Never forget

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“Mrs. Fanny Parrott, wife of former slave near Siloam, Greene County, Georgia.” — By Jack Delano, Farm Security Administration Photography program (FSA). May 1941.

Click through to the large version of this photo. The quiet dignity, self-contained beauty of age and experience tolerating this camera-carrying record keeper.

21 thoughts on “Never forget

  1. Footnote says:

    Joice Heth (c. 1756 – February 19, 1836) was an African-American slave who was purchased and then exhibited by P.T. Barnum with the false claim that she was the 161-year-old nursing mammy of George Washington. Joice Heth died in New York City on February 19, 1836, aged around 79. To gratify public interest, Barnum set up a public autopsy and engaged the service of a surgeon, Dr. David L. Rogers, who performed the autopsy on February 25, 1836, in front of fifteen hundred spectators in New York’s City Saloon, with Barnum charging fifty cents admission.

  2. Low IQ says:

    “President Trump is known for throwing around insults, but his clashes with high-profile African-Americans this summer renewed focus on the language Trump uses to speak to and about black people.” “NPR examined Trump’s Twitter feed between June 1 and Labor Day. It provided a snapshot of a president who directs venomous tirades at black public figures who bash him, while singling out black celebrities who support him for praise.”

  3. Satayana says:

    The lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, 1930 “The picture was the inspiration for the poem “Strange Fruit” which was later put to song and popularized by the incredible Billy Holiday and became an early anthem for the burgeoning civil rights movement. Teacher/poet Abel Meeropol ran across this photo of the Shipp-Smith lynching a few years later in a magazine, and it so “haunted” him — his word — that he penned the anti-lynching poem “Strange Fruit”.

  4. Epilogue says:

    “A Brutal Lynching And A Possible Confession, Decades Later” (NPR Nov 27, 2018) “On August 28, 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till was gruesomely lynched in the small town of Money, Miss. He was a boy from Chicago, visiting his relatives.”
    “When Till’s mother Mamie came to identify her son, she told the funeral director, “Let the people see what I’ve seen.” She brought him home to Chicago and insisted on an open casket. Tens of thousands filed past Till’s remains, but it was the publication of the searing funeral image in Jet, with a stoic Mamie gazing at her murdered child’s ravaged body, that forced the world to reckon with the brutality of American racism.”
    “Nation Horrified By Murder Of Chicago Youth”. Jet Magazine, September 15, 1955

  5. Santayana says:

    “Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1938” Library of Congress
    Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938 contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) of the Works Progress Administration, later renamed Work Projects Administration (WPA). At the conclusion of the Slave Narrative project, a set of edited transcripts was assembled and microfilmed in 1941 as the seventeen-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. In 2000-2001, with major support from the Citigroup Foundation, the Library digitized the narratives from the microfilm edition and scanned from the originals 500 photographs, including more than 200 that had never been microfilmed or made publicly available. This online collection is a joint presentation of the Manuscript and Prints and Photographs divisions of the Library of Congress.

    • White Savior™️ says:

      “Can WPA slave narratives be trusted, or are they tainted by Depression-era racism?”
      “One of our largest surviving bodies of testimony about slavery are the 2,300 Depression-era oral histories of elderly ex-slaves, gathered by workers who were employed by the federal government as part of the Works Progress Administration. The collection has inspired methodological debate ever since the interviews became available to scholars in the middle of the last century. As many historians have noted, a deep power imbalance often complicated the relationship between white interviewers and black interviewees. In the most extreme situations, interviewers were descendants of the same families that had held interviewees as slaves. And in the Jim Crow South, the presence of any white interviewer could make the informants rightfully nervous. Records of the interviews show that some interviewers didn’t explain their presence, leaving the people whose houses they were visiting to arrive at their own conclusions about the visitors’ intentions.”

      • Gramps says:

        Harvard University sued over allegedly profiting from what are believed to be the earliest photos of American slaves In 1850, a Swiss-born Harvard University professor commissioned what are believed to be the earliest photos of American slaves. The images, known as daguerreotypes and taken in a South Carolina studio, are crude and dehumanizing — and they were used to promote racist beliefs. Among the photographed: an African man named Renty and his daughter Delia. They were stripped naked and photographed from several angles. Professor Louis Agassiz, a biologist, had the photos taken to support an erroneous theory called polygenism that he and others used to argue African-Americans were inferior to white people. Now, a woman who claims to be a direct descendant of that father and child – Tamara Lanier, the great-great-great granddaughter of Renty – is suing Harvard over the photos. She’s accused Harvard of the wrongful seizure, possession and monetization of the images, ignoring her requests to “stop licensing the pictures for the university’s profit” and misrepresenting the ancestor she calls “Papa Renty.”

  6. Footnote says:

    “The common goal of 22 million Afro-Americans is respect as human beings, the God-given right to be a human being. Our common goal is to obtain the human rights that America has been denying us. We can never get civil rights in America until our human rights are first restored. We will never be recognized as citizens there until we are first recognized as humans.” Malcolm X, “Racism: the Cancer that is Destroying America,” Egyptian Gazette (Aug. 25 1964).

  7. Mike says:

    “The keeper of the secret” (Washington Post 3/30/19) John Johnson has spent decades compiling names of everyone involved in a long-ago Virginia lynching, with the help of residents who made him promise to keep them to himself. Now 80, Johnson says, “I’ve got to do something with them before I die.”
    For 30 years, he had been collecting every detail he could about the August 1926 lynching of a black man named Raymond Byrd by a white mob in Wytheville, Virginia. The lynching was one of more than 4,000 documented in Southern states between 1877 and 1950, killings intended to terrorize black populations and reinforce white supremacy and whose perpetrators — while known to locals — were almost never convicted or even named, a tradition of secrecy that carried on in Wytheville.
    See also “In Virginia, a strange state of stasis” (3/31/19)

  8. Mike says:

    “Ava DuVernay uses real history to damn the present in Netflix’s When They See Us : Donald Trump’s involvement in the case — and refusal to change his mind — is just a cipher for America. (VOX 6/2/19) In March, Netflix announced that the name of Ava DuVernay’s forthcoming limited series about an infamous 1989 rape case and its racially charged aftermath would be changed from Central Park Five (as the group of young men accused of the crime are commonly called) to When They See Us. Now that the series is here, it’s clear why. When They See Us (which premiered on Netflix on May 31) richly understands that in America — a country that makes sense of itself through images on screens — who you appear to be matters far more than who you actually are.
    On May 1, 1989, as the case was headed to trial, then-real estate developer Trump spent about $85,000 placing a full-page ad in four newspapers, calling (in so many words) for the young men accused of the crime to be executed. Later he went on CNN to explain himself to Larry King.
    “I had some woman the other day stick a microphone in my face from one of the major networks: ‘But don’t you have compassion for these young men? That raped and beat and mugged and everything else this wonderful woman?’” he told King during the interview. “Do I have hatred for them?”
    He answered his own question: ”And I said, look, this woman was raped, mugged, and thrown off a building — thrown off a building on top of everything else … I said, ‘Of course I hate these people, and let’s all hate these people, because maybe hate is what we need if we’re gonna get something done.” (Larry King interview 5/17/89)
    Ava DuVernay:

  9. Mike says:

    James Baldwin Debates William F. Buckley at Cambridge University (1965)
    “I Am Not Your Negro” is a 2016 documentary film directed by Raoul Peck, based on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript, Remember This House. Narrated by actor Samuel L. Jackson, the film explores the history of racism in the United States through Baldwin’s reminiscences of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr, as well as his personal observations of American history. It was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Academy Awards and won the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary.
    Official Trailer

  10. Footnote says:

    Waverly B. Woodson, Jr., a black medic with the lone African-American combat unit to fight on D-Day, saved hundreds during the invasion despite being injured himself. Was He deprived of a Medal of Honor? (History Channel 6/4/19) “…Back home in America, black newspapers hailed Woodson as the “No. 1 invasion hero.” Other publications likewise offered praise, including the U.S. military newspaper Stars and Stripes, which wrote that he and his fellow medics “covered themselves with glory on D-Day.” The U.S. Army issued a news release in August 1944 that called him a “modest Negro American soldier” who “was cited by his commanding officer for extraordinary bravery.”
    Even Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, architect of the D-Day invasion and future president, weighed in, saying Woodson’s unit, the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, “carried out its mission with courage and determination, and proved an important element of the air defense team.”
    Woodson, however, never received the Medal of Honor, the highest U.S. military decoration given to those who display extraordinary valor in action. In fact, of the hundreds of Medals of Honor given out during World War II, not a single one went to a black soldier, even though more than 1 million African-Americans served in the conflict.”
    See also “Protecting the Beaches with Balloons: D-Day and the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion” (Smithsonian, June 4, 2019)

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