All Articles Tagged "black history month"
By Dara Takafari
I keep trying and failing to get into the spirit of Black History Month, may Carter G. Woodson forgive me. We are eight days into Black History Month and I have not posted one Black fact or historic photo. I feel like a bum of an African-American literature major.
There is no “right” way to celebrate Black History Month.
But frankly, I am discomfited by the recitation of facts for 28 days, as if Black history doesn’t happen on a quotidian basis. It feels like distillation to me. We cannot boil down what people of African descent have contributed to America into 140-character blurbs. Or the same four characters: Martin, Rosa, Malcolm, Betty.
At the same time, I understand. We need these facts to counteract the narrative that everything good in America was built with White hands. We need to continually locate Black faces in American history to prevent their erasure. We can never stop passing our stories down orally and in writing; truth is our lifeblood. Africans across the Diaspora have held themselves intact because we have always told ourselves who we are.
Something has lately been irking me about the focus on Black firsts in America. It’s almost as if we cannot highlight Black greatness without the shadow of American racism haunting us. A Black first is laudable primarily because there was a White barrier to Black success in the first place. It makes me proud to know Black resilience! Triumphs! Overcomes! Adversity! But I am infinitely more saddened I cannot fully enjoy learning of Yale’s first Black woman Ph.D. in Astronomy without a hint of resentment. Chris Rock said it best:
That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. […] The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.
And that’s the clincher for me. I am far more invested in a celebration of Black History Month sans the specter of nice White people finally opening the gates that barred us. I respect everyone who chooses to honor the ancestors by lifting up our Black firsts. There is dignity in this. But I don’t know if that’s how I will find mine.
There is more than one way to celebrate Black History Month.
I fully plan on celebrating Black History Month some kind of way. My kind of way. I may not do another single post on the Internet about Black History Month, but it struck me the observance doesn’t have to be public. Quiet homage is yet meaningful. My struggle to conventionally participate inspired me to create holistic ways for me and my family to enjoy Black history. This list is partly what I came up with and partly what I have seen other creative Black folk do around the Internet.
Alternative Ways to Celebrate Black History Month
- Focus on one historical figure all month. Read everything you can about/by this person. Become an expert. My choice: James Baldwin.
- Support and promote a Black business on your social media pages.
- Learn about Black contributions to genres considered “White,” like bluegrass or rock and roll.
- Sign up to be a mentor to a Black child. Teach him/her everything you know about your chosen historical figure.
- Donate to an HBCU.
- Learn about the contributions non-American Africans from the Diaspora have made to this country. #Haiti
- Find an interesting, non-hyped book by a new Black author and read that mug.
- Watch all the Black B movies on Netflix.
- Go to a Black or African history museum. I need to go to the Martin Luther King Center; I’ve never been!
- Take a road trip to a historic Black ____ in your state.
- Read Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis series. Black people are in the future, too.
- Go to a Black church (or go home). Find a “mother.” Sit with her and ask her to tell you her stories. Oral history is powerful.
- Reexamine Martin vs. Malcolm, DuBois vs. Washington. Determine for yourself if they were really ever versus.
- Chronicle your own Black family history. Learn your grandmother’s recipe for salmon croquettes.
- Make Black History.
For more from wife, mama and word ninja Dara Tafakari, check out trulytafakari.com where you can find Dara’s writing on the crazy collisions of life, race, popular culture, and the occasional nerd activity–with an offbeat dose of humor and clarity.
Tags:black history month
It’s February! And during the month of February, two very important things are observed and discussed (and I’m not talking about love for Valentine’s Day). That includes Black History Month and heart health. The month of February is Heart Month. And one way we impact our heart’s health is through our diets.
Tre Wilcox is a celebrity chef who has been on Top Chef and Iron Chef America. He also concocts hearty and healthy dishes for the likes of Russell Simmons and retired NBA star Jerry Stackhouse. A lover and expert in soul food, Wilcox has teamed up with the National Pork Board and is sharing some dishes that he created for PorkBeInspired.com with us that we love. They have reduced fat, lower calories, and even less sodium. And less of such things is important in the fight to take care of our hearts and extend our lives. So, with that being said, check out these succulent and savory dishes that are oh so good, but pretty good for you too.
Spicy-Sweet Pork Stir Fry
1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lbs. boneless pork sirloin, cut into ½-inch cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons bacon drippings or vegetable oil divided
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 small garlic clove)
2-1/2 cups fresh turnip greens or kale, rinsed and drained, cut into 1/2-inch strips
1/1/2 cups matchstick-cut carrots
1/2 medium red onion cut into wedges (about 1 cup sliced wedges)
1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
In a large bowl, sprinkle your pork sirloin cubes with salt, pepper and mix it all together lightly. Heat one tablespoon of drippings or oil into a 10 to 12-inch skillet until it’s hot. Add corn and garlic and then cook over medium-high heat, occasionally stirring for five to seven minutes until kernels begin to brown. Remove the corn from the skillet and set it aside. Reduce heat and then add a remaining tablespoon of drippings or oil to your skillet. Add your pork cubes, cook and stir over medium-high heat for three to five minutes until cubes are lightly browned. Add your prepared corn, carrots, greens and onions to the skillet, cook and stir for five to seven minutes or until your vegetables are crisp, yet tender. Reduce heat to low. Stir in combined sweet chili sauce and vinegar, and heat two to three minutes or until thoroughly heated. Cook fully for 25 minutes. This dish can serve four to six people and is great with brown (the healthier option, of course) or white rice.
Sizzling Chili Pork Chops
6 (4 oz.) boneless loin pork chops, about 1/2-inch thick
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Stir together chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and cumin in a small bowl. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sprinkle a chili mixture evenly on both sides of each pork chop, rubbing the mixture into pork. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a cast iron or an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Place pork chops in hot oil to brown, turning once after three to five minutes. Add a remaining tablespoon of oil if needed. Remove your skillet from the burner and place it in a preheated oven. Bake pork chops 15 to 20 minutes or until internal temperature on a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees F. Remove your chops and place on a serving platter. Let stand for three to five minutes before slicing. Add water to orange juice to measure 3/4 cup. Return skillet to top of the stove. Stir flour into pan drippings, scraping brown bits from the bottom of skillet. Gradually stir in combined orange juice and water, cooking over low heat until the mixture thickens. Cook in full for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with pork chops. This pork-chop dish serves six people and is a winner with stone-ground grits, greens or fried corn.
Jerk Seasoned Pork Tenderloin
1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lb. pork tenderloin
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
Stir together pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar, and thyme in a small bowl. Blend in remaining ingredients, mixing to form a paste. Place pork tenderloin in a resealable plastic bag; pour paste mixture over tenderloin. Press excess air out of a bag and seal it. Gently roll the tenderloin in a bag, coating it with the paste mixture. Marinate pork in the refrigerator, turning the bag over once for eight to 10 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Remove your pork tenderloin from marinade and place it on a baking pan and roast uncovered in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F. Roast 20 to 30 minutes or until internal temperature on a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees F. Remove from oven and let the tenderloin rest 10 minutes before slicing. This dish serves six and tastes delicious when served with steamed cabbage, roasted sweet potatoes or some sauteed plantains. If you want it spicier, kick things up a notch by adding red pepper flakes to your marinade.
Because of Them We Can, the campaign to educate and connect a new generation of heroes to pave the way, told a group of kids that Stacey Dash was canceling Black History Month… A few weeks ago, the Clueless actress sat down for an interview where she insinuated that Black History Month only promotes segregation.
More about Because of Them, We Can:
On October 28, 2008, just days before the election of Barack Obama, the first African American President of the United States, Eunique Jone’s first son Chase was born. On July 9, 2012, a few months before President Obama’s historic re-election, her second son Amari was born. Six months later, a few days before February 2013, Eunique began to reflect on her sons and their promising future – specifically the opportunities they could pursue as a result of the progress and achievements made by individuals past and present. She also thought about the responsibility and at times the fear, she carries as a mother raising Black boys.
I thought about how just one-year prior, Trayvon Martin was murdered. The murder and circumstances surrounding Trayvon’s death awakened my consciousness and moved me to create the “I Am Trayvon Martin” photo campaign. It was through this painful time for the Martin family and America that I came to realize that my lens could truly serve as a microphone that could amplify the feelings, fears, dreams and even the pain of a community.
The Because of Them, We Can campaign was birthed out of Eunique Jones’ desire to share our rich history and promising future through images that would refute stereotypes and build the esteem of our children. While she originally intended to publish the campaign photos, via social media, during Black History Month, she quickly realized how necessary it was to go further. With so many achievers to highlight, and thousands of children to engage and inspire, 28 days wasn’t enough. On the last day of February, with just 28 photographs in my collection, she decided to resign from my job in order to continue the campaign. On March 1, 2013, after most national and local conversations about Black History and Achievement ended, she released a photo of a mini-inspired Phyllis Wheatley and began the journey to continue the project for a full year.
A year later Eunique has come to the conclusion that even 365 days aren’t enough. What began as a mother’s passion project quickly evolved into a movement. Today they are committed as ever before to encourage and empower people of all ages and hues to dream out loud and reimagine themselves as greater than they are, simply by connecting the dots between the past, the present and the future.
Visit the website here.
When I was younger my mother used to tell me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say to not say it at all. I didn’t always stick to her words, but over the years I’ve come to understand her advice to an extent. However, in the case of ridiculousness that is Stacy Dash and her Black History Month and BET comments, some things must be said – without calling someone out of their name at the very least.
Many people sounded off on Dash’s comments, but of course those that were heavily spotlighted in the media were those reactions of celebrities. Earlier this week, Gabrielle Union flawlessly shaded Dash by simply asking, “Who is Stacey Dash?” after an Associated Press reporter asked for her opinion on the comments made by the actress.
“Is she like related to Dame Dash? Was she on Roc-A-Fella (Records)? I heard of a crazy once. Maybe last week? But I don’t know what her name is. Yeah, I mean, it’s like why there’s a need for The Birth of A Nation and why there’s a need for the Country Music Awards and the ALMA (American Latino Media Arts Awards) Awards,” she continued.
“If you don’t see yourself reflected in mainstream awards, you tend to create your own,” Union said, adding, “The more that we focus on inclusion and a true representation of this country, I think that crazy lady will have less to say.”
While Union kept the gabs sweet with a hint sass, reading Stacey to filth quite comically, Janet Hubert took a different approach during a recent visit to HuffPost Live.
“Somebody needs to slap the little bit of black she got on her off of her, okay?” Hubert said. “The little bit of black she got on her, off of her, because girlfriend has worked on BET more than most actresses have.”
Hubert went on to explain that she was suspicious of Dash’s intentions. “I think she’s just saying this kind of bull because she wants sensationalism and she’s working for Fox and she needs a job and she’s making a check,” she said. “And she’s bringing controversy to herself. Stacey is a bit of a media ho.”
Although I don’t agree with Hubert calling Stacy a “media ho” per se, I can say that the remainder of her comments were honest. But in the midst of her interview, I found that Hubert’s ho commentary backfired, detracting from any point that she had. Sure, Stacy said something that was hurtful regarding our community and those whose talents are being dimmed, but when is retaliating with a word as such any better?
What are your thoughts?
Stacey, Right-Winged, White Folks Will Never Accept You, No Matter How Much Racist Rhetoric You Spout
My memories of high school are faint, to say the very least. But I will never forget the one day these two boys, one White and one Black, in biology class were standing around our lab station telling ridiculous jokes.
The White boy, laughing before he could even deliver the punchline said,
“How do you get a group of Black men to stop having sex with a White woman?”
The Black guy grins and then asked,
The White guy, still laughing, says,
“You throw a basketball at them.”
And to my shock and horror, the White and Black guy both fell out laughing. These two buffoons were my lab partners at least for that day. The White boy wasn’t my concern. The Black guy is the one who disgusted me the most in this situation.
And I let him know.
“Why are you laughing at that?”
“Because it’s funny.”
“You think it’s funny that he just insulted you and everyone who looks like you?”
“It’s just a joke.”
I can’t remember how much longer the conversation went on or how I eventually ridded myself of those two fools. I honestly haven’t thought about that particular incident in years. But today, in hearing Stacey Dash’s comments about Jada Pinkett Smith, BET and Black History Month, I was reminded.
While you might think Dash represents the Black guy laughing at the racist jokes, her recent comments show that she’s the one delivering them, waiting for her band of racist White folks to laugh and pat her on the back for a job well done, an ignorant, hate-filled speech properly delivered.
Fox News makes a great habit of asking Stacey Dash about Black issues. So it was only a matter of time before they got her take on Jada Pinkett Smith’s boycott of the Academy Awards.
As expected, it was a doozy.
“I think it’s ludicrous because we have to make up our minds. Either we want to have segregation or integration. And if we don’t want segregation then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the [NAACP] Image Awards, where you are only awarded if you are black. If it were the other way around, we would be up in arms. It’s a double standard.”
Fox News host Steve Doocy said, “So you say there should not be a BET channel?”
“No, just like there shouldn’t be a Black History Month,” Dash replied.
“You know, we’re Americans. Period. That’s it.”
“Are you saying there shouldn’t be a Black History Month because there isn’t a White History Month?” Doocy pressed.
The way Dash hit every single racist, privilege infested argument, you would swear she was teaching Resolved Ignorance. Those words about Black History Month and segregation are the very same ones uninformed or flat-out racist White people across the country love to tout, knowing good and well, with the exception of slavery and Martin Luther King, there is little to no Black History taught in the public school curriculum. And BET and The Image Awards are born out of the fact that our films, as the Academy Awards showed in 2016, are still not receiving the recognition they deserve. If Sylvester Stallone could be nominated for an Oscar, Stacey Dash deserves one too for her role as Dionne in Clueless. Lord knows, it’s her one of her few contributions to society.
But if you ask me, Stacey Dash knows exactly why networks like BET exist. As the network so aptly reminded their Instagram followers, she certainly took their money, probably in response to the fact that she couldn’t get any love from the mainstream.
I don’t know if the statements represent Dash’s true beliefs. It seemed like she was being spoon-fed throughout the broadcast.
But whether they represent her true feelings or she’s only saying what she thinks her White bosses and their White audience want to hear. She’s “the Black friend” who laughs at racists jokes and lets her White friends say “the N-word” because Hip Hop is to blame. It’s very clear she’s being used as a pawn. And pawns are often the first ones sacrificed in an attempt to preserve the empire. And Fox News is an empire. Stacey Dash, the Johnnetta come lately, is not high on their priority list. After all, there are plenty of right-winged, fairer skinned folk who will say exactly what she just said.
We saw that in the way they suspended homegirl with a quickness when she cussed on television, speaking about President Obama.
She can look to Michael Steele or Hermain Cain and even Dr. Ben Carson (because he’s clearly on his way out) to see the ways in which the party has dismissed and disregarded right-winged African Americans who thought they had an “in.”
I don’t know what Stacey Dash hopes to gain from all of this. More acting opportunities? Exposure? Perhaps she just wants people to talk about her. And if that’s the case, she’s certainly accomplished her goals. But in the meantime it reeks of desperation. Fox News knows it, Hollywood knows it and so does the Black community. Once Fox finds their next token, I don’t know where Stacey will find herself but it certainly won’t be in the good graces of the people who only sought to exploit her Blackness in the first place.
Update: The dedication ceremony for Maya Angelou’s stamp took place today, and the Forever Stamp is officially for sale. However, it looks like there’s an issue with the quote. According to The Washington Post, the stamp features a line — “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song” — that was actually written by another author, Joan Walsh Anglund. While Angelou has said the words and they are reminiscent of her famous book I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, she never actually wrote this.
In an email, a US Postal Service spokesperson Mark Saunders told WaPo, “Had we known about this issue beforehand, we would have used one of [Angelou’s] many other works. . . . The sentence held great meaning for her and she is publicly identified with its popularity.”
For her part, Anglund doesn’t seem too upset by the error. But still… sigh.
— U.S. Postal Service (@USPS) April 7, 2015
Will you be getting yours?
Update by Tonya Garcia
Originally posted February 23, 2015
Last Spring, when the beloved Maya Angelou passed, Twitter campaigned for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to honor the iconic poet with a stamp to immortalize her heart-touching legacy for years to come. Fast forward to the present and Ms. Angelou’s got herself that stamp!
“Stamps have featured people for their notable accomplishments in the arts. They have included American heroes, but one is missing. Maya Angelou was influential in so many ways,” the petition wrote. USPS has responded:
“Maya Angelou inspired our nation through a life of advocacy and through her many contributions to the written and spoken word,” Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan said in a press statement. “Her wide-ranging achievements as a playwright, poet, memoirist, educator, and advocate for justice and equality enhanced our culture.”
This commemoration comes right after the USPS honored MIT’s first African-American graduate, Robert Robinson Taylor, in mid-February. The Black architect and educator was sworn in as USPS’ 38th stamp in the Black Heritage series.
“Over the course of nearly 40 years, Taylor designed dozens of essential buildings, including libraries, dormitories, lecture halls, industrial workshops, and a handsome chapel, transforming a makeshift campus on an abandoned plantation into a confident, state-of-the-art institution,” USPS said of Taylor, who graduated from MIT in 1892.
The stamp, which can be purchased starting from $1.96, features a photograph of a 22-year-old Taylor circa 1880 as a student at MIT.
As for Angelou’s Fovever Stamp, that’s still under wraps; the stamp ceremony will be announced.
Angelou, best known for her I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings memoir, died on May 28, 2014 at the age of 86. Her countless achievements include delivering her On the Pulse of Morning speech at President Clinton’s 1993 inauguration and her Presidential Medal of Freedom award, given to her in 2010 by President Barack Obama.
(And to see more of the 2014 MN Bosses, highlighted in the image above, click here.)
Now that Black History month is over, you might be feeling a little melancholy. But never fear, March is Women’s History Month and since we’re all Black around here, that just gives us another reason to celebrate the Black women, our foremothers, who made a difference in this country and the world.
With this in mind, we were happy to discover the work of Chauncia Boyd Rogers. Rogers, a freelance journalist and photographer, learned that the school her 5-year-old daughter Ava Noelle, attends had not planned any events to commemorate Black History Month.
But instead of slumping away discouraged, Rogers decided to teach Black History in her home, in a fun and creative way. Rogers told Everything Girls Love, how she came up with the concept.
“The idea came to me at the end of January 2015. When I saw a picture of Ava and myself at our church’s Black History Month program in 2011, I realized that it had been years since I had recognized the month. My daughter, Ava Noelle Rogers, turned five a few weeks ago. So, I decided that she should learn about black history. She hadn’t heard of the month before this year. There are a few reasons why I chose to recreate photos of notable Black women. Part of my church’s BHM celebration included dressing/acting as a notable African-American and sharing facts about that person. A different teen did that every week. Also, Ava really loves playing dress-up and she has a vivid imagination. I knew that having her dress as each figure would help her remember; especially when she looks at the pictures.”
Rogers found photos of Black icons and then used items around her house to dress young Ava Noelle up like these women.
When Rogers first posted the images on her Facebook page and noticed more and more people commenting, she realized that her photos could be used to educate others.
And of course, as it was originally intended, the project has been pretty fulfilling for Ava Noelle too.
She told STL public radio, “I liked when I did Phillis Wheatley. Phillis Wheatley is a poet and she wrote poems.”
Ava Noelle’s other favorites include dressing as ballerina Misty Copeland and First Lady, Michelle Obama.
It looks like this may be a tradition passed down to the next generation.
Rogers said, [Ava Noelle] “told me that she would do the same thing with her daughter when she’s a mom.”
Starting next month, Ava Noelle will start writing sentences about what she’s learned about each woman.
Take a look at some of the amazing pictures on the following pages and be sure to read the captions as they are quite informative.
When 5-year-old Ava Noelle Roger’s mother, Chauncia realized that it had been years since she’d celebrated Black History Month, the St. Louis native decided that it was time to once again commemorate the occasion. And with her daughter now old enough to understand and appreciate its significance, Rogers saw it as the perfect opportunity to teach her about some of the phenomenal black women from the past and present.
With portraits of historical figures as her inspiration, Rogers found objects around her house and used them to help her transform Ava into women like Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman, and lesser known individuals like journalist Keija Minor and Chef Edna Lewis. “I wanted to choose people maybe not everyone had heard of through the project,” Rogers explained. “Because I decided to choose different people, I’ve learned a lot researching them.”
The result? A game of dress-up that not only celebrated Black History and Women’s History Months, but also served as a learning experience for both mother and daughter; one that Ava says she’d like to share with her own daughter in the future.
Hit the flip for some of our fav flicks from Ava’s adorable photo-shoot.
Preschooler Commemorates Phenomenal Black Women
“Started From the Bottom, Now We’re Here”: How Black Wall Street & Bus Boycotts Can Inform Our Financial Future
For some, Booker T. Washington has gone down in Black History as an “Uncle Tom.” Independent of how you may feel about all of his philosophies, I think we can all agree that he got it right when he said, “At the bottom of education, at the bottom of politics, even at the bottom of religion, there must be for our race economic independence.”
As we continue to find our financial footing as a community, we can look back to Black models of financial excellence: where we used our money to make moves and establish business acumen as one to be feared and respected. Two key models were that of Black Wall Street and The Montgomery Bus Boycott; the former showcases Black business brilliance while the latter shows Black folk wielded their collective financial power for political progress and social good.
Black Wall Street
Prior to its destruction in what history calls The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, Tulsa enjoyed a thriving Black-owned business infrastructure and anchored itself as a hub in the oil industry. Dubbed the “Black Wall Street” by Booker T. Washington or The Magic City by its locals, this Black commerce Mecca in Oklahoma, throughout the early 1900s, was nothing short of impressive. During that era, Black Wall Street swelled with over 600 businesses including 21 churches, 21 restaurants and two movie theaters. It also owned four different railroads and its own commercial airport with six Blacks owning their own planes. Black Wall Street also controlled their own media. They owned two daily newspapers, the Tulsa World and the Tulsa Tribune, and a handful of weeklies. Even though radio has not arrived yet, the city was connected to the outside world through four different telegraph companies.
Downtown Tulsa included seven banks, post offices, libraries, medical schools, dozens of insurance agencies, investment advisers, private-owned bus system, accounting firms, real estate agencies, law firms, and loan companies. In addition, the people of Tulsa had many Black-owned businesses in which they could patronize; Tulsa was awash with jewelry stores, grocery stores, furniture stores, restaurants, pawn shops, cafes, billiard halls, and even brothels. It has been estimated that the dollar in Black Wall Street circulated 36 to 100 times, sometimes taking a year for currency to leave the community.
Montgomery Bus Boycott
Six decades later, we leveraged our economic resources in Montgomery, AL to wield political power and social justice in order to end the institution of segregation and usher in the first wave of the Civil Rights Movement.
In Montgomery during the 1950s, the majority of bus riders were Black, but city regulations required that they not only sit in the rear of buses, but also had to give their seats to a white person when all the seats in front were filled. When Rosa Parks refused to surrender her seat, she was arrested and jailed. Even though Parks wasn’t the first person to protest the laws, her arrest galvanized Montgomery’s Black community to boycott the National City Lines, which was owned the Montgomery Bus Line at that time.
After Park’s arrest, the Women’s Political Council printed and circulated a flyer throughout Montgomery’s Black community reminding black people about their financial power and calling for a swift, deliberate collective economic response:
“Another Negro woman has been arrested and thrown in jail because she refused to get up out of her seat on the bus for a white person to sit down. It is the second time since the Claudette Colvin case that a Negro woman has been arrested for the same thing. This has to be stopped. Negroes have rights too, for if Negroes did not ride the buses, they could not operate. Three-fourths of the riders are Negro, yet we are arrested, or have to stand over empty seats. If we do not do something to stop these arrests, they will continue. The next time it may be you, or your daughter, or mother. This woman’s case will come up on Monday. We are, therefore, asking every Negro to stay off the buses Monday in protest of the arrest and trial. Don’t ride the buses to work, to town, to school, or anywhere on Monday. You can afford to stay out of school for one day if you have no other way to go except by bus. You can also afford to stay out of town for one day. If you work, take a cab, or walk. But please, children and grown-ups don’t ride the bus at all on Monday. Please stay off all buses Monday.”
And so, on December 5, 1955, the boycott began. While the city buses were nearly empty, sidewalks were crowded with Blacks walking to work. Others carpooled or took cabs; Black cab drivers lowered their fares in solidarity. The city recognized immediately it had a huge problem on its hands. Without Black people’s economic input via fares, the bus company of Montgomery faced probable bankruptcy.
Not only was it facing monumental financial losses, it also saw for the first time that a politically unified Black community had the power to usurp the policy of segregation on public transportation. For 381 days, despite violent, unwarranted harassment, and no protection from the state or federal government, the boycott endured. When it finally ended on December 27, 1956, it was a complete victory for the Black community. It showed the city, state, and nation Black economic clout, forced the Montgomery bus companies to desegregate their lines, and lay the precedent for systemic change.
Connect with Kara @frugalfeminista. Learn more about The Frugal Feminista at www.thefrugalfeminista.com Download her free ebook The 5-Day Financial Reset Plan: Eliminate Debt, Know Your Worth, and Heal Your Relationship with Money in Just 5 Days. Join Kara’s closed $20 Cash Crash Diet Facebook Group to get some sistergirl support and accountability for reaching your savings goals.
History happens 365 days a year. As we’re in a modern day Civil Rights Movement, the Black diaspora continues to make history everyday. Many Black firsts, experiences, triumphs, struggles and significant moments happened from February of 2014 to February of 2015. Here’s a list of 15 of those moments within in the last year for the history books.