July 16, 2015 Sandra Bland, the 28-year old Black woman from Naperville, Illinois who was arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer during a traffic stop in Waller County, Texas on July 10 and was found dead in a jail cell three days later, is the latest victim of police brutality against African American women, says Columbia Law School Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, a leading authority on how law and society are shaped by race and gender.
In honor of Bland, and to continue to call attention to violence against Black women in the U.S., the African American Policy Forum, the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia Law School, and Andrea Ritchie, Soros Justice Fellow and expert on policing of women and LGBT people of color, have updated a report first issued in May, 2015, “Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women.” The new version includes the circumstances around Bland’s suspicious death—which is being investigated by the Texas Rangers in coordination with the FBI—and documents stories of Black women who have been killed by police, shining a spotlight on forms of police brutality often experienced disproportionately by women of color.
Say Her Name is intended to serve as a resource for the media, organizers, researchers, policy makers, and other stakeholders to better understand and address Black women’s experiences of profiling and policing.“
Although Black women are routinely killed, raped, and beaten by the police, their experiences are rarely foregrounded in popular understandings of police brutality,” said Crenshaw, director of Columbia Law School’s Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies and co-author of the report. “Yet, inclusion of Black women’s experiences in social movements, media narratives, and policy demands around policing and police brutality is critical to effectively combatting racialized state violence for Black communities and other communities of color.”
In addition to stories of Black women who have been killed by police and who have experienced gender-specific forms of police violence, Say Her Name provides some analytical frames for understanding their experiences and broadens dominant conceptions of who experiences state violence and what it looks like.
“Black women are all too often unseen in the national conversation about racial profiling, police brutality, and lethal force,” said Ritchie, co-author of the report. “This report begins to shine a light on the ways that Black women are policed similar to other members of our communities, whether it’s police killings, ‘stop and frisk,’ ‘broken windows policing,’ or the ‘war on drugs.’ It also pushes open the frame to include other forms and contexts of police violence such as sexual assault by police, police abuse of pregnant women, profiling and abusive treatment of lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and gender nonconforming Black women, and police brutality in the context of responses to violence—which bring Black women’s experiences into even sharper focus.”
In 2015 alone, at least six Black women have been killed by or after encounters with police. For instance, just before Freddie Gray’s case grabbed national attention, police killed unarmed Mya Hall—a Black transgender woman—on the outskirts of Baltimore. Alleged to be driving a stolen car, Hall took a wrong turn onto NSA property and was shot to death by officers after the car crashed into the security gate and a police cruiser. No action has been taken to date with respect to the officers responsible for her death. In April, police fatally shot Alexia Christian while she was being handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser. And in March in Ventura, California, police officers shot and killed Meagan Hockaday—a young mother of three—within 20 seconds of entering her home in response to a domestic disturbance.
Say Her Name responds to increasing calls for attention to police violence against Black women by offering a resource to help ensure that Black women’s stories are integrated into demands for justice, policy responses to police violence, and media representations of victims and survivors of police brutality.
The brief concludes with recommendations for engaging communities in conversation and advocacy around Black women’s experiences of police violence, considering race and gender in policy initiatives to combat state violence, and adopting policies to end sexual abuse and harassment by police officers.
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A Report to the African American Policy Forum (AAPF) by the Institute for Women's Policy Research
This report was commissioned by the African American Policy Forum (AAPF) as part of a series highlighting issues confronting women and girls of color. This report uses information and data provided by the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force interim report (MBK90) and website in addition to other scholarly research to analyze the validity of the male-centric framework of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative and to provide information about the status of women and girls of color, comparing their situation with that of men and boys of color as well as with white females and males.
The African American Policy Forum (AAPF) is an innovative think tank that connects academics, activists and policy-makers to promote efforts to dismantle structural inequality.
The Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies.
New Analysis Finds Little Evidence to Support the Focus on Boys and Young Men of Color in the White House My Brother's Keeper Initiative
Ralph J. Bunche (1903-1971) was the first African American and the first person of color to win the Nobel Peace Prize, an honor he received in 1950 in recognition of his successful mediation of the Armistice Agreements between Arab nations and Israel. It was the first and only time in the long history of the Middle East conflict that peace agreements were signed by all of the nations involved. For almost two decades, as Undersecretary General of the United Nations, Bunche was celebrated worldwide for his contributions to humanity, particularly in the areas of peacekeeping, decolonization, human rights and civil rights. A little known fact is that Bunche was the chief drafter of the sections of the U.N. Charter that deal with trusteeship and decolonization at the San Francisco Conference of 1945. Some popular accounts of the 1965 Selma March also overlook the fact that an ailing Bunche joined arms with Martin Luther King to lead the procession. Bunche was valedictorian of UCLA’s Class of 1927, received his master’s degree in Political Science from Harvard in 1928, and for the next six years alternated between teaching at Howard University and working toward the doctorate at Harvard. He completed his dissertation in 1934 and did postdoctoral research in anthropology at Northwestern University, the London School of Economics, and Capetown University in South Africa.
Throughout his career, Bunche maintained strong ties to education and scholarly research. He chaired the Department of Political Science at Howard University from 1928 until 1950, a period in which his analysis of racial politics in American South made major contributions to one of the most significant 20th century books on race, An American Dilemma. He taught at Harvard University from 1950 to 1952; served as a member of the New York City Board of Education (1958-1964), as a member of the Board of Overseers of Harvard University (1960-1964), as a member of the Board of the Institute of International Education, and as a trustee of Oberlin College, Lincoln University, and New Lincoln School.
UCLA’s Center for African American Studies was renamed after Bunche in 2003, in commemoration of the centary of his birth. To learn more about the life and accomplishments of Ralph J. Bunche, please go to UCLA Library’s Ralph J. Bunche Virtual Exhibit.
There's a long history to the Emanuel African Methodist Espiscopal Church in Charleston, S.C., — affectionately known as "Mother Emanuel" — where nine churchgoers were allegedly shot and killed by 21-year-old Dylann Roof on Wednesday night (6/17/2015) in what authorities are calling a hate crime. In fact, this church has become a revered symbol of black resistance to slavery and racism.
It was founded in 1816 by a black pastor named Morris Brown, and it's the oldest black church still standing south of Baltimore. Booker T. Washington spoke there in 1909, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech of his own in 1962. In 1969, Coretta Scott King led a march from the church's front steps, advocating for higher pay for hospital workers.
But decades before Washington and King graced its halls, Mother Emanuel was also the spiritual refuge of Denmark Vesey, a former slave turned carpenter who bought his own freedom in 1799, after he won $1,500 from the Charleston lottery. He was described by many as a martyr, and became symbolic of the abolitionist movement. The church was burned to the ground in 1822 because of its association with Vesey.
The Two-Way 'Mother Emanuel' Church Suffers A New Loss In Charleston Vesey, who was reportedly born in 1757 in St. Thomas and brought to the U.S. by slave trader Captain Joseph Vesey at age 14, had planned a slave rebellion for June 16, 1822. He, and another carpenter named Peter Poyas, plotted to kill the city's white inhabitants, light its buildings on fire and escape to Haiti by boat. Vesey had even reached out to Haiti's leaders, hoping to gain military aid. The plan ultimately fell apart when a slave revealed Vesey's plans to his master. But had it been successful, writes David Robertson, author of Denmark Vesey: The Buried Story of America's Largest Slave Rebellion And The Man Who Led It, it "would have been the most violent" slave revolt on American soil.
Vesey's plans included enlisting the help of about 9,000 slaves to fight for him. His plans, Robertson writes, "could not have progressed as far as they did without the organization and membership of the African Methodist Episcopal Church." After Charleston's leaders closed the church's doors in 1818, Vesey persuaded many of its congregants to join him. And he preached often to them: he studied the Old Testament and Exodus — and believed that African Americans were the New Israelites, and that their enslavement would lead to punishment of death.
In 1861, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a staunch abolitionist and minister from Cambridge, Mass., wrote about Vesey's failed plot for The Atlantic. Higginson quoted one of the judges who ordered Vesey's execution: "It is difficult to imagine, what infatuation could have prompted you to attempt an enterprise so wild and visionary. You were a free man, comely, wealthy, and enjoyed every comfort compatible with your situation. You had, therefore, much to risk and little to gain."
Today, in the aftermath of Wednesday night's horrific killings in Emanuel AME, many are invoking Vesey's name. "No wonder Denmark Vesey planned a slave revolt," one person tweeted. "He was tired of black people being enslaved and persecuted."
Copyright 2015 NPR. Kate Chow |NPR To see more, visit npr.org
Read More @
Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church
The Incredible History of Charleston’s Emanuel A.M.E.: The Bravest Church in America
For Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church, shooting is another painful chapter in rich history
Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church
Denmark Vesey and His Co-Conspirators (pdf)
A Living Landmark: Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church isn’t just a church. It is a historic symbol of black resistance to slavery and racism
Charleston's Emanuel AME church has rich history
African slavery in the Americas has left indelible marks on the geographical, political, economic, social and cultural landscapes of the Americas. An important part of that indelibility is marronage that involved both flight from slavery and the establishment of free communities.
This book is about the struggles of enslaved Africans in the Americas who achieved freedom through flight and the establishment of Maroon communities in the face of overwhelming military odds on the part of the slaveholders. Incontestably, Maroon communities constituted the first independent polities from European colonial rule in the hemisphere, even if the colonial states did not accord them legal recognition. They had their own independent political, economic and social structures, and occupied definitive land spaces that they often contested with the colonial state and won. This study demonstrates how they utilized the natural landscape and modified it to guard their freedom, and also indicates the dangers that complacency, authoritarianism and militarism posed to that freedom.
Thompson reassesses several interpretations that have informed the discourse on marronage. While useful monographs exist on the subject, no study to date has attempted to provide the pan-American scope that is critical to understanding the role of marronage in the struggle of the hemisphere's enslaved population for freedom and dignity. Historians, political scientists, sociologists, ethnographers, linguists, archaeologists and other scholars specializing on the Americas or in comparative studies will find this work useful. The text is written in a way that makes it interesting and useful to students at the secondary and tertiary levels, and to the public at large. An earlier version of this manuscript received the Prizes of Caribbean Thought 2003-2004, Political Thought Category, Government of Quintano Roo, Mexico. ... amazon.com/Flight-Freedom-Runaways-Americas-Caribbean/dp/9766401802
Creativity and Resistance: Maroon Cultures in the Americas
Kenneth Bilby and Diana Baird N'Diaye
In 1739, more than 40 years before the United States won its war of independence with Britain, the British government, then among the most powerful in the world, concluded two peace treaties on the island of Jamaica. Those with whom the British treated were neither European generals nor Native American chieftains. They were, rather, enslaved Africans who had managed to escape plantations and form new societies in the wilderness. For nearly a century, these communities had waged a devastating war against the colonists from their strongholds in the Jamaican hills. Unable to defeat them, the British were forced to propose treaties recognizing the freedom that those they had once held in bondage had already seized, and granting them land and partial political autonomy.
The Jamaican treaties were not the first of their kind. Similar pacts had been made, for example, between colonial governments and communities of enslaved Africans in Hispaniola, Panama, Venezuela and Ecuador during the 16th century and in Mexico, Colombia and Brazil during the 17th century. Yet other treaties were to follow the Jamaican ones, such as those made in Dutch Guiana during the 18th century.
The story of the maroons (The authors have chosen to spell "maroon" in lower case when it is used to refer to individuals who escaped from slavery. It is capitalized only when used generically to refer to contemporary peoples or ethnic groups.)--as those who fled from bondage and their descendants became known--does not begin with these colonial treaties, but goes back to the very earliest days of European settlement and slavery in the Americas. In 1502, a mere 10 years after Columbus' first voyage, the first known African maroon escaped his captors and fled into the interior of the island of Hispaniola. No one can say with certainty when the first maroon community in the Americas was established, although there exists a written document confirming that by the early 1500s a settlement of Africans who escaped enslavement had already formed on Samaná, an island off the northeastern coast of Hispaniola (Price 1979: 419).
Over the next three and a half centuries, hundreds more such maroon communities were to emerge throughout the Americas, as slaves took their chances and broke away from the mines and plantations of the European colonizers in a bid for freedom and independence. Their exact numbers will never be known. The societies they created ranged in size from small bands of 10 or 20 individuals to powerful kingdoms with thousands of members, such as Palmares in Brazil, which spanned more than 1,000 square miles.
No colony in the Western Hemisphere, no slaveholding area, was immune to the growth of such alternative maroon societies. Wherever large expanses of inaccessible and uninhabited terrain permitted, as in the vast Guianese rainforest or the mountainous Jamaican interior, these communities proliferated. Even in the British North American colonies, and later the United States, where unoccupied yet habitable spaces were not as plentiful, more than 50 maroon settlements are known to have come into being between 1672 and 1864. We have no way of estimating how many others may have escaped the notice of historians.
In many ways the maroon experience is emblematic of broader processes that helped shape the Western Hemisphere. Not only were maroons in the forefront of resistance to slavery, they were among the first pioneers to explore and adapt to the more remote, unsettled spaces in both American continents and the Caribbean. Maroons were among the first Americans in the wake of 1492 to resist colonial domination, striving for independence, forging new cultures and identities, and developing solidarity out of diversity--processes which only later took place, on a much larger scale, in emerging nation-states. In the French colony of Saint-Domingue, maroons helped to launch the Haitian Revolution, which gave birth to one of the first independent republics in the Americas in 1804.
Although there is a large and growing body of scholarly writing about maroons based on solid archival research, relatively few people today are aware that such communities ever existed. Few history books used in schools in the United States give attention to the societies and cultures that maroons successfully built away from the plantations. The Smithsonian Institution 1992 Festival of American Folklife and the exhibition Creativity and Resistance: Maroon Cultures in the Americas are some of the few programs in the United States that celebrate the histories and cultures of maroons, whose heritage of creativity and resistance has been so much a part of the post-Columbian American landscape.>>read more @ folklife.si.edu/resources/maroon/educational_guide/10.htm
The Afro-descendant Theme in the Americas
There are approximately 200 million people of African descent in the Americas, yet, despite comprising one third of the region’s population, Afro-descendants are one of the most vulnerable minority groups in the hemisphere.
It should be noted that in the Declaration of Santiago and the Declaration of Durban, the American states recognized that people of African descent have to confront obstacles as a result of the social discrimination and prejudice that prevail in public and private institutions and also recognized that this is due to centuries of racism, racial discrimination and enslavement and of the denial by history of many of their rights This situation also results in a lack of recognition for the contribution of this group to the cultural heritage of the Americas.
The Latin America and Caribbean region is characterized by significant racial and ethnic diversity. However, Afro-descendants and indigenous populations experience disproportionate levels of poverty, discrimination, human rights abuses, social exclusion, poor political representation, and other barriers that hinder their development and capacity to compete on equal footing with the rest of the population in the region.
Income Generation and Employment
Latin America and the Caribbean, which is a result of limited access to the formal labor market, often due to lack of education and discrimination, and barriers in access to financial resources and entrepreneurship development. This is often made worse by unfavorable economic conditions in many areas with predominantly Afro-descendant and indigenous populations, which face stagnant market conditions and limited formal employment opportunities.
Isabel Wilkerson, whose parents were part of the Great Migration, details the mass exodus of African-Americans in her new book, The Warmth of Other Suns. The book weaves together three narratives of ordinary people — a sharecropper's wife, a surgeon and a farm worker — making their way from the South to an uncertain future up North.
During her research for the book, Wilkerson interviewed more than 1,000 people who made the migration from the South to Northern and Western cities. Interestingly, many of the people who Wilkerson encountered — who moved during the time period of 1915 to 1970 — had no idea that they were even part of the Great Migration.
"Sometimes they would even say, 'Well, I migrated from Texas to Los Angeles in 1947, would that mean that I was part of it?' And that would mean they were right smack in the middle of it. But they didn't see themselves as that, partly because these decisions were individual personal decisions," she explains. "And in some ways, to me, that's one of the inspiring and powerful things about the Great Migration itself. There was no leader, there was no one person who set the date who said, 'On this date, people will leave the South.' They left on their own accord for as many reasons as there are people who left. They made a choice that they were not going to live under the system into which they were born anymore and in some ways, it was the first step that the nation's servant class ever took without asking."
Isabel Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for her coverage as the Chicago bureau chief of The New York Times. She is a professor in the College of Communications at Boston University and has received the George S. Polk Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Journalist of the Year Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.
Read More after initial story posted above...
Interview Highlights On the Jim Crow laws in the South
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson devoted 15 years to the research and writing of The Warmth of Other Suns. She interviewed more than 1,200 people, unearthed archival works and gathered the voices of the famous and the unknown to tell the epic story of the Great Migration, one of the biggest underreported stories of the 20th Century and one of the largest migrations in American history.
The book was named to more than 30 Best of the Year lists, won the National Book Critics Circle Award, among other honors, and made national news when President Obama chose WARMTH for summer reading in 2011. In 2012, The New York Times named The Warmth of Other Suns to its list of the best nonfiction books of all time.
Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize for her work as Chicago Bureau Chief of The New York Times, making her the first black woman in the history of American journalism to win a Pulitzer Prize and the first African-American to win for individual reporting. She has appeared on national programs such as CBS' "60 Minutes," NPR's "Fresh Air" and PBS' "NewsHour" and "Charlie Rose Show." She had taught at Princeton University, Emory University and Boston University and has spoken at more than 100 universities in the United States and in Europe.
Learn more about Isabel Wilkerson