How Haiti became poor

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In case you missed it, the President of the United States called Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries “shitholes,” then pretended like he didn’t say it, but basically said it all over again.

This matters not just because it’s racist (the President is racist, in fact, he is professionally racist), because it’s vulgar (“shithole,” one of the all-time great swear words, is forever sullied by this), and because it’s catastrophically bad for foreign and domestic relations. It matters in part because of the history of Haiti, and the history of racist discourse about Haiti.

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, a professor of education and scholar who’s closely studied these narratives, writes:

The reason why White nationalists like 45 always name Haiti because the Haitian nation & people are unique. Haiti defeated Napoleon, threw off the chains of slavery, and exposed the lie of White supremacy & European imperialism. So there’s no end to their hatred for Haiti.

Jonathan Katz, a journalist and former AP correspondent in Haiti who wrote The Big Truck That Went By about Haiti’s 2010 earthquake and the cholera epidemic that followed, has a longer thread spelling out how these narratives about Haiti were generated and how they work. Here’s a thick excerpt:

In order to do a victory lap around the GDP difference between, say, Norway and Haiti, you have to know nothing about the history of the world. That includes, especially, knowing nothing real about the history of the United States… You’d have to not know that the French colony that became Haiti provided the wealth that fueled the French Empire — and 2/3 of the sugar and 3/4 of the coffee that Europe consumed…

You’d have to not realize that Haiti was founded in a revolution against that system, and that European countries and the United States punished them for their temerity by refusing to recognize or trade with them for decades. You’d have to not know that Haiti got recognition by agreeing to pay 150 million gold francs to French landowners in compensation for their own freedom. You’d have to not know that Haiti paid it, and that it took them almost all of the 19th century to do so.

You’d then have to not know that Haiti was forced to borrow some money to pay back that ridiculous debt, some of it from banks in the United States. And you’d have to not know that in 1914 those banks got President Wilson to send the US Marines to empty the Haitian gold reserve… [You’d] have to not know about the rest of the 20th century either—the systematic theft and oppression, US support for dictators and coups, the US invasions of Haiti in 1994-95 and 2004…

In short, you’d have to know nothing about WHY Haiti is poor (or El Salvador in kind), and WHY the United States (and Norway) are wealthy. But far worse than that, you’d have to not even be interested in asking the question. And that’s where they really tell on themselves… Because what they are showing is that they ASSUME that Haiti is just naturally poor, that it’s an inherent state borne of the corruption of the people there, in all senses of the word.

And let’s just say out loud why that is: It’s because Haitians are black.

Racists have needed Haiti to be poor since it was founded. They pushed for its poverty. They have celebrated its poverty. They have tried to profit from its poverty. They wanted it to be a shithole. And they still do.

If Haiti is a shithole, then they can say that black freedom and sovereignty are bad. They can hold it up as proof that white countries—and what’s whiter than Norway—are better, because white people are better. They wanted that in 1804, and in 1915, and they want it now.

The history of Haiti is weird because it is absurdly well-documented, yet totally poorly known. It’s hard not to attribute that to ideology. We don’t teach the Haitian Revolution the way we teach the American, or the French, or the Mexican, because it’s a complicated story. Kids are more likely to hear variations of “Haiti formed a pact with the devil to defeat Napoleon” (this is real thing, I swear) than Toussaint Louverture’s or Jean-Jacques Dessalines’s names.

Also, while Haiti’s revolution was an early, signature event in world history-the first time a European power would be overthrown by an indigenous army (but not the last)-the causes of Haiti’s poverty are basically identical with those of almost every poor nation around the world: a history of exploitation, bad debt, bad geopolitics, and bad people profiting off of that poverty (almost all of them living elsewhere). And this is basically true about poverty in American cities as well (with all the same attendant racist myths).

Posted by Tim Carmody

Posted by The NON-Conformist


When the Constitution Was ‘At War With Itself,’ Frederick Douglass Fought on the Side of Freedom A new appreciation of the great abolitionist on the 200th anniversary of his birth.

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This month marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest figures in American history. Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in Talbot County, Maryland, sometime in February 1818. At the age of 20, he made his escape from bondage, traveling north to Philadelphia, New York City, and finally to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he would earn his “first free dollar” on the dockyards loading ships. “I was now my own master,” he proclaimed, “a tremendous fact.” In 1839, Douglass spoke up for the first time at an abolitionist meeting. Six years later, he was an internationally acclaimed orator and the author of a celebrated autobiography. In less than a decade, he had established himself as one of the most singular and influential voices in the most pressing debate of his time: the debate over slavery.
Arguing about slavery was a combat sport in those days, both figuratively and literally, and the field was crowded with skilled combatants. Among them was John C. Calhoun, the legendary South Carolina statesman who proclaimed slavery to be a positive good, fully sanctioned by the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution. There was also the militant Boston abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, who burned his copy of the Constitution, damning it as a pro-slavery “covenant with death and an agreement with hell.”
Douglass would face them both down. “Garrison sees in the Constitution precisely what John C. Calhoun sees there,” Douglass observed. He saw something different: “Interpreted as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a glorious liberty document.”

At a time when the principles of the Declaration of Independence were under assault, Douglass waved the banner of classical liberalism, championing inalienable rights for all, regardless of race or sex. At a time when socialism was on the rise, Douglass preached the virtues of free labor and self-ownership in a market-based economy. At a time when state governments were violating the rights of the recently emancipated, Douglass professed the central importance of “the ballot-box, the jury-box, and the cartridge-box” in the fight against Jim Crow.
Douglass, the former slave who secretly taught himself how to read, would teach the American people a thing or two about the true meaning of the Constitution.
‘Wielded in Behalf of Emancipation’
On May 9, 1851, the leading lights of the abolitionist movement gathered in Rochester, New York, for the 18th annual meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Among the items on the agenda was a resolution calling for the society to officially recommend several anti-slavery publications, including a small weekly called the Liberty Party Paper.
But William Lloyd Garrison, the powerful editor of The Liberator, one of abolitionism’s flagship publications, would have none of that. The Liberty Party Paper, Garrison complained, saw the Constitution as an antislavery document. That view was tantamount to heresy, as it clashed with Garrison’s famous judgment that the Constitution was a pro-slavery deal with the devil.
So a more congenial resolution was soon proposed: The American Anti-Slavery Society would only recommend those publications that toed the Garrisonian line.
It was at this point that Frederick Douglass stood up. For the previous 10 years, Douglass had been a friend, ally, even a disciple of Garrison’s. “Every week the Liberator came, and every week I made myself master of its contents,” Douglass later recalled. “I not only liked—I loved this paper, and its editor.”
But Douglass no longer loved what Garrison had to say about the Constitution. In fact, he now thought Garrison was dead wrong on the subject. What is more, Douglass decided that the time had come for him to say so in public. Douglass “felt honor bound to announce at once,” he explained to the assembled worthies, that the paper he edited, The North Star, “no longer possessed the requisite qualification for their official approval and commendation.” The Constitution, he told them, “should be wielded in behalf of emancipation.”
Those words went down about as well as might have been expected given the audience. There were howls of outrage, cries of censure. Garrison, for his part, accused Douglass of harboring ulterior (read: financial) motives. “There is roguery somewhere!” Garrison exclaimed. Douglass never quite forgave his old comrade for that.
In truth, Douglass agonized over his change of opinion. He came around gradually and only after much brooding. He forced himself “to re-think the whole subject,” he recalled, “and to study, with some care, not only the just and proper rules of legal interpretation, but the origin, design, nature, rights, powers, and duties of civil government, and also the relations which human beings sustain to it.”
Those studies began to produce fruit as early as 1849. Writing in The North Star on March 16 of that year, Douglass conceded that the Constitution “is not a proslavery instrument” when interpreted “standing alone, and construed only in the light of its letter.” The trouble came when he considered the pro-slavery “opinions of the men who framed and adopted it.” How to reconcile the text of the Constitution with the unwritten intentions of its framers?
A year later, on April 5, 1850, Douglass moved a little further away from the strict Garrisonian position. The Constitution is “at war with itself,” he now wrote. “Liberty and Slavery—opposite as Heaven and Hell—are both in the Constitution.” Both in the Constitution? The imperious Garrison would not like the sound of that. Furthermore, Douglass ventured, “if we adopt the preamble [to the Constitution], with Liberty and Justice, we must repudiate the enacting clauses, with Kidnapping and Slaveholding.”
By 1851, his mind was made up. Yes, the Constitution did contain certain oblique references to slavery, such as the notorious “three fifths” clause. But those references spoke only of “persons.” Neither the word slave nor the word slavery appear anywhere in the text. That textual absence, Douglass concluded, was a fatal weakness in the slaveholders’s position that must be exploited. “Take the Constitution according to its plain reading,” he insisted. “I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it. On the other hand, it will be found to contain principles and purposes, entirely hostile to the existence of slavery.” Douglass would deploy those principles and purposes against the peculiar institution until it was finally destroyed.
‘All Men Are Created Equal’
There was also the Declaration of Independence to factor in. Was not the entire American system founded upon the “self-evident” truths that “all men are created equal” and endowed with “certain unalienable rights,” such as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?” Did not that noble language vanquish the case for slavery?

More from Damon Root/Reason

Black History Month From Death Row

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Editor’s note: Kevin Cooper was convicted of a 1983 quadruple murder and sentenced to death in a trial in which evidence that might have exonerated him was withheld from the defense. His case was scrutinized in a June 19 New York Times column by Nicholas Kristof. Visit for more information.

Death Row, San Quentin Prison—From Dec. 17, 2003, to Feb. 9, 2004, the prison guards and administration at this modern-day plantation changed me, rearranged me, oppressed me, regressed me, repressed me, depressed me and undressed me in order to murder me.

They had me bend over so that they could illuminate my bowels with their flashlight in order to look for some type of contraband that they knew I did not have. They watched me, clocked me, kept tabs on me, wrote notes about me and what I did and did not do. They questioned me, upset me, saddened me, distressed me, laughed at me, talked about me and searched my arms for good veins into which to insert their razor-sharp needles.

They heckled me, pointed at me, stared at me, hated me, isolated me and lied to me by telling me everything was going to be all right because I would not feel any pain. They threatened to beat me up and beat me down if I gave them any trouble.

They did these things and others to humiliate me, dehumanize me, scare me and psychologically torture me in order to show me that they were the boss, they were God, my master, that they were in control of not only the situation at hand but my body and life as well.

“They” were the volunteer prison guard executioners who were assigned to torture, then murder me at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 10, 2004, the execution date. They traumatized me, terrorized me, belittled me and offered me a last meal—Tombstone pizza. They examined me, standing naked in an ice-cold room, on an ice-cold floor, where they inspected every inch of my black body in the 21st century, the exact same way that my ancestors of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries had their black bodies inspected while they stood naked on the auction block.

All of this was happening to me during Black History Month in 2004. But this should not be a surprise to anyone. In truth, lynchings and executions, illegal and legal, are a very real part of the history of black people in America.

The physical torture I was going to experience had I been strapped to that death gurney is the main reason why there have not been any executions allowed in California since 2006. But to better understand the type of torture that happens to condemned inmates who are to be put to death by lethal injection, back then as well as now, I will use the words of United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, as she wrote in a June 29, 2015, dissent in the case of Glossip v. Gross: “Lethal injection is the chemical equivalent of being burned at the stake, or being burned alive.”

Anyone who reads this can’t actually believe that the people in this state of California can guarantee or even care about a painless or humane execution, which is an oxymoron, because there is no such thing as a humane execution. If you think that the people who want executions resumed in this state will not lie about this most important issue, including the type of drugs and the pain that they will cause to the people whose bodies they are injected into, then I must use the words of the late Malcolm X to try to get you see the truth. Malcolm X once stated concerning the oppressors who run this country and who have you believing everything they say: “Oh, I say, and I say it again, ya been had! Ya been took! Ya been hoodwinked! Bamboozled! Led astray! Run amok!”

In my words: Ya been bullshitted!

I am known in this prison/plantation as C-65304, and I write this “Black History Month Truth” about what happened to me, an innocent man, so that you will see how it is when it comes to who lives and who dies in this country’s system of “justice.”

On Monday, Feb. 9, 2004, shortly after 6:15 p.m., the Rev. Jessie Jackson said a prayer for me and my visitors inside the visiting room here at San Quentin Prison. Then he and my personal pastor and friends were told to leave, which they did. I was then escorted to the rear of the visiting area and taken to a hallway that contained holding cells. I was placed in a holding cell, where my handcuffs were removed and I was told to get undressed, which I did. I was strip-searched and given a brand-new set of prison-issue clothing and told to put it on.

I was handcuffed after I got dressed and removed from that cell. I was handed over to another squad of officers. There were about 12 members of the death squad who volunteered to be the execution team. I had known for quite a long time that a black man was the spokesman to the media for this institution whenever it came to executions and other events. However, I must admit that I was a bit shocked to see two black men volunteering to murder me. Maybe it was because of all the history books that I have read about my ancestors and our fight for freedom within this country. In this reading and learning, I found that the vast majority of murders, including lynching and execution of blacks in America, have happened at the hands of whites.

I also learned in my reading that there were certain Africans who sold other Africans to slave catchers in Africa, and those slaves were sent throughout the world, including to America. I learned that certain slaves on certain plantations whipped their fellow slaves, injured their fellow slaves, and, if instructed, murdered their fellow slaves whenever the white man told them to do so. Some free black people owned other blacks as slaves, too. (There are many reasons for this historical fact, including protecting their family members.)

Even with all this knowledge, I wasn’t prepared to see two black men as executioners when this state of California went about its task of trying to murder me. Most, not all, but most of the black prison guards who worked on death row told me and other black males who are on death row that they were against the death penalty. They expressed that our history in this country, and their knowledge of it, made them against this type of punishment. (I guess this is why certain white district attorneys try so very hard to keep certain black people off death penalty juries.)

These two big, burly black men who were members of the execution squad had no rank. They were just plain old prison guards who were very, very large. In appearance, they looked like professional football players who made their living tackling people. For the purpose of being on the execution squad, they were the muscle.

In my mind I was screaming at them, asking, “What the fuck are you doing helping them to murder me? Don’t you know our history? Don’t you know what you’re doing?” I was asking them in my mind how could they be part of any execution team, especially the one that was about to murder me. I said all of that and more in my mind, heart and spirit, but not a word came out of my mouth.

I was surrounded by about six officers and escorted to the death chamber waiting room. When I was in the visiting room, the prison officials told me that the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had granted me a stay of execution; but until hearing from the United States Supreme Court about whether or not my stay would remain in place, this prison was going to proceed as if there was no stay.

When I arrived outside the death chamber waiting-room door, it was opened, and I was told to go inside, which I did. I was then told to place my back against the wall, while being surrounded by a new squad of officers. These were the officers of the execution squad. There was about eight of them. The leader of the squad got real close to me and asked, “Is there going to be any trouble when we take the handcuffs off of you?” I looked him in his eyes and told him no and he removed the handcuffs.

I was again told to take off all my clothes, which I did, and I was strip-searched again. This time, they used a flashlight to light up both my mouth and my butt as they searched me. This room that I was now in was very, very cold. The temperature had to be in the lower 50s. I stood barefoot on that cold floor surrounded by those officers while my body was completely searched. Then I was given yet another new set of clothing, the clothes in which I was to be executed.

I was then placed in another cell, half the size of a regular cell. It had only a toilet, a mattress and a pillow in it. I stood there in the cold, waiting for my pastor to come pray with me, all the while not knowing what the Supreme Court was going to do.

About a half-hour later, my pastor arrived, and she was placed in a cell next to mine. It was to my right-hand side but on an angle. It was hard to see her through the cell bars, but I managed. I was asked once again if I wanted a last meal. I said no. I was asked if I wanted water. I said no. The warden came in and asked if I had a final statement. I said no. My arms were once again checked so they could make sure they could find my veins, and officers were passing by with alcohol pads and swabs and other assorted items for their execution and my murder.

My pastor did a great job in keeping me focused. Somewhere in the middle of one of her Scriptures, the phone rang. It was my attorney, Jeannie Sternberg, calling to let me know she was with me in spirit and as soon as she heard something from the Supreme Court she would call and let me know.

I entered the death chamber waiting room around 6:35 p.m. About 8:15, the phone rang again. It was once again my attorney. She told me she’d heard from the court and that the justices refused to hear the state’s petition appealing my stay. They upheld my stay!

Even before I told my pastor the news, I told those officers that I meant them no disrespect in what I was about to say to them, but they weren’t going to do their job that night. I then told my pastor, and she and I prayed. I came within three hours and 45 minutes of being murdered by the state of California.

I never again saw those two black execution guards. After news of the stay, everyone went his own way. I went back to a cell on death row, and they went wherever people like them go. While many of us who are black would like to think and believe that all the oppression, pain, death and inhumanity we endure comes only from white people, or white men, I want to remind everyone that there are “the black ones, too” who do to us what we are standing up against, fighting and dying for, to stop.

It took me a while to recover from the man-made ritual of death that I had to experience. I will never be the same. I am only getting stronger and more determined to do my part in shutting down the government’s pride and joy—its capital punishment system.

The torture and inhumanity that accompany this crime are not only inflicted against our black bodies but against everyone’s humanity, too. Yet this horrible and inhumane crime against all of humanity may once again be used in this great state of California after the passage of Proposition 66 in 2016. If this does indeed happen, then I may have to go through this prison administration’s sick-ass ritual of death once again. And who knows, it may be during Black History Month in 2019.

To one degree or another, we black people have always been disrespected during Black History Month, as well as each and every other month of the year. My plight at the hands of the state should not be a surprise to anyone. I have written this to communicate the horror of the death penalty for everyone on death row, the legitimacy of the charges against them notwithstanding.

In my case, there is a particular resonance with black history, as it is certainly not the first time—and sadly will not be the last—that an innocent black man was convicted of a crime he did not commit. The fact is, I am innocent of the murders of four people for which I was convicted and in which the sole survivor, a child, said several times that it was “three white men” who killed his mother, father, sister and friend.

Three white men were seen by witnesses driving the family’s white station wagon away from their home and were seen soon afterward in a local bar, splattered with blood. One of the white suspects, a convicted killer, left his bloody coveralls at his girlfriend’s house the night of the killings, and the sheriff’s department threw them away six months later without testing them.

When the surviving boy saw my picture on television, he announced in front of a sheriff’s deputy and his grandmother: “He is not the guy who did it.” Three white guys did it, and one black guy—me—was tried and convicted.

When my execution was halted in 2004 so my attorneys could present new evidence that would prove my innocence, the prosecution fought it, and the judge in my habeas corpus hearing denied virtually every piece of evidence that was exculpatory. A test to prove that my blood was planted on a shirt was denied. There is so much more misconduct. Much of it is cited by jurors who convicted me and now say if they had known the truth, they would not have found me guilty.

You have to ask yourself: Why deny me—and the victims and their survivors—the simple DNA tests that could prove my innocence and also identify the real killers? The prosecution wants my death to stifle the truth of my innocence. But why doesn’t Gov. Jerry Brown grant me the DNA tests needed to find the killers? The families deserve this as much as I do!

Please think of me, and others like me, during this Black History Month, and do me a favor: If you hear that I was executed by the state of California, please remember these words of 9th Circuit Appeals Court Judge William Fletcher, one of 11 appellate judges who want me to have a chance to prove my innocence.

“He’s on death row,” Fletcher said, “because the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department framed him.”

By Kevin Cooper/truthdig

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Does the Fraternal Order of Police Have A Black People Problem?

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Recently, John McNesby, the president of Philadelphia chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), drew criticism for calling Black Lives Matter “a pack of rabid animals.” He made the remarks at a pro-police “Back the Blue” rally in support of a white officer who fatally shot David Jones, a Black man, in the back in June. McNesby, whose chapter joined the national FOP in endorsing Trump for president, once defended a white officer who wore a Nazi tattoo.

Founded more than a century ago, the FOP is the largest police union in the United States. Although the organization’s constitution stated that “race, Creed or Color shall be no bar,” recent positions by the FOP call into question its attitudes on civil rights, social justice and issues related to Black people.

From its inception, the FOP was not a part of the greater labor union movement, which despite its racial blind spots and history of racism, has taken stands in favor of racial justice. Historically, police have been used to control and employ violence against the “problem” segments of society, such as Black people — whether enslaved or emancipated — striking workers, radical protesters or others. The modern police union movement was formed as a response to the demands of the civil rights movement, complaints of police brutality and calls for police-community relations initiatives from the Black community, and cries of “law and order” from reactionary whites.

At the same time, Black police formed their own associations in the 1960s as a part of the civil rights movement, at a time when they faced racial discrimination from their colleagues in blue and there was an intersection between law enforcement and the Klan. It is because of this legacy of racism and segregation that some cities such as Dallas have separate police unions.

In Chicago, the FOP celebrates its history of brutality, including its legacy of violence against protesters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. In an attempt to rewrite history, the local FOP proclaimed that “the time has come that the Chicago Police be honored and recognized for their contributions to maintaining law and order — and for taking a stand against Anarchy…The Democratic National Convention was about to start and the only thing that stood between Marxist street thugs and public order was a thin blue line of dedicated, tough Chicago police officers.” The Chicago FOP also fought against affirmative action and the efforts by the Afro American Patrolmen’s League to bring inclusion to the police force, and opposed a resolution making December 4 “Fred Hampton Day” after the slain Black Panther and police assassination victim.

In Detroit, the local Police Officers Association organized a police demonstration to oppose affirmative action in the 1970s. Similarly, in New York in 1992, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) organized a demonstration of 10,000 officers, many drunken and racist, against the city’s Black mayor, David Dinkins. Some of the rally participants called Dinkins a “washroom attendant,” while others carried signs depicting him with swollen lips and a bushy Afro.

A fundamentally conservative organization, the FOP lobbies for the shielding of bad police officers, and opposes police reforms to hold law enforcement accountable. As police unions resist prosecution of brutal and criminal police officers who engage in excessive force and racial discrimination, they promote a debunked “war on police,” and seek hate crimes protections when officers are injured or killed, even equating the wearing of a blue police uniform with experiencing racism.

Fourteen states have a police bill of rights protecting police from criminal investigations and allowing 10 days after an incident before an officer must speak to authorities. Further, police unions have smeared the character of civilians who accuse the police of misconduct or are killed by police. Local unions have boycotted Beyonce and movie director Quentin Tarantino for their so-called “anti-police” positions, and have refused to provide security at football games where players sit down for the national anthem to protest police violence against Black victims.

When the 330,000 member FOP endorsed Trump for president, the organization said in a press release that “Mr. Trump has seriously looked at the issues facing law enforcement today. … He understands and supports our priorities and our members believe he will make America safe again.” The FOP also wrote a wish list for Trump’s first 100 days in office, which included such items as reversal of the Obama-era restrictions on military equipment for local and state law enforcement; repealing the ban on private prisons and racial profiling by the federal government; scrapping Obama’s policing reform recommendations; restricting aid to sanctuary cities; ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); reversing changes in U.S.-Cuba relations and extraditing Assata Shakur, and repealing Obamacare.

The national FOP support for Trump put the group at odds with many Black police officers and associations who have criticized Trump for his racism, sexism and homophobia, only further highlighting the divide between the majority-white law enforcement organization and the Black community.

“Is this endorsement a result of the surveying of the membership of individual unions that represent police officers or is this endorsement the result of a few individuals who may stand to benefit from a so-called law and order candidate who knows nothing about the criminal justice system and is opposed to basic reforms of the system?” read a statement from Blacks in Law Enforcement of America, encouraging Black cops and others to oppose Trump. “He has no record of anything positive concerning criminal justice issues and concerns of our community,” it added.

By David Love/AtlantaBlackStar

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Katherine Johnson: The Girl Who Loved to Count

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Katherine Johnson


“I counted everything. I counted the steps to the road, the steps up to church, the number of dishes and silverware I washed … anything that could be counted, I did.”

Born in 1918 in the little town of White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, Johnson was a research mathematician, who by her own admission, was simply fascinated by numbers. Fascinated by numbers and smart to boot, for by the time she was 10 years old, she was a high school freshman–a truly amazing feat in an era when school for African-Americans normally stopped at eighth grade for those could indulge in that luxury.

More at NASA. gov

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Celebrating Black History Month: Architect, Horace King

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Images: Wikipedia…Horace King

Horace King (sometimes Horace Godwin) (September 8, 1807 – May 28, 1885) was an American architect, engineer, and bridge builder. King is considered the most respected bridge builder of the 19th century Deep South, constructing dozens of bridges in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. Born into slavery in South Carolina in 1807, King became a prominent bridge architect and construction manager in the Chattahoochee River Valley region of Alabama and Georgia before purchasing his freedom in 1846. He went on to construct lattice truss bridges in the style of Ithiel Town at every major crossing of the Chattahoochee River and over every major river in the Deep South between the Oconee and Tombigbee.

Bridge completed in 1839 by King over the Chattahoochee River at Eufaula, Alabama.

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Celebrating Black History Month: Romare Bearden

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Image: NCpedia

Romare Bearden was born in Charlotte in 1911. Although his family moved north when he was only four years old, he said of his home state, “Most artists take some place, and like a flower, they sink roots, looking for universal implications. . . . My roots are in North Carolina.” Indeed, many of his paintings and collages were drawn from memories of his time in North Carolina.

The Beardens eventually settled in Harlem, an epicenter of African American culture in the 1920’s. Harlem society was important to Bearden’s development—the young man met many prominent musicians, artists, and writers at social and intellectual gatherings. In 1935 Bearden graduated from New York University and gained employment as a caseworker for the New York City Department of Social Services, a job he would hold until 1969.

Romare Bearden, The Visitation, 1941…Source: National Gallery of Art


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