All Articles Tagged "Civil War"
From Black Voices
Tom Head, a county judge in Lubbock, Texas, plunged far out into the periphery of anti-President Barack Obama conspiracy theories on Monday, pushing a particularly outrageous one as justification for a tax increase in the county.
Head told FOX34 that Lubbock’s law enforcement needed extra tax dollars in order to be prepared for a full-scale uprising, which he said could be a byproduct of Obama’s reelection. According to Head, the president is seeking to sign a variety of United Nations treaties that will effectively take precedent over domestic law.
“He’s going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N., and what is going to happen when that happens?” Head asked. “I’m thinking the worst. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. And we’re not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations, we’re talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy.”
Read the rest at Black Voices
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Imagine that you were born just a little bit earlier, like early enough to have lived through slavery and the Civil War. Assuming that you’re black (and were indeed enslaved), now you’re a free individual. But perhaps you still harbor some resentment to the people that once owned and oppressed you and your family. Given the opportunity, what might you say to those people?
Having never been in a situation like this, most of us probably can’t imagine what we would say. But luckily, historians found a letter a former slave addressed and mailed to his former master.
Read the letter at BlackVoices.com.
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(The Root) — The signs are ominous, and strangely familiar: communal warfare raging in the politically volatile Muslim Northern regions, with supporters of the ruling party stabbed, hacked or shot; churches, mosques and homes burned; and hundreds believed dead and tens of thousands more displaced. That’s the scene so far in parts of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, following its latest round of presidential elections. Gubernatorial elections in at least three Northern states this week were postponed because of the violence. The incumbent, President Goodluck Jonathan, of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, has appealed for calm after being declared the winner April 18 with 57 percent of the vote — thus avoiding an expected second round of balloting with his main rival, former Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, who received 31 percent. Buhari is a Fulani from the predominantly Muslim North; Jonathan is an Ijaw from the predominantly Christian South.
(Washington Post) – Back in 1962, Frank Smith Jr. left Morehouse College in Atlanta and went to Mississippi as a civil rights activist with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In Holly Springs, he met a man who turned out to be the descendant of an African American Civil War veteran. “I found it ironic that a guy whose grandfather had fought to end slavery and preserve the Union was still being treated like a second-class citizen, not even allowed to vote,” Smith told me recently. “So I started reading about the soldiers.” A seed was planted that would become the African American Civil War Museum and Memorial, which Smith founded in Washington in 1998. On Monday, nearly 50 years after that chance encounter in Mississippi, he’ll preside over the dedication of the museum’s expansion into a renovated school building at 1925 Vermont Ave. NW. It is the largest museum of its kind in the country and the only national memorial to black soldiers who fought in the Civil War.
Tungsten, gold and other minerals used in consumer electronics come from all over the world, but one troubled African nation is a primary international supplier. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) provides much of the tantalum, tin and other precious metals used by dozens of manufacturers in the cell phones and laptops we use every day. But much like blood diamonds, the mining and distribution of DRC ore used in pricey devices fuels continual bloodshed within the borders of that nation. TheAtlanic.com reports:
Congo’s second war officially ended in 2003 when a transitional government took over after the signing of peace agreements between African nations. But the fighting still persists. The DRC army has launched several attacks on the civilian population and armed rebel groups have risen up to fight against them. Tensions between the two factions are perpetuated by the profits to be made from the mining industry.
According to a study released by the International Rescue Committee in 2008, the war in the DRC and its aftermath is the deadliest conflict since World War II. An estimated 5.4 million people have been killed in the country since 1998 and 45,000 deaths occur each month–a loss equivalent to the entire population of Colorado.
Robert Hormats, U.S. Under Secretary of State for economic, energy, and agriculture affairs, said on a panel June 20 that the debate surrounding conflict minerals is “one of the most significant moral issues of our time.
These moral issues weigh on the U.S. because we are one of the largest consumers of minerals from DRC mines. Ten percent of the tungsten exported from the country is used by American firms. Tungsten is the mineral that allows cell phones to vibrate.
Every time your cell phone vibrates, your device sends a reminder that its crucial elements have fueled murderous unrest — and rape as a tragic component of the fighting. Sexual assault is a common intimidation tool used in DRC battle zones, as soldiers funded by conflict minerals routinely attack women in contested areas. Over 15,000 victims having been affected between 2008 and 2010, most of them teen girls, according to The United Nations Population Fund.
Steps have been taken to halt the funding of these atrocities, but much remains to be done. President Obama signed legislation in 2010 making it a legal requirement for U.S. manufacturers to disclose whether minerals used in their products come from DRC or a country nearby. Bloomberg reports “that tin ore from the DRC’s North Kivu province fell more than 90 percent in the month of April” in response to increased regulation. While good news, critics say that this system of monitoring is not enough to track DRC minerals, which change hands too many times on the way to market to be guaranteed conflict-free.
But at least some pressure is on. DRC mining companies now realize they must step up their efforts to crush the pipeline between fighting forces and U.S. markets if they want to grow. DRC’s ambassador to the United States, Frida Mitifu, told TheAtlantic.com: “We really need to find a quick solution otherwise this God-given potential that God put in the DRC might truly turn into some kind of curse.”
It is certainly already a curse to the millions who have been killed, injured and sexually assaulted in the blind pursuit of money to fund war. Sanctions and enforced tracking seem like the only way to force mining companies to cooperate with international authorities, because failure to comply threatens their bottom line. But you can make a difference in that regard, too.
Think about the source materials that go into your next electronic purchase. Make sure what you buy is DRC-free — until this nation can prove that their exports do not fund rape and war. And consider recycling used computers, cell phones and other items, so that mining new minerals (thus sending new funds to DRC war zones) won’t be as necessary.
(AP) — As America embarks on four years of Civil War commemorations, it revives an unsettling debate that lingers 150 years after the conflict: how to view the role of African Americans in the Confederacy. It arose last year when a Virginia textbook was yanked over protests that it inaccurately claimed thousands of blacks served as Confederate soldiers. More recently, a North Carolina community turned down an effort to erect a monument to 10 black men who served the Southern army and later collected Confederate pensions. Confederate law prohibited slaves from serving as soldiers until March 1865, when it was changed in a last-gasp effort to strengthen troop numbers. Yet the debate continues bubbling to the surface in many ways.
On Monday, the nation will pause to honor those courageous men and women who have served and gave their lives all in the spirit of patriotism. But did you know that African Americans were the first to celebrate our fallen soldiers?
According to Black America Web, Yale University history professor David Blight says that blacks in Charleston, South Carolina launched the first Decoration Day, in which they decorate the graves of dead soldiers, in honor of the Union’s war dead on May 1, 1865.
“That ceremony on May 1, 1865 was actually the first recorded Decoration Day or Memorial Day,” said Blight.
Fifteen years ago, Blight was in a Harvard University library doing research for his book, “Reunion and Race,” when he came across a box of unorganized papers of a Union veterans’ organization and a folder labeled “First Decoration Day.”
The information contained in that folder led Blight to South Carolina and the former Washington Race Course and Jockey Club, a once prestigious horse racing track that became a prison for Union soldiers during the Civil War. Blight said many soldiers died there, but were not properly buried.
Following the Confederate surrender ending the Civil War, blacks went to the place where hundreds of prisoners had been buried, many in mass graves. Those blacks, many of which were recently freed slaves, gave the soldiers a proper burial, explained Blight. Following the burials, there was a ceremony.
“They put up a fence around the area and painted it,” he said. “More than 260 were buried there. We don’t know the names. We don’t know the race.”
Blight admits that finding an account of the celebration was difficult at first.
“That shows that some parts of history can be lost, depending on who is in control,” Blight said. “You have to realize that the white Democrats in South Carolina soon returned to power. The Republicans were out of office. The blacks were out of office. Southerners did not want to remember the war, especially through an event such as this.”
Though this news surely won’t have any affect on how Memorial Day is celebrated, it’s still a nice history lesson to take in, seeing as how all the contributions blacks have made to this country are consistently overlooked.
It is the 150-year anniversary of the start of the Civil War. As you know, many African Americans gave their lives during that war in an effort to obtain freedom–something most of us today take for granted. The Grio offers up and interesting photo gallery of the Civil Wars unsung heroes.
Do you have any Civil War veterans in your family tree?
By B. Hutson
Teaching and being sensitive to race in the classroom is a challenging situation on its own, but for some reason that is beyond comprehension, a fourth grade teacher in Norfolk, VA decided the best way to make a lesson on the Civil War interesting was by turning her classroom into a slave auction.
According to the Washington Post, the mock auction occurred on April 1 when the teacher, Jessica Boyle, ordered black and mixed students to one side of the classroom, and then white students took turns buying them. While its bad enough the psychological effect that this lesson most likely had on the black and mixed students (that they are worth less compared to their white classmates), lessons on the Civil War have long been sensitive in Virginia classrooms considering that some of the Confederacy’s most bloodiest battles took place in the state.
Ironically enough, this “lesson” occurred in an elementary school named for one of Virginia’s earliest Civil War battles, the Battle of Sewells Point, which was fought near campus grounds, reports the Post.
Rightfully so, parents complained to the principal of Sewells Point, Mary B. Wrushen, who acknowledged that Boyle had gone too far. In a letter to the parents of the students in Boyle’s class, the Virginian-Pilot reports that Wrushen wrote, “Although [Boyle’s] actions were well intended to meet the instructional objectives, the activity presented was inappropriate for the students. The lesson could have been thought through more carefully, as to not offend her students or put them in an uncomfortable situation.”
School board chairman Kirk Houston told the Virginian-Pilot that he had no knowledge of the auction and that it is “extremely disturbing” to him. “Mock slave auctions involving children are absolutely unacceptable in a classroom. At this point this is a personnel matter, and the School Board will monitor its outcome,” he said.
(New York Times) — A day after French and United Nations helicopters fired missiles at key positions held by forces loyal to the entrenched strongman Laurent Gbagbo, columns of black smoke rose on Monday over Abidjan, and French troops were reported to be advancing towards his residence. Witnesses quoted by Reuters said a column of about 30 French armored vehicles, accompanied by ground forces, was pushing forward from one of the city’s main boulevards toward the residence, part of which had been destroyed by missiles fired from helicopters according to one Mr. Ggagbo’s top aides. A French military spokesman in Abidjan said the aim of the operation was to avoid a “bloodbath,” but declined to elaborate, Reuters reported. Thick smoke could be seen rising from the Cocody area of the city — Ivory Coast’s commercial capital — where Mr. Ggagbo has been holed up in a bunker for days, refusing international demands to surrender power.