Monday, November 30, 2015

Why Paris' past isn't really past

Water can't be for sale

Monday News in the end of November 2015

Having solidarity with immigrants is important in any liberation struggle. There are politics and economics of immigration that people should know about. The working class movement promotes always international solidarity, because liberation is not confined within national borders. Liberation should exist for people globally. During this time of capitalist globalization, many contradictions exist. The world has been integrated more via the advances of technology, global production chains, and the lightning fast movement of capital around the planet. The globalized economy is borderless. While governments in the world are doing less to regulate the flow and trade plus finance in the world, many reactionaries are taking increasingly tough action to restrict the flow of people across borders. These restrictions ironically won’t stop migration since workers are still migrating and many immigrants are workers who struggle to feed their families and themselves. We still see smugglers and human traffickers exploiting migrants. We see more militarization of the U.S. border with Mexico. Even the militarization of the border hasn’t worked to solve immigration issues. The U.S. Border Patrol documented 477 deaths among border-crossers in the Southwest in 2012, a sharp increase over the year before, even though total migration from Mexico has slowed. The official count of border deaths is understated, too, because not every victim is found. Migrants also are forced into more remote terrain where they are exposed to extreme temperatures and the like, which is a product of the militarization of the border. Capitalists depend on migrants, but they use restrictions on immigration too in order to promote lax wages, divide and conquer strategies among workers (whether they are documented or undocumented workers), and to fight genuine international working class solidarity and networks of resistance. There has been an increase of migration across borders worldwide. This has occurred in China too. The idea of a borderless Europe that is welcoming to migrants is a myth. For example, though Muslims account for about 5 percent of Europe's total population of 500 million; they are the target of hysterical campaigns by mainstream parties and violent attacks by the far right. Though sanctioned and promoted across the political spectrum, Islamophobia has become the central vehicle for far-right parties to win support and gain political legitimacy. The migrations have been influenced by the policies of Wester colonialism and modern imperialism which harmed many nations of the Global South. People from the Global South go into industrialized nations because their nations have been harmed by the economic policies of the global North. Today, in New York City, one in three Black residents is an immigrant, so not all immigrants in America are Hispanic human beings. Demographically, immigrants have stabilized population growth in America along with economic expansion here. We should campaign against U.S. government and corporate policies that damage employment opportunities and cause poverty in Mexico and elsewhere around the world. We can organize support for working-class struggles in other countries. We can campaign here to unite native-born workers with their immigrant sisters and brothers in struggle. We need a progressive solution to immigration issues.

There is a serious problem of the lax of affordable housing in New York City. It has been 2 years after the New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has govern the city. NYC still has many people suffering low wages, struggling schools, and racist cop terror. Many people, disproportionately, Black and Latino families live in dilapidated housing. We know about landlords and renters economically exploiting the poor and people of color in the city. Rent has increased massively in the past years, which has grown gentrification which is an attack on the poor including people of color. There are about 60,000 homeless people in NYC during the summer of 2015, which is a record. That is enough people to fill Yankee Stadium. Many of the homeless live in parks, streets, subways, in their cars, etc. De Blasio’s plan wans inclusionary zoning which means that a portion of new housing is to be offered to low and middle income earners at below market rate. Developers love this since they receive tax break and government subsidies if they comply. Bloomberg did this policy previously too. The results of Bloomberg’s efforts is that units deemed affordable made up less than 2 percent of housing growth between 2005 and 2013, less than population growth. In San Francisco, similar regulations have not stopped rents from even surpassing those in New York. De Blasio has set a target of 25 to 30 percent of new housing in rezoned areas to have affordable rents. Affordable for whom? Not the poor, that’s for sure. Just 16,000 apartments for families making $42,000 and less would be created—3 percent of the actual need according to the city’s own figures. True, some thousands of new apartments might be built with rents pegged for families squeaking by on $50,000 or $60,000 a year. At the same time, 100,000 market-rate apartments would be built in the same neighborhoods, displacing more working-class people—black, white, Latino and Asian—and accelerating the drive toward ever higher rents. The program is to be launched in Brooklyn’s East New York, Cypress Hills and Ocean Hill, where a mere 132 new units out of 6,000 are supposed to be set aside for people making less than $25,000 a year. The ghetto and barrio poor, then, are to stay stuck in their homes. De Blasio proposes to build luxury high-rises on New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) parking lots and other “high value” land within housing projects. The purpose, supposedly, is to raise money to install working light bulbs, fix leaky roofs, replace gas-leaking stoves and supply heat in the winter. Brooklyn’s Wyckoff Heights and the Upper East Side Holmes Towers in Manhattan have been selected for this since they are already gentrified neighborhoods.

To overcome the housing crisis, there should be made available the existing supply of livable quarters and build new places for people to live. The social order must change to deal with social need not corporate profit. The neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn is among the most rapidly gentrifying areas of the city. Over the past year alone, the median price of a residence there has leaped $200,000 to nearly $750,000, which is still $100,000 less than in Harlem. Gentrification has even begun to spread to the South Bronx, long synonymous with urban decay. In a city where nearly 70 percent of residents rent, one-third pay more than half their income for that purpose. A minimum-wage worker spending half his income on rent would have to work 139 hours a week to afford the average apartment. Meanwhile, more than a quarter of a million households await space in a NYCHA project. There is housing segregation, the lifting of rent regulation, and rich people gaining even more real estate in Manhattan and other areas of New York. The Astors alone have Fifth Avenue mansions. The 1993 Rent Regulation Reform Act allowed the deregulation of rent-stabilized apartments, of which NYC still has one million. That number is falling quickly. Gentrified areas have vacant buildings. The advocacy group Picture the Homeless said that it is estimated that the thousands of properties in the city that are kept vacant could house some 200,000 people. Blacks and Latinos make up more than 95 percent of the homeless families in the overcrowded, filthy city shelters, in neighborhoods far removed from their schools, medical providers and extended family.  Robert Moses opposed allowing black veterans returning from World War II to move into newly built Stuyvesant Town development in Manhattan. Racial segregation, which was built in to the American capitalist system, has been reinforced by the government. Many black people were restricted from getting mortgages because of discrimination. 98 percent of the FHA insured loans between 1943 and 1962 went to white borrowers. The 1968 Housing Act existed after the rebellions and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. So, the right for low rent, quality, and integrated public housing continues. Also, people have the right to have housing in general and this is a struggle for jobs for all.

There is a homeless problem in Los Angeles too. In LA County, the amount of people living in tents, makeshift camps, and their own vehicles has increased by 85 percent. Los Angles Homeless Services Authority said that as of January of 2015, there are over 44,000 homeless people in the county and 26,000 in the city of Los Angeles itself. Many are found in the downtown’s Skid Row and today they are found everywhere from Pasadena to the Westside. They exist in the freeway medians, community college campuses, etc. During the 1970’s, Democratic Mayor Tom Bradley proposed concentrating the homeless in Skid Row.   Back then, downtown was shunned by office workers and the rich. Cardboard boxes are found in the streets. Today, construction cranes crowd downtown skyline. There are more expensive apartments and restaurants replacing the cheap hotel room, motels, and single room apartments. The poor used to occupy these areas. There are skyrocketing rents that moved working class people out of Highland Park and Boyle Heights. Many working people find difficult to afford a place to live. Many homeless people suffer mental illness, untreated addiction, HIV, and other disabilities. Staph infection and tuberculosis are found in Skid Row too. Thousands live in Skid Row in 54 blocks, which is the largest concentrated of unsheltered people in the country. The capitalist system makes people who are black, poor, Latino, etc. to struggle for the basic necessities of life, which are food, housing, water, sanitation, employment, and health care. The elites won’t advocate a public works programs to create affordable, quality housing, schools, clinics, and libraries. In September, Democratic mayor Eric Garcetti and several L.A. City Council members declared a state of emergency in response to the surge in homelessness, promising to allocate up to $100 million to the problem. Months later, there’s no plan and no money. “Every few years, elected officials declare a crisis in homelessness or housing and pledge to spend millions of dollars or to pass new laws to address the chronic shortage of affordable homes,” the Los Angeles Times observed in a 28 October editorial, but “promised public funding dries up or gets diverted to new crises.”

The city currently allocates more than $100 million a year for the homeless, but tellingly, much of that is spent on cop crackdowns. There are policies that get the possessions of the homeless. Cities in America criminalize certain actions of homelessness. Criminalized for having no place to live, the homeless are regularly harassed and arrested by the police, fined for sleeping on the sidewalk, jaywalking or dropping cigarette ash. In the past year alone, as protests over the killings of blacks and Latinos swept the country, L.A. cops killed several homeless men. LA’s real estate moguls want to continue the status quo in buying up lands, etc. That is why many black people are moving from LA because of rising housing costs into the suburbs. Many black people are moving into Lancaster and Palmdale in Antelope Valley. Black people there faced racism. Aiming to drive black people out of town, armed sheriff’s deputies, sometimes nine at a time, conducted surprise searches of Section 8 rentals, looking for petty violations such as marijuana possession. As a result, more than 350 families lost their housing vouchers and some became homeless. City officials’ calls to “wage war” on Section 8 families they branded as “criminals” and “security threats” incited further racist attacks. In 2010, the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Palmdale was firebombed, and black families’ properties were defaced with racist graffiti. This July, the L.A. County Housing Authority and Antelope Valley officials were found guilty of racial discrimination against hundreds of Section 8 voucher holders, only five of whom have had their subsidies reinstated. LA is known to be an anti-union city. The current system allows workers, minorities, the poor, and immigrants to be exploited and abused for the sake of maximizing profits. The working class and the poor should unite to fight wage oppression, so classism and other injustices are ended. We want the best for LA too.

By Timothy

Friday, November 27, 2015

Friday news in Late November 2015

The protesters in Chicago are letting their voices to be heard. The Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke executed Laquan McDonald. Laquan was only 17 years old. Many of the protesters are protesting Black Friday. The video clearly shows Van Dyke firing 2 shots into McDonald while he moved away from the police and then he fired 14 more shots into McDonald’s body as he lies dying the middle of the road. He was murdered in October 20, 2014 at 10 pm. The cold blooded murder of Laquan was evil. Van Dyke has been charged with first degree murder. Across America, the police have murdered almost 1,200 people during this year alone. People know that Chicago is known for many of its officers using police brutality. At first, the police claimed that there was only one shot not 16. The cops' account was that McDonald was allegedly "acting erratically" and "armed"--with what turned out to be a small pocketknife. The police insisted that McDonald "lunged" at them, and that Van Dyke fired in fear for his life. That’s a lie as the video shows that McDonald was no direct threat to any of the officers. McDonald didn't lung at any officer. That is why the City Council approved a $5 million payout to McDonald’s family just six months after the shooting even before the family had even filed a civil suit. Chicago authorities wanted this case to be placed under the rug, but the truth should never be placed under the rug at all. Back in 2012, protesters against NATO in Chicago were assaulted by the police and entrapment of activists existed on trumped up charges. This is the first time a Chicago police officer has faced criminal charges for a murder committed while on duty in 35 years. But the fact that it happened 400 days after the murder occurred--and just hours before the video was to be revealed--demonstrates that the charge has nothing to do with trying to hold a violent cop accountable and everything to do with public pressure. A number of the groups, including Black Youth Project 100, We Charge Genocide, Fearless Leading by the Youth and others, refused to meet with the mayor. They made it clear that the city is not really transparent. They are accurate to say that the mayor of Chicago has bankrupted public education to fund militarized police occupation and terrorism. Days ago, when protesters were marching in Lake Shore Drive, officers charged the crowd and arrested three activists. Another activist named Malcolm London was arrested. He was charged with felony charges of assaulting an officer. Yet, marchers said that London was whisked away after the police used a smoke bomb. People are in defense of Malcolm London from young activists to teachers. Later, London’s charges were dismissed. Protesters want investments in schools, clinics, libraries, transit, and health care not in police occupation. We want the working class and the poor to have liberation. The cover up of this crime is brutally clear. We want justice.

Turkey shooting down 2 Russian jets has been new developments in the Syrian civil war. Turkey claims that they warned the aircraft multiple times and that the Russian warplanes entered Turkey airspace. Russia claimed that their airplanes didn’t receive a warning from Turkey and the actions were acts of aggression. Lt. General Tom McInerney is an expert on handling threats from fighter jets. He served in NORAD and he’s a Commander of the 11th Air Force in Alaska. He is an expert on many issues.  Yesterday, McInerney told Fox News – much to the surprise of the reporter interviewing him – that assuming the Turkish version of the flight path of the Russian jet is accurate, Russia wasn’t threatening Turkey, and that Turkey’s shoot down of the Russian jet “had to be pre-planned”, as the jet wasn’t in Turkish air space long enough for anything other than a premeditated attack to have brought it down. McInerney is right, especially given that a U.S. official told Reuters that the Russian jet was inside of Syria when it was shot down: “…The United States believes that the Russian jet shot down by Turkey on Tuesday was hit inside Syrian airspace after a brief incursion into Turkish airspace, a U.S. official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity…” This act was so provocative that the Turkish Prime Minister wants to have a personal meeting with Putin in order to end tensions. Even if the SU-24 was in Turkish airspace for a few seconds, that 17 seconds is not long enough for a Turkish pilot to get clearance for such a serious and reckless act as shooting down a Russian military aircraft. If the SU-24 was flying at a normal speed rather than one that would be unable to keep the aircraft aloft, the alleged airspace violation would not have been long enough to be noticed.  A shoot down had to have been pre-arranged.  Either way, Turkey is not completely honest.

Rescued co-pilot from the downed Russian Su-24 jet said there were no visual or radio warnings issued by Turkey. “There were no warnings. Not via the radio, not visually. There was no contact whatsoever. That’s why we were keeping our combat course as usual. You have to understand what the cruising speed of a bomber is compared to an F-16. If they wanted to warn us, they could have shown themselves by heading on a parallel course. But there was nothing. And the rocket hit our tail completely unexpectedly. We didn’t even see it in time to take evasive maneuvers.” Rescued co-pilot Captain Konstantin Murahtin said there was no violation of the Turkish airspace. He also said the crew of the downed Russian bomber jet knew the area of the operation “like the back of their hands.” "Of course, having carried out numerous flights there we knew the region like the backs of our hands. We were conducting our sorties and returning back to base following the predetermined route. I’m a navigator, I know every altitude there. I can guide the aircraft there blindfolded,” co-pilot said. Russia is attacking al-Qaeda related Al Nusrah terrorists in Syria. US/NATO is an ally of Turkey as Turkey is a NATO member. We do know that many EU politicians accused many people from Turkey to have links to ISIS for oil purposes. Turkey has made it clear that they want to attack Kurds in Syria (whom they claim are terrorists) and advance their own agendas. The US imperialists are slick. They know that they are using this event as a way to contain Russia while deal with China (in a way that promotes the pivot of Asia agenda).

During the World War II era, Houston expanded its resources. Houston had about 400,000 people by 1940. The population depended on shipping and oil. World War II had many effects on the city. It expanded dramatically the city’s economic base, because of massive federal spending. There were many entrepreneurs (like George Brown, James Elkins, and James Abercrombie) who landed hundreds of millions of dollars in federal wartime investment in technologically complex facilities. Houston oil companies moved from being mere refineries and became sophisticated producers of petrochemicals. There were synthetic rubber and high octane fuel, which retained their importance after the war. The war moved the natural gas industry from a minor factor to a major energy source. Houston became a major hub when a local firm purchased the federally financed inch pipelines. Other major growth industries included steel, munitions, and shipbuilding. Tens of thousands of new migrants streamed in from rural areas, straining the city's housing supply and the city's ability to provide local transit and schools.  During this time, high paying jobs came to a large number of women, black people, and Mexican Americans for the first time. The African American community became emboldened by their new era of economic growth. So, black people grew civil rights activism. The Smith v. Allwight Supreme Court decision on voting rights was backed and funded by local black people in Houston during this time period. Tonnage fell at the port and five shipping lines ended service when World War II began. By April of 1940, streetcar service was replaced by buses. Robertson Stadium or Houston Public School Stadium was erected from March 1941 to September 1942. Pam Am started air service in 1942too. Ellington Field was reopened during WWII.  The Cruiser Houston was named after the city. It sank after a vicious battle in Java, Indonesia in 1942. August 1942 also saw the new City Manager Government enacted.

The M. D. Anderson Foundation formed the Texas Medical Center in 1945. That same year, the University of Houston separated from HISD and became a private university.  The war expanded aircraft and shipbuilding industries in Texas. Tonnage rose after the end of the war in 1946. In 1946, E. W. Bertner gave away 161 acres of land for the Texas Medical Center. Suburban Houston came into being from 1946 to 1950. Oscar D. Holcombe abandoned a city manager type of government when he took his eighth term in 1946. By the late 1940’s Houston’s banking industry grew into prominence. Many more developments came like:  Foley's department store opened in 1947. The Alley Theatre got its first performance in 1947. Also the same year, voters overwhelmingly rejected a referendum for citywide land-use districts--zoning. Houston formed a large annexation campaign to increase its size. When air conditioning came to the city, it was called the "World's Most Air Conditioned City".  By the end of the 1940’s, Houston became a strong, port driven economy.  By the 1950’s, Texas Medical Center became operational. More wealth came into the region. The Galveston Freeway and the International Terminal at Houston International Airport (nowadays Hobby Airport) were signs of increasing wealth in the area. Millions of dollars were spent to replace aging infrastructure. In 1951, the Texas Children’s Hospital and the Shriner’s Hospital were built. Hospitals had expansions being completed. The first network television of Houston came in July 1, 1952. In those years, the University of Houston celebrated its 25th anniversary. Houston needed more water supplies. They usually relied on ground water, but that caused land subsidence. So, they had had proposals in the Texas Congress to use the Trinity River. Hattie Mae White was elected to the school board in 1959. She was the first African-American to be elected in a major position in Houston in the 20th Century. Starting in 1950, Japanese-Americans as a whole were leaving horticulture and going into business in larger cities, such as Houston.

By Timothy

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Information on Reconstruction

10th Victim Testifies In Daniel Holtzclaw Trial

Genocide ravages the Tamils

A racist attack on Black Lives Matter

Thanksgiving double standards

Sister Trojan Pam's Excellent Words of Wisdom and Advice


Trojan Pam says:
November 18, 2015 at 9:48 am
@ diaryofanegress

A thought-provoking and accurate post

You cannot help the vanquished for they are already gone.

Based on what I’ve seen and the absolute resistance to understanding white supremacy AND changing our responses to it, and the WILD, ALMOST RABID ENTHUSIASM of so many blacks to literally sleep with their enemies

such is our growing dislike for each other

that I have come to the same unfortunate conclusion that there is no way to REACH let alone SAVE the majority of blacks here in the U.S.

And so our destiny in many respects may already be a done deal (meaning, we are headed right back to chattel slavery or massive incarceration or mass genocide)

And for those who believe this is an exaggeration, it’s time to educate yourselves to the reality facing the black population here in the U.S.



Another thing I’ve noticed over the years is the white supremacist movie/TV industry will cast an ordinary and sometimes unattractive white female in a role and have her described as “beautiful.”

for example, in the TV show ‘Damages, there was a young white female actress (named Ellen) who most of the men on the show found irresistibly beautiful (?) and I would shake my head and think — what the heck? Are they kidding me?

she was so skinny she looked like a concentration camp survivor, and was so pale she looked like a corpse — and I’m not exaggerating.

I’ve seen this happen a lot over the last several years…

What I believe is behind all this chicanery is even the ordinary white female is being promoted as beautiful to REINFORCE THE LIE that the white female–no matter WHAT she looks like–is always the most sexually attractive woman in the room (or TV/movie screen).

whereas the black or non-white female has to be drop dead GORGEOUS (look white) to be considered even marginally “attractive”

This KEEPS the white female safe from REAL COMPETITION from black and non-white females who could EASILY challenge and UNSEAT her from her white supremacy throne

and keeps the white-validating-seeking non-white/black male ‘on the white supremacy hook’

by BRAINWASHING him into believing that the white female is superior to the women in his group

and blinds him to the actual beauty of his own women.

which is one of the reasons you see so many black/non-white males with the most ordinary and often unattractive white females

he doesn’t see what is there, he sees what he has been PROGRAMMED TO SEE

And none of this would be necessary IF the white female was truly superior in looks but it is obvious that even the white supremacists don’t believe their own hype


-Sister Trojan Pam


Trojan Pam says:
November 18, 2015 at 9:30 am
@ Kushite Prince

We are so thrilled to BE on TV we don’t seem to care that we are NEVER with each other (in a loving, positive sense)

And I do NOT consider a dumb sitcom as a representative of black relationships. What are we? A race of jokers and clowns?

Yet, white people are loving each other all over the TV and movie screen. You can’t turn on the tube or see a movie without white people smiling and loving and sexing each other.

It appears that they are the ONLY ONES allowed to be sexual (in a healthy way) or in love in a white supremacy entertainment system

YET, the non-white people (black, brown, red, and yellow) are EATING IT UP like manna from heaven

And I have to believe we must be truly INSANE not to have a problem with this imagery (??)

For a group of people to have their BASIC HUMANITY denied them and not be disturbed about it is a sign of DEEP INSANITY

Sometimes, I want to throw up my hands and find something more constructive to do with my time


Trojan Pam says:
November 20, 2015 at 9:02 pm
@ angel9loveu
I appreciate that and welcome your insights and opinions.
I also agree that colorism is a huge problem and a byproduct of white supremacy. And yes, there are light-skinned blacks who feel superior to darker-skinned blacks
And darker-skinned blacks who treat lighter-skinned blacks as though they are superior.
it’s a different side of the same coin
White supremacy programming
I also know light-skinned people who dislike being light (one is in my family) because of the belief that people thought she thought she was better and I know for a fact this wasn’t true.
We need more honest conversations about skin color issues but it has to be from a level of respect and compassion for both sides


@ reality_check

I’m afraid you’ve made some valid points.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not just about being confused, it’s about NOT WANTING TO KNOW what is happening to black people all over this country AND what it means

Someone once said,

“It’s impossible to wake someone who is pretending to be asleep”

Black people know there’s a problem but we use our material things and entertainment to blind us to what our third eye is seeing

Only time will tell what the future is for us as a population in the U.S.

Black people KNOW th

-Trojan Pam


@ Alicia
I don’t find them appealing either but I always draw the line–regardless of looks — of ANY black male who does not date black females.
If I’m not acceptable ONLY because I’m not white
then you won’t get ONE DAMN DIME of my money or my support in any form whatsoever

-Sister Trojan Pam


@ Shanequa

Interesting point! I’ve never considered that

are black audiences being used to prop up a racist entertainment/movie system?

I wouldn’t be surprised

and we should IMMEDIATELY stop our reckless support of it

I don’t care anything about some black entertainers “getting paid” if they are being paid to degrade us

let them go get a REAL JOB like the rest of us

-Sister Trojan Pam


@ Phazex_Female

Black people focus entirely too much on money and not enough on what constitutes REAL POWER

Real power takes more than paper money.

Real power determines what that paper is worth

Real power is manifested by the INSTITUTIONS and LEGACIES you build.

That’s why they make sure that black people DO NOT BUILD any lasting institutions by dismantling and/or controlling our communities, our historically black colleges, and encouraging the more successful and educated blacks to MARRY OUT

We have a BLACK BRAIN DRAIN in our communities, where our most educated and ambitious blacks are being indocrinated by the white supremacy system so those talents and ambitions will be used to build WHITE INSTITUTIONS and power and to enrich the lives of white spouses

and then we wonder why, at the end of the day, our communities remain poor and stagnated.

-Sister Trojan Pam


@ Courtney H.
I’ll check it out but I dread watching it
I have NOTHING for the vast majority of black entertainers. Most are a hopeless cause because they’re in a cult, brainwashed, brain-trashed, compromised, and are hired to work against black people.
I care NOT what any of them thinks or does AND I would suggest ALL black people do the same.
Yes, they are victims but they are TOXIC to other black victims and should be MINIMIZED IN IMPORTANCE

-Sister Trojan Pam


@ lischelle
I’ve made a lot of suggestions on this blog and in my books so it would take too long to repost them here. My biggest suggestions are
1. educated ourselves about white supremacy and get out of denial
2. stop having sex with white people
3. keep an emotional distance from white people because it forces black people into deep denial when we have close emotional relationships (friendships and relationships) with white people
4. be willing to sacrifice something that is either harming us financially and psychologically (and that means eliminating demeaning entertainment from our homes and away from our children
5. Talk honestly to our children about racism
6. Find a way to contribute and DO SOMETHING

-Sister Trojan Pam

We are Angry over Death of My Cousin in Paris, As Well As the Deaths of Children in Iraq & Syria

Thanksgiving in 2015 Part 4

 JOIN Blackout for Human Rights and Countless Activists Around the Country on Black Friday for Our Second Annual #BlackoutBlackFriday Initaitive. The Time Has Come for All of Us to Stand United in the Face of Racism, Sexism and Other Forms of Hate. We Invite You to Stand Up With Us Against Police Brutality, Racist Public Policies and Other Oppressive Forces and Boycott All Major Retailers on Black Friday. We #BlackoutBlackFriday for Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Oscar Grant, and the Countless Other Victims of State Sanctioned Violence. Instead of Shopping on the Biggest Consumer Day of the Year, We’re Transforming Black Friday Into a Coordinated Day of Action with Demonstrations and Events Nationwide. For Details on Our Official Events, Please See Below!As Part of Our Annual #BlackoutBlackFriday, We Will be Hosting Events Around the Country Including Los Angeles, Oakland and New York City. Check Out the Details Below and Come Out to One of Our Events on 11/27:#BLACKOUTBLACKFRIDAY LOS ANGELES EVENT DETAILSVenue: Downtown Independent Theater; 251 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90012Event Time: 2:30 PM - 8:30 PMAdmission: FREE; Strongly Encourage Toiletry/Toy Donation (RSVP Here: #1: The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Directed by Stanley NelsonFilm #2: Justice or Else DocumentaryFilm #3: Imperial Dreams, Directed by Malik Vitthal Additional Features: Featured Panel, Spoken Word Performance, Artist Showcase and Toy/Toiletry Drive#BLACKOUTBLACKFRIDAY OAKLAND EVENT DETAILSVenue: The New ParkwayEvent Time: 2:30 PM - 9:00 PMAdmission: FREEFilm #1: The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the RevolutionFilm #2: Imperial DreamsAdditional Features: Two Panels, Food Drive and More#BLACKOUTBLACKFRIDAY NEW YORK CITY EVENT DETAILSVenue: Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, Film Society of Lincoln CenterEvent Time: Film Screening 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM; Concert from 7:50 PM - 8:50 PMAdmission: FREE; Capacity about 100: Tickets Available Starting 30 Minutes Before Event Start TimeMusical Performances: Samora Pinderhughes, Chris Turner, Kris Bowers, Pudge, Bilal SalaamSpoken Word Performances: Young Poets from Urban Word NYCFilm #1: Selected ShortsFilm #2: BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez


The powers that be certainly don’t desire for us to have true liberation. True liberation means that the War on Drugs ends and that there is no gentrification (which is happening in communities of D.C., Oakland, New York City, etc.) in our communities. For decades and centuries, the oligarchy has harmed the lives of black people, the poor, the indigenous, and other human beings the world over. History is all about change too. The same injustices of class oppression, racism, and privatization of education exist in Chicago too. On the other hand, we also find that many human beings are tired of injustice and they want a change. Chicago is the home of the efforts of Ida B. Wells, Lorraine Hansberry, Fred Hampton, and other black people who saw evil and sought to fight it and advanced black solidarity in our world. Neoliberalism leaves the poor out in many instances and there is a book about Rahm Emanuel called, "Mayor 1%: Rahm Emanuel and the Rise of Chicago's 99%" (authored by Kari Lydersen) that talks about him. Gentrification is a calculated move without question. Back during the 1950’s, many cities used urban renewal policies to harm the social fabric of black and poor families. Also, this came in the midst of the peak of the Great Migration where African Americans left agricultural Southern locations to go into Northern, Western, and Midwestern cities (many of our people worked in the factories of Chicago, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Detroit, Pittsburgh, etc. as a product of the Great Migration). Yet, many black people faced the same discrimination they found in the South as they found in the West, the North, and the Midwest. Even in the North and the Midwest including the West Coast, black people faced discrimination, struggling schools, police brutality, bad housing conditions, and economic exploitation. Some middle class and rich black people left black communities (especially by the late 1960's) to live in more affluent areas while doing nothing to help poorer black people. We know how classist gentrification is. Many big corporations use gentrification for the purpose of driving poor residents out of communities intentionally and that’s wrong. We want the growth of our black communities and our enterprises. We want an end to the surveillance state and the end to mandatory minimum sentencing. We also want a stronger environment. Dr. King and Malcolm X made it very clear that middle class including upper class black people have a responsibility to help out their poorer Brothers and Sisters. Fighting is part of our DNA. Regardless of how much they advance redlining, discrimination, and gentrification, we will fight for freedom and justice regardless.

By Timothy

Thanksgiving in 2015 Part 3



Great eloquent words can describe Houston. It is a multicultural city with a lot of soul and a lot of individuals who possess compassion and human generosity. It, being the largest Southern city in America, is note worthy. Also, it is noteworthy to note that the people of Houston make up a great part of American culture and American strength. Houston has over 2.2 million people and it has almost 600 square miles. Health care, aeronautics, engineering, computer sciences, transportation, energy, manufacturing, and other industries are found in Houston. The city of Houston is involved in international trade as it is a global city. It is home to many cultural institutions and exhibits, which attract more than 7 million visitors a year to the Museum District.

Houston has a long history. In the beginning, Houston was filled originally with Native Americans. The Paleo Indians lived in Texas between 9,200 B.C. and 6,000 B.C. these nomadic people hunted mammoths and bison latifrons using atlatls. What is an Atlatl? Atlatls are ancient weapons that preceded the bow and arrow in most parts of the world and are one of humankind's first mechanical inventions. The word atlatl (pronounced at-latal or atal-atal) comes from the Nahuatl language of the Aztec, who were still using them when encountered by the Spanish in the 1500s. The Paleo Indians may have links to the Clovis and Folsom cultures. By the 4th century millennium B.C., the population of Texas increased. The climate changed and the giant mammals became extinct. Native Americans who lived in Texas for thousands of years were the Pueblo, the Mound Builders of the Mississippi Culture, and there were influences of the Mesoamerica cultures, which was centered in the south of Texas. By 500 B.C., Native Americans in East Texas were in villages. They were farming and building the first burial mounds. They influenced the Mississippian culture. Different Native American peoples lived in Texas like the Alabama, Apache, the Atakapan, Bidai, Caddo, Coahuiltecan, Comanche, Cherokee, Coushatta, Hasinai, Jumano, Karankawa, Kickapoo, Kiowa, Tonkawa, and Wichita. The name Texas comes from the word “taysha.” That word in the Caddoan language of the Hasinai means “friends" or "allies.”  The first European to see Texas was Alonso Alvarez de Pineda. He led an expedition for the governor of Jamaica Francisco de Garay in 1520. While searching for a passage between the Gulf of Mexico and Asia, Álvarez de Pineda created the first map of the northern Gulf Coast. This map is the earliest recorded document of Texas history. Later, French colonists traveled into Texas back during the late 1600’s. La Salle led an expedition to Louisiana back in 1684. French colonization was mostly gone in Texas by 1690. The Spanish controlled Texas from 1690 to 1821. On January 23, 1691, Spain appointed the first governor of Texas, General Domingo Terán de los Ríos. Many of these Spanish colonists wanted control, conversion of the Native Americans to Catholicism, and an expansion of the Spanish Empire. Spain and France would fight for control of North America. Also, Texas is a known place where Native Americans resisted both French and Spanish occupation. The Spanish couldn’t convert the Hasinai tribe of East Texas, but they were friendly with each other. The Hasinai were enemies of the Lipan Apache. The Apache attacked the Spanish in San Antonio and in other places of Texas.

A temporary peace was finally negotiated with the Apache in 1749, and at the request of the Native Americans a mission was established along the San Saba River northwest of San Antonio. Later, Louisiana was given to France by 1799.  Although the agreement was signed on October 1, 1800, it did not go into effect until 1802. The following year, Napoleon sold Louisiana to the United States. The original agreement between Spain and France had not explicitly specified the borders of Louisiana, and the descriptions in the documents were ambiguous and contradictory. The U.S. wanted most of West Florida and all of Texas. Soon, the drive for Mexican independence developed. Revolutionaries in Mexico wanted independence and Spain wouldn’t give up Texas without a fight. Some of the leaders of the Mexican independence movement were Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and José María Morelos.

Spanish troops reacted harshly, looting the province and executing any Tejanos accused of having Republican tendencies. By 1820 fewer than 2,000 Hispanic citizens remained in Texas. The situation did not normalize until 1821, when Agustin de Iturbide launched a drive for Mexican Independence. Texas became a part of the newly independent nation without a shot being fired, ending the period of Spanish Texas. The Mexican nation wanted more settlers to come into Texas to prevent Comanche raids. So, Mexican Texas liberalized its immigration policies and allowed more immigrants from outside Mexico and Spain to come into Mexican Texas. Settlers would be granted large pieces of land to empresarios. The first grant was to Moses Austin and he passed it to his son Stephen F. Austin after his death. Texas grew quickly as more settlers came into the land.

The population of Texas grew rapidly. In 1825, Texas had about 3,500 people, with most of Mexican descent. By 1834, the population had grown to about 37,800 people, with only 7,800 of Mexican descent. Mexican law banned slavery, which was good. The bad news is that the Anglo settlers used slavery in Texas territory, which was illegal. America wanted to purchase Texas.  Mexican authorities decided in 1830 to prohibit continued immigration from the United States. New laws also called for the enforcement of customs duties angering both native Mexican citizens (Tejanos) and recent immigrants. The Anahuac Disturbances in 1832 was a revolt against Mexican rule. Then, the revolt happened against the nation’s first President. Texians sided with the federalists against the current government and drove all Mexican soldiers out of East Texas. They took advantage of the lack of oversight to agitate for more political freedom. Texians met at the Convention of 1832 to discuss requesting independent statehood, among other issues.  The following year, Texians reiterated their demands at the Convention of 1833. The Federalists and the centralists wanted power and they debated. The Battle of Gonzales started the Texas Revolution. The Texians won and defeated Mexican troops. The government collapsed originally in 1836. Mexican President Antonio López de Santa Anna personally led an army to end the revolt. The Mexican expedition was initially successful. General José de Urrea defeated all the Texian resistance along the coast culminating in the Goliad massacre. Santa Anna's forces, after a thirteen-day siege, overwhelmed Texian defenders at the Battle of the Alamo. The Battle of the Alamo was when the Texians were defeated by the Mexican forces. News of the defeats sparked panic among Texas settlers. So, the Texas declared itself an independent republic in March 2, 1836.

The Texian Army, commanded by Sam Houston attacked and defeated Santa Anna’s forces in the Battle of San Jacinto. By December 29, 1845, Texas became an U.S. State. During the Texas Revolution, New York real estate promoters (John Kirby Allen and Augustus Chapman Allen) wanted a location to be built a city of government and commerce. They purchased 6,642 acres (27 km²) of land (on a site adjacent to the ashes of Harrisburg) from T. F. L. Parrot, Austin’s widow for $9,428. In August of 1836, the Allen Brothers named the city after Sam Houston whom both brothers admired. The city of Houston was granted incorporation by the state legislature on June 5, 1837. The town had only about 1,500 people and 100 houses back then. Early Houston had issues of prostitution, profanity, dueling, brawling, etc. So, people in Houston wanted to fight against these things. The President of Texas was Sam Houston. He moved the capital to Houston on June 27, 1842. Later, the capital of Texas would be in Austin by 1844. Germans came into Texas and Houston during the Revolutions of 1848 in German states. Mexican workers would build railroads. Houston shipped cotton, lumber, and other manufacturing products. Alexander McGowen established the iron industry, and Tom Whitmarsh built a cotton warehouse. A fire ravaged Houston on March 10, 1859, but the city rebuilt itself soon after the fire. Enslaved African Americans lived near Houston in the thousands before the civil war. Many of them worked in sugar and cotton plantation. Most were domestic and artisan workers in Houston.  In 1860, forty-nine percent of the city's population was enslaved. Frost Town, a nearby settlement south of the Buffalo Bayou, was swallowed by Houston.

The Civil War

Houston has a long history with the Civil War. In 1860, most Houstonians supported John C. Breckenridge or the independent Democratic candidate for President. He lost the election to the Republican Abraham Lincoln. Texas was one of the first states to vote to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy in 1861. General E. Tiggs or the commander of federal forces in Texas surrendered the federal arsenal in San Antonio to secessionist volunteers led by the famed Texas Ranger Ben McCulloch, along with additional army posts, etc. in Texas. Governor Sam Houston refused to take a loyalty oath to the Confederacy. He was a slave owner and he opposed secession. He died in 1863 while living in Texas.  In Houston, there were tensions between the Confederacy and the few Union sympathizers. The Chamber of Commerce kept the city together during the conflict. Galveston was blockaded on October 4, 1862, which in turn soured Houston's economy. On January 1, 1863, John B. Magruder's Confederate forces recaptured the city. However, the war was won by the Union forces in 1865.The Union and Confederate battles in the land and via the water have been fierce. The Confederates once regain control of Galveston after the Battle of Galveston on January 1, 1863. Federal union people attacked Laredo on March 19, 1864. The Confederates in Texas were some of the toughest forces to be defeated during the Civil War. There was fighting in Palmito Ranch, near Brownsville, Texas in May 13, 1865. Federal troops entered Texas to enforce Reconstruction efforts under the military of General Philip Sheridan later on. On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger (commander of U.S. troops in Texas) arrived in Galveston, Texas and issued an order that the Emancipation Proclamation is in effect. This ended slavery in Texas. The event is later celebrated as Juneteenth, especially by black Americans. Texas was governed under a military command during Reconstruction, but Federal forces could not control the anarchy and lawlessness that broke out after the war. Civilians settled old grudges and several counties were essentially without civilian government. In 1869, the Ship Channel Company was formed to deepen Buffalo Bayou and improve Houston as a shipping port.

Reconstruction and the late 19th Century

Despite the postwar social unrest, migrants flocked to Texas for new opportunities. Texas businessmen joined together to expand the railroad network, which contributed to Houston's primacy in the state and the development of Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and El Paso. In May 1870, Houston was the site of the Texas State Fair. The fair remained in Houston until 1878. Texas was admitted to the Union on April 16, 1870. Houston grew as a city. It became a port of entry on July 16, 1870. Its new charter grew to eight wards. Many freed slaves opened businesses and worked under contracts in Houston. The Freedmen’s Bureau stopped the abuse of the contracts in 1870. Many African Americans during that time were in unskilled labor jobs. Many freed black people legalized their marriages after the Civil War. White legislators wanted segregated schools. After the white Democrats regained power in the state legislature in the late 1870’s, they started to pass laws to make voter registration more complicated. This caused the disfranchising of African Americans. The elections of 1876 were accompanied in many southern states with fraud and violence to suppress black voting. White Democrats secured their power and then they passed Jim Crow laws to establish and enforce legal segregation in Houston and throughout Texas. By 1874, Houston’s first permanent public transit system was operated by the Houston City Street Railway Company. From 1874 to 1891, all of the transit service was operated using mule-driven streetcars, when electric streetcars began to be implemented in their place. The conversion to electric streetcars was completed in 1892. Lumber became a large part of the port's exports, with merchandise as its chief import. The Houston Post was established in 1880. The Houston Chronicle followed on August 23 of that year. Former U. S. President Ulysses Grant came to Houston to celebrate the opening of the Union Station, which had rail links with New Orleans. Fifth Ward residents threatened to secede from Houston because they felt they already had been separated. An iron drawbridge built in 1883 pacified them, and they did not secede. In 1887, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word established a hospital that would become St. Joseph Hospital. In 1893, George H. Hermann donated a site for the purpose of a charitable hospital, which later became Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center. In 1898, Houstonians appealed before Congress for permission to turn the Buffalo Bayou into a deep-water port, prompted in part by the Spanish–American War. The construction of the Port of Houston was approved by Congress in 1899.

The Early 20th century

In the beginning of the 20th century, Houston has gone throughout huge changes. The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 tore apart of the city of Galveston, Texas on September 8-9. This caused many investors to invest in Houston instead of Galveston. Texas developed a huge oil and railroad industry after the oil discovery in Spindletop, in Beaumont, Texas in 1901. The oil trade transformed Houston. Houston was the railroad hub of east Texas and Houston would go from a smaller town into a large city. In 1902, Theodore Roosevelt approved a one million dollar fund for the Ship Channel. This was the year when Houston saw the arrival of the first Japanese in Texas. This came about after Sadastsuchi Uchida gave a fact finding tour of the Gulf Coast region. He helped to establish rice as a major crop of the Gulf Coast region. A grant from Andrew Carnegie came the Houston Lyceum and Carnegie Library (which would later be known as the Houston Public Library), which was founded in 1904. Houston had a larger population than Galveston by 1910. Many Mexicans came into Houston as a product of the Mexican Revolution after 1910. Since that time, Mexican human beings have had a huge influence in the city ever since. Rice University opened in the West University area in 1912. It was once called Rice Institute. 25 buildings from six to 16 stories high came about in Houston in the same year. Office buildings extant in 1912 include the eleven-story Scanlan Building, the marble-clad South Texas National Bank Building, the eight-story First National Bank Building, the twelve-story Union National Bank, the ten-story Houston Chronicle Building, and the Southwestern Telephone Company Building. The sixteen-story Carter Building was the tallest in Houston in 1912. Oil companies grew in power in Houston. 12 oil companies were located in Houston in 1913. Also, one company was Humble Oil Company, which is now ExxonMobil. That oil company was started by Howard Hughes (who was born in Humble, Texas). Howard Hughes was a notorious despicable male who was a racist and an anti-Semite. President Woodrow Wilson opened the Port of Houston in 1914, 74 years after the digging started. Service started with the Satilla, a ship that ran from Houston to New York, New York. World War I put the gasoline-combustible automobile into widespread use, causing oil to become a precious commodity. After WWI the rice businesses fell down. So, many Japanese Americans find other work or moved out of Texas.

Many African American soldiers were in the all black 24 Infantry Regiment to guard the construction site at Camp Logan. Racial tensions were increasing as black soldiers received bad treatment in the racially segregated city of Houston. There was a full blown riot in August 1917 called the Camp Logan Riot. Many black people and white people died in the riot. This rebellion happened because 2 Houston cops stormed into a home of a black woman. They were looking for someone in the neighborhood. Later, the cops fired a warning shot outside. They physically assaulted the Sister and dragged with without some of her clothes out in the street. They did this evil action in front of her 5 small black children. The woman was screaming and she said why she was being arrested. A soldier from the 24th Infantry, Alonso Edwards stepped forward to ask what was going on. The police officers promptly beat him to the ground and arrested him as well. Later that afternoon, Corporal Charles Baltimore went to the Houston police station to investigate the arrest, as well as the beating of another black soldier, and also to attempt to gain the release of the soldier. An argument began which led to violence, and Corporal Baltimore was beaten up, shot at, and arrested by the police before being sent back to camp. The policeman hit Baltimore over the head. The MPs fled. The police fired at Baltimore three times, chased him into an unoccupied house, and took him to police headquarters. Though he was soon released, a rumor quickly reached Camp Logan that he had been shot and killed. A group of soldiers decided to march on the police station in the Fourth Ward and secure his release. The infantry became angry, and decided to strike on the evening of August 23. The black infantry people have every God given right to march when crooked cops assaulted a black women and black soldiers. So, I have no problem with the soldiers marching against injustice. The soldiers marched in the city of Houston. The police and armed citizens confronted them. A riot came about. 20 people died including 4 soldiers, 4 cops, and 12 civilians. The soldiers were disarmed. Martial law was declared in Houston. The soldiers were sent to Columbus, New Mexico. Some were convicted. Many soldiers were hanged via the death penalty.  The NAACP criticized the executions. Acting Judge Advocate Gen., Brig. Gen. Samuel T. Ansell, was particularly angered and said: “The men were  executed immediately upon the termination of the trial and before their records could be forwarded to Washington or examined by  anybody, and without, so far as I can see, any one of them having time or opportunity to seek clemency from the source of  clemency, if he had been so advised.”

WWII and the Early Cold War

During the World War II era, Houston expanded its resources. Houston had about 400,000 people by 1940. The population depended on shipping and oil. World War II had many effects on the city. It expanded dramatically the city’s economic base, because of massive federal spending. There were many entrepreneurs (like George Brown, James Elkins, and James Abercrombie) who landed hundreds of millions of dollars in federal wartime investment in technologically complex facilities. Houston oil companies moved from being mere refineries and became sophisticated producers of petrochemicals. There were synthetic rubber and high octane fuel, which retained their importance after the war. The war moved the natural gas industry from a minor factor to a major energy source. Houston became a major hub when a local firm purchased the federally financed inch pipelines. Other major growth industries included steel, munitions, and shipbuilding. Tens of thousands of new migrants streamed in from rural areas, straining the city's housing supply and the city's ability to provide local transit and schools.  During this time, high paying jobs came to a large number of women, black people, and Mexican Americans for the first time. The African American community became emboldened by their new era of economic growth. So, black people grew civil rights activism. The Smith v. Allwight Supreme Court decision on voting rights was backed and funded by local black people in Houston during this time period. Tonnage fell at the port and five shipping lines ended service when World War II began. By April of 1940, streetcar service was replaced by buses. Robertson Stadium or Houston Public School Stadium was erected from March 1941 to September 1942. Pam Am started air service in 1942too. Ellington Field was reopened during WWII.  The Cruiser Houston was named after the city. It sank after a vicious battle in Java, Indonesia in 1942. August 1942 also saw the new City Manager Government enacted.

The M. D. Anderson Foundation formed the Texas Medical Center in 1945. That same year, the University of Houston separated from HISD and became a private university.  The war expanded aircraft and shipbuilding industries in Texas. Tonnage rose after the end of the war in 1946. In 1946, E. W. Bertner gave away 161 acres of land for the Texas Medical Center. Suburban Houston came into being from 1946 to 1950. Oscar D. Holcombe abandoned a city manager type of government when he took his eighth term in 1946. By the late 1940’s Houston’s banking industry grew into prominence. Many more developments came like:  Foley's department store opened in 1947. The Alley Theatre got its first performance in 1947. Also the same year, voters overwhelmingly rejected a referendum for citywide land-use districts--zoning. Houston formed a large annexation campaign to increase its size. When air conditioning came to the city, it was called the "World's Most Air Conditioned City".  By the end of the 1940’s, Houston became a strong, port driven economy.  By the 1950’s, Texas Medical Center became operational. More wealth came into the region. The Galveston Freeway and the International Terminal at Houston International Airport (nowadays Hobby Airport) were signs of increasing wealth in the area. Millions of dollars were spent to replace aging infrastructure. In 1951, the Texas Children’s Hospital and the Shriner’s Hospital were built. Hospitals had expansions being completed. The first network television of Houston came in July 1, 1952. In those years, the University of Houston celebrated its 25th anniversary. Houston needed more water supplies. They usually relied on ground water, but that caused land subsidence. So, they had had proposals in the Texas Congress to use the Trinity River. Hattie Mae White was elected to the school board in 1959. She was the first African-American to be elected in a major position in Houston in the 20th Century. Starting in 1950, Japanese-Americans as a whole were leaving horticulture and going into business in larger cities, such as Houston.

Civil Rights and Social Change

Houston has a strong civil rights history too. A lot of the mainstream media didn’t cover it (they have covered Selma, Little Rock, Bogalusa, Prince Edward County, the University of Mississippi campus, etc.), but many people fought for civil rights in the city of Houston.  Mexican Americans in the Gulf Coast area near Houston and in El Paso organized the Confederación de Organizaciones Mexicanas y Latino Americanas in the late 1930s, also for the purpose of eradicating racist policies. The black movement, for its part, won some white support in the 1930;s from the ranks of the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching and from such prominent congressmen as Maury Maverick. There was a fight for the desegregation of public facilities in Houston. There were many civil rights activists who wanted to use civil demonstrations to promote change. Segregation in Houston back then was embedded in the system. There were racial tensions in the 1960’s. Many Houstonians feared that any activism would cause more racial strife because of the Camp Logan riot of 1917. Many black people in Houston were assaulted and discriminated against by white racists. Many of the older black, affluent Houston population weren’t so apt to have public demonstrations at first. Eldrewey Stearns was a black Texas Southern University or TSU law students. He said that he was beaten by officers after he was arrested. He talked about his experience in August of 1959. A young then Houston journalist Dan Rather reported on the story. This caused more people to see racial issues in the city when Houston at that time has the largest amount of African Americans in a Southern city. The NAACP was involved in a victory of Smith v. Allwright case (which the Supreme Court banned all white democratic primary in Texas). The NAACP won another victory by allowing the Supreme Court to ban segregation at the University of Texas Law School in 1946 (in the Sweatt v. Painter case).  Change would be slow in Houston.

So, young TSU students organized the firs sit in demonstration in Houston in March 4, 1960 at Weingarten’s Store or a local supermarket. Stearns was involved in this effort. No violence happened in the demonstration. TSU student Curtis Graves was involved in the action of the sit in in Mading’s Drug Store. Ironically, conservative black people and political figures wanted the sit ins to quietly end. Mayor Cutrer later threatened the protesters with arrest if they continued the sit ins. Many whites served black people during the protests since they wanted no violence. In March 25, 1960, people served the mass of student activists in City Hall cafeteria. Desegregation in Houston would be a slow process. The powers that be in Houston didn’t want massive violence, so they wanted to advance the image of Houston of being a money city and being more progressive (not to promote real equality). In conjunction with the National March on Washington in 1963, approximately 900 protesters marched on the state Capitol. The group, which included Hispanics, blacks, and whites, attacked the slow pace of desegregation in the state and Governor John Connally's opposition to the pending civil-rights bill in Washington. In the March on Washington, 23 black people from Houston, Texas came to D.C. By the latter half of the sixties, some segments of the black community flocked to the cause of Black Power.  The Twenty-fourth Amendment, ratified in 1964, barred the poll tax in federal elections, and that same year Congress passed the Civil Rights Act outlawing the Jim Crow tradition. Texas followed suit in 1969 by repealing its own separatist statutes. The federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 eliminated local restrictions to voting and required that federal marshals monitor election proceedings. Ten years later, another voting-rights act demanded modification or elimination of at-large elections. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, founded in 1968, emerged as a powerful civil rights organization. It focused on the state's inequitable system of financing schools, redistricting, and related problems. The list of Texas civil rights leaders is long: Maceo Smith, Carter Wesley, William Durham, Lulu White and many others.

Modern Growth and Development

The city of Houston from the 1970’s to the present has been through a lot of changes. The civil rights movement changed Houston forever. The heroic Senator from Houston named Barbara Jordan fought against Nixon's corruption during the Watergate scandal and she promoted human rights throughout her life. There was a rapid increase of the Chinese American community’s population in Houston by the 1970’s. There was the Sharpstown scandal. This scandal involved government bribes involving real estate developer Frank Sharp (the neighborhood of Sharpstown was named after him). This scandal happened in 1970 and 1971. The locations of One Shell Plaza and Two Shell Plaza were completed in 1971. One Shell Plaza was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.   Water pollution was terrible in the Houston Ship Channel in 1972.  The Houston Independent School District was slow to desegregate public schools. So, on June 1, 1970, the federal officials struck the HISD plan down and forced it to adopt zoning laws. This was 16 years after the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education (which determined that segregated schools are inherently unequal). There were racial tensions over the integration of schools.  Some Hispanic Americans felt they were being discriminated against when they were being put with only African-Americans as part of the desegregation plan, so many took their children out of the schools and put them inhuelgas, or protest schools, until a ruling in 1973 satisfied their demands. In 1976, Howard Hughes, at one time the world's richest man, died on his jet heading to Houston. He was born in Humble, Texas, and the home of what is now ExxonMobil. The Third Ward became the center of the African American community in the city too. By 1979, African Americans were elected to the City Council for the first time since Reconstruction. During that era of time, five African Americans served on the city council. More buildings grew in Houston like the Texas Commerce Tower, which is now the JPMorgan Chase Toward. The construction of the building began in 1979. Houston’s educational system changed too. The Houston Community College system was created in 1972 by the HISD.

In 1977, the University of Houston celebrated its 50th anniversary as the Texas Legislature established the University of Houston System. This system of higher education included and governs four universities. During the 1980’s, more changes came about in Houston. In 1981, Kathryn J. Whitmire became Houston’s first female mayor. She was mayor for 10 years. After she left office, term limits were created, so future mayors should not serve for more than 6 year. During the 1980’s, massive construction projects existed in the city. Downtown had the development of the Park Shopping Mall, the Allied Bank Tower, the Gulf Tower, and other buildings.  The Transco Tower, the tallest building in the world outside of a central business district, was completed in 1983. METRO wanted to build a rail system connecting the city with the suburbs, but the plan was rejected by voters on June 11, 1983. Voters did, however, approve plans for the George R. Brown Convention Center. In August 1983, the Houston changed its name to "University of Houston–University Park" in order to separate its identity from other universities in the University of Houston System; however, the name was reverted to University of Houston in 1991 Hurricane Alicia struck Galveston and Houston in August 18, 1983. The Hurricane caused $2 billion in damage. When oil prices fell in 1986, Houston’s massive population boom was reversed. The oil prices falling caused many years of recession for the Houston economy. The space industry was saddened by the explosion of the Challenger in Florida. In the first nine months of 1987, there was the closure of 11 banks. There was also the opening of many cultural centers like the George R. Brown Convention Center, the Wortham Theatre, and the Menil Collection. On August 7, 1988, Congressman Mickey Leland died in a plane crash in Ethiopia. On October 3, a Phillips 66 plant exploded in adjacent Pasadena, Texas, killing 23 and injuring 130. The Houston Zoo began charging admission fees for the first time in 1988. The city of Houston developed in the 1990’s as well. There was the opening of the Houston Intercontinental Airport’s new 12 gate Mickey Leland International Airlines terminal. The terminal was named after the recently deceased Houston congressman.  In 1991 Sakowitz stores shut down; the Sakowitz brothers had brought their original store from Galveston to Houston in 1911. August 10, 1991 saw a redrawing of districts for city council, so that minority groups could be better represented in the city council.

The 21st Century in Houston

1993 saw the G8 visiting to discuss world issues, and zoning was defeated for a third time by voters in November.  Many residents of the community of Kingwood were angry at how they were forcibly annexed in 1996.  Paige became superintendent of Houston Independent School District in 1994; during his seven-year tenure the district became very well known for high test scores, and in 2001 Paige was asked to become Secretary of Education for the new George W. Bush administration. Lee P. Brown, Houston's first African-American mayor, was elected in 1997. During the 21st century, more changes happened in Houston. The Houston Oilers left the city. The city built Enron Field, now Minute Maid Park for the Houston Astros. Reliant Stadium, now NRG Stadium, was erected for the NFL expansion team Houston Texans. There was the Tropical Storm Allison that devastated many neighborhoods. It interrupted all services within the Texas medical center for several months with the flooding in June of 2001. At least 17 people were killed around the Houston area when rainfall from Allison fell on June 8th and 9th. The city’s bayous began to rise over their banks. In October of 2001, Enron (or a Houston based energy company) experienced a scandal. This led to the collapse of the company and its accounting firm Arthur Andersen. Many executives were arrested and imprisoned. The University of Houston celebrated its 75th anniversary with an enrollment of 34,443 that fall semester. At the same time, the University of Houston System celebrated its 25th anniversary with a total enrollment of over 54,000. The new international Terminal E at George Bush Intercontinental Airport opened with 30 gates in 2003. The Toyota Center, the arena for the Houston Rockets opened in fall 2003. METRO put in light rail service on January 1, 2004. Voters have decided by a close margin (52% Yes to 48% No) that METRO's light rail shall be expanded.

In 2004, Houston unveiled the first Mahatma Gandhi statue in the state of Texas at Hermann Park. Houston's Indian American Community were cheerful after 10 years, in 2010, when the Hillcroft and Harwin area were renamed Mahatma Gandhi District in honor of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi as that area is the center of Indian commerce. Hurricane Katrina happened in 2005. After that disaster, about 200,000 New Orleans residents went into Houston. This caused a strong adjustment. After Katrina, Hurricane Rita, which was a category 5 hurricane, caused about 2.5 million Houstonians to evacuate the city, the largest urban evacuation in the history of the U.S. There is the New Great Migration of African Americans traveling from the North, the Midwest, and the West Coast into the South. Many black people have recently moved into Houston for lower cost of living and job opportunities. Six Flags Astroworld closed in 2005. It was Houston’s only large theme park.

Today, the mayor of Houston is Annise Parker since January of 2010. Memorial Day storms in 2015 brought flash flooding to the city as some areas received 11 inches or more of rain overnight exacerbated by already full bayous. At least three people died and more than 1,000 cars were stranded on highways and overpasses. Today, it is 2015, and Houston is a very beautiful city with great people.

The Culture of Houston

Houston and culture go hand in hand. The black culture in Houston is strong. Many black people live in Houston and are working and living their lives as any other human being. There are almost 500,000 black people living in Houston, Texas. Houston has a huge number of African Americans. By 2010, African Americans have greater federal representation. One black man served as Mayor Houston one time. His name was Lee P. Brown and he was elected in 1997. As of 2005, Sheila Jackson Lee, a Houstonian, is one of two black Texan U.S. House of Representatives members. From the 1870s to the 1890s, black people were almost 40% of Houston's population. Today, most black people live in areas where they were raised. Traditional African American neighborhoods are the MacGregor area, Settegast, Sunnyside, and the Third Ward. Today, more black people are living in Southwest Houston areas like Alief, Fondren Southwest, Sharpstown, and Westwood by 2005. We have the New Great Migration of black people. This is about the time of 1965 to the present. Deindustrialization of Northern and Midwestern cities have caused more black people to go back into the South, with lower costs of living, family, kinship ties. So, many black people from New York, New Jersey, etc. are traveling into Houston because of the New Great Migration. Much of the states where black people are going into include Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, Texas, Maryland, etc. I have seen many black people from New York and New Jersey living in my region of Hampton Roads, Virginia myself. There is the Ensemble Theater, which is an African American theater company. It has its studio in Midtown. The theater was founded in 1976 by George Hawkins. It is the largest African American theater company in America Juneteenth is the annual celebration recognizing the emancipation of black slaves in Texas. There are many events throughout Houston commemorating this occasion. Historically Black colleges in Houston include Texas Southern University and Prairie View A&M University. Cultural networking organizing connects African Americans in Houston, eastern Texas, and Louisiana. Studies and scholars document that Houston is one of the greatest cities for African Americans to live, ti work, and to start a business at. There is a strong Black media network of radio stations and newspapers that keep the black community in Houston informed. There are African immigrants, Nigerians, and Ethiopians who live in Houston as well. There is the Black Expo, the Houston International Jazz Festival, and other cultural institutions in Houston. The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum is very historic in showing information about African American soldiers. It was created by Vietnam War veteran and African American military historian Mr. Paul J. Matthews. The Houston Museum of African American Culture shows great art, exhibits, and films for all people. It is found in 4807 Caroline Street. It proposes is to teach and inspire people about history and culture of black Americans including all people of black African descent. They have preserved a lot of historical culture from African Americans, Africans, and people of the African Diaspora. Years ago, Sister Saro Wiva did an exhibit about romantic love in Africa and black self-love. Therefore, it is very important to know about black history.

There is a huge amount of Hispanic culture in Houston. More immigrants from Latin American countries are coming into Houston. Houston has the third largest Hispanic population in America. 44 percent of Houston is Hispanic. Hispanic people make up about 18 percent of the Houston city council. Most Hispanic people in Houston are Catholics while there are some Hispanics in Houston who became converts to Islam. There has been an increase of Hispanic Americans living in Kashmere Gardens, South Park, Sunnyside, and the Third Ward. There are Mexicans, Cubans, Central Americans, and other Hispanics living in Houston. The Institute of Hispanic Culture is found in Houston at 3315 Sul Ross. It serves the Houston community education of Hispanic culture and other services. They work with local universities and other cultural organizations. Since 1965, this institute The Talento Bilingüe de Houston (TBH, "Bilingual Theater of Houston") is a bilingual theater in the Second Ward of the East End area of Houston, Texas. It is found in the intersection of Jensen Road and Navigation Drive, adjacent to Guadalupe Park, and the two city blocks from Downtown Houston. La Voz de Houston is a Spanish language weekly newspaper which was distributed by the Houston Chronicle and a subsidiary of the Houston Chronicle. Armando and Olga Ordóñez, refugees from Cuba, established La Voz de Houston in 1979. On Thursday December 2, 2004 the Houston Chronicle purchased La Voz. Ordóñez remained as the publisher of La Voz. As an employee of the Houston Chronicle she began reporting to Jack Sweeney, the publisher of the Houston Chronicle. The 14 employees of La Voz de Houston became Houston Chronicle employees. The offices of La Voz de Houston moved to their current location. The Chronicle gives advertising sales and editorial support from the Chronicle. It talks about issues important to Hispanic human beings. It shows news, foods, sports, entertainment, and other issues. As of 2004, the weekly newspaper has a circulation of 100,000. In 2010 Héctor Pina of La Voz won the first place award for opinion writing in the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors 2010 competition for the best journalism work. El Día was a Spanish-language newspaper published in Houston, Texas by El Día, Inc. The company's offices are in Greater Sharpstown. Luis Jimenez was the late Tejano sculptor. He created the Vaquero art installation at Moody Park through the help of the City of Houston and the National Endowment of the Arts. It was commissioned via the Art in Public Places program. The University of Houston Art Professor Delilah Montoya has done great research on Luis Jimenez.

 By Timothy

Thanksgiving in 2015 Part 2


Pope Francis I in America

Pope Francis I’s arrival in North America was very historic. He was born in Argentina and now, he is the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. He wants to spread his gospel and he wants the expansion of the Roman Catholic power base especially among the youth since the youth is representative of the future. He has dealt with controversies head on. First, he traveled into Cuba to talk with Raul Castro and Fidel Castro. Fidel Castro was excommunicated from the Catholic Church in 1963. Later, Cuba has a more open relationship with Roman Catholicism by the 1990's. The Pope came into Washington, D.C. on Tuesday afternoon. First he met with the President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Sasha, Malia, President Obama’s other relatives. He also met with Vice President Joe Biden and his wife as well. News media globally covered the events. Also, the Pope arrived in America amid the heaviest security for this temporary time period (in protecting one well known religious figure) in history. The Secret Service, Homeland Security, and other agencies among all levels of government are actively protecting the Pope.  For example, the intelligence community called this event the National Special Security Event of the NSSE. There are FBI, Coast Guard, Capitol Police, Pentagon, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency working with local police departments in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. Pope Francis I is an Latin American man and he has certain views on immigration, economics, poverty, etc.

Federal employees have been told to work from home if possible from Tuesday through Thursday, the days when the Pope is in the US capital. On Friday, when he addresses the UN General Assembly, more than 5,000 New York City policemen will be deployed on Manhattan’s east side. Philadelphia closed many highways and bridges for two days throughout the papal visit, a more elaborate security measure than taken for a presidential appearance. These policies rise civil liberty concerns indeed. Pope Francis has a history in the controversial Dirty Wars of Argentina. Also, he has talked about the excesses of capitalism, global warming, and other issues that reactionaries don’t agree with him on. Also, I agree with the separation of church and state. I don’t believe in calling a grown man “Holy Father.” I don’t believe that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ. I deny transubstantiation and believe in the symbolic nature of communion. I don’t believe in the Immaculate Conception and I believe in the priesthood of universal believers not a select few who are forbidden to voluntarily marry.

The New Testament is clear that all believers of "a royal priesthood": “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

The New Testament is very clear that a proclamation to force priests not to marry is a doctrine of devils: "...1 Timothy
4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, GIVING HEED TO seducing spirits, and DOCTRINES OF DEVILS;
4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
4:3 FORBIDDING TO MARRY, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth..."

There is no historical evidence that Peter viewed himself as the Pope or the leader of the entire Church. The early church was autonomous and had many bishops in cities and towns throughout Africa, Asia, and Europe. Cyprian or an early Christian leader of the third century A.D. made it very clear that no man is a bishop of bishops by the following words: "It remains, that upon this same matter each of us should bring forward what we think, judging no man, nor rejecting any one from the right of communion, if he should think differently from us (a direct allusion to Stephen). For neither does any one of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terror does any compel his colleague to the necessity of obedience; since every bishop, according to the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another. But let all of us wait for the judgment of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only one that has the power both of preferring us in the government of His Church, and of judging us in our conduct there.." (Ante-Nicene Fathers (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1995), The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian, p. 565).

This, of course, goes back to Cyprian’s view of ecclesiology as expressed in his treatise On the Unity of the Church. In that treatise he makes it clear that all bishops are of equal status. William Webster compiled quotations from the writings of fifty Church early leaders and theologians (from the third century to the eighth century) about the Rock of Matthew 16:18. They all said that the Rock was Jesus Christ—not Peter. They also said that the Church was built upon Peter’s confession of faith—“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16).

So, I do have religious disagreements with the Vatican. Many of the views of Catholicism are false doctrines. I can't co-sign the belief that a grown man should be called the Pontiff. I can't venerate statues.

*Also, it is important to make another point too. I believe in religious liberty. So, I don't agree with many doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, but people have the right to believe in what they want without persecution and without oppression. No one of any creed should be oppressed or suffer unfair discrimination. In other words, Protestants, Baptists, Catholics, Muslims, Jewish people, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, etc. should never suffer discrimination, persecution, and any injustice point blank period exclamation point. We believe in justice for all and the right to dissent. I don't agree with the religion of Roman Catholicism at all. So, I want to make that perfectly clear.

I do believe that immigrants and refugees should be treated with dignity and with respect. I have no issues with immigrant rights. We should help the poor and the oppressed.  The real point is that we need religious freedom and justice. We also need to fight for justice and reject capitalist exploitation. We reject imperialism.

The Pope’s visit to North America was historic. It took place from September 19 to 27, 2015. His objective in his visit was to spread his religion of Roman Catholicism and to speak in front of the 2015 World Meeting of Families. His visit was covered by news media channels galore. The United States first set up full diplomatic relations with the Vatican since 1984 when Ronald Reagan was President. Today, the President Barack Obama is also very pro-Catholic. First, he went into Cuba. He was the third Pope in history to visit Cuba. John Paul II did it in 1998 and Pope Benedict XVI did it in 2012. Pope Francis visited Havana, Holguin, and Santiago de Cuba. He with Raul Castro in the Plaza de la Revlucion. For over 10 years, there has been an easing of tensions between Cuba and the Vatican as the leaders of Cuba are heavily atheist. He left Cuba to Washington, D.C. on September 22 on 12:30 pm.

Pope Francis I came to the United States first at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, outside of Washington, D.C. He met the President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their children (who are Sasha and Malia). In the base, Francis meets the military, political staff members, and children.


In September 23, 2015, the Pope and President Barack Obama meet at the White House. There is a crowd of more than 11,000 people in the White House South Lawn. This was the third visit of the Pope in the White House following meetings in October 1979 (the first was when Pope John Paul II met with President Jimmy Carter). President Barack Obama gave introductory remarks about religion and the Pope before the Pope spoke in the White House lawn. Later, the Pope came into the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle Midday Prayer with the bishops of America in 11:30 am. He did the mass canonization of the person Named Junipero Serra at 4:15 pm. at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. He met with the Little Sisters of the Poor after the mass, which means that Francis is against a contraception mandate as part of the ACA (or the Affordable Care Act). Pope Francis I is part of the Ecumenical Movement. The following comes from remarks that he made during his very first ecumenical meeting:

"I then greet and cordially thank you all, dear friends belonging to other religious traditions; first of all the Muslims, who worship the one God, living and merciful, and call upon Him in prayer, and all of you. I really appreciate your presence: in it I see a tangible sign of the will to grow in mutual esteem and cooperation for the common good of humanity.

"The Catholic Church is aware of the importance of promoting friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions – I wish to repeat this: promoting friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions – it also attests the valuable work that the Pontifical Council for interreligious dialogue performs."


In September 24 (on Thursday morning), Pope Francis address the joint session of the U.S. Congress for the first time in history. He was invited to speak by 2 Roman Catholics House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The democratic principle of separation of church and state has been greatly compromised with the Pope's speech according to some. Francis I spoke of his views and the members of Congress gave numerous standing ovations.

The Roman Catholic Church is not without controversy. For centuries, the Vatican has been an enemy of science, reason, and social progress. Catholic authorities were complicit in the Inquisition and a lot of the genocide of Native Americans. Back between 1976 and 1983, he (known as Jorge Bergoglio back then) was the leading clerical official who oversaw a military junta that slaughtered thousands of people in Argentina. In Congress, the Pope made no mention of the drone missile strikes that advance assassinations carried out by presidential order, without the sanction of any court or trial—which have become routine under the Obama administration.. He began his speech to Congress by praising the United States, in the following terms as “The land of the free and the home of the brave.” How that squares with the reality of omnipresent NSA spying, police killings and a military establishment that regularly incinerates defenseless people with remotely controlled missiles and bombs, he did not bother to explain.

In his speech, Pope Francis talked about immigration, protection for persecuted religious groups like Christians, etc., poverty, capital punishment, and climate change.

He visited the St. Patrick in the City and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington. Then he left D.C. from Joint Base Andrews and arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City at 5:00 pm. By 6:45 pm., he goes into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan for Evening Prayers and Vespers.

One September 25, Pope Francis spoke in the United Nations Building to address the United Nations General Assembly. He visited the 9/11 Memorial in Ground Zero and multi-religious people spoke about spirituality and 9/11. Also, the Pope gave his remarks. He visited the Our lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem. He led a Papal procession throughout Central Park and led a mass in Madison Square Garden in 6:00 pm. The next day, he comes into Philadelphia. On September 26, he visited Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul to have mass. He came into the Independence Mall and came into the Festival of Families at Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Pope Francis went into St. Martin’s Chapel at St. Charles Borromeso Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. He came into a prison of Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Holmesburg, Philadelphia.  He blessed people at Saint Joseph’s University. He came into the World Meeting of Families at Benjamin Franklin Parkway to have mass and a meeting. He visited organizers, volunteers, etc. He left Philadelphia to Rome at 7:30 pm.

By Timothy 

Thanksgiving in 2015

Thanksgiving in 2015

Today is Thanksgiving. Like many of these days, this day is filled with controversy, parades, football games, documentaries, various shows, and emotion. Turkey, sweet potatoes, sweet potato pie, greens, apple pie, stuffing, cranberries, yams, mashed potatoes, and other foods are consumed by people nationwide during this day. First, we have to acknowledge the Native Americans. They are the indigenous peoples of America. They suffered unspeakable crimes and oppression by many European terrorists to put it lightly. Thanksgiving (as practiced in the USA) is definitely a celebration in which many people omit the perverted the genocide and the bloodshed of the Native Americans. Thanksgiving in the USA is a celebration of the genocide of Native Americans. So, we have to tell this truth about these things, so we should never omit real history here in the world.  Thanksgiving ceremonies have existed for thousands of years and have been in existence among numerous religious and spiritual traditions for thousands of years too. In May 1541, Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado led 1,500 men in a thanksgiving celebration at the Palo Duro Canyon. He traveled north from Mexico City in 1540 to search for gold. The group went into Texas. The Texas Society Daughters of the American Colonists cite this event as the “First Thanksgiving” in 1959.  In June 30, 1564, French Huguenot colonists celebrated in solemn praise and thanksgiving in Jacksonville, Florida. The Huguenots were French Protestants. They were protected in France of their religious liberty rights once by King Henry IV of France via his Edict of Nantes (which promoted the religious and political rights of the Huguenots). King Henry IV was more progressive and he was assassinated by by a Catholic fanatic, François Ravaillac in 1610. The Edict of Nantes was revoked by the other reactionary absolute monarch French King Louis XIV (whose nickname was the "sun king" since he wanted to control France under his rule). Cardinal Rechieleu was another agent of the Catholic Church and he supported Catholic absolute monarchs as well. The Huguenot colony was destroyed by Spanish raiding party in 1565. This “thanksgiving” was commemorated at Fort Carolina Memorial on the St. Johns River. In North America, by September 8, 1565, Pedro Menendez Aviles landed in St. Augustine, Florida where he and his men share a feast with Native Americans. The first Northern American celebration of European harvest festivals is held in Newfoundland by the Frobisher Expedition. There has been a similar food festival in Jamestown in 1610 too. The Thanksgiving that has been talked about and debated about a lot is the one involving the Plymouth Colony of New England.

First, we have to describe the time period of the early 17th century. In America, Native American tribes thrived before European colonization. In Europe, it has been a century after the Protestant Reformation. The Plymouth Colony existed from the English. In England, there was conflict between the monarchs and the Parliament including the people. The Parliament wanted to limited the power of the British monarchs while many British monarchs (especially after the Tudors) wanted more control over the people of Britain. Back then, King James I ruled England. He was an Anglican (which was a carbon copy of the Roman Catholic church but with little modifications) and an absolute monarch. King James I also survived the evil Jesuit-inspired Gunpowder plot of 1605 (which involved English Catholics like Robert Catesby). King James I believed in the divine right of Kings doctrine, which is very similar to the doctrine of the Catholic belief of the supreme earthly power of the Pope, which I don't agree with obviously. His Basilikon Doron, a manual on the powers of a king, promoted this belief. He or King James I opposed the criticisms from the Pilgrims and the Puritans. The Puritans were not Separatists. They wanted to reform the Church of England from within and eliminate it of its Catholic influences. They were mainly upper middle class and they settled in Salem and Boston. The Pilgrims were Separatists. They wanted to separate from the Church of England completely and form its own independent, autonomous church. The Pilgrims settled in Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts. So, the Pilgrims were Separatists and the Puritans were Non-Separatists. The Pilgrims (with people like Williams Bradford, William Brewster, etc.) came first and the Puritans (with people like John Winthrop, John Endicott, Miles Standish, etc.) came later into North America.

So, the Pilgrims came into Massachusetts in order to promote their theocratic religious system and many of them were involved in the genocide of Native Americans. In 1607, the Archbishop of York named Tobias Matthew raided homes and imprisoned religious Separatists. First, the Pilgrims or the Separatists came into the Netherlands, first in Amsterdam and then to Leiden in 1609 in order for them to escape Anglican religious persecution. The congregation in Leiden, Netherlands grew. Many of the children of the congregation adopted the Dutch language and customs. Many of them joined the Dutch army. William Brewster publicly criticized the English Crown and the Anglican Church. He faced death, so the Separatists escaped into America. They left in the Mayflower ship and the Speedwell. The Mayflower Compact was a document created by the Pilgrims which outlined their own form of government or community. The Plymouth Colony was created in 1620 and it lasted until 1691. The Mayflower landed in Cape Cod on November 9, 1620. They went into Plymouth in December 21, 1620. They suffered a great winter. Many colonists suffered scurvy, lack of shelter, and other bad conditions form being on a ship. Many people died. Myles Standish became a military leader.

By March 1621, the Pilgrims met a Native American named Samoset. There was a village called Patuxet. The supreme leader of the region was a Native American Wampanoag man named Massasoit. He was the sachem or chief. The colonists learned of Squanto from Patuxet too. Squanto had been to England and he knew English. Massasoit and Squanto were apprehensive about the Pilgrim ssince many English sailors murdered several of Massasoit’s tribe previously. The Pilgrims also stole corn stores in their landings of Provincetown. Squanto himself was kidnapped by Thomas Hunt in 1614 and spent time in Europe. He returned to New England in 19 acting as a guide to explorer Captain Robert Gorges.  Captain Hunt, an English slave trader, arrived at Patuxet. It was common practice for explorers to capture Native Americans, take them to Europe and sell them into slavery for 220 shillings apiece. That practice was described in a 1622 account of happenings entitled "A Declaration of the State of the Colony and Affairs in Virginia," written by Edward Waterhouse. True to the explorer tradition, Hunt kidnapped a number of Wampanoags to sell into slavery. William Fenton describes how Europeans decimated Native American villages in his 1957 work "American Indian and White relations to 1830." From 1615 to 1619 smallpox ran rampant among the Wampanoags and their neighbors to the north. The Wampanoag lost 70 percent of their population to the epidemic and the Massachusetts lost 90 percent. The smallpox was intentionally passed to the Wampanoag, one of the earliest perpetrations of biological warfare. Massasoit and his men had massacred the crew of the ship and had taken in Squanto.

Samoset returned to Plymouth on March 22 with a delegation from Massasoit that included Squanto; Massasoit joined them shortly thereafter. After an exchange of gifts, Massasoit and Governor Carver established a formal treaty of peace. This treaty ensured that each people would not bring harm to the other, that Massasoit would send his allies to make peaceful negotiations with Plymouth, and that they would come to each other's aid in a time of war. There has been debate about the Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving. Scholars believe that the harvest took place in November 1621. Yet, the Pilgrims called their first Thanksgiving feast at 1623.

After the departure of Massasoit and his men, Squanto remained in Plymouth to teach the Pilgrims how to survive in New England, for example using dead fish to fertilize the soil. For the first few years of colonial life, the fur trade (buying furs from Native Americans and selling to Europeans) was the dominant source of income beyond subsistence farming. When Governor Carver died, William Bradford was the new Governor of Plymouth. The Native Americans offered peace treaties with the Pilgrims. Things would change.

Massasoit, Squanto, and several other Wampanoags had been captured by Corbitant, sachem of the Narragansett tribe. A party of ten men, under the leadership of Myles Standish, set out to find and execute Corbitant. While hunting for Corbitant, they learned that Squanto had escaped and Massasoit was back in power. Several Native Americans had been injured by Standish and his men and were offered medical attention in Plymouth. Though they had failed to capture Corbitant, the show of force by Standish had garnered respect for the Pilgrims, and as a result nine of the most powerful sachems in the area, including Massasoit and Corbitant, signed a treaty in September that pledged their loyalty to King James.

Standish is a real scoundrel and murderer. This murderer Myles Standish organized a militia to get into the settlement of Wesagussett. He lured 2 military leaders into a house and Standish plus his men stabbed and killed two unsuspecting Native Americans. Word quickly spread among the Native American tribes of Standish's attack; many Native Americans abandoned their villages and fled the area. As noted by Philbrick: "Standish's raid had irreparably damaged the human ecology of the region...It was some time before a new equilibrium came to the region." Myles Standish was the military leader of the Plymouth Colony.

Pilgrims traded in fur a lot. The power of the Massasoit led Wampanoag grew in the region. The Pilgrims also enslaved black people too. Many settlers blasphemed God by praising the death of Native Americans who had smallpox, which is sick.  In a letter to England, Massachusetts Bay colony founder John Winthrop wrote, "But for the natives in these parts, God hath so pursued them, as for 300 miles space the greatest part of them are swept away by smallpox which still continues among them. So as God hath thereby cleared our title to this place, those who remain in these parts, being in all not 50, have put themselves under our protection."

European colonialism continued. The first major war in America among the Pilgrims was the Pequot War of 1637. This was about the dispute over the control of the Connecticut River Valley near Hartford, Connecticut. Dutch fur traders and Plymouth officials wanted territories and land. The British sent an influx of settlers to the area. The English settlers threatened the Pequot Native Americans.

Other confederations in the area, including the Narragansett and Mohegan, who were the traditional enemies of the Pequot, sided with the English. The event that sparked the start of formal hostilities was the capture of a boat and the murder of its captain, John Oldham, in 1636, an event blamed on allies of the Pequots. In April 1637, a raid on a Pequot village by John Endicott led to a retaliatory raid by Pequot warriors on the town of Wethersfield, Connecticut, where some 30 English settlers were killed. This led to a further retaliation, where a raid led by Captain John Underhill and Captain Mason burned a Pequot village to the ground near modern Mystic, Connecticut, killing 300 Pequots. Plymouth Colony had some people who had little to do with the actual fighting in the war.

The 1637 Massacre in Mystic caused at least 700 Native Americans to be murdered by Europeans. Men, women, and children Native Americans were burn alive and their buildings were destroyed. William Bradford or the Governor of Plymouth praised the massacre in sick terms by the following words: “…Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword; some hewed to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, so that they were quickly dispatched and very few escaped. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire...horrible was the stink and scent thereof, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands, and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enemy."

“This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots," read Governor John Winthrop’s proclamation.
You couldn’t make this stuff up. This is real. Later, Pequots prisoners were executed. Pequot women and children were sold into slavery in the West Indies. The Pequot War killed most of the Pequot peoples.

King Philip’s War came about in the late 1600’s. By the end of the conflict, the Wampanoags and their Narragansett allies were almost completely destroyed.  King Philip was the nickname of Metacomet or the younger son of Massasoit and the heir to Massasoit's position as sachem of the Pokanoket and supreme leader of the Wampanoag. He became sachem upon the sudden death of his older brother Wamsutta, also known as Alexander, in 1662. King Philip’s War came, because more English colonists came into New England and demanded more land. Native Americans were restricted in where they could live. King Philip didn’t like the loss of land of the Native Americans and he wanted to stop it. The Wampanoag capital was in Mount Hope. The town of Swansea was just a few miles from the capital of Mount Hope.

The proximate cause of the conflict was the death of a praying Native American named John Sassamon in 1675. Sassamon had been an advisor and friend to King Philip; however Sassamon's conversion to Christianity had driven the two apart. Sassamon was murdered. Accused in the murder of Sassamon were some of Philip's most senior lieutenants. A jury of twelve Englishmen and six Praying Native Americans found the Native Americans guilty of murder and sentenced them to death. There is a debate on whether the men were guilty of killing Sassamon or not. King Philip prepared for war. He raided English farms and harmed property. The war continued with Native Americans using guerrilla warfare. The Plymouth leadership mistrusted all Native Americans. The English formed an alliance with the Sakonnet to fight King Philip and his forces.  After the Church was given permission to grant amnesty to any captured Native Americans who would agree to join the English side, his force grew immensely. Philip was killed by a Pocasset Native American; the war soon ended as an overwhelming English victory. The Wampanoag chief Metacomet (or King Philip) was shot and killed by an Native American named John Alderman on August 12, 1676. Metacomet's corpse was beheaded, then drawn and quartered. His head was displayed in Plymouth for twenty years. His head was stuck on a pole in Plymouth, where the skull still hung on display 24 years later. Metacom's young son was sent to the West Indies as a slave, along with numerous other Wampanoag and surrounding tribes.

The Following text was taken from Russel Means' autobiography entitled: "Where White Men Fear To Tread." Russel Means is a well know Native American social activist. It discusses the background to the first "Thanksgiving" on American shores:

"The Wampanoag now wanted to remind white America of what had happened after Massasoit's death. Massasoit was succeeded by his son, Metacomet, whom the colonists called "King" Philip. In 1675-1676, to show "gratitude" for what Massasoit's people had done for their fathers and grandfathers, the Pilgrims manufactured an incident as a pretext to justify disarming the Wampanoag.

"The whites went after the Wampanoag with guns, swords, cannons, and torches. Most, including Metacomet, were butchered. His wife and son were sold into slavery in the West Indies. His body was hideously drawn and quartered.

"For twenty-five years afterward, Metacomet's skull was displayed on a pike above the whites' village. The real legacy of the Pilgrim Fathers is treachery. Most Americans today believe that Thanksgiving celebrates a boar harvest, but that is not so.

"By 1970, the Wampanoag had turned up a copy of a Thanksgiving proclamation made by the governor of the colony, the text revealed the ugly truth:

'After a colonial militia had returned from murdering the men, women, and children of an Indian village, the governor proclaimed a holiday and feast to give thanks for the massacre. He encouraged other colonies to do likewise -- in other words, every autumn the crops are in, go kill Indians and celebrate your murders with a feast.'

"The Wampanoag we met at Plymouth came from everywhere in Massachusetts. Like many other eastern nations, theirs had been all but wiped out. The survivors found refuge in other Indian nations that had not succumbed to European diseases or to violence. The Wampanoag went into hiding or joined the Six Nations or found homes among the Delaware Shawnee nations, to name a few. Some also sought refuge in one of the two hundred eastern-seaboard nations that were later exterminated.

"Nothing remains of those nations but their names, and even some of those have been lost. Other Wampanoag, who couldn't reach another Indian nation, survived by intermarriage with black slaves or freedmen. It is hard to imagine a life terrible enough that people would choose instead, with all their progeny, to become slaves, but that is exactly what some Indians did..." (end of the book source).

The King Philip's war decreased the Native American population in New England massively. The Glorious Revolution of 1689 (which caused a limited monarchy in the UK after James I fled to France) represented the beginning of the end of the Plymouth Colony.  The last official meeting of the Court occurred on June 8, 1692. The legacy of American Thanksgiving is filled with bloodshed, conflict, and controversy. Afterwards, more Europeans colonists would come into America to enact genocide of Native Americans, slavery, and other evils. America, itself, was created on the blood of black people and Native Americans. Many of the leaders of the American Revolutionary War (both the American colonists and the British redcoats) owned slaves. Also, Scholarship like Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz's "Indigenous People's History of the United States" is ignored in academia and popular culture. The early English colonizers and capitalists wanted to go into America to promote the myth of white supremacy and to expand their resources. Today, many Native Americans suffer various forms of oppression like: disease, homelessness, dilapidated and vermin-infested housing, substance abuse, inadequate education, unemployment, and police brutality. One of their freedom fighters, Leonard Peltier has languished as a political prisoner for nearly 30 years; framed in events provoked by an assault on Native people by the FBI. So, we desire true liberation.

What we can do to honor the truth is to help others. We have every right and justification to work in charities, to help our neighbors, to pray, to defend the victims of police brutality, to feed the hungry, to do actions to help those who are less fortunate, and to do so many other forms of almsgiving during this time of the year. That is the right thing to do and it makes the Creator and our ancestors happy. We should never sugarcoat what the past was since we learn the past in order for us to create a better present and future. We should be thankful of the blessings that we do have and appreciate the sacrifices of our ancestors. So, you know the truth now. It is our responsibility to do something about it and that is to use activism in fighting against imperialism, racism, discrimination, sexism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, classism, and all evils of the world. We want all humans to be liberated and we want the environment to improve too. We desire justice. With being said, I am thankful of many things. I am thankful of God for giving my life. I am thankful of family and friends who are great human beings. Also, I am thankful of the opportunity to show people the truth about many subjects like history, sociology, politics, anthropology, technology, culture, science, mathematics, and other aspects of the Universe. The truth will remain forever.

By Timothy