Monday, September 22, 2008

American Apartheid: The Civil Rights Movement, "Jim Crow " the KKK & The 1979 Greensboro Massacre

Anyway here's a couple of bits from the book Freedom Bound by Robert Weisbrot followed by a bit about the Greensboro Massacre of five protesters by the Klan & American Nazis which took place in 1979 and for which no white person was ever imprisoned. So the issues of civil rights and racism in America is a contentious issue up at least til the mid 1980s. And racism & nativism in all their forms have not yet been obliterated in America and today are stoked by commentators who are rabidly anti-immigration and like to stir up hatred of various minorities such as Muslim Americans or aboriginal Americans besides black Americans & Hispanic Americans . Maybe next people like Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilley & Laura Ingraham will go after the Buddhists in America. These Hate Mongers seem to believe that White Anglo-saxon Protestant Americans are somehow being oppressed by these various minorities. They also tend to read too much into trivial matters such as MacDonald's outlet having a sighn in both English & Spanish or someone singing the National Anthem in Spanish or are fearful that Hispanic Americans are having more children than the average white American family. They also play up the dangers of legal and illegal immigration by focusing on crimes committed by these immigrants ignoring the fact that millions of these immigrants are not known felons.

Segregation in the South in America was not much different from that of South African Apartheid. Yet even today there are those in America who claim it wasn't that bad. These are the apologists who help to perpetuate the mythology of the South in which Southerns somehow or other had little hatred of black people . It also helps perpetuate the myth that the whole of the Civil Rights Movement in the South came from outsiders , troublemakers and communists who wish to humiliate or even destroy America. There were outsiders involved but they came mainly after the Civil Rights Movement was already underway in the South. The early activities were by individuals like Rosa Parks or small groups of students who decided to challenge the segregation of lunch counters in places such as Woolworths or attempting to registar to vote . In those days it was considered a matter of self-defense if a police officer or white citizen were to beat up or kill blacks who dared to challenge " The Jim Crow " laws even if those Segregation based laws had been found to be unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. But according to those in the South the laws of a state had prior claim than that of a federal court and therefore such rulings they believed contravened " States Rights ".

From early on after the American Civil War and the freeing of the slaves the South struck back by institutionalizing Racial Segregation:

The Supreme Court, composed mainly of Northern apointees, early placed its imprimatur on Southern laws that codified black inferiority. In 1883 it overturned a congressional act ensuring Negroes access to hotels, restauurants, and theaters. Thirteen years later the Court found Homer Adolph Plessy, a black Louisianan, too sensitive in claiming that a railroad porter had committed an act of discrimination by tossing him from the coach reserved for whites. Plessy had sued on the grounds that a Louisiana statute requiring segregated street cars violated his right to equal citizenship under the Fourteenth Amendment. Eight members of the Court dismissed his contention ruling in Plessy v.Ferguson that Separate but equal facilities implied not race discrimination but merely " race distinction ". In his solitary dissent John Marshall Harlan branded the ruling " pernicious ", though he too, affirmed a sense of pride in white dominance.
In the quarter century after Plessy Southern white racial attitudes hardened into rigid legal patterns. Separate and second-class facilities marked the Negro's lot in public education, health care, and public lodging. Whites used rest rooms designated " Men " or "Women ", while blacks followed signs for " Colored." Separate entrances to buildings were standard in Southern towns, though blacks seldom found any entrances at polling booths. Legal ruses, racist registrars, and lynch law kept elections " white folks' business." Even in death, where all presumably were equal, blacks and whites remained separate, because cemeteries were segregated, along with funeral notices in local papers.
Daily humiliation of Negroes was woven into the fabric of Southern life in patters as variegated as a community's imagination permitted. in 1905 Georgia prohibited Negroes and whites from using the same park facilities; donors of land for playgounds had to specify which race could use them. Until 1940 Negroes and whites in Atlanta , Georgia, were not able to visit the municipal zoo at the same time. In 1915 Oklahoma authorized separate telephone booths for white and Negro callers. A Mississippi ordinance of 1922 barred members of different races from sharing a taxicab unless the vehicle held more than seven passengers and was traveling from one city to another. New Orleans struck a quaint blow for morality by separating Negro and white prostitutes. Many public libraries permittedd black and white to mingle only in the pagess of books, while otherwise reserving the buildings exclusively for white use. Separate Bibles for oath taking in courts, separate doors for whites and Negroes, separate elevators and stairways, separate drinking fountains, and separate toilets existed even where not required by law.
above quote from :
Robert Weisbrot ,p. 5 Freedom Bound: A History of America's Civil Rights Movement

Goldwater and racism or why the Confederate Flag and those who favored States' Rights was really code for segregation & racism:

Though he appeared in this regard a moderate in fact " he aligned squarely with the white South on civil rights issues, blending a near antebellum enthusiasm for states' rights with a determined obliviousness to the reasons for black protests. In June ( 1964 ) the senator voted against the civil rights bill as violating rights of private property and individual preference, while scarcely noting the routine trampling of Negro rights that had prompted the legislation. By the time he captured his party's presidential nomination, with the backing of its most conservative elements , Goldwater had become a national rallying symbol for those who believed blacks were " moving too far too fast." p. 115 FB.

Even up to 1979 and later it was still prevalent that the KKK and Nazis with the aid of local law enforcement could in broad-daylight kill anti-KKK protesters with impunity even with video tape proving that the shootings were 1st degree murder. The Klan had planned to show up at the protest and to take action against the protesters- one of the Klan was an undercover cop who took part in the planing & the shooting of demonstraters. But still justice was not done. This was not something that took place in the 19th century or the 1950s or 60s but was a modern day old time lynching which took place in 1979 .

Survivors of 1979 Greensboro Massacre Testify Before Truth & Reconciliation/ Democracy Now!/July 19, 2005

"On November 3, 1979, at the corner of Carver and Everitt Streets, black and white demonstrators gather to march through Greensboro, North Carolina, a legal demonstration against the Ku Klux Klan. A caravan of Klansmen and Nazis pull up to the protesters and open fire. "Eighty-eight seconds later, five demonstrators lie dead and ten others wounded from the gunfire, recorded on camera by four TV stations. Four women have lost their husbands, three children have lost their fathers.

“After two criminal trials, not a single gunman has spent a day in prison, although a civil trial won an unprecedented victory for the victims: For one of the only times in US history, a jury held local police liable for cooperating with Ku Klux Klan in a wrongful death.”

That is the introduction to the book: Through Survivors" Eyes: From the Sixties to the Greensboro Massacre written by one of the survivors, Sally Bermanzohn. This weekend, the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission met to hear testimony from perpetrators and victims in the massacre. We will speak with a survivor of the massacre, but first let’s go back to that fateful day in 1979.

Excerpt from “Guns of November 3rd,” Courtesy of Jim Waters.

After two criminal trials with all-white juries, not a single gunman was sent to prison. However, in 1985 a civil jury found the city, the Klan and the Nazi party liable for violating the civil rights of the demonstrators. The city paid a $350,000 dollar judgment on behalf of all parties. This was one of the only times in US history that a jury held local police liable for cooperating with Ku Klux Klan in a wrongful death.

Greensboro Massacre 1979

Greensboro's Child Excerpt
Added: January 20, 2006
This is an excerpt of an Award Winning Documentary, Greensboro's Child. You are caught between the the truth and lies of an event that still haunts this community. This is how I tell the story on how those events took place on November 3rd, 1979 in Greensboro, NC. It took over 6 years to piece this story together. With no funding and outside influence I shot/edited/produced and wrote this film that helps Greensboro understand the events that unfolded that day and the consequences and effects that it had on the people who survived.

Some suggest that because the march included communists that somehow the Police and the KKK and Nazi party members had a right to shoot & kill protesters.
Try to look at it another way if the Klan or Nazis had a peaceful demonstration and had a legal permit to march and a few anti-Klan people show up & shoot & kill five Klan members would they be justified in doing so. Of course not because the Klan are white and even today they are part of the establishment in a number of towns and cities in America. First remember that in the United States the Klan & Nazi are routinely given permits to march. They even spew their racist hatred and talk openly about murdering blacks, Jews and Catholics and so called Race-Traitors. In many countries Nazis can not march wearing the Nazi uniform and swastika as these are viewed as symbols of Hate and therefore legally constitute defacto form of Hate Speech.

also see article : The Greensboro Massacre:A commemortion of murder and injustice/Jacob Blom/The

This anti-Klan march, organized by the CWP, was set to begin at the intersection of Everitt St. and Carver Dr. in the middle of a project of Greensboro called Morningside Homes.

At 10:40 A.M., an authority radioed the Greensboro Police Department, instructing them to take an early lunch.

At 11:06 A.M., Detective Jerry Cooper used a surveillance camera to photograph a caravan of Klan and Nazis, which had stopped to wait for another Klan member to join them on their way to the rally.

Shortly thereafter, chaos ensued.

At 11:18 A.M., the caravan slowly passed through this protest shouting "n*gger," and "commie bastard," to the crowd.

A few people dared the caravan, yelling "Get out!" and motioning with their hands for Klansmen and Nazis to come get them. Several others kicked the cars as they passed.

The United Racist Front ( which included Klan & Nazis ) would not back down from the challenge.

A man leaned out of a window of one of the first vans in the caravan and fired a shot in the air. Apparently, this signaled the beginning. Men jumped out of the other cars, getting shotguns and pistols out of the trunks, while others picked up sticks and began beating the protesters.

Then, they opened fire on a crowd of protesters who were running desperately to get away. Many ducked into an alleyway, while many went into their houses, or the houses of others.

as this report from the ACLU illustrates another way that America has continued its tradition of lynching is through the use of the death penalty since the facts are that a dispoportinate number of those who are executed are people of color.Though it is considerate a disturbing policy as it were many Americans defend capital punishment in part because it is a means to serve out punishment to African-American and Hispanic Americans. The punishment though does not fit the crime. Though the facts are incontrovertible Ultra-Conservatives believe the numbers are contentious. Americans don't like being branded as racists no matter how true it is. They defended slavery long after Europeans banned it and then America defended its Apartheid system of racial segregation long after it was no longer credible. But mean-spirited racism no matter how ugly lies at the heart of America & maybe its defining attribute. The truth is not always pleasant.

Race and the Death Penalty (2/26/2003)

The color of a defendant and victim's skin plays a crucial and unacceptable role in deciding who receives the death penalty in America. People of color have accounted for a disproportionate 43 % of total executions since 1976 and 55 % of those currently awaiting execution. A moratorium of the death penalty is necessary to address the blatant prejudice in our application of the death penalty.
The jurisdictions with the highest percentages of minorities on its death row:
U.S. Military (86%)
Colorado (80%)
U.S. Government (77%)
Louisiana (72%)
Pennsylvania (70%)

While white victims account for approximately one-half of all murder victims, 80% of all Capital cases involve white victims. Furthermore, as of October 2002, 12 people have been executed where the defendant was white and the murder victim black, compared with 178 black defendants executed for murders with white victims.

Segregation ended in American schools supposedly several decades ago but it appears segregation has returned to American schools.

From: russellwyllie at YouTube
Added: October 02, 2007
Many U.S. schools are becoming singular
race,with segregation levels returning to the 1960 era of U.S. racism

also see: The Negro Holocaust:
Lynching andRace Riots in the United States, 1880-1950 by Robert A. Gibson


Lynchings in America

and so it goes,

No comments: