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Race & Ethnicity

Race & Ethnicity

Milt Priggee | Selma at 50 / media.cagle.com

Milt Priggee | Selma at 50 / media.cagle.com

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Series | Race and Civil Rights in ‘The Nation’: Part I: From the Memphis riots of 1866 to the first anti-lynching conference, in New York City, in 1919.

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  • In this installment: A multimedia timeline presenting the history of the struggle for racial justice, from 1865 to 1919.
  • The Problem of Race in America, March 10, 2015

Research by Richard Kreitner, Design by Stacie Williams, The Nation

37900/37947v.jpgFebruary 10, 2015 |  The pursuit of racial justice and civil rights by Americans of color has been central to The Nation since the magazine’s founding just after the Civil War. Started by abolitionists as a successor to William Lloyd Garrison’s militant anti-slavery paper, The Liberator—it inherited his subscription list—the publication later turned against Reconstruction before being rescued by a founder of the NAACP and pointed in the right direction. Ever since, it has covered and promoted the civil-rights movement and published dazzling essays by some of the most important figures of the 20th century—from James Baldwin’s first-ever article to Martin Luther King’s annual reports in the 1960s. Today, it continues to discover new writers and expand the terms of the debate. To mark The Nation’s 150th anniversary, this interactive timeline will include 150 important events in the history of the movement for racial justice as seen in the pages of The Nation.

The first installment, 1865-1919, is here. 

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Related:

The Problem of Race in America, March 10, 2015Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 

  • The belief that whites are inherently superior to other races and therefore should dominate society is as American as apple pie. It is an idea that has caused much pain and suffering in the world, is an artifact of “white culture,” but still plays a role in American society.
  • Part 1: The New Racism - This is How the Civil Rights Movement Ends.
  • Part 2: Selma’s white supremacy legacy: What America must reckon with today

The Ugly, Racist, Deadly History of the Greek System

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  • "The Greek letter system is talked about as though it's full of good, upstanding young gentleman and then there's these bad apples that are unique," Matthew Hughey, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut, said. "While that may be true at some chapters, it turns the conversation into a matter of good versus bad, and ignores all the ugly that surrounds the whole system."
  • Part 1: Sigma Alpha Epsilon vs. Broke Phi Broke
  • Part 2: Deadliest and Most Racist? The Ugly, Racist, Deadly History of Sigma Alpha Epsilon

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: Sigma Alpha Epsilon vs. Broke Phi Broke

Any sane society would see such people (the Greek system), along their rituals and gatherings, as inherently parasitic, an unnecessary hangover from an era that was pathetically trying to ape the traditions of a useless and needlessly entitled aristocracy. 

Alexander Billet, Red Wedge Magazine

1426225067448/?format=500wMarch 13, 2015 | And so it begins. Many of us knew it would almost as soon as the news broke. It is, after all, about as inevitable as it is ridiculous, and it's very, very, very ridiculous: the blaming of Black culture for white racism. That's a blunt description but it's certainly apt when it comes to what transpired on MSNBC's insufferable Morning Joe earlier this week. Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski and guest Bill Kristol think that Waka Flocka Flame is a hypocrite for canceling a performance at Oklahoma University after the video leaked of the university's Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity singing about how "there will never be a n*gger SAE" and that the brothers would sooner see said "n*gger" "hanging from a tree."

Brzezinski seems confused as to whether Waka Flocka's songs are actually songs. Kristol appears bothered that major corporations are allowed to profit off of these songs (as if he ever had any problem making money of the tripe he peddles as original thought). And Scarborough wants to remind us that the majority of people who buy hip-hop records in the US are white; therefore they couldn't possibly hear such awful words at home but rather are being corrupted by amoral, violent, depraved rap artists.

"Atonal Notes" is Red Wedge editor Alexander Billet's blog on music, poetry and Marxist aesthetic theory. 

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Part 2: Deadliest and Most Racist? The Ugly, Racist, Deadly History of Sigma Alpha Epsilon

A detailed analysis of fraternity deaths by Bloomberg last year found that SAE is the country’s deadliest, and it is often accused of promoting a culture that helps lead to campus sexual assault and hazing.  

Jake New, Inside Higher Education

150313_HIED_SAEHistory.jpg.CROP.original-original.jpgMarch 10, 2015 | Two months before the Civil War began, Noble Leslie DeVotie was boarding a steamship when he slipped, fell into the waters of Mobile Bay and drowned.

DeVotie was one of the founders of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, the only national fraternity founded in the antebellum South. A chaplain at Alabama's Fort Morgan at the time of his death, he became the fraternity’s -- and some argue, the country's -- first Civil War casualty. Nearly 75 other SAE members would die before the war’s end, the vast majority of them fighting for the Confederate South. When the survivors returned home, many found their universities burned to the ground and the 15 chapters of the fraternity in ruins.

Jake New, Reporter, covers student life and athletics for Inside Higher Ed. He joined the publication in June 2014 after covering education technology for eCampus News and interning at The Chronicle of Higher Education. For his work at the Chronicle covering legal disputes between academic publishers and critical librarians, he was awarded the David W. Miller Award for Young Journalists.

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The Problem of Race in America, March 10, 2015

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  • The belief that whites are inherently superior to other races and therefore should dominate society is as American as apple pie. It is an idea that has caused much pain and suffering in the world, is an artifact of “white culture,” but still plays a role in American society.
  • Part 1: The New Racism - This is How the Civil Rights Movement Ends.
  • Part 2: Selma’s white supremacy legacy: What America must reckon with today

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: The New Racism - This is How the Civil Rights Movement Ends

The South, where 55 percent of America's black population lives, is increasingly looking like a different country. Fewer children can read; more adults have HIV; its residents suffer from the shortest life expectancies of any in the United States. Six of the eleven states that made up the former Confederacy are at the bottom.

Jason Zengerle, New Republic

Clay Jones

August 10, 2014 | Long before he became the most powerful man in the Alabama Senate, before he controlled billions of dollars in state money and had lobbyists, governors, and future presidents seeking his favor, Hank Sanders used newspapers and magazines as bathroom tissue. His mother would collect periodicals from the wealthy white family whose house she cleaned and bring them back for Sanders and his brothers and sisters. There were 13 children, all told, and they lived with their parents in a three-room shack that their father had built out of one-by-eight boards among the tall pines and chinaberry trees in Blacksher, a speck of a town 50 miles north of Mobile.

This was Alabama in the 1950s, when Jim Crow reigned and a governor's race was determined by which candidate managed to secure the endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan. Life in Baldwin County, where Blacksher was located, may have been marginally less horrid for its black residents than in other parts of the state: The county's last lynching had occurred in 1919 and some of the white men who perpetrated it had even gone to prison. But there were certain realities by which Sanders, as a black child, knew he must abide. He knew not to spend any of the money he earned picking cotton on the six-ounce bottles of Coca-Cola at the drugstore; those were only for white customers, and a black person who tried to buy one risked more than just being refused service. He also knew not to look in the direction of a white woman. The one time he did, the woman's male companion threatened to whip him, and probably would have had Sanders's mother, a strong-willed woman named Ola Mae, not intervened. For Sanders, the fact that there was no electricity or running water in his house-to say nothing of toilet paper-was far less distressing than the constant threat of danger.

Jason Zengerle is a senior editor at the New Republic.

Full story … 



Part 2: Selma’s white supremacy legacy: What America must reckon with today

The 50th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday" requires us to confront some very ugly ideas and history -- starting here.

Ronald J. Sheehy, Salon

selma_obama.jpgBarack Obama participates in a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, March 7, 2015. (Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Monday, Mar 9, 2015 | While this weekend America paused to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” where civil rights protesters and Alabama police confronted each other at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma Alabama, we should not forget that an all-white police force was protecting the established racial order dictated by the idea of white supremacy. In order to put in perspective the progress made as well as the current challenges around the question of race, we have to interrogate and confront the idea of white supremacy.

As George Santayana reminded us, “Those who cannot learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”

The belief that whites are inherently superior to other races and therefore should dominate society is as American as apple pie. It is an idea that has caused much pain and suffering in the world, is an artifact of “white culture,” but still plays a role in American society.

Ronald J. Sheehy, a molecular biologist, accreditation official, and now retired university administrator, is the author of Affirmative Action Revisited recently published in Diversity: Issues in Higher Education, and a memoir, Possibilities: A Search for Personal Liberation.

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Building the First Slavery Museum in America

‘Is it an art gallery? A plantation tour? A museum? It’s almost this astonishing piece of performance art, and as great art does, it makes you stop and wonder.’

David Amsden, New York Times

Thanks to Evergreene Digest reader Wayne Hornicek for this contribution.

magazine/01slave_ss-slide-7QVS/01slave_ss-slide-7QVS-articleLarge.jpgJohn Cummings (right), the Whitney Plantation’s owner, and Ibrahima Seck, its director of research, in the Baptist church on the grounds. Credit Mark Peckmezian for the New York Times

Feb. 26, 2015 | Louisiana’s River Road runs northwest from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, its two lanes snaking some 100 miles along the Mississippi and through a contradictory stretch of America. Flat and fertile, with oaks webbed in Spanish moss, the landscape stands in defiance of the numerous oil refineries and petrochemical plants that threaten its natural splendor. In the rust-scabbed towns of clapboard homes, you are reminded that Louisiana is the eighth-poorest state in the nation. Yet in the lush sugar plantations that crop up every couple of miles, you can glimpse the excess that defined the region before the Civil War. Some are still active, with expansive fields yielding 13 million tons of sugar cane a year. Others stand in states of elegant rot. But most conspicuous are those that have been restored for tourists, transporting them into a world of bygone Southern grandeur — one in which mint juleps, manicured gardens and hoop skirts are emphasized over the fact that such grandeur was made possible by the enslavement of black human beings.

Southern%20Plantation%20Slave%20Cabins.jpgJohn Cummings bought these cabins from another plantation to replace the ones at Whitney, which were destroyed in the 1970s  Mark Peckmezian for the New York Times

On Dec. 7, the Whitney Plantation, in the town of Wallace, 35 miles west of New Orleans, celebrated its opening, and it was clear, based on the crowd entering the freshly painted gates, that the plantation intended to provide a different experience from those of its neighbors. Roughly half of the visitors were black, for starters, an anomaly on plantation tours in the Deep South. And while there were plenty of genteel New Orleanians eager for a peek at the antiques inside the property’s Creole mansion, they were outnumbered by professors, historians, preservationists, artists, graduate students, gospel singers and men and women from Senegal dressed in traditional West African garb: flowing boubous of intricate embroidery and bright, saturated colors. If opinions on the restoration varied, visitors were in agreement that they had never seen anything quite like it. Built largely in secret and under decidedly unorthodox circumstances, the Whitney had been turned into a museum dedicated to telling the story of slavery — the first of its kind in the United States.

David Amsden is a novelist and journalist who lives in New Orleans and Brooklyn. 

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