Tag Archives: Arizona

The Amistad Travels To Cuba As A Reminder Of Slavery


 

Post by Jerry Smith in National

a repost from 2010 – Black History Month

WASHINGTON – Days from now, a stately black schooner will sail through a narrow channel into Havana’s protected harbor, its two masts bearing the rarest of sights — the U.S. Stars and Stripes, with the Cuban flag fluttering nearby.

The ship is the Amistad, a U.S.-flagged vessel headed for largely forbidden Cuban waters as a symbol of both a dark 19th century past and modern public diplomacy.

The Amistad is the 10-year-old official tall ship of the state of Connecticut and a replica of the Cuban coastal trader that sailed from Havana in 1839 with a cargo of African captives, only to become an emblem of the abolitionist movement.

Its 10-day, two-city tour of Cuba provides a counterpoint to new and lingering tensions between Washington and Havana and stands out as a high-profile exception to the 47-year-old U.S. embargo of the Caribbean island.

For the Amistad, it also represents a final link as it retraces the old Atlantic slave trade triangle, making port calls that are not only reminders of the stain of slavery but also celebrations of the shared cultural legacies of an otherwise sorry past.

When it drops anchor in Havana’s harbor on March 25, the Amistad will not only observe its 10th anniversary, it will commemorate the day in 1807 when the British Parliament first outlawed the slave trade.

The powerful image of a vessel displaying home and host flags docking in Cuba is not lost on Gregory Belanger, the CEO and president of Amistad America Inc., the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the ship.

“We’re completely aware of all of the issues currently surrounding the U.S. and Cuba,” he said. “But we approach this from the point of view that we have this unique history that both societies are connected by. It gives us an opportunity to transcend contemporary issues.”

It’s not lost on Rep. William Delahunt, either. The Massachusetts Democrat has long worked to ease U.S.-Cuba relations and he reached out to the State Department to make officials aware of the Amistad’s proposal.

U.S.-flagged ships have docked in Havana before, but none as prominently as the Amistad. The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has periodically approved Cuba stops for semester-at-sea educational programs for American students, and the Commerce Department has authorized U.S. shiploads of exports under agriculture and medical exemptions provided in the Trade Sanctions Reform Act of 2000.

“Obviously we have serious differences, disagreements,” Delahunt said. “But in this particular case the two governments, while not working together, clearly were aware of the profound significance of this particular commemoration.”

The original Amistad’s story, the subject of a 1997 Steven Spielberg movie, began after it set sail from Havana in 1839. Its African captives rebelled, taking over the ship and sending it on a zigzag course up the U.S. coast until it was finally seized off the coast of Long Island. The captured Africans became an international cause for abolitionists; their fate was finally decided in 1841 when John Quincy Adams argued their case before the Supreme Court, which granted them their freedom.

Miguel Barnet, a leading Cuban ethnographer and writer who has studied the African diaspora, said it is only appropriate that the new Amistad would call on the place of the original ship’s birth. Indeed, he said in an interview from Cuba on Wednesday, it is the horror of the slave trade that left behind a rich common bond — not just between the United States and Cuba, but with the rest of the Caribbean — that is rooted in Africa.

“That’s why this is an homage to these men and women who left something precious for our culture,” he said.

The new Amistad has crossed the Atlantic and wended its way through the Caribbean since 2007. It has worked with the United Nations and UNESCO’s Slave Route Project. Using high technology hidden in its wooden frame and rigging, the ship’s crew of sailors and students has simulcasted to schools and even to the U.N. General Assembly.

It will do so again — with Cuban students — from Havana.

FDR had something to say about voting


votingFranklin D. Roosevelt once said

“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”

a message from Rep. John Lewis ~Reinstate Voting Rights Protections


I’m deeply saddened.

If Congress doesn’t act, this will be the first election in 50 years without critical protections from the Voting Rights Act.

the right to vote is precious… even sacred.

That’s why in 1963, I marched on Washington with Martin Luther King for the right to vote.

That’s why in 1965, I gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma, Alabama for the right to vote.

Folks marched for this. Folks fought for this. And some even died for the right to vote.

But today, the vital protections in the Voting Rights Act have been gutted by the conservative Justices on the Supreme Court.

Will you stand with me to demand basic voter protections be reinstated?

Voting is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democratic society. And we’ve got to use it!

Will you demand that Republicans fix the Voting Rights Act?

Thanks,

Congressman John Lewis

In the Library … “Injustices” by Ian Millhiser


ThinkProgress

Injustices: The Supreme Court’s History of Comforting The Comfortable And Afflicting The Afflicted

InjusticesThey won’t be selling Injustices at the Supreme Court gift shop. Ian Millhiser’s scathing, exuberant indictment of the many misdeeds of the nation’s highest court is a necessary, and highly entertaining, corrective to the mythology that has always surrounded the work of the Justices.”

~Jeffrey Toobin,
Author of The Oath and The Nine

by: ThinkProgress Justice Editor, Ian MillhiserOrder now: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indie Bound

Dear ThinkProgress Reader:

For the last five years, I’ve covered the Supreme Court for ThinkProgress. I’ve chronicled the justices’ decision to open the floodgates to corporate election spending, and I’ve reported on the rash of voter suppression laws that followed after the Court gutted the Voting Rights Act. I’ve shared your bewilderment when the Court held that a woman’s choice whether to use birth control could be given to her boss, and I’ve shared your terror at the prospect that the justices could rip health care away from millions of Americans.

Yet, as I explain in Injustices: The Supreme Court’s History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted, these cases are hardly anomalies in the Supreme Court’s history. To the contrary, the justices of the Supreme Court shaped a nation where children toiled in coal mines, where Americans could be forced into camps because of their race, and where a woman could be sterilized against her will by state officials. The Court was the midwife of Jim Crow, the right hand of union busters, and the dead hand of the Confederacy.

Injustices tells the history of the Supreme Court through the eyes of the people that it has hurt the most — the young people stripped of their childhoods, the freedmen forced into peonage, the men and women who will die needlessly if the Supreme Court guts Obamacare. In my coverage of the Court over at ThinkProgress, I’ve strived to provide clarity on what the law provides and how the justices should decide their cases in accordance with that law, but I’ve also strived to reach beyond arcane legal arguments to show how the Court’s decisions shape the lives of millions of Americans. I bring that same ethic to over 150 years of Supreme Court history in Injustices. I urge you to check it out.

Sincerely,
Ian Millhiser

Get It Here:
Amazon BarnesNoble IndieBound

* * *

“More than just an indictment of the Supreme Court, Injustices offers a stirring defense of the role government plays in bettering people’s lives-and a heartbreaking window into the lives that are ruined when the justices place their own agenda above the law.”

~Ted Strickland,
Former Ohio Governor and US Representative
Former President, Center for American Progress Action Fund

“A powerful critique of the Supreme Court, which shows that it has largely failed through American history to enforce the Constitution and to protect our rights. With great clarity and poignant human stories throughout, Ian Millhiser has written a book that all who are interested in American government and our legal system – which should be all of us – must read.”

~Erwin Chemerinsky,
Founding Dean & Distinguished Professor, UC Irving Law School

“Ian Millhiser’s Injustices is a powerful reminder that for most of its history, the Supreme Court has erred on the side of protecting the privilege and powers of America’s elites-and that it has so often done so by reading the Constitution upside-down. Millhiser has crafted an indictment of the Court’s treatment of workers, minorities, women, voters, and powerless groups, with a deeply researched grounding in history and the law. His dispiriting conclusion is a powerful reminder of how much the Court matters, and how much more it could be.”

~Dahlia Lithwick,
Senior Editor, Slate

Celebrate black history all year round ~~ repost


naacp

Black History Month may be over, but, we can celebrate the stories that make up our history throughout the year.
We are making history every day thanks to the men and women who serve our communities all over the country, fighting for justice and equality.
The NAACP’s commitment to those who move black history forward has been unbroken for more than a century. Let’s continue that commitment together. Become a member of the NAACP. Support our work and join us in making new stories—American stories.

Join today!Every time a new voter is registered, or we march in unison to a state capitol, lifting our voices for those who can’t, or fight to end a “Stand Your Ground” law, we are creating black history—American history. Not every hero is as well known as W. E. B. DuBois, Harriet Tubman, or Rosa Parks, but this in no way diminishes the measure of these accomplishments and contributions.
NAACP members stand behind these champions by fighting for the things that matter to all of us. When we work to ensure every person has the right to vote, when we demand an end to racial profiling, when we help to ensure folks have access to health insurance, when we fight for better education and an end to economic inequality, it amplifies the work being done by our unsung heroes every day. We all know that black history is more than one month of note—we stand tall throughout the year. Stand with us. Join us in making history. Become an NAACP member today:

http://action.naacp.org/history-year-round
Thank you for making history with us,
Lorraine C. Miller Interim President and CEO