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FREEDOM RIDERS : A Stanley Nelson Film : American Experience – In memory


  Get Inspired

 The World Premiere: In 2010 at Sundance Film Festival, US

 A Documentary Competition

Award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson (Wounded Knee, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, The Murder of Emmett Till) returns to the Sundance Film Festival with his latest documentary FREEDOM RIDERS, the powerful, harrowing and ultimately inspirational story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever. From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives—and many endured savage beatings and imprisonment—for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws, the Freedom Riders’ belief in non-violent activism was sorely tested as mob violence and bitter racism greeted them along the way.

FREEDOM RIDERS features testimony from a fascinating cast of central characters: the Riders themselves, state and federal government officials, and journalists who witnessed the rides firsthand.

“I got up one morning in May and I said to my folks at home, I won’t be back today because I’m a Freedom Rider. It was like a wave or a wind that you didn’t know where it was coming from or where it was going, but you knew you were supposed to be there.” — Pauline Knight-Ofuso, Freedom Rider

Despite two earlier Supreme Court decisions that mandated the desegregation of interstate travel facilities, black Americans in 1961 continued to endure hostility and racism while traveling through the South. The newly inaugurated Kennedy administration, embroiled in the Cold War and worried about the nuclear threat, did little to address domestic Civil Rights.

“It became clear that the Civil Rights leaders had to do something desperate, something dramatic to get Kennedy’s attention. That was the idea behind the Freedom Rides—to dare the federal government to do what it was supposed to do, and see if their constitutional rights would be protected by the Kennedy administration,” explains Raymond Arsenault, author of Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice, on which the film is partially based.

Organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the self-proclaimed “Freedom Riders” came from all strata of American society—black and white, young and old, male and female, Northern and Southern. They embarked on the Rides knowing the danger but firmly committed to the ideals of non-violent protest, aware that their actions could provoke a savage response but willing to put their lives on the line for the cause of justice.

Each time the Freedom Rides met violence and the campaign seemed doomed, new ways were found to sustain and even expand the movement. After Klansmen in Alabama set fire to the original Freedom Ride bus, student activists from Nashville organized a ride of their own. “We were past fear. If we were going to die, we were gonna die, but we can’t stop,” recalls Rider Joan Trumpauer-Mulholland. “If one person falls, others take their place.”

Later, Mississippi officials locked up more than 300 Riders in the notorious Parchman State Penitentiary. Rather than weaken the Riders’ resolve, the move only strengthened their determination. None of the obstacles placed in their path would weaken their commitment.

The Riders’ journey was front-page news and the world was watching. After nearly five months of fighting, the federal government capitulated. On September 22, the Interstate Commerce Commission issued its order to end the segregation in bus and rail stations that had been in place for generations. “This was the first unambiguous victory in the long history of the Civil Rights Movement. It finally said, ‘We can do this.’ And it raised expectations across the board for greater victories in the future,” says Arsenault.

“The people that took a seat on these buses, that went to jail in Jackson, that went to Parchman, they were never the same. We had moments there to learn, to teach each other the way of nonviolence, the way of love, the way of peace. The Freedom Ride created an unbelievable sense: Yes, we will make it. Yes, we will survive. And that nothing, but nothing, was going to stop this movement,” recalls Congressman John Lewis, one of the original Riders.

Says Stanley Nelson, “The lesson of the Freedom Rides is that great change can come from a few small steps taken by courageous people. And that sometimes to do any great thing, it’s important that we step out alone.”

CREDITS
A Stanley Nelson Film
A Firelight Media Production for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE

Produced, Written and Directed by
Stanley Nelson

Produced by
Laurens Grant

Edited by
Lewis Erskine, Aljernon Tunsil

Archival Producer
Lewanne Jones

Associate Producer
Stacey HolmanDirector of Photography
Robert Shepard

Composer
Tom Phillips

Music Supervisor
Rena Kosersky

Based in part on the book Freedom Riders by
Raymond Arsenault

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is a production of WGBH Boston.
Senior producer
Sharon Grimberg

Executive producer
Mark Samels

Freddie Stowers ~ Honor and recognition Long Overdue – Black History


NMAAHC -- National Museum of African American History and Culture

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

Grave of Cpl Freddie Stowers
Grave of CPL Freddie Stowers
at Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery
in France.

Freddie Stowers, the grandson of a South Carolina slave, holds a unique spot in America’s pantheon of war heroes — as the only African American awarded the Medal of Honor for service in World War I. Stowers’ story, however, must be told in two parts.

The first part of the story is his act of heroism in 1918; the second part is that it took more than 72 years before Stowers finally received the recognition he was due.

The United States was the last major combatant to enter World War I, the “war to end all wars.” The conflict began in Europe in 1914, but in the U.S., isolationist sentiments were strong resulting in a foreign policy of non-intervention. However, in April 1917, after a German U-boat sank the British ship Lusitania, killing 128 Americans on board, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war on Germany. Three months later, on July 3, 1917, American troops landed in France.

Corporal Freddie Stowers came to France as part of the all-black Company C, 371st Regiment, 93rd Division that deployed in September, 1918. His service in France was short but courageous and memorable.

More than 50 years after the Civil War, America’s military was still segregated. The French, however, had no such rules, and Stowers and Company C were sent to the front lines to serve alongside French troops.

On September 28, just days after arriving in France, Stowers’ company was in the midst of an attack on Hill 188, Champagne Marne Sector, France, when enemy forces appeared to be giving up.

According to the War Department, German soldiers emerged from their trenches waving a white flag, arms in the air — military actions that signal surrender. It was a ruse, however. As Americans, including Cpl. Stowers, went to capture the “surrendering” Germans, another wave of the enemy arose and opened fire.

Very quickly, Company C’s lieutenant and non-commissioned officers were killed in the fight. This left the 21-year-old Stowers in command. Without hesitation, he implored his men to advance on the Germans.

Stowers would be mortally shot during the exchange. Wounded and dying, Stowers continued to fight on, inspiring his men to push the enemy back. With Stowers leading the counter-attack, Americans took out an enemy machine gun position and went on to capture Hill 188.

Following the battle, Stowers’ commanding officer nominated him for the Medal of Honor, but the nomination was never processed. The Pentagon said the paperwork was misplaced. Some raise the possibility that the nomination wasn’t misplaced at all, but deliberately lost. They point to the fact that American troops were segregated and suggest that racial bias in the military might be the reason for Stowers’ missing paperwork.

The final part of Freddie Stowers’ story begins in 1990. As the Department of Defense began to modernize its data systems, it ordered a review of all battlefield medal nominations. When Stowers’ recommendation was found, the Pentagon quickly took action to give the corporal the long overdue recognition and honor he deserved.

Freddie Stowers MOH Ceremony in 1991.
After the posthumous presentation of the Medal of Honor
to the sisters of Corporal (CPL) Freddie Stowers by
President George H. W. Bush, Mrs. Barbara Bush and
Mary Bowens admire the Medal of Honor certificate.
Ms Bowens is CPL Stowers’ sister. His other sister
Georgina Palmer (far left) looks on. CPL Stowers is the
only Black American to receive the Medal for action during
World War I. Photo: Robert Ward, DOD PA, April 4, 1991.

On April 24, 1991, more than 72 years after Stowers made the ultimate sacrifice for his nation, his sisters Georgiana Palmer and Mary Bowens, 88- and 77-years-old at the time, were presented his Medal of Honor by President George H. W. Bush.

Long before Stowers was honored by his nation, he, along with other members of Company C, received recognition from the French government: “For extraordinary heroism under fire.” Stowers and his unit received the Croix de Guerre – the French War Cross — the highest military medal France awards to allied soldiers.

Prior to World War I, 49 African Americans had been awarded the Medal of Honor, including 25 men who fought for the Union in the Civil War. There were 119 Medals of Honor recipients in World War I, with Stowers being the only African American. His long overdue recognition in 1991 is a small but important sign of the progress we as a nation have made.

Lonnie Bunch, Director All the best,
Lonnie Bunch
Director

P.S. We can only reach our $250 million goal with your help. I hope you will consider making a donation or becoming a Charter Member today.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the newest member of the Smithsonian Institution’s family of extraordinary museums.

 

The museum will be far more than a collection of objects. The Museum will be a powerful, positive force in the national discussion about race and the important role African Americans have played in the American story — a museum that will make all Americans proud.

In the Library … Charles Dickens


On This Day: February 7

Charles Dickens
Born: February 7, 1812
Died: June 9, 1870

British novelist Charles Dickens was born February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, England. Over the course of his writing career, he wrote the beloved classic novels Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations.

On June 9, 1870, Dickens died of a stroke in Kent, England, leaving his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished.

Mindful behavior / New Year Resolution … stop smoking


ciggtaxes_state_icon

Every once in a while i come across info that i have to pass along.   i for one believe that great information definitely makes us think…hopefully, it also starts up a conversation that is not only positive but initiates reaction and action that causes change …  as an ex-smoker having stopped (cold turkey) years ago.  So,

The information below is old,  but you have to wonder just what the numbers are now!

Orzechowski and Walker, economic consulting firm says …                

   $1,712 is the average amt a pack-a-day smoker in the US spends annually

What can $1,712 buy?

  • 170 mosquito nets from nothingbutnets.net and prevent malaria transmission to African families.
  • Provide 11,900 meals for the nation’s hungry through feedingamerica.org
  • Donate to local programs to give 10 kids fun and creative after-school options every day for a month. aferschoolalliance.org for tips on finding an organization near you.

resource: internet

We the People V Politics Party and Profit in 2019? ~ it’s a repost


mayorsagainstguns

In memory of all victims and or survivors at the hands of guns… Ask your member of Congress – What will it take?

Another day another School shooting!  Our hearts are broken and we all still keep offering prayers for all the students, teachers and thank staff for saving lives …and YES we should but as we all know thoughts and prayers are no longer enough! we need action on laws that are quite simple to implement and while the right keeps saying so …  no one’s gun is likely to be taken away unless of course it should be… due to a failed background check,domestic violence, mental illness, documentation stating so

Now, after the umpteenth tragic incident I find out that the rant below and the infographic above done in 2013 is now out dated, which is beyond sad beyond my understanding considering the number of deaths, injuries and life changing experiences from folks who are, were and continue to purchase guns. The new reports taken in June of 2015 were that about 52% of Americans want gun reform.  Now, in this year of 2018 at least 83% support criminal background checks. Sadly, we have Republicans who still take in a whole lot of money from the NRA and don’t seem to care or listen to “WeThePeople”  and that motto; One person One vote either no longer exists or is considered a joke to those leaning far right and while no one is trying to take guns away from anyone, maybe those who have mental health issues or violent tendencies should be not be allowed to obtain a weapon of any kind that can harm kill them or any one else. The GOP has used fear mongering for what seems like decades which obviously allows the killings and or massacres to continue … Honestly, are these the kind of people we want in Congress – what happened to Public Servants

Reports are that at least 90% of our population agrees that it is about time we have some #gunsafety laws.

Additionally, most of us lefties are sticking together ,even some members of the NRA are for background checks, but we need a few Republican members of Congress to put people ahead of the NRA, the mighty $$ as well as their NRA ratings and until folks do, I am reserving judgment on how republicans keep saying they need to change seriously. We all know the NRA is in it to win it for gun manufacturers while lefties are not just in this for victims and survivors but for common sense laws … the NRA is not too big to fail and the assault weapons ban could have stopped some massacres.

There are approximately 310 Million people in America about 5 Million of those are pro-gun folks… so, why can’t we do the reforms needed?

We all know illegal guns on the streets kill someone everyday though we must thank Wayne lapierre for going on camera and showing Americans just why …

I am against handguns … period. There are enough incidents my family and friends have experienced that have molded my attitude toward guns over the years, lest a narrow escape or two of my own. The thought of a teacher having or being forced to keep a handgun in the classroom just does not make sense. I am without a doubt completely against military style weapons because I do not think we civilians need to have them at all and I definitely understand how folks interpret the 2nd Amendment while disagreeing on attaching it to states’ rights. The fact is that Gabby Gifford’s attack and all attacks since should have made us all sit up, move into genuine outrage and take immediate action. We need to use the sadness with a determination to at least ban assault weapons, retrofit K-12 School buildings and act rationally about creating registries, better permit process, close the gun show loophole and in my opinion every state should be required to impose a state of the art background check.  While not an expert on the NRA, ALEC or gun safety, I do have a strong opinion and need to share information, newsletters and interesting articles that are meant to start a dialogue. I will admit cringing anytime members of Congress use states’ rights as their solution to what are clearly American issues and scream for Federal intervention.  We need Mayors, Governors and voters to stand up and speak out more in this era of trump

Most of us believe that Gun Safety laws impact all Americans, clearly what we have now not only needs to be reformed, but should  reflect  our 21st Century living, formed around the notion of common sense solutions like universal background checks.