Message to Black America in Black History Month
From a man of both Virgin Island and Long Island descent, centuries in the American Jurisdiction.
We start off by recognizing Black excellence of a prior era- from when most of the Civil Rights icons the 1960’s and written about the location of a major milestone predicted by Malcolm X- Black America breaking the tie between White America in a former slave state, constant battleground in civil rights fight in the home arena of a King.
Georgia on My Mind, in a song style that reminds me of Disney songs of the era- A precision and mastery of strokes and notes, born of genius forged of long years. selected to create this multilayered symphony at times simple elegance, woven into a tapestry of tracks blending maintaining & shifting the harmony. With our mutual respect to musical mastery by a Black American Artist, let the song Choice, Georgia on My Mind.
Georgia was not once not twice but three times the delivery of the balance of American power if we are a bit geographically illiterate and remember South Carolina’s role in the Biden shift.
We have an opportunity now, based on how Stacey Abrams may or may not have lost the Governership but helped Georgia deliver a US government within the reach of equity of rights and interest representation in the execution of United States laws. Black America has helped deliver to one of the two ever battling corporations the Democratic National Committee, HQ in Washington DC a sound victory over the Republican National Committee also headquartered in Washington DC, but incorporated in Delaware.
The membership of these two corporations share 99.9% of all Constitutional authority in America, and thus all funds enforcement of laws on businesses, the government itself and people. This membership’s actions depend less on the voters of any state’s wishes, and more with the management of those two political bodies.
The 2020-2021 elections season, was delivered decisively by the increased focus black American turnout and intensity, though in large, lesser intensity by women, Eastern Asian Americans, Caribbean descended, and American continent indigenous folks, Malcolm X once said white folks are generally, and predictably about the split, and black Americans are often the difference .
Malcolm X, whose words and analysis of a time, can guide our understanding of what has changed and what hasn’t and where we can go from here. In the “Ballot or the Bullet”:
Brother Malcolm maps the politics of the time so well, in a format that would inform people of today to ask better questions about the structure of Congressional Leadership.
Fantastic speech, one for the ages. Do I agree with everything Malcolm X says here; speaking with historical knowledge of the changes and the intent of the Congress at the time-no. Nor, I suspect would Brother Shabazz, as he came to be known later in life. Angry, but stirring, and still right about 90%, on number of topics, and hit key issues hard with depth and easy takeaways. The strongest in the most recent listen was on the Economic affairs of communities, and this is a critical conversation.
Frankly, it should also inform on where we have made vast progress- I think sometimes we – me specifically, as well as others, more specifically, don’t recognize the many areas of progress and also where we were before. There’s a whole set of new avenues for the same problems.
His points about economics of communities of color are worthy of great conversation, and productive of much wealth in knowledge understanding and investing in black communities. This should help inform us to move forward.
But the lens of history must bend this framework of Lyndon Johnson on Civil Rights – a President no one doubts said the n-word, but also signed the Voting Rights Act, and appointed Justice Thurgood Marshall, a staunch believer in the promises of equal rights and the words of the Constitution, to the Supreme Court. In 1965, with school segregation legal but interracial marriage not always.
a thing which seems frankly amazing and rapid shift- part of the times and the pressure created by brother Malcolm —Justice Marshall, who only had a few years I think on the Warren Court, but whose wisdom in dissent lighted at least my way on the issue of prisoner voting rights in Richardson vs Ramirez, and toasting the majority on technical and legal grounds, much like Justice Sotomayer does today, and Justice Ginsburg did in Shelby vs Holder(2014).
It is undeniable, from Justice Ginsburg’s dissent that the political positions of power, and government jobs, services and freedoms have greatly expanded since Ballot or the Bullet- (my parent’s marriage was technically illegal in 1970, and unthinkable in the US today), have come because of a sharing of power, and any integration of rights- far from perfect, or even meeting Constitutionally required standards- like settlements for wrongful deaths- has generally taken decades, but has changed radically, in what for human kind- the kind in our name has always been a bit, optimistic, if we are fair. Struggle has been the manner of human life, many thousands of years after achieving a dominance that no longer necessitated it.
But given the times, and his own experiences – the fire with which Malcolm X lights President LBJ is understandable.
I appreciate who Malcolm X was, and mourn our collective loss on who he was clearly becoming; and what his words on black economics might have done to radically accelerate the changes we are finally seeing in the promise of the future of Black America, with a long way to go. With more years of scholarship he likely would have discovered the same issues I attempt to map here.
I in my own research suggest some level of Constitutional scholarship, and focusing demands on the language within, because in many ways, there should be more than enough, if the system were enforced as it should be. It is not, and has not since the days of Dred Scott, the Supreme Court case that left in place sins that would erupt into the Civil War. Largely, because people with investments in slaves, as profit and labor of humans, for agricultural exports from the South for a huge piece of American foreign trade, far more important to day to day survival of America just fully linking by train and cable communication. The US Government was looking to turn land into states and needed people, promising training land and equipment, and insured many a farmer, as well, benefits offered only to Europeans, that have paid generational dividends in the trillions. This was a major component of Dr. Kings speeches.
12 to 1 is the wealth disparity between European Americans and African Americans by some estimates, but none are less than 8 to 1, which is obviously separate worlds. And yes this can firmly be reviewed in many cases will see revenues underwritten by govern work available only to white Americans.
The good news, the great news, is that with focus on community investment, I think, largely guided by Brother Shabazz’s mode- if not letter of thinking on the subject, and with a real look at the structures he provided in Afro American Unity, though I admit my clear bias.
NBA players and NFL Players have enough bread to fund- profitably with the black head of the NAIC the I being for investment is a very different world, and Black Unity, and building the economic structures now, while seizing the political action wheels to provide relief for not only past wrongs to own, but also to support broad programs that help people of all colors take those steps up. The means of production for all of the goods of Black America is very much within the means of Black America collectively.
Prison Population Explosion
Too many people behind bars- living in concrete, which is not helpful to the human life cycle. If the point is rehabilitation, we need to figure out what that means and how to breakthe cycle of ehaviors that brought people in. Not to keep them punished at cost to the State for decades.
Where we have only just recently started moving this back the other way- this is only the fully incarcerated, and the United States of America is the largest jailer in the history of human “kind” .
10 million American Citizens mostly of color without the right to vote for Congress or the President
I turn your attention to the fact that more than 10 million American ”citizens”, mostly of color, are in some status of no voting representation in Washington and could not vote for President of the United States in 2016 and 2020, which was more than Joe Biden beat Donald Trump by, and 100,000 times the 4 state vote difference-109,000 votes that gave Donald Trump an “Electoral College” victory. At least 4 million of those do not currently count in the Electoral College, based on living on islands never declared states by Congress, in over 100 years. My grandfather, who, born around the time the US acquired Puerto Rico, the VI Alaska and Hawaii, a United States Citizen but never in his long life was able to vote for representation in Washington DC, nor my father’s entire generation, nor my nephew, now moved to the mainland.
Stacey Plaskett, and Eleanor Holmes Norton black women representing mostly black American citizens, can’t vote in Congress.
If these problems seem like no big deal- it wasn’t to the white guys who founded this country for the exact same reason, and less people were affected.
Same thing with the thrust of Black Lives Matter- police accountability. The movement, despite some very unfortunate but not unpredictable side effects of social movement, was necessary, and proper, as used in the legal sense. There are many within who call for “defund”, which was unfortunately, more of an informally negotiated compromise position that brings the conversation back to the critical and actually productive conversation of security spending in the United States, rather than “abolish police” The security function, and the presence of people who believe in the laws, or just the good sense habits of a location where Not sure how people could ever be uncertain of the need for sensible law enforcement; while most people are decent to some group of people, the kind in human kind has always been somewhat optimistic. The clear excesses, where agencies funded by the state hurt people What crimes police focus on, and the range of crimes enforced is absolutely 100% the business of the people of the United States of America, but there are important individual officers, as well as State responsibilities conversations to be had that will be complex.
Crispus Attucks’s (a Bostonian mulatto )shooting is mentioned in the Declaration of Independence (not by name), and there’s due process – twice in the Constitution- making the current issues the more troubling- because the problems Black Lives Matter are already deeply entrenched in US government Constitution, Congressional Statutes and state laws, like the British colonies of America, and any English Empire system- since 1307, life liberty health or property affected by government funded activities at all are supposed to see a judge
Court system, and laws the Constitution were written from within the English system of law the principles for which today we now must still struggle. Perhaps the lesson is that there is always some struggle and the nature of systems of rule to pull away to themselves -great if they do great things, but merchants producing great wealth always require some oversight, and governments must be held to account for review of infractions of written law.
The Founders are both very clear and very fiery about it- and then later got they guns and did something about it. Between the clear precedent in the Constitution for 5th and 14th amendment due process, and the Representation in Washington, hopefully we won’t need the firecrackers or muskets.
No person, shall be deprived of life liberty or property without due process of law
And since the matters criminal and civil – the 6th Amendment
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
The referendum to grant voting rights to the more than 1.5 million formerly incarcerated people of Florida, (1/4 adult black males cannot vote because felony disenfranchisement)overwhelmingly passed in 2018? to my surprise- nearly 2/3’s of Florida’s voters supported a referendum to restore voting rights to these folks. A slight minority of Republicans in balanced Florida voted to advance the cause of their fellow man in voting rights.
The state legislature had other ideas, and tied up voting in the courts and with findings that until fees were properly paid voting rights privileges wouldn’t be restored. Apparently the actual costs- the bills outstanding aren’t reliably being given. Florida to people who have done their time- you can’t vote until you pay? Citizen: how much do I owe? Florida: oh, we don’t know, we’ll get back to you.
This is 1.5 million American “citizens”, more than the populations of Idaho and Wyoming combined. More than Tampa Bay.
I leave off with a short MLK in which he entreats a young audience to learn so they earn. We too must learn, to settle the very real issues that have plagued us, turn and face them, with the knowledge that we are in the right with the words as they are written, and within our grasp lies great possibility for the future, but also careful steps. All of these guys got shot.
Hopefully we play for less personal stakes. The battle for the future for the Black in America, and America is on going, but this is the time to march forward
Below is a link to the Homestead Acts, one of MLK’s big themes- and important historical context on what is possible
 *Though unlikely to have any reasonable mechanism for execution at that time in NY,