thinking – In the America of haves and have-nots, fewer folks are “movin’ on up” like George Jefferson of the classic sitcom. In a new paper for the Institute for New Economic Thinking, Peter Temin, MIT economist and economic historian, breaks down how it happened and where we’re headed with a powerful model first used by West Indian economist W. Arthur Lewis, the only person of African descent to win a Nobel Prize in economics. Dual economies are common in less developed countries, but Temin argues that America has now diverged into a top thirty percent, where children receive excellent educations and grow up to work in sectors like finance, technology and electronics industries (FTE)…

Does U.S. Farm Policy Have A Race Problem?

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By Steve Holt for Occupy – When it comes to the disparities within the food system, the numbers are pretty stark. The 10 largest mega-corporations generate $450 million annually in food sales. These companies’ CEOs earn, on average, 12 times what their workers make. Of those food workers, women of color make less than half of the salaries of their male counterparts and are far more likely to need nutrition assistance than workers in other industries. Black farmers have lost 80 percent of their land since 1920, while large-scale and corporate farms make nearly half the agricultural sales—despite accounting for less than five percent of all farms.