By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare
It may be hard for many left-leaning liberals, or African-Americans to admit, but Kanye west, was kind of right about the 13th amendment.
Now, he was wasn’t right in saying the 13th amendment should be abolished, but it should be amendment or rewritten. Because contrary to popular belief the 13th amendment did not end slavery; in fact it only ended antebellum slavery, but it permitted slavery as long as it was in prison, as a form of hard labor to people convicted of a crime.
The 13th amendment states:
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
Once the 13th amendment was passed, southern states began to immediately pass white supremacist laws, known as “Black Codes” and later “Jim Crow”, that were meant to disproportionately punish and incarcerate the black community, for minor infractions that most white people of that time wouldn’t get punished for. Like attempting to eat at a “Whites Only” counter or sitting in the “Whites Section” of a bus, even though whites could freely sit at any black section without fear of
persecution or prosecution.
Even today the 13th amendment is still be used in a harmful way against black people. Especially in a time of over policing in poor and economically disenfranchised, ethnic minority neighborhoods, and mass incarcerating those very same people for in most cases non-violent drug offenses that many white citizens get rehab for.
One example of this is San Francisco, a liberal city that has gentrified most of its black and many of its Latino residents out of the city, while at the same the time it has programs that give many drug addicts (most of whom are white), new, so-called clean needles to shoot up their drugs, which unfortunately they then leave where the average person could sit or step on, and possibly be infected with a harmful disease.
Now, I am not here advocating that prosecutors, jurors and judges start handing down harsh punishments for drug offenses to whites as the do to ethnic minorities to make up for past injustices in the justice system, rather I am saying people who commit drug offenses and other minor infractions, should be treated, in rehab or receive some form of therapy, rather than be sent to corporate prison somewhere to be a modern day slave.
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President Barack Obama, on December 16, 2016, signed legislation that will get rid of time limitations on civil rights cases that happened prior to 1970. This will allow cold cases that happened during the Jim Crow era, to be reopened by local, state and national law enforcement officials.
This is an expansion on a bill titled the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime bill. The bill was originally introduced in 2005, by activist Alvin Sykes. He named the proposed bill after Till, after he promised Till’s mom that he would have the case of her son ( who was brutally lynched and murdered for allegedly whistling at a white woman in 1955) reopened. The lynching of the 14 Till, by two white men who would ultimately be found not guilty by a racist all-white jury, is believed by many to be the last straw the sparked the civil rights movement.
In 2008, the bill was made into law.
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BY: LEON KWASI KUNTUO-ASARE
Booker Taliferro Washington, was born in Hale’s Ford, Virginia, somewhere around April 5, 1856. Like most slaves, exact records were not kept on his birth. His mother was an enslaved African-American woman named Jane, who worked on the James Burrough plantation, in southwest, Virginia , the identity of Booker’s father is unknown, but he was believed to be a white man who worked on a nearby plantation.
When Booker was 9, he and his family gained their freedom, in 1865, under the Emancipation Proclamation, when the union troops occupied their region in Virginia.
Booker T. Washington worked several jobs, including working as a coal miner in West Virginia to earn money to pay for school, eventually he would attend Hampton Institute and Wayland seminary.
In 1881 the Samuel C. Armstrong, the head of Hampton Institute , recommended Washington for the principal job, at the Tuskegee Institute, in Alabama.
Washington would get married three times, Washington was married to Fannie N. Smith from 1882-1884, when she died. Washington then married Olivia A. Davidson from 1886 to her death in1889, his last marriage would be to Margaret James Murry from 1893 to his death in 1915.
Washington would have three children from the first two marriages : Portia, Ernest and Booker T. Washington jr.
In 1895 , as lynchings of African-Americans, by racist whites were on the rise in the South, Washington gave a speech, now known as the “Atlanta Compromise” , which brought him into the national spotlight. In the speech he encouraged African-Americans to uplift themselves through education and entrepreneurship, rather than challenging Jim Crow segregation laws in the south, which at the time, would of been a death sentence for any African-American, challenging white supremacy.
Washington advocated for blacks to take the “Go Slow” approach to avoid a harsh and violent backlash from racist whites, which was very frequent in the south at the time.
At the time the government gave a very small amount of money to African-American schools, so a lot of money for African-American schools came from rich white philanthropists. Washington would build relationships with some of those rich white people to help fund educational programs to help the progression of the African-American community, through higher education .
Washington would die on November 14, 1915, at the age of 59. Despite his hardwork for the African-American people, all across the nation, he would remain the principal at Tuskegee, until the day he died.
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BY: LEON KWASI KUNTUO-ASARE
A United Nations panel of human rights activists asked the United States government to give reparations to the African-American community, who were the descendants of black slaves in America.
The reparations would be intended to repair some of the damage done to the African-American community, through various forms of oppression, which includes :
2. Black codes.
3. Jim crow.
4. Sundown Towns.
5. Lynchings .
6. Domestic white terrorism (KKK).
7. Mass incarceration and police brutality , which disproportionately affect the African-American community, at a much higher rate than the rest of the population.
8. The 13th amendment. (Which permitted prison inmates to be used as slave labor.
9. Miseducation by a broken school system.
Mireille Fanon Mendes-France, the chairwoman of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent committee, compared the police killings of unarmed black men today in the United States to racist lynchings that occurred in the South, during the height of segregation.
Mendes-France did not believe that individual checks should be given to the descendants of American slavery, but rather she recommended money be spent for the “full implementation of special programs based on education, socioeconomic, and environmental rights.”
There is a precedence for the United States giving reparations to American citizens, the first case is when the United States government gave reparations to Japanese Americans, for their harsh treatment during World War 2 and in 2015 the Obama administration earmarked $12 million dollars in reparations to be given to holocaust survivors.
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BY: LEON KWASI KUNTUO-ASARE
The Freedom Rider were a collective of civil rights activists, who
In May 1961, ventured into the deep south, to challenge unconstitutional Jim Crow laws in the southern region of the United States.
On 1960 the Supreme Court’s decision in the Boynton vs. Virginia case, ruled that segregated buses were unconstitutional, but the segregated South refused to comply with federal law and the federal government did very little to enforce their decision in the South.
The Freedom Riders risked not only their freedom, but their lives to challenge racist laws that did not allow mixed racial groups to sit together on interstate buses or trains in the South.
The violent reactions the Freedom Riders, received in southern states like Alabama, where the police allowed the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist mobs to brutalize civil rights activists, got nationwide attention and helped give the civil rights movement credibility.
On November 1, 1961, new policies went into effect, people were now allowed to sit where ever they pleased, regardless of race, while riding on interstate buses and trains. Also “White” and “Colored” signs were removed from terminals.
The legacy the Freedom Riders leave behind is they helped inspire future civil rights campaigns like Freedom Schools, the Black Power Movement and voter registration in the South.
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