Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Baily – Week of June 4, 2012
Black Colleges Without Black People
“If you don’t have a Black faculty, you don’t have an HBCU,” said Jahil Issa, professor of history and Africana studies at Delaware State University. Issa warned that the school is in danger of following in the footsteps of Bluefield State College and West Virginia State University, two historically Black institutions that are now overwhelmingly white. Delaware State University’s faculty is now majority non-African American, although the student body remains predominantly Black. Prof. Issa wrote “How Black Colleges are Turning White: The Ethic Cleansing of HBCUs in the Age of Obama,” which appeared in Black Agenda Report, last year. In what he describes as retaliation, Issa is being prosecuted under charges that could send him to prison for more than two years.
Florida Voter Suppression Law Struck Down
A federal judge struck down provisions of a Florida law that constituted “a naked attempt to limit the electorate,” said Atty. Lee Rowland, of the Brennan Center for Justice, the lead lawyer in the case. The Florida legislation “was part of a wave of suppressive laws that hit in 2011 and 2012” that “targeted specific communities.”
Wall Street Loves Democrats
“The Democratic machines in our big cities are very much creatures, not just of Wall Street, but of local real estate interests,” said Doug Henwood, editor of Left Business Observer. Newark Mayor Cory Booker received more than half a million dollars from the financial sector in his first race for City Hall, in 2002, more than $36,000 from Bain Capital, Mitt Romney’s old firm. Booker recently defended Wall Street’s influence in U.S. politics.
Congress “Un-Declares” War with Iran
Both Houses of the U.S. Congress recently passed military spending bills that included the language, “nothing in this Act shall be construed as authorizing the use of force against Iran” – words clearly chosen to prevent a president from claiming a congressional mandate for war. Kate Gould, a “peace lobbyist” with the Friends Committee on National Legislation, called the language “a remarkably sober note of caution and common sense in an otherwise dangerous and reckless piece of legislation.” She wrote an article titled, “Congress Un-Declares War With Iran.”
Obama Assault on Community Control of Schools
The so-called “turnaround model” of school reform pushed by the Obama administration, in which teachers and staff are fired wholesale, is part of “a corporate agenda” that results in “total destruction” of communities, said journalist Jaisal Noor, producer of the recently-aired Free Speech Radio News documentary, “Neighborhood Schools: The Fight for the Future of American Public Education.” Noor described Chicago’s system of community control of schools, implemented in the Eighties under the late Mayor Harold Washington, as “the most radical democratic experiment that’s ever been tried in the United States.” Under the “turnaround” policy, however, “Black teaches have been decimated” and community input is being destroyed.
Lynching Town “Hasn’t Changed”
Fourteen years after three white men chained James Byrd, Jr. to a pickup truck and dragged his body to pieces, the town of Jasper, Texas, remains racially polarized, said Ricky Jason, who produced an award-winning film on the murder. Jason doesn’t think the film will ever be shown in Byrd’s home town, where “Blacks shop on one side of the Wal-Mart, whites on the other.” He said Byrd’s gravesite is in disrepair, and has twice been vandalized with racist slurs.
Pelican Bay Prison “Cruel and Unusual”
The Center for Constitutional Rights launched a class action suit on behalf of over 500 prisoners who have endured solitary confinement for ten years or more at California’s Pelican Bay high security facility. Such treatment is “something international society considers torture, and is beyond the pale for any civilized nation,” said CCR president Jules Lobel.