On the same day that The New York Times issued a report that The U.S. Department of Justice has determined that The Ferguson Police Department is guilty of a pattern of racial abuses that include Excessive Force, Unwarranted Traffic Stops, Petty Citations, Unjustified Searches, Prolonged Imprisonment & other Discriminatory Practices, we observe the 24 Year Anniversary of The Infamous Rodney King Beating. Both were landmark cases that brought attention to the abuse of power that WE so often tried to tell the rest of the world about. Rodney King was beaten, in what may have been the most shocking piece of video ever, by four LAPD Officers on March 3rd 1991. A bystander caught the beating on tape, and the rest is history. Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind, Theodore Briseno, and Stacey Koon would be acquitted in the beating-which several days of rioting. Now today we find ourselves again trying to convince the masses that there's something not quite right about the deaths of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell & countless others. Relive this moment with us. Remember Rodney King & Fight back against the system. Nothing will change, unless WE make it change.
often I tell my kids that we should strive to learn something new Every single day. For me personally, today brought the discovery of Inventor Richard B. Spikes. Largely unknown, Spikes invented and/or patented the Automatic Gear Shift, The Automatic Safety Brake, Automobile Directional Signals, The Continuous Contact Trolley Pole and several other items that we daily use to get from Point a to Point b. Outside the realm of transportation, Richard Spikes is also credited with invented/patenting the Beer Keg Tap, The Multi barrel Machine Gun, The Horizontally-Swinging Barber Chair & bringing at least eight other innovations for the world. Spikes Beer Keg Tap was purchased by The Milwaukee Brewing Company & his Directional Signals picked up for use in the Pierce Arrow. His transmission & Gear-Shifting innovations were used industry wide from the 1930's on. Sadly Richard Spikes began losing his eyesight while working on the Safety Brake in 1962. So to adapt, he then invented a drafting device that would allow other blind engineers to use going forward. Richard B. Spikes died in 1963. We at The Wandering Eyes Blog salute his memory & legacy.
Think about him next time you get in the car & shift into motion.
Boxing has only seen 23 Undisputed Heavyweight Champions of The World in all of its history-and none since 1999. Floyd Patterson & Muhammad Ali did it multiple times; but NO ONE made an IMPACT like a young Mike Tyson. having become the first to win the WBA, WBC & IBF Titles Belts in 1987, Tyson scored huge victories over Larry Holmes, Tony Tubbs & Michael Spinks in 1988, one has to place 1989 as his final year of true dominance. Unfortunately for British Boxer Frank Bruno, he came in line for a championship bout before Don King, Robin Givens & the homies drained Iron Mike of his spirit. Enjoy the Carnage.
Visuals courtesy of Our Brother Rasool M. Hashim-Ruffin, The DCDrama Magazine/Atlanta Inc's BEHIND THE LENS department pays homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his lovely wife Coretta. They were not only soldiers of LOVE, but two of the most eloquent human beings of their time.May we never forget the sacrifices those before us made.
In moments of reflection, concerning many of today's Social & Political crises, one often finds that lessons taught to us decades ago still remain ever so relevant. In the past, We at The Wandering Eyes Blog have featured lectures from such great minds as Dr. John Henrick Clarke, Dr. Neely Fuller, Kwame Ture aka Stokely Carmichael, Dr. Joy Degruy, Dr. Umar Johnson & more. So adding to that divine lineage of scholars, we now point to the teachings of Dr. Chancellor Williams. Dr. Williams is credited with having journeyed to 26 different parts of Africa to study the true his of The Oppressed-and most importantly-what was happening in The Motherland prior to Invasion/Exploitation by European & Arabian forces. For those not familiar with the works of Dr. Chancellor Williams, please take time to listen to the videos posted below; and then go out & purchase you a copy of "The Destruction of Black Civilization." Born the son of a slave, Dr. Williams elevated himself to become one of the greatest minds this world has ever known. We Salute You Dr. Chancellor Williams!!!
OVER THE LAST 82 YEARS, DICK GREGORY HAS SEEN IT ALL & NEVER STOPPED FIGHTING... HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO A LEGEND & PIONEER.
Pioneering Comedian, Public Speaker, Activist, AUTHOR, ENTREPRENEUR, NutriTIonist & MORE...
Born on October 12th 1932, Richard "Dick" Gregory helped changed the mold of what was Expected/Accepted from Black Comedians in the 1950's & 60's. His rise into the National comedy Scene came on 1961, when Hugh Hefner personally requested his to perform at Chicago's Playboy Club. Within the next year, he was being booked all over the country.
Dick Gregory used his growing popularity to bring attention to the plight of The Civil Rights Movement (poverty, oppression, Voting rights, Violence, Segregation, etc). When Mississippi Local Officials stopped distributing Federal food surpluses to poor blacks, as punishment for SNCC efforts to increase voter registration, Gregory chartered a plane to bring in several tons of food to aid the citizenry. The Vietnam War, Hunger, Drug Abuse, Terrorism, Governmental Corruption & Imperialism came into Mr. Gregory's focus, as comedy soon found itself on the back burner. Protest Speeches & Hunger Strikes were now the weapons employed to get the message to the masses. Mr. Gregory also ran against Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley in 1966 & ran for President of The United States in 1968. Brother Dick Gregory was one of the first to fight back against The CIA, when reports began surfacing that the agency was responsible for the flood of Crack Cocaine that entered the country in the Mid-1980's. He was even already on the streets on St. Louis-as early as 1992-with The "Campaign For Human Dignity." He has also published five books since 1964. Today We Salute Brother Dick Gregory, on his 82nd BornDay. If You don't know about him, Learn About Him. Here's a couple of Speeches to get You Started...
A little known Titan of the Civil Rights Movement, Fannie Lou Hamer dodged bullets & enduring savage beatings in her quest to secure the right to voting & proper education for her people. The the youngest of 20 children, Fannie Lou Townsend was born to poor sharecroppers in rural Montgomery County, Mississippi October 6,1917. At the age of 37 Hamer became a Field Operative for The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, working to aid Black Citizens in passing the infamous Voter registration Tests used in The South to suppress the Black Vote. She herself had to take the test three times, before finally passing. Legend has it that, as a sign of her unwavering determination-upon failing the test the first time, that she would be back every 30 days until she passed. In 1961, Fannie Lou Hamer became a victim of what we now know to have been a common practice of conspiring to sterilize Black Men & Women in the Jim Crow Era South. She had went to a local hospital for a minor procedure; but unknowingly was given a hysterectomy. Doctors initially told her she had a tumor; but upon finding out the horrible truth, was told that it was done out of kindness. This practice, known as a “Mississippi appendectomy," was said to have performed on six out of every ten Black women during that time.
By 1963, Fannie Lou Hamer had risen to the forefront of the struggle, having assisted in registering more than 60,000 Black citizens to vote in Mississippi. Invited to speak at The 1964 Democratic National Convention, she would take this opportunity to bring attention to the dangers voter Activists faced in fighting for true democracy. In 1963, she and her fellow workers were arrested for attempting to eat a Mississippi Bus Station. While in jail, she would be severely beaten by two male inmates-forced to do so by the prison guards in charge. As a result, she suffered permanent kidney damage, a blood clot in her left eye, and would forever walk with a limp. Incidentally, then President Lyndon Johnson attempted to stop the world from hearing her speech, by scheduling a now-dubious press conference intended to draw the news networks coverage away from her. The action backfired, as her speech became an even bigger story for several more days & weeks. Continuously undeterred, Fannie Lou Hamer NEVER stopped her Fight for Freedom. In 1972, she would be honored by The Mississippi House of Representatives. She also received Honorary PH. Ds from Howard University and other schools.
The fight continues on in her name... On October 4th, The Fannie Lou Hamer Democratic Coalition of St. Louis County released a lengthy signed declaration on the unjust & unequal treatment of the Black Population in Missouri and other places. The statement goes as following:
"We are united and determined to end the political forces that have never recognized our humanity, nor cared about our welfare. We are committed to put in place true inclusion and effective participation in the political process.
The history of disparate treatment of the African-American citizens of St. Louis County dates back to the first African-American residents of St. Louis County. There exists in St. Louis County a disrespect for African Americans. Nowhere is that more evident than in the political system of St. Louis County. In every area of civil society we have examined, we have found the relationship between the African-American community and St. Louis County to be both inequitable and unjust. African-American political leaders can no longer be oblivious to the obvious.
Any superficial examination will lead even the most casual observer to the conclusion that there is a systemic, structural hostility to the very idea of African-American participation as full citizens in the civil society of St. Louis County. There are many exceptional individuals who are not of color, who have been on the frontline in the fight for social justice. Our charge is made against the structural nature of this situation which mitigates these individual efforts.
The most egregious power of any government is the power to deprive citizens of their freedom. The civil justice system has been designed with the intent to disenfranchise African Americans and rob them of their hard earned income. Some St. Louis County municipalities have criminalized not only driving while black, but also being black and poor.
Also, the gross underrepresentation of African Americans on the county and municipal police forces is the enforcement mechanism by a judicial system that oftentimes resembles a system of corruption more than one of justice. Relative to policing in those areas, the African-American community is neither protected nor served.
In the larger criminal justice system we are overrepresented in jails because we are underrepresented on juries. Visiting any jail on any given day, the only conclusion one may draw is there are very few white criminals. Many African Americans are there as a result of misdemeanor offenses resulting from the criminalization of being too poor to pay fines.
The underdevelopment of areas of St. Louis County in predominately African-American communities is overwhelming. This is not an accidental oversight or an unintentional slight. This benign neglect was done with malice of forethought. White flight has been well documented for many years. With the absence of funding comes the absence of much needed services, resulting in an underserved African-American community. A review of employment and income data for African-American vs. Caucasian St. Louis County residents shows disparities that cannot be explained by random chance. These disparities exist in every area of economic activity in St. Louis County.
In the area of housing, the failure to develop a strategic housing policy for St. Louis County that addresses the long-term housing needs of the people across income categories has resulted in devastating consequences for African Americans in the inner ring municipalities of St. Louis County. The highest rate of foreclosure within the boundaries of St. Louis County has taken far longer to rebound than any market in the region.
The recent comprehensive report "For the Sake of All" says it all about the health status of African Americans in St. Louis County. To sum it up, to be African-American in St. Louis County is to be condemned to increased morbidity rates and a lower quality of physical health for a lifetime.
The crisis that exists in educating African-American children requires a re-thinking how education is structured and funded. Addressing the educational needs of our children in St. Louis County must be a priority. It is clear that the reason that all options are not on the table for African American children is because the status quo in education works for Caucasian children. So much for, "These are all our children."
There are daunting challenges facing the African-American community of St. Louis County, but they all have solutions. We can and must solve this. There can be many responses to this Bill of Particulars, however any effective solutions require changes in public policy, and changes in public policy require political will. As African-American elected officials, our responsibility is to develop an appropriate and effective political response.
Any political party really has only one mandate and that is to support candidates and advance governmental policies which advance the interests of the people and/or groups whose support make the party possible. There is no group more important to the viability of the St. Louis County Democratic Party than the African-American community. Yet, there is a total absence of any political consideration for the African American community, whether it is in the party leadership, the development and support of candidates for elected office or advocating for public policy solutions that speak to the needs of the African-American community in St. Louis County.
Which brings us to this place, at this time. Just like the legendary civil rights and political activist Fannie Lou Hamer, "We are sick and tired of being sick and tired." We announce the formation of a new political organization whose mission is to protect and advance the political interests of the African-American community of St. Louis County. To that end, we have formed the Fannie Lou Hamer Democratic Coalition of St. Louis County. We draw on the inspiration and memory that produced the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, and its iconic and historic leader Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer.
There are people who say we need to come together, to find common ground, that we are all one community. The fact is that St. Louis is at least two communities, one black, one white, separate and unequal. As African-American political leaders, we will no longer play political games that allow certain political leaders to pretend that St. Louis has joined the civilized world of urban, inclusive regions.
Therefore, we the elected representatives of the African-American community of St. Louis County, in the name of our community, declare that we stand unified in our shared civic interests to represent the community, uphold what is right and necessary, and build towards true representation in all areas of public life. We also pledge to each other that our individual political efforts will coalesce to improve policies and practices that ensure the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of our community."
He Geronimo Pratt served 27 years in prison (8 Years in solitary Confinement) for a murder authorities knew he did not commit. Geronimo Pratt was one of the leaders of the Los Angeles black Panther Party, and in 1968 was convicted of murdering a white school teacher. In a trial filled with Witness Inconsistencies, "Lost" wiretap evidence that would have proven his innocence, Suppressed Documents, Paid Informants, Perjury, and Defense Team Members working with The FBI, Pratt would be convicted-even though authorities knew that he was in Oakland at the time the crime was committed. Despite the efforts of Amnesty International, a great Defense Team, and a groundswell of Public Support, The FBI's COINTELPRO Program succeeded in ensuring that he would be locked away & denied Parole 16 Times. His sentence was FINALLY overturned in 1997; and he would receive a $4.5 million settlement from The FBI & LAPD for suppressing evidence. Geronimo Ji-Jaga Pratt died in Tanzania in 2011.
HAPPY BORNDAY GERONIMO PRATT!!!
Accused of flirting with a Mississippi White woman, Young emmett Till was tied to a 75-pound cotton-gin fan and stripped naked before being subjected to hours of torture. His eye was gouged out, he was shot in the head, he was tied up with barbed wire & then thrown into the Tallahatchie River. His mother insisted on an Open-Casket Funeral-so that the nation would know what happened to her son. Emmett's death was as much a catalyst for the Civil rights Movements as anything else. Maybe More. No one was ever convicted for the crime-even though it was never disputed as to who had committed the crime.
“Black Wall Street” aka “Little Africa” refers to the Greenwood District of tulsa, Oklahoma, that was home to a thriving community of more than 10,000 Black citizens in the Early 1900's. Home to approximately 60 Black Owned Businesses-including two local newspapers-“Black Wall Street” was a fine example of American Progress. But maybe not to all citizens of Tulsa...
History tells us that, on the morning of May 30, 1921, a Black Man named Dick Rowland mistakenly stepped on the foot of a young White Woman named Sarah Page. Offended and/or in pain, Ms. Page screamed & exited the elevator. Shortly thereafter the accusation was made that Mr. Rowland had attempted to Rape Ms. Page, and he was arrested-pending an investigation. By the next morning, a angry mob of Whites appeared outside of the courthouse-demanding that Rowland be released to them, so that they could lynch him. Hours later, an incident between Black World War I veterans & the mob of angry whites spilled over into a full scale riot. The first wave of violence saw fires strategically set around the borders of the Greenwood District-with "drive-by" shootings targeting any random citizens that sought to escape. Tulsa Police "deputized" members of the would-be lynch mob; and the National Guard was deployed to protect white Neighborhoods. By the morning of June 1st, whatever was left of the area was looted & set on fire.
No white citizen of Tulsa saw a single day in prison for their crimes & a large portion of the Now-Homeless Black Community would find themselves enduring that following Winter living in Tents. It is estimated that more than 300 people were killed in the violence. 35 city blocks were destroyed. More than 800 people had to be treated for injuries. BUT THIS EPISODE OF AMERICAN HISTORY IS RARELY, IF EVER TAUGHT IN SCHOOLS.