|Lonnie Bunch, museum director, historian, lecturer, and author, is proud to present A Page from Our American Story, a regular on-line series for Museum supporters. It will showcase individuals and events in the African American experience, placing these stories in the context of a larger story — our American story.A Page From Our American Story
In the first half of the twentieth century, Americans became fascinated with photo journalism. Pictures were literally “worth a thousand words” as full-color magazines and tabloid newspapers became the rage.
Publications targeted to African American audiences that featured illustrations and photographs began appearing in the early 1900s. One of the earliest to effectively use illustrations and photography was The Crisis, the official publication of the NAACP. Seeking to educate and inform its readers with scholarly articles, the covers of the journal and its entertainment section were designed to appeal to the masses of African Americans.
In the 1930s, we see pictorial magazines such as Abbott’s Monthly, published by Robert Sengstacke Abbott, the founder of the Chicago Defender newspaper, and Flash, which billed itself as a “weekly newspicture magazine.” Published in Washington, D.C., Flash contained a mixture of news, gossip and advertisements and articles on racial issues, providing an overview of the highs and the lows of Black life in the 1930’s.
In 1942, African American businessman John H. Johnson founded the Johnson Publishing Company, a corporation that would go on to publish the well-known magazines Ebony, Jet, Tan, and Ebony Jr. The magazines promoted African American achievements and affirmative black imagery in popular culture, which appealed to readers … and to advertisers. Mr. Johnson was a savvy businessman and used the statistics of a rising black middle class to persuade companies and businesses that it was in their economic “self-interest” to advertise in his magazines to reach African American consumers.
With the success of the Johnson Publishing Company’s magazines, other magazines targeted to African Americans quickly came on the scene. For example, in 1947 Horace J. Blackwell published Negro Achievements, a magazine highlighting African American success articles and featuring reader-submitted true confessions stories. After Blackwell died in 1949, a white businessman named George Levitan bought the company and renamed the publication Sepia. This publication featured columns by writer John Howard Griffin, a white man who darkened his skin and wrote about his treatment in the segregated South, that eventually became the best-selling book Black Like Me.
Whether featuring positive images of African Americans, inspiration stories, news features or commentaries on racism, the rise of African American magazines defied long-held racial stereotypes through rich storytelling, in-depth reporting, and stunning photography.
Due to a variety of economic, editorial, and other factors, most of these magazines have ceased being published. Yet today some African American magazines are still a thriving part of popular culture. Johnson Publishing Company’s Ebony and its digital sites reach nearly 72% of African Americans and have a following of over 20.4 million people.
To read past Our American Stories, visit our archives.
yep, just another rant … Please Vote to keep #BidenHarris intact 2022! This is a post from 2013 tweaked
The 113th-116th Congress’ are long gone, but it should be noted they were “in session” or “at work” fewer days than most of their constituents, even with the attack of #Covid19 … the people they seem to keep saying depend on the government “tit” for “entitlements” then without remorse proceed to vote against the average voter and their lives … some Republicans call “average voter” their constituents lazy and these constituents continue to vote against their best interests? I still cannot understand this. The nonsense continued with the 114th, 115th, 116th Congress, and now here we are with the 117th Congress. Thank goodness the 117th Congress is mostly a predominatly Democratic Party. we have a slim but winning trifecta. We all must support trust and push for great policies that help ALL Not a select few in America.
We the people were governed by a guy with no political experience; seemingly no sense of real loyalty to what most of us call #AmericanValues, doesn’t seem to be a true Republican or a person who leans left though the fact is he has given $$ to both, he said a lot, done little though the executive orders he once hated when President Obama was in office came fast hard and against We The People. His comments for the action incoherent at times and a whole lot of those policies will be doing some damage shortly… btw, can somebody tell this to trump voters, who while now possibly are all insurrectionist; most will still reap the benefits the rest of us vote for and that is offensive. The trifecta he held, aka our 3 branches of government, was capable of doing the right thing but they decided slashing, burning, cutting average voter lives to shreds, stalled CHIP, and holding DACA/Dreamers politically hostage was better for their agenda. This group once called DACA kids #incrediblekids now saying on every platform possible that they are bad folks, illegals, criminals, and murderers. This trifecta government held a whole lot of secret meetings, seemingly making secret deals constantly; lest we understand or accept that all of this talk is not only cheap … The truth is being manipulated and what most of us know as the truth has officially became known as “alternative facts” … sigh
What happened to Congress?
It should make Americans all wonder if $175K for members of Congress is just too much for public servants that work less than 120 days a year as members of Congress, led by Republicans. The thing is they seem to think the rest of us need 2 maybe 3 jobs, deserve less social services among some other stupid things like fewer migrant families though reports are that the Trump administration has requested foreign workers for Maralago numerous times a year ..smdh and I am not expert but the GDP will suffer if he goes full out to ban the browns and blacks
Yes, breathe in slowly and slowly release your breath … be still, then repeat the process when needed as insanity in the News, and Politics begins to try and make viewers accept the trump era in “alternative facts” land put on loop mode. The idea that Americans should just trust someone in the highest office or a member of Congress on face value is a joke but when you catch the work that looks like “performance art” seeming not only like they believe what they are saying but assume that no one is paying attention to their behavior on the floor of Congress because they certainly act like we all have amnesia every time they get a chance to be on cable TV.
So, again … Congress, if led by republicans will say one thing while in front of the camera while planning a takedown in secret rooms; tossing their title of Public Servant down the nearest sewer which makes you wonder how we will ever pass the Voters Right Act, immigration reform and other bills For Americans when a good faith effort is kept off the floor of Congress because of political competition and poison pill amendments added. There was a time when we would tell the Republican Party they need to be more inclusive because trust, respect, and future votes are not seasonal or easily earned nor should they be. The current republican party has many leaving stating this party is no longer worthy … due to white nationalism or something even worse.
Who else felt like the era of trump while not over per se, his reign as POTUS felt so much longer than four years
on 1/6/21, the worst happened
The fact is, the era of trump created misguided, awful people gullible to false misleading information and some were just waiting for this guy to finally arrive. We have seen a whole lot of divisive behavior since 2016, which makes a left-leaning voter wonder, can Republicans continue on this path, continue to get away with so much, and not pay for the bs that happened in the 2016 or 2020 elections and at the DC Mall? Okay, I don’t know about you but the number of times I actually had to stop and take a deep breath as we watched the government of trump tried to take our country to the extreme right rivals the number of times we had to you listen to Republicans continue to say one thing in front of the camera while voting the opposite on the floor of congress. Some of us watched in horror how they acted; remember (act) like they plan to be bipartisan but they continued to show themselves to be less than trustworthy less than bipartisan and their votes … Please check any and all republican members voting records! This is proof of how they actually feel about constituents that cannot be denied or overlooked.
Republicans have been waiting for a trifecta that allows them to vote and pass bills without hearings or much debate. So, folks must call your member of Congress because the next generation is counting on us because climate change is real, Women deserve reproductive rights, the voting rights act should be permanent, immigration reform and a real jobs act is the American path toward Stability, not Austerity though Republicans seem to keep pushing or that 2007 financial collapse just didn’t impact them enough
– When you’re a rich member of Congress; you tend to say do as We say Not as we do?
I want America to wake up, push back, and demand all members of Congress do the People’s business
Republicans see themselves as stewards of the purse strings in the House of Representatives, but it does not give them the right to toss #WeThePeople under the bus, who as taxpayers give them not only a salary but government healthcare?
All elections from here on will decide what kind of life we all want our next generation to navigate through … please take the time to understand what and who is causing America to decline at this time … The House of Representatives holds the American #PurseStrings which is why Americans have been held, hostage when Republicans are given that task to govern… try leaning left
**Whose side is Mitch McConnell really on?
McConnell promises to take Americans health care away frm them- he said we all want this -hey i never said that did you?
**Rick Santorum Opposes Gay Marriage and Adoption
Rick has a tantrum
**Darryl Issa …
and more Issa
Maine Gov. Paul LePage Disses NAACP/MLK Day Because He Has a ‘Black’ Adopted Son
Residual Colonialism In The 21St Century …
The 21st century deserves better. More importantly, the nearly 2 million people still living under colonial rule deserve better.
- definitely a repost
2012•05•29Photo: DB King
Though colonialism is generally considered to be a relic of the past, nearly 2 million people in 16 “non-self-governing territories” across the globe still live under virtual colonial rule. In recognition of the United Nations International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories (25–31 May), we present this analysis of “residual colonialism in the 21st century”.
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In 2009, the Government of the United Kingdom (UK) suspended parts of the Constitution of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), a British Overseas Territory, in response to allegations of systemic corruption in the territory. Direct rule from London was imposed over the democratically elected local government. This unilateral, top-down action removed the constitutional right to trial by jury, suspended the ministerial government and the House of Assembly, and charged a UK-appointed Governor with the administration of the islands.
A tentative period for elections has been given (fall 2012 at the earliest), but this is subject to the deliberation of the British government and tied to a series of specific milestones that must be met. These announcements provoked protests and demonstrations by the islanders. The suspension of the TCI government over corruption allegations seems to run contrary to the way in which financial and governance crises are handled around the world, including in the UK itself. Scandals are part of political life, but constitutions are not suspended nor are democratically elected governments and institutions disbanded.
How is it that these events have occurred in a world based on a system of supposedly equal sovereign states? The answer lies in the little known fact that colonial structures continue to exist even today in some parts of the world.
The wave of decolonization that swept around the world in the latter half of the 20th century was once heralded as one of the great liberating movements in history. Yet, few seem to realize that colonialism is still with us. As of 2012, 16 territories are deemed still to be under colonial rule and are labeled by the United Nations as “non-self-governing territories (NSGTs)” — areas in which the population has not yet attained a full measure of self-government.
The 16 NSGTs, home to nearly 2 million people, are spread across the globe. They remain under the tutelage of former colonial powers (currently referred to as “administering powers”), such as the UK, the USA and France.
Most of the NSGTs feature as only small dots on the world map but are in fact prominent players on the world stage. Some act as the world’s leading financial centres, with GDP per capita amongst the world’s top 10 (e.g., the Cayman Islands and Bermuda), some constitute vital bastions for regional security (e.g., Guam), and there are those whose geographical location has made them prone to diplomatic disputes (e.g., Gibraltar and the Falklands/Malvinas).
A UN committee on decolonization does exist (Special Committee of 24 on Decolonization), under the purview of the Fourth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly (Special Political and Decolonization Committee). Its mission is to oversee the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (14 December 1960).
The world underwent a political renovation following the formation of the United Nations in 1945, and the number of sovereign UN Member States has skyrocketed from the original 51 to 193. However, the 50-plus years since the founding of the United Nations have proved to be insufficient to eradicate a centuries-old structure of dominance. This is in spite of the advancement of legal systems based on the notions of the sovereign equality of states and human rights prevalent in the contemporary world.
Decolonization, as bluntly put by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, remains an unfinished business; an unfinished process that has been with the international community for too long. In solidarity with the peoples of the NSGTs, the present decade (2010-2020) has been declared the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (as the past two decades have proved inadequate to ensure the disappearance of such an archaic concept).
Independence is not the only option
The doctrine of self-determination and political equality has prevailed as the guiding principle for decolonization ever since the inception of the United Nations. Much progress has been achieved and political autonomy for many former dependent states (micro-states, even) has been realized, but the decolonization process remains stalled. No territory has achieved self-government since East Timor (now Timor-Leste) won full independence from Indonesia in 2002.
The many achievements of decolonization by the United Nations cannot be considered truly global while some peoples continue to live under colonial rule. Administering states such as the UK and France continue to exercise top-down authority through modernized dependency governance models that, while perhaps ensuring sustained economic progress, create a democratic deficit and political vulnerability based on unequal status.
The decolonization agenda championed by the United Nations is not based exclusively on independence. There are three other ways in which an NSGT can exercise self-determination and reach a full measure of self-government (all of them equally legitimate): integration within the administering power, free association with the administering power, or some other mutually agreed upon option for self-rule.
The current impasse is due, in part, to the denial by the administering states of these options, but also to a lack of public awareness on the part of the peoples of the NSGTs that they are entitled to freely determine their territory’s political status in accordance with the options presented to them by the United Nations. It is the exercise of the human right of self-determination, rather than independence per se, that the United Nations has continued to push for.
International law provides a particularly effective conceptual framework from which to criticize these complex dependency arrangements. In the UN Charter, not only Articles 1 and 55 maintain that one of its fundamental purposes and principles is “to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples”. A further three chapters of the Charter are devoted to the dependent territories, namely Chapter XI (Declaration regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories), Chapter XII (International Trusteeship System) and Chapter XIII (The Trusteeship Council).
Core human rights conventions, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) both affirm the right of self-determination and that the states parties to the covenants have the responsibility to promote the realization of self-determination, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations. Colonialism has been formally delegitimized as an acceptable international practice, as per the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (General Assembly Resolution 1514 [XV]) in 1960 and a companion resolution defining the three legitimate models of political equality (General Assembly Resolution 1541 [XV]). Further resolutions, for example, established permanent sovereignty over natural resources (General Assembly Resolution 1803 [XVII]).
In October 1970, UN General Assembly Resolution 2621 (XXV) declared that the further continuation of colonialism in all its forms and manifestations is a crime, and in 1977 General Assembly Resolution 32/14 reaffirmed the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle.
The road ahead
Colonialism made the political world map look much as it does today, drawing up borders with no regard for local sensibilities and realities. It negated or purposefully misconceived the cultural, economic, political and social conditions under which the colonized led their lives. In the process, colonial powers imposed inappropriate identities on the people they ruled, crippling peoples’ self-esteem, thus diminishing their self-efficacy and potentially stunting their long-term social development.
Given the modern emphasis on the equality of states and inalienable nature of their sovereignty, many people do not realize that these non-self-governing structures still exist. Thus, the world has closed its eyes to continuing colonial dependence.
World media has the potential to play a pivotal role in advancing decolonization by exposing developments that infringe on the exercise of the right of self-determination and that worsen the political vulnerability of the NSGTs. The issue at hand is not that colonialism does not exist in today’s world because the populations of these territories overwhelmingly do not define these territories as colonies. Rather, it is that these populations have not been provided with an opportunity to decide on a legitimate political status through popular consultation in the form of an acceptable act of self-determination. Once this is made sufficiently clear, media coverage and overview can be expected.
In light of the disbandment of an overseas democratically elected government in TCI, the international community, the public in general and the peoples of the NGSTs alike have been reminded that the UN agenda on colonialism is very much relevant and crucial — -not only for the protection of fundamental human rights, but to democratic governance and an international order principled upon the notions of sovereignty and the equality of states.
One of the greatest and most visible achievements of the United Nations has been to pursue the decolonization of the colonized world. However, a successful end to this process cannot be based on simply removing territories from the UN list of NSGTs (de-listing), but rather on the actual achievement of full self-government.
De-listing cannot be perceived as the goal, but rather as a secondary product resulting from clear indicators of self-government, political equality vis-à-vis the administering state, and the promotion and support of genuine political education programmes that allow the populace of those territories to freely choose their status and their future. Not doing so would result in stymieing the legitimate aspirations of peoples whose human rights the United Nations was created to protect.
Colonialism is a concept of an exploitative past that runs counter to the principles of sovereign equality on which the United Nations is grounded. As commonly expressed in General Assembly debates, colonialism is anachronistic, archaic, and outmoded; it contravenes the fundamental tenets of democracy, freedom, human dignity and human rights.
The 21st century deserves better. Most importantly, the nearly 2 million people still living under colonial rule deserve better.
Black History Month
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s leadership of the American Civil Rights Movement achieved more genuine progress toward racial equality in America than the previous 350 years had produced. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest leaders in world history.
Our country is celebrating his birthday. Check out these classroom resources, activities, and lesson plans to learn more about him:
- About Dr. King
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Washington DC
- Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, Georgia
- Activity: “I Have a Dream” Speech
- Activity: “I Have a Dream” Banner
- Audio Recording: “I Have a Dream” Speech
- Guide: Curriculum for Empowerment (PDF)
- Lesson Plans