Black Market Magazine

AGAIN... No HBCU Players Picked In The 2024 NFL Draft

In a concerning trend for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the NFL Draft of 2024 closed without any HBCU prospects being selected. This absence marks the second occurrence in the past four years, mirroring the 2021 draft, sparking concerns over the visibility and evaluation of talent from these institutions. The recurring oversight has catalyzed the establishment of platforms like the HBCU Legacy Bowl and the NFL-backed HBCU Combine, aimed at amplifying exposure for HBCU talents. Despite these efforts, the draft outcomes have shown only a marginal increase in the selection of HBCU players. After the 2021 draft’s disappointment, Deion Sanders, the then-head coach at Jackson State, expressed his frustration on social media, advocating for greater recognition of the deserving athletes at HBCUs.The 2022 draft saw a slight improvement with four HBCU athletes picked, but this number dwindled again by 2023. Last year, Jackson State’s cornerback Isaiah Bolden was the sole HBCU player drafted, selected 245th overall by the New England Patriots. Over the past five drafts, HBCU representation has been minimal, with just eight players drafted, highlighting a significant underrepresentation.This year, players like Virginia State’s cornerback Willie Reed and Howard University’s left tackle Anim Dankwah, standing at an impressive 6-foot-8, were on draft radars but ultimately overlooked. This ongoing issue raises critical questions about the evaluation processes and the need for enhanced mechanisms to ensure that HBCU athletes receive the recognition and opportunities they rightfully deserve.

NFL Legend OJ Simpson Loses His Battle With Cancer

The news of OJ Simpson's death was shared by his family via his X account, “On April 10th, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer,” . In February, a local Las Vegas news station reported that Simpson had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy amid rumors that he had entered hospice care; however, the NFL legend denied the rumors.

And while media chooses to focus on the infamous murder acquittal, we at Black Market, made an intentional effort to celebrate the life and legacy of Mr. Simpson. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family 

Alabama Governor Signs Bill Barring Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Programs

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday signed legislation that would ban diversity, equity and inclusion programs at public schools, universities and state agencies and prohibit the teaching of “divisive concepts” including that someone should feel guilty because of their race or gender.

The measure takes place October 1st and is  a wave of proposals from Republican lawmakers across the country taking aim at diversity, equity and inclusion programs, also known as DEI, on college campuses. Republicans say the programs deepen divisions and promote a particular political viewpoint. But opponents say it is a rollback of hard-won advances and programs that welcome underrepresented student populations.

“My administration has and will continue to value Alabama’s rich diversity, however, I refuse to allow a few bad actors on college campuses — or wherever else for that matter — to go under the acronym of DEI, using taxpayer funds, to push their liberal political movement counter to what the majority of Alabamians believe,” Ivey said in a statement. 

The Alabama legislation would prohibit universities, K-12 school systems and state agencies from sponsoring DEI programs, defined under the bill as classes, training, programs and events where attendance is based on a person’s race, sex, gender identity, ethnicity, national origin or sexual orientation.

The bill also says schools, universities and state agencies cannot require students, employees and contractors to attend classes and training sessions “that advocates for or requires assent” to what the bill lists as eight “divisive concepts.”

Miami Is Breaking Up With Spring Break-As Some Call This a Racist Move To Deter Black People From The Area

Historically, the last two weekends in March are the high point of the spring break season. Yet, Miami is trying to end all that. 

In 2022 and 2023 the nation watched as police arrested more than 600 people in Miami Beach for brazen and outlandish behavior.  This year Miami is ready to crack down on the annual throng of college students and visitors. It even created a video advertisementannouncing it wasbreaking up with spring break.”

However , Miami-Dade County Commissioner Keon Hardemon called the city’s message “tone deaf” and implied at a county commission meeting Tuesday March 5th  that Miami Beach was targeting Black visitors.

“I stand behind my comments just as much as Miami Beach stands behind the measures they put in place. I think the measures are onerous, I think it makes it very difficult to come visit Miami, Miami Beach," Hardemon said Wednesday. "This is the time in which many Black people do come to Miami Beach to experience things, but this is about what they’re doing, not necessarily who they’re doing it to, it could be a group of white individuals and if they were to put these same measures forward than it is equally wrong.”

In a news conference on 3/5/24, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made the announcement that the state will provide about 60 Florida Florida State troopers in South Florida and an additional 24 that are part of a quick response team.

The Republican governor and failed presidential hopeful stressed law and order across the state and said this year he didn't want to wait until a state of emergency was declared.

"We don't welcome mayhem," DeSantis said. “The state has a lot going on, it’s a fun place to be at and we want to see people do that, but we also are going to insist that people respect the law."

What We Know: Fani Willis' Removal Fight

 Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis and one of her top deputies had their private lives dissected in full public view at an evidentiary hearing last week. 

America watched as defense attorneys, who collectively represented nine of the remaining 15 defendants in Willis’ marquee election interference case, took turns scrutinizing the past romantic relationship between Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade for evidence of impropriety.

The ultimate goal was to convince Fulton Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee that the two prosecutors had a conflict of interest in the case that warranted removing the entire Fulton DA’s office from the prosecution.

Willis and Wade each presented similar timelines in their testimony. Wade said their romantic relationship began “around March” 2022 —months after he was hired to work on the case — while the DA said “between February and April” of that year. That gels with the timeline Wade included in a sworn affidavit attached to a court filing from the DA’s office.

However those accounts were  quickly contradicted when  testimony  from Robin Bryant Yeartie, a former friend of Willis’. Yeartie, who met Willis in college and briefly worked in the Fulton DA’s office, let Willis take over the lease on a condo she rented near Hapeville. Yeartie testified that she saw the couple hug, kiss and be affectionate not long after after they first met in 2019.

The actual start of the relationship could play an important factor in the judge's decision. If Willis was romantic with Wade before she hired him, it raises the prospect that she may have violated at least the spirit of anti-nepotism rules, though Fulton’s policy specifically focuses on family members. More importantly, if defense attorneys can prove that Willis or Wade lied in court documents it could constitute perjury and provide real incentive for McAfee to punish the DA’s office.

Over 200 Bodies Were Found Buried Behind A Mississippi Jail. Community Raises Call For An Investigation

Alarmed over the discovery of 215 multiracial bodies found buried in a pauper’s cemetery behind the Hinds County, Mississippi jail, Reverend Hosea Hines, senior Pastor of the Christ Tabernacle Church and the national leader of A New Day Coalition for Equity and Black America (ANCEBA), joined Attorney Ben Crump in calling for an investigation.

Some relatives of those found buried behind the jail simply thought they were missing. They object to having to pay a fee for the removal of their loved one’s remains that are needed for a proper burial.

At a press conference held on December 20 at the Stronger Hope Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi, Crump was joined by relatives of three of the deceased men. Each of the women held pictures of their loved ones.

Gretchen Hankins, who is white, held a picture of her son, Jonathan Hankins, 39. Mary Moore Glenn, a Black woman, held a picture of her son, Marrio Moore, 40, and Betterstem Wade held a photo of her son, Dexter Wade, 37. They were shocked to learn their relatives had been buried behind the jail.

Crump and his co-counsel, Dennis Sweet, are demanding to know why officials failed to investigate their deaths and did not try to find the next of kin, as opposed to burying them in a pauper’s grave near a dirt road by the jail work farm. Their gravesites were reportedly marked with a metal rod and a number.

“People all across America are scratching their heads in disbelief about what’s happening in Jackson, Mississippi, with this pauper’s graveyard,” said Crump.

“It went from talking about the water” that was non-existent or contaminated, “to now we’re talking about the graveyard. What is going on in Jackson, Mississippi?”

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis Alleged Romantic Involvement With Trump Prosecutor May Result In Dropped Charges, Disbarment and Jail Time

Former President Donald Trump is insisting any and all charges against him and several others in Georgia over efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 election results should be dropped after another defendant filed a motion accusing Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis of improper behavior. 

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis hired an alleged romantic partner to lead the Atlanta prosecution of former President Donald Trump and 18 others on election conspiracy charges and improperly financially benefited from that relationship, tainting the entire case, according to a new court filing by one of Trump’s co-defendants.

The 127-page motion was filed Monday by a lawyer for longtime Trump associate Michael Roman, who was indicted for his alleged role as a campaign official in trying to help Trump overturn the Georgia election in 2020 after President Joe Biden’s victory in the state. 

The motion seeks to dismiss the charges against Roman on the grounds that they are “fatally defective," the filing by Roman's attorney, Ashleigh Merchant, argues. It also seeks to disqualify Willis, the entire Fulton County District Attorney’s Office and the special prosecutor, Nathan Wade, because the two “have been engaged in an improper, clandestine personal relationship during the pendency of this case.” 

According to county records cited by the Journal-Constitution, Wade has been paid nearly $654,000 in legal fees since January 2022. It said that as DA, Willis “authorizes his compensation.”

The filing alleges that Wade, a prominent Georgia private attorney and former municipal court judge, paid for vacations with Willis to the Napa Valley in California, to Florida, and on a Caribbean cruise using funds his law firm received from Willis' office. 

The filing alleges that it is basing its claims on "sources close to both the special prosecutor and the district attorney," and that the personal relationship between the district attorney and the special prosecutor "began before this prosecution was initiated and before the district attorney appointed the special prosecutor."

Based on the timing of the payments, and the alleged trips together, "the district attorney and the special prosecutor have violated laws regulating the use of public monies, suffer from irreparable conflicts of interest, and have violated their oaths of office under the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct and should be disqualified from prosecuting this matter," the motion states. 

For instance, Wade purchased hotel rooms for personal trips with funds from the same account his firm used to receive payments under his contract with Willis, the motion alleged.

It also alleged that Willis and Wade "have been seen in private together in and about the Atlanta area and believed to have co-habited in some form or fashion at a location owned by neither of them."

And the motion claimed that the payments Wade received from Fulton County and subsequent travel allegedly paid for by those funds could amount to “honest services fraud” based on federal laws that aim to prevent elected officials from receiving kickbacks from people they have hired.

Bishop William Barber Receives Apology From AMC After Being Removed From The Color Purple By Police

While Black Americans are rejoicing in the box office success of The Color Purple, AMC Theaters is here to remind us of the injustices and racism we face every day. A simple dispute regarding seating led a prominent social activist to be removed from a Greenville, NC movie theater on December 26th. 

Bishop William J. Barber II, former chair of the North Carolina NAACP, went to the AMC Fire Tower 12 theater in Greenville to see "The Color Purple:, along with his  90-year-old mother. Bishop Barber utilizes two canes and has difficulty walking and sitting in certain chairs because of a form of arthritis known as ankylosing spondylitis, which causes inflammation in the joints and ligaments of the spine. Barber noted that he  takes his own chair to various events (including The White House) which resembles a bar stool with a back.

After setting it up in the theatre's section designated for people with disabilities, Bishop Barber was told his alternative seating was not allowed.  In lieu of deescalating the situation, the managers felt the need to involve the police to remove the Bishop from the theater. 

In a statement, AMC apologized to Barber for the handling of the incident.

"We sincerely apologize to Bishop Barber for how he was treated, and for the frustration and inconvenience brought to him, his family, and his guests. AMC's Chairman and CEO Adam Aron has already telephoned him and plans to meet with him in person in Greenville, NC, next week to discuss both this situation and the good works Bishop Barber is engaged in throughout the years.

Jury Awards $148 Million in Damages to Georgia Election Workers Over Rudy Giuliani’s 2020 Vote Lies

A jury awarded $148 million in damages on Friday to two former Georgia election workers who sued Rudy Giuliani for defamation over lies he spread about them in 2020 that upended their lives  with racist threats and harassment.

Giuliani had already been found liable in the case and previously conceded in court documents that he falsely accused the women of ballot fraud. Even so, the former New York City mayor continued to repeat his baseless allegations about the women in comments to reporters outside the Washington, D.C., courthouse this week.

The damages verdict follows emotional testimony from Wandrea “Shaye” Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, who tearfully described becoming the target of a false conspiracy theory pushed by Giuliani and other Republicans as they tried to keep then-President Donald Trump in power after he lost the 2020 election.

Giuliani told reporters outside Washington’s federal courthouse that he will appeal, saying the “absurdity of the number merely underscores the absurdity of the entire proceeding.”

“It will be reversed so quickly it will make your head spin, and the absurd number that just came in will help that actually,” he said.

The Racist History of The Runoff Election in Georgia

The Georgia voting law that mandates a runoff when a candidate does not obtain more than 50% of the vote is the result of racist legislation. This law was introduced by staunch segregationist legislator, Denmark Groover. When Groover lost reelection to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1958 despite winning the majority of the white vote, data from segregated polling places in Macon revealed that Black voters contributed to the upset victory by his opponent.

When Groover won his seat back in 1963, he led the charge to break up what he described as the “Negro Voting Block,” by transitioning Georgia from plurality voting, which allows the candidate with the most votes to be declared the winner, to majority voting – forcing voters to choose between the two candidates with the most votes in a separate runoff election. Groover was determined to stop Black Georgians from having any voting power. Thus, the runoff was created.

Lawsuit Challenging Electronic Voting Devices In Georgia Heads To Trial In January

A lawsuit challenging the security and constitutionality of electronic voting machines in Georgia will be heard during a bench trial on January 9, 2023.

The lawsuit was originally filed in 2017 by the Coalition for Good Governance when the state used Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) machines, which allowed voters to directly select and submit their selections on an electronic screen with no verifiable paper backup.

The suit has since been directed to the state’s use of Ballot Marking Devices (BMD), which the state began using in 2020.

It notably points to the breach of devices in January 2021 in Coffee County as part of an alleged RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) scheme for which several defendants have been indicted in Fulton County Superior Court, including former President Donald Trump.

“This breach and the copying and sharing of election system software and voting data to actors and entities inside and outside of the state, as well as through the internet, bear serious ramifications for the future vulnerability of the state’s election system as a whole,” the United States District Court of North Georgia-Atlanta Division Nov. 10 order states.

The Black Dock Worker Assaulted In The  Massive Brawl in Montgomery, Alabama, Has Been Charged.

Court documents revealed that Harriott II Riverboat co-captain Dameion Pickett has been charged with third-degree assault in connection to the Aug. 5 melee, reported. Atlanta Black Star reached out to the Montgomery police officials for comment.

The charges come months after Pickett was attacked by a group of white boaters, both men and women, over a docking space dispute at Riverfront Park. Widely circulated video shows the moment things escalated between Pickett and the other men, who, at one point, collectively beat him while he was on the ground.

 The Black dock worker seen on video of the massive brawl in Montgomery, Alabama, that took over social media during the summer has been charged, according to reports.

Court documents revealed that Harriott II Riverboat co-captain Dameion Pickett has been charged with third-degree assault in connection to the Aug. 5 melee, reported. Atlanta Black Star reached out to the Montgomery police officials for comment.

The charges come months after Pickett was attacked by a group of white boaters, both men and women, over a docking space dispute at Riverfront Park. Widely circulated video shows the moment things escalated between Pickett and the other men, who, at one point, collectively beat him while he was on the ground.

Carlee Russell Found Guilty In Faking Her Own Kidnapping

 An Alabama judge has found Carlee Russell guilty of the elaborate hoax and sentenced her to one year in jail and $18,000 in restitution.  Russel pleaded not guilty and appeared emotionless as she strolled into the Alabama courthouse on 10/11/23. 
Russell’s attorney, Emory Anthony, told CNN that "his client asked for a verdict so they could appeal the case to a circuit court in an effort to avoid jail time".
Anthony said Russell does not object to paying restitution, saying, “I think anything is fair when it comes to restitution with the expenses that were done. So we have to say that is fair. Anytime you assert restitution it has to be proven. The amount $17-thousand and some, hours spent, I would think that would be fair.”

US appeals court blocks Fearless Fund grant program for Black women

 A federal appeals court on Saturday blocked a venture capital fund from moving forward with a program that awards funding to businesses run by Black women in a case by the anti-affirmative action activist behind the successful U.S. Supreme Court challenge to race-conscious college admissions policies.
The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on a 2-1 vote granted a request by Edward Blum's American Alliance for Equal Rights to temporarily block Fearless Fund from considering applications for grants only from businesses led by Black women. 
Blum's group asked the court to do so while it appealed a judge's Tuesday ruling denying it a preliminary injunction blocking Fearless Fund from moving forward with its "racially exclusive program." Grant applications were due Saturday.
The judges in the majority, U.S. Circuit Judges Robert Luck and Andrew Brasher, agreed with Blum's group that Fearless Fund's "racially exclusionary" grant program likely violated Section 1981 of the 1866 Civil Rights Act, a Civil War-era law that bars racial bias in contracting.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash earlier this week concluded that under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment's free speech protections, Fearless Fund had a right to express its belief in the importance of Black women to the economy through charity.
But the appeals court's majority, comprised of two appointees of Republican former President Donald Trump, said the First Amendment "does not give the defendants the right to exclude persons from a contractual regime based on race."
Blum in a statement said his group was "gratified that the 11th Circuit has recognized the likelihood that the Fearless Strivers Grant Contest is illegal." Defense lawyers said they planned to seek further appellate review.
"We remain committed to defending our clients’ meaningful work," said Jason Schwartz, a lawyer for Fearless Fund.
Fearless Fund describes itself as "built by women of color for women of color."
The lawsuit is one of three that Blum's Texas-based group has filed since August challenging grant and fellowship programs designed by the venture capital fund and two law firms to help give Black, Hispanic and other underrepresented minority groups greater career opportunities.
A different group founded by Blum, who is white, was behind the litigation that led to the June decision, powered by the Supreme Court's 6-3 conservative majority, declaring unlawful race-conscious student admissions policies used by Harvard University and the University of North Carolina.
According to the Fearless Fund, businesses owned by Black women in 2022 received less than 1% of the $288 billion that venture capital firms deployed.
The fund aims to address that disparity, and counts JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N), Bank of America (BAC.N) and MasterCard (MA.N) as investors. It has invested nearly $27 million in 40 businesses led by minority women since its founding in 2019.
It also provides grants, and Blum's lawsuit took aim at its Fearless Strivers Grant Contest, which awards Black women who own small businesses $20,000 in grants and other resources to grow their businesses.
The fund argued Blum was trying to "turn a seminal civil rights statute on its head" by suing it under a Civil War-era law enacted to protect formerly enslaved Black people from racial bias.
U.S. Circuit Judge Charles Wilson, an appointee of Democratic former President Bill Clinton, in a dissenting opinion on Saturday called it a "perversion" of Congress' intent to use that law against a remedial program like Fearless Fund's.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp Confirms He Won't Approve a Commission To Oust DA  Fani Willis

Brian Kemp has openly refused to support a support a special probe into Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis for her election subversion investigation that resulted in a criminal indictment against former President Donald Trump and several of his allies and supporters.
During during a press conference on Thursday August 31, 2023 ,  Kemp took the time to “speak to some history that’s trying to repeat itself over the last few days here in Georgia” as he put it.
The governor highlighted how he repeatedly rejected calls for a special session to gather the state’s lawmakers and overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results “because such an action would have been unconstitutional.”
The slaughter of everyday Americans going about their daily lives is the latest in a series of shootings targeting Black people – including at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, last year and a historically Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.

Jacksonville, Florida Shooting Is Just Another Example of What's Wrong In Florida

Three innocent families are once again tasked with the burden of burying their loved ones lost at the hands of a crazed white supremacist. The racist rampage took place on Saturday August 26th at a Jacksonville area Dollar General. 
21 year old Ryan Christopher Palmeter cowardly took the lives of Angela Michelle Carr, 52, Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr., 19, and Jerrald Gallion, 29 and ultimately himself. The killer was armed with an AR-15-style rifle and a handgun – which were both legally purchased, the sheriff said.
The Justice Department is now investigating the shooting as a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Sunday.
The slaughter of everyday Americans going about their daily lives is the latest in a series of shootings targeting Black people – including at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, last year and a historically Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.

Montgomery Brawl Is Just Another Example Of White Privilege Gone Wrong 

Three white men have been charged in connection with the now infamous "Montgomery Brawl" that took place in the capital city of Alabama on August 5th.  While many are weighing in on this issue across social media and the world at large, we at Black Market have decided to deliver our two cents on the matter. 
First and foremost, white folks really be out on these streets doing the absolute most. The Black co-captain was simply doing his job and asked the rowdy group to move their boat. Instead of complying they felt the need to attack the co-captain... Big Mistake!
When the co-captain threw his hat it was like a unofficial Black folk's "Bat Signal". Folks ran and even swam to the defense of that brother. It was truly a moment in history to see our people unite to whoop those crackers asses. 
And while we would never condone, nor advocate violence on anyone, what we witnessed on that dock indicates that Black people are simply TIRED! 

The Meaning of Juneteenth

Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Deriving its name from combining June and nineteenth, it is celebrated on the anniversary of the order, issued by Major General Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865, proclaiming freedom for slaves in Texas.
Read More About Juneteenth HERE. 

Black History Month: More Action, Less Celebration

Op-Ed By Kishana L. Holland, Staff Writer
February is the month where Republican lawmakers will tweet out inspirational quotes honoring the contributions of Black civil rights leaders. These empty, often tone-deaf social media "experiments" are a part of their "Look at me, I'm not a racist" tour, yet these same individuals do nothing to dismantle the systems that continue to oppress Black people.
In an effort to white-wash the history of America, 21 states have banned critical race theory or introduced legislation to ensure it will never be taught in the school system.

They Don't Learn... Do They?

A 32-year-old Black veteran and father of three was shot and killed in Fayetteville, North Carolina, this week after a road rage confrontation with a white father and son riding in a pickup truck ended with the motorcyclist being shot in his chest.
Stephen Addison was shot by 51-year-old Roger Dale Nobles Sr. as the biker argued with Roger Dale Nobles Jr. on Monday, Jan. 3. Police state Nobles Sr. fired at Addison from the driver’s seat on the inside of his 1992 Chevrolet pickup after his son got out of the vehicle at a stoplight to confront Addison.
A bystander shot a video of the confrontation and sent it to local station WRAL. Shot from a distance, the footage only shows Noble Jr. standing outside of the passenger side of the truck and then walking toward Addison. The two appear to be arguing when the shotgun blast comes from the pickup. The video does not record the argument.
After Addison falls to the ground from the blast, Nobles Jr. walks away without assisting him. Police and Cumberland County sheriff’s deputies later located Nobles Sr. at his home. After presenting him with a warrant, he and his son were apprehended. Nobles Sr. admitted to the shooting Addison, authorities say.
One neighbor said, “They put them in handcuffs, and then it went from there. They started searching the truck.”
The older Nobles was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, but the son was released without any charges. The outlet reports that Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West is looking at the evidence and is open to a possible hate crime consideration.
After reviewing the six-minute exchange between Addison and Nobles Jr. and analyzing the son’s body language, two security analysts offered to the station that Nobles may have known that his dad planned to use the weapon.
Anthony Waddy of SAV Consulting said, “Where he’s actually standing in reference to, what we call in the military, a fatal funnel. He’s clearly out of harm’s way.”
The analyst says it appears that Nobles Jr. created a clear path for the shot to strike Addison, noting that even after the shot the son did not flinch. Moreover, after the man fell to the ground, Waddy asserts the son did not turn as if surprised that his father fired his gun at the man.
Addison’s friends and family members are still trying to process the loss of their loved one amid the outpouring of condolences from the community.
Justina Hemphill, the wife of the former Fort Bragg soldier, while reflecting on Addison’s life to WRAL said that he was a “great guy” and his personality “lit up every room he went into.”

They Sued To Integrate Georgia State University And Won... Yet They Still Could Not Enroll.

In 1956, Myra Elliott wanted to return to college. Valedictorian of her high school class in Keysville, Ga., she had attended Spelman but couldn't afford the tuition and left to work at Atlanta Life Insurance Company on Auburn Avenue. She thought the Georgia State College of Business -- soon to be renamed Georgia State University -- would be ideal; it was around the corner from her downtown office and, as a public institution, less expensive than Spelman.
There was one problem. The state of Georgia had ignored the federal mandate to integrate its schools, and denied African American students admission to its all-white public colleges and universities through bogus requirements to obtain endorsement letters from alumni or certification from a judge. Elliott was among the rejected students.
Asked to become a plaintiff in a lawsuit to integrate the colleges, Elliott agreed, explaining in her Riverdale home earlier today that she didn't realize the attention the case would attract. Or the political chicanery and character assassination that the state would employ.
"I was just young, naïve and stupid," said the 87-year-old Elliott. She was also heroic, as were her two co-plaintiffs Barbara Pace Hunt and Iris Mae Welch, both of whom have since died.
While few people recognize their names or their role in history, that may change with the publication of "Ground Crew: The Fight to End Segregation at Georgia State."
"I call them the foot soldiers of the civil rights movement," said "Ground Crew" author Maurice C. Daniels, dean emeritus and professor emeritus of the University of Georgia school of social work and founder and director of the Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies. "It required a lot of courage by all these students. They were willing in essence to put their lives on the line."
His book details the brilliant NAACP strategists and the extraordinary legal team including Constance Baker Motley and Donald Lee Hollowell who won the groundbreaking lawsuit in 1959. U.S. District Court Judge Boyd Sloan ruled Georgia State’s racial discriminatory policies and practices violated the Constitution.
Hunt v. Arnold became the NAACP's first federal court victory against segregated education in Georgia, establishing legal precedents that helped Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Hamilton Holmes integrate the University of Georgia in 1961 and James Meredith integrate Ole Miss in 1962.
Yet, Elliott, Hunt and Welch never attended Georgia State. Because while U.S. District Judge William Bootle two years later in the UGA case forced the university to immediately admit black students, Judge Sloan stopped short of mandating the admission of Elliott, Welch and Hunt when he ordered GSU to integrate.
In the face of Sloan's ruling, the Board of Regents and the Legislature went to shocking lengths to continue to lock out African Americans, including imposing morality standards that could block women who had conceived before marriage and even passing a law denying college admission to anyone over the age of 21, as were all three plaintiffs.
"It was appalling that they should actually pass a law that the speaker pro term said on the floor of the Georgia House was designed to keep blacks out. He did not use the word 'blacks.' It is disheartening to see the things that our state did to sustain that system of segregation," said Daniels.
The rancor around the case led Barbara Pace Hunt to not only flee Georgia, but to decline to ever detail the experience to her three children, said her daughter Crystal Freeman, who now lives in Atlanta.
"She didn’t like to talk about it and always said it was a dark time," said Freeman, the youngest of Hunt's children and born after the trial.
Hunt worked for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and the civil rights leader suggested she apply to GSU, said Freeman. Her mother's role as lead plaintiff and her civil rights background may have exposed her to greater harassment than her co-plaintiffs.
"She had to move her daughters from place to place because the KKK threatened her," said Freeman. When the trial ended, Hunt left Georgia for Texas, where she earned two master's degrees.
Freeman has requested that GSU recognize her mother, Welch and Elliott, even offering to pay for the planting of a tree in their honor. "I have been fighting for this for about 10 years. I was told by GSU that this is a very negative thing and that they are not like this now, that now they graduate the highest number of African American students in the country. But this is history."
Elliott's daughters are only discovering the scope of their mother's contribution to that history. She, too, shared few specifics of the lawsuit with her kids. June Harland recalls her mother announcing a few years ago that a professor was interviewing her for a book, but was shocked when she saw her mother on the cover of "Ground Crew."
"As I read the book now, I am learning all this information and filling in the blanks. My mouth is hanging open," said Harland. "I am very proud of her and excited not just for her, but for the story of how we, as a people, finally were able to get a postsecondary education here in the state of Georgia."
Daniels offered an explanation why the two women may have been reticent. “Although they won an important and groundbreaking case, the fact that Georgia State refused to admit them was disappointing. The inflammatory statements by public officials and personal threats may also explain why they did not discuss their involvement more openly,” he said.
A year after the integration of UGA, two African American women enrolled at GSU, including Annette Lucille Hall, who held an undergraduate degree from Spelman and a master’s from Atlanta University. A teacher in Rockdale County, Hall was 53 but the state had repealed the age limit by that point.
Hall's extended Atlanta family broke other color lines; nephew Ralph Long Jr. helped desegregate Georgia Tech, a benchmark honored in September with the unveiling of statues of Long and three other African-American students. Her niece Carolyn Long Banks became the first African-American woman to serve on the Atlanta city Council.
A few months later, Marybelle Reynolds Warner enrolled, becoming Georgia State’s first full-time African American student. Warner already held degrees from St. Louis University and Washington University but decided to study music education. Three years later, Joseph Howard McClure earned a bachelor’s degree and walked into history as the school’s first black graduate.
As for Myra Elliott, the belated attention to her critical role in these achievements is not something she sought. "I never expected it and that wasn't my reason for being part of the lawsuit. They told me I couldn't go to that school, and I started thinking about all the black children who might want to go. That was my reason."

Georgia Prosecutor Fani Willis Opens Criminal Investigation Into Trump's "Attempts to Influence" The Election

The Fulton County, Georgia, district attorney has opened a criminal investigation into Donald Trump's alleged attempts to influence the outcome of the presidential election in the state, which he lost narrowly to Joe Biden.
The prosecutor, Fani Willis, sent letters Wednesday morning to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and Attorney General Chris Carr, writing that the investigation is a "matter is of high priority."
Sources with Willis' and Raffensperger's offices confirmed that the prosecutor is requesting documents related to a recorded January 2 phone call Mr. Trump made to Raffensperger, among others, although the letters do not explicitly name Mr. Trump or reference the phone call.
During the call, Mr. Trump asked: "What are we going to do here, folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break."
Willis wrote in her letter that her office "has opened an investigation into attempts to influence the administration of the 2020 Georgia General Election. This investigation includes, but is not limited to, potential violations of Georgia law prohibiting the solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election's administration."

The History of "The Green Book"

“There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States. It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication for then we can go wherever we please, and without embarrassment.”
That was how the authors of the “Negro Motorist Green Book” ended the introduction to their 1948 edition.
First published in 1936, the Green Book was the brainchild of a Harlem-based postal carrier named Victor Hugo Green. Like most Africans Americans in the mid-20th century, Green had grown weary of the discrimination blacks faced whenever they ventured outside their neighborhoods.
Unlike the romanticized Hollywood film of the same name, The "Green Book" provided a rundown of hotels, guest houses, service stations, drug stores, taverns, barber shops and restaurants that were known to be safe ports of call for African American travelers. The “Green Book” listed establishments in segregationist strongholds such as Alabama and Mississippi, but its reach also extended from Connecticut to California—any place where its readers might face prejudice or danger because of their skin color.
With Jim Crow still looming over much of the country, a motto on the guide’s cover also doubled as a warning: “Carry your Green Book with you—You may need it.”
Victor Hugo Green died in 1960 after more than two decades of publishing his travel guide. His wife Alma took over as editor and continued to release the Green Book in updated editions for a few more years.
In one of its last editions in 1963-64, it included a special “Your Rights, Briefly Speaking” feature that listed state statutes related to discrimination in travel accommodations. “The Negro is only demanding what everyone else wants,” the article stressed, “what is guaranteed all citizens by the Constitution of the United States.”
In 1964, the Civil Rights Act finally banned racial segregation in restaurants, theaters, hotels, parks and other public places. Just two years later, the Green Book quietly ceased publication after nearly 30 years in print.

Hip Hop Museum Set to Open in the Bronx in 2023

After a couple years of promoting the concept, construction is finally starting on a museum showcasing the history of hip hop in the borough where it was started.
Crews are scheduled to arrive this week on exterior street and 149th street to start the Bronx point development -- a housing and entertainment complex. The museum will be inside of that development honoring the music and other parts of hip hop including DJing, break dancing and graffiti art. The executive director of the Universal Hip Hop museum says the construction was delayed last year because of the pandemic and budget issues.
An official groundbreaking ceremony will happen later this year.
Hip Hop's birth is said have happened at a Bronx party inside a building on Sedgwick Avenue in 1973. The museum's organizers hope to open in 2023 for the 50th anniversary of the genre.

John Lewis Memorial to Replace Confederate Monument in Georgia

A DeKalb County, Ga., Confederate monument will be replaced with a monument honoring the late civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).
The monument on the grounds of the Historic DeKalb County Courthouse was removed last January, a period where numerous other statues were also removed by both local governments and protesters. County commissioners approved the resolution to install the Lewis memorial January 26, 2021.
Several residents requested such a memorial after Lewis’s death on July 17, although it remains unclear what the proposed monument will look like.
Representatives of the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights suggested the memorial depict Lewis in his youth, when he was a confidant of Martin Luther King Jr. and was severely beaten by Alabama State Troopers on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge.
“It is our hope that because our youth played such an essential role in the removal of the [Confederate] monument, that a statue of the young John Lewis during his [younger] years will be erected in the Decatur square,” the group said at a July meeting, according to the publication.
“This will be a reminder of how many young people have been a catalyst for change in the world. Where a monument once stood to intimidate and disenfranchise Black voters, soon will stand a statue of an American hero who gave his life to building the movement that ensures Black people have the right to vote,” they added.
Separately, a proposal in the state legislature that would add a statue of Lewis to the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall has secured bipartisan support. It would replace Confederate vice president Alexander Stephens, who made the infamous “Cornerstone Speech” calling slavery foundational to the Confederacy.

"What You Don't Know Can Kill You"

Black people are least likely to be aware the medical bills related to Covid-19 care could be covered under The Cares Act.
Black people who contract Covid-19 are likely to die twice the rate than white people. With a record number of 350,000 deaths (and counting) in the United States. With Black people seeing the worst of it.
The reasons are complex: people of color are more likely to be poor, work in low paying industries that expose them to the virus, live in crowded spaces, and have chronic health conditions. Black people disproportionately live in lower-income neighborhoods, which typically have more tobacco shops (which drives up smoking and therefore lung problems) and less access to fresh food (which drives up obesity, contributing to the high rates of diabetes and heart disease) - Thus some of the reasons for the chronic health conditions.
Couple that with the fact that many of these "essential workers" in these poorly paid industries forgo seeking medical attention for fear of termination. When you're Black in America living below the poverty line, health insurance may not be a priority.
The Trump administration’s coronavirus treatment reimbursement program for uninsured COVID-19 patients was announced in early April and has now been in place for about five months. This program uses money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act’s $175 billion Provider Relief Fund to reimburse providers for treating uninsured patients with COVID-19.
Unbeknownst to many Americans, most major health systems participate in a program that covers hospital bills for uninsured COVID-19 patients; however, many of them are not telling their patients upfront.
According to Jennifer Tolbert of the Kaiser Family Foundation, who studies uninsured patients, there is no requirement for hospitals to tell uninsured COVID-19 patients upfront that the federal government would pay the bill in full. Ms. Tolbert also said that even physicians don't always know how the program works or that it exists. She says these are shortcomings of the program.
Sadly, these "shortcomings" could result in a death sentence for Black Americans.

"Why The Slaves Dreaded New Year's Day" : The Grim History of January 1

Americans are likely to think of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day as a time to celebrate the fresh start that a new year represents, but there is also a troubling side to the holiday’s history. In the years before the Civil War, the first day of the new year was often a heartbreaking one for enslaved people in the United States.
In the African-American community, New Year’s Day used to be widely known as “Hiring Day” — or “Heartbreak Day,” as the African-American abolitionist journalist William Cooper Nell described it — because enslaved people spent New Year’s Eve waiting, wondering if their owners were going to rent them out to someone else, thus potentially splitting up their families. The renting out of slave labor was a relatively common practice in the antebellum South, and a profitable practice for white slave owners and hirers.
"Hiring Day" was part of the larger economic cycle in which most debts were collected and settled on New Year’s Day,” says Alexis McCrossen, an expert on the history of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and a professor of history at Southern Methodist University, who writes about Hiring Day in her forthcoming book Time’s Touchstone: The New Year in American Life.
Some enslaved people were put up for auction that day, or held under contracts that started in January. (These transactions also took place all year long and contracts could last for different amounts of time.) These deals were conducted privately among families, friends and business contacts, and slaves were handed over in town squares, on courthouse steps and sometimes simply on the side of the road, according to Divided Mastery: Slave Hiring in the American South by Jonathan D. Martin.
Accounts of the cruelty of Hiring Day come from records left by those who secured their freedom, who described spending the day before January 1 hoping and praying that their hirers would be humane and that their families could stay together.
“Of all days in the year, the slaves dread New Year’s Day the worst of any,” a slave named Lewis Clarke said in an 1842 account.
“On New Year’s Day, we went to the auctioneer’s block, to be hired to the highest bidder for one year,” Israel Campbell wrote in a memoir published in 1861 in Philadelphia, in which he describes being hired out three times.
“That’s where that sayin’ comes from that what you do on New Year’s Day you’ll be doin’ all the rest of the year,” a former slave known as Sister Harrison said in an interview in 1937.
Harriet Jacobs wrote a particularly detailed account in “The Slaves’ New Year’s Day” chapter of her 1861 autobiography Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. “Hiring-day at the south takes place on the 1st of January. On the 2[n]d, the slaves are expected to go to their new masters,” she wrote. She observed slave owners and farmers renting out their human chattel for extra income during the period between the cotton and corn harvests and the next planting season. From Christmas to New Year’s Eve, many families would “wait anxiously” to find out whether they would be rented out, and to whom. On New Year’s Day, “At the appointed hour the grounds are thronged with men, women, and children, waiting, like criminals to hear their doom pronounced,” Jacobs wrote.
On one of these fateful days Jacobs saw “a mother lead seven children to the auction-block. She knew that some of them would be taken from her; but they took all.” The slave trader who took the children wouldn’t tell her where he was taking them because it depended on where he could get the “highest price.” Jacobs said she would never forget the mother crying out, “Gone! All gone! Why don’t God kill me?”
Enslaved people who attempted to resist going to their new masters were whipped and thrown in jail until they relented and promised not to run away during the new arrangement. Older slaves were also particularly vulnerable, as Jacobs describes one owner trying to hire out a frail roughly 70-year-old woman because he was moving away.
But the history of New Year’s Day and American slavery is not all horror. The holiday was also associated with freedom.
The federal ban on the transatlantic slave trade went into effect on New Year’s Day in 1808, and African-American communities did celebrate, but the festivities were short-lived.
“Different slave-trade abolition commemorations took place between 1808 and 1831, but they died out because the domestic slave trade was so vigorous,” says McCrossen. The risk of violence was also too great. For example, on New Year’s Eve in 1827, in New York City, a white mob attacked African-American congregants and vandalized their church.
The holiday became more associated with freedom than slavery when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves in Confederate states on New Year’s Day in 1863. Slaves went to church to pray and sing on Dec. 31, 1862, and that’s why there are still New Year’s Eve prayer services at African-American churches nationwide. At such “Watch Night” services, congregants continue to pray for more widespread racial equality more than 150 years later.

The History Of "Watch Night" Service In The Black Church

“Watch Night Service” in the Black Church in America symbolizes the historical fact, that on the night of Dec. 31, 1862 during the Civil War, free and freed blacks living in the Union States gathered at churches and/or other safe spaces, while thousands of their enslaved black sisters and brothers stood, knelt and prayed on plantations and other slave holding sites in America — waiting for President Abraham Lincoln to sign the Emancipation Proclamation into law. The Emancipation Proclamation legally recognized that the Civil War was fought for slavery.
More than one hundred and fifty years later, African American Christians continue the faith tradition of their enslaved ancestors and gather at a designated meeting space (usually the church)on December 31st to celebrate. It is a tradition in the Black Church in America that five minutes before midnight, men, women and children will kneel, hold hands and pray to God from the present year into the New Year.

For Black Tour Guides In Savannah, The Historical Is Personal

In the months before the coronavirus came to the United States, a flurry of viral negative reviews for guided tours of Southern homes and plantations sparked a debate on partisanship in the retelling of history. Expecting tours on architecture, some guests bemoaned what they called "lectures on the evils of slavery." In Savannah, Ga. - where the tourism industry is king - Black historians, tour guides and museum employees say their main goal is finding a way to balance expectations with education.
Telfair Museums took a direct approach. In November 2018, Telfair completed its award-winning Slavery and Freedom in Savannah project, transforming the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters' working cellar, carriage house and enslaved-person quarters with new exhibits and narratives.
Previously, tours at the Owens-Thomas House focused mostly on George Welshman Owens, former mayor of Savannah; his family; and their lifestyle. Now, guests hear details of the vast disparities between those who lived in the main house and the enslaved women, men and children who worked there. Lacey Wilson, a former historical interpreter at the Owens-Thomas House, joined the site that same year, during what she calls "the rough period.
"In the weeks directly following the project's debut, the response wasn't always positive," she said. "Maybe (guests) didn't know what to expect. Maybe they're in vacation mode and just didn't want to hear the facts. I've been accused of pushing my own agenda or trying to make White people feel
bad." Previously, tours at the Owens-Thomas House focused mostly on George Welshman Owens, former mayor of Savannah; his family; and their lifestyle.
Now, guests hear details of the vast disparities between those who lived in the main house and the enslaved women, men and children who worked there. Lacey Wilson, a former historical interpreter at the Owens-Thomas House, joined the site that same year, during what she calls "the rough period."
"In the weeks directly following the project's debut, the response wasn't always positive," she said. "Maybe (guests) didn't know what to expect. Maybe they're in vacation mode and just didn't want to hear the facts. I've been accused of pushing my own agenda or trying to make White people feel
bad." Wilson, however, is confident in her presentations. "I got into this work because I believe it's fascinating," she said, "and I want to be a part of amplifying voices and narratives that are often hidden - even if that's hard for some to stomach."
Shannon Browning-Mullis, Telfair's curator of history and decorative arts and the brains behind the Slavery and Freedom in Savannah project, said that "the problem is people often identify with someone who lived in the house. Maybe it's the lady of the house, Sarah Owens. But now you're being told that Sarah Owens was an enslaver, and it's uncomfortable." Though Wilson recently left the Owens-Thomas House for the role of site manager at Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum State Historic Site in North
Carolina, the move was due to personal and pandemic reasons. Wilson said the Owens-Thomas House always had her back when it came to negative comments from guests.
"Every tour guide runs their tour by us first," Browning-Mullis added. "And we know Lacey was one of our best guides." Wilson, however, is confident in her presentations. "I got into this work because I believe it's fascinating," she said, "and I want to be a part of amplifying voices and narratives that are often hidden - even if that's hard for some to stomach."
Shannon Browning-Mullis, Telfair's curator of history and decorative arts and the brains behind the Slavery and Freedom in Savannah project, said that "the problem is people often identify with someone who lived in the house. Maybe it's the lady of the house, Sarah Owens. But now you're being told that Sarah Owens was an enslaver, and it's uncomfortable." Though Wilson recently left the Owens-Thomas House for the role of site manager at Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum State Historic Site in North
Carolina, the move was due to personal and pandemic reasons. Wilson said the Owens-Thomas House always had her back when it came to negative comments from guests.
"Every tour guide runs their tour by us first," Browning-Mullis added. "And we know Lacey was one of our best guides." "The people who are coming on my tours, if they are there to learn, I'm there to help them," she said. "I'm not there to be antagonistic about enslavement.
My tours are about education. Every now and then, there's a skeptic, but by the end of the tour, I make sure that we're all on the same page." Another Savannah native, Karen Wortham, started her touring business, Indigo Journey, in 2009, named for the dye that enslaved Africans used on clothing, staining their hands and feet purple. Using firsthand narratives of enslaved people and other resources from
Savannah's Carnegie Library and the Georgia Historical Society, Wortham shares a plethora of intimate stories that make the general history of slavery in Savannah hit home.
On each tour, she hands out pamphlets and bookmarks that list her references, encouraging guests to do their own research and tell her what they find. This, she said, is the reason she doesn't have guests debating facts with her, even though she is not formally educated. "You don't have to believe me, but you could believe what is written," she said. "You could go look at the census reports or the enslaved-person narratives, just like I did, and you'll get the feel of how damaging slavery was." Today, Indigo Journey is scheduling walking tours that require guests to wear masks and abide by social distancing protocols.
In the decade since founding Indigo Journey, she has racked up mostly positive online reviews, and she said no one has ever contacted her after a tour to correct her. "I also market very honestly," Wortham said. "It's not a surprise what you're going to get on my tour. I say, look, if you want to go on a vacation where you feel good, go to Disney World. If you want truth, come to Savannah."
Ariel Felton, The Washington Post