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US History

The End of American Thanksgivings: A Cause for Universal Rejoicing

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

“The Thanksgiving story is an absolution of the Pilgrims, whose brutal quest for absolute power in the New World is made to seem both religiously motivated and eminently human…. The Mayflower's cultural heirs are programmed to find glory in their own depravity, and savagery in their most helpless victims, who can only redeem themselves by accepting the inherent goodness of white Americans.”

The Real And Racist Origins of the Second Amendment

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The “well-regulated militia” that the US Constitution's second amendment refers to were slave patrols, land stealers and Indian killers, all quite necessary as the amendment's language states “to the security of a free state” built with stolen labor upon stolen land. Unless and until we acknowledge that history, we cannot have an honest discussion about gun control.

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Kent State: Was It about Civil Rights or Murdering Student Protesters?

 

by Laurel Krause with Mickey Huff

New evidence in the 1970 Kent State University massacre “is compelling, clearly showing how US covert intelligence took the lead in creating this massacre and in putting together the ensuing cover-up.” Contrary to the official version, a direct order to fire is heard on tape, an FBI agent provocateur fired his weapon just before the fusillade, and law enforcement completed the burning of an ROTC building.

Voting As A Constitutional Right: What A Real “Protect The Vote” Movement Would Look Like

The right to vote is under a persistent, many-sided and sustained siege. In an era of hostile courts, complicit media, and big money dominating all the legislatures in the land, how can we launch a movement that will actually establish and defend the right to vote for ourselves, our children and grandchildren? An almost forgotten 2001 book by Jesse Jackson Jr. and Frank Watkins contains some serious clues....

Freedom Rider: Emancipation

 

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The Emancipation Proclamation left Blacks in the slave states that had not seceded from the Union still in chains, and might better have been called “the emancipation but not for everyone proclamation.” African Americans have often been forced to take steps backward for every few steps forward. As a result, “we have been prone to celebrate the smallest act of consideration as monumental victory.”

The U.S. Empire’s Achilles Heel: Its Barbaric Racism

 

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

American racism will always cripple its ability to occupy non-white countries, whose people the U.S. fundamentally disrespects. “The United States cannot help but be a serial abuser of the rights of the people it occupies, especially those who are thought of as non-white, because it is a thoroughly racist nation.” The latest atrocities in Afghanistan are just par for the course.

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Freedom Rider: MLK and Jackie Kennedy

 

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Forty years ago, countless Black living rooms featured wall paintings with Dr. Martin Luther King sandwiched between the two slain Kennedy brothers – as if the trio were martyrs of the same struggle. One wonders if the picture would have been so popular had the Kennedys’ true feelings about the Black leader been widely known. “Robert Kennedy believed that black people should be happy with the little the president had done and felt that the march [on Washinton] was a personal slap in the face.” From the grave – via a new book – Jackie Kennedy reveals JFK and RFK as no friends of the civil rights movement.

Remembering Attica, 40 Years Later

  A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR manging editor Bruce A. Dixon

It has been more than a generation since the historic prison uprising at New York's Attica penitentiary. Since then, both much and little have changed, not all for the better. If there is one lasting lesson of the Attica uprising for our day, what is it?

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Justice Department is Hiding Something on Malcolm X Murder

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Forty-six years after the assassination of Malcolm X, a large segment of Black America believes the FBI played a part in the Black leader’s death. But the first Black U.S. attorney general refuses to reopen the case, and the FBI has claimed for 30 years – amazingly – that it never investigated Malcolm’s murder. If the FBI is to be believed, “there can be only one reasonable conclusion: that they knew exactly what happened at the Audubon Ballroom, and either facilitated it or criminally failed to prevent a capital crime from occurring.”

Marable’s Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention or the Reinvention of a Life?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

The recently deceased Manning Marable’s long-waited book on Malcolm X has generated both praise and disgust. Much of the heat, predictably, surrounds Marable’s claims of Malcolm’s homosexuality and he and his wife’s “mutual adultery.” Karl Evanzz, for example, has said that Marable’s book is a “fraud” and a “failure,” while others use the terms “definitive” and “meticulous.” Given the centrality of Malcolm’s life and work to modern Black political thought, it is essential that Marable’s book be discussed by the largest number of activists and influencers – in the most serious and critical manner.

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Sponsorship Matters! Of Name Drops and Memorials: Dr. King Gets Love from Hip-Hop

 

Every movement has its symbols and icons.  But when these are separated from their context and content they become mere brands. Brands are symbols used to short circuit critical thinking and evoke manufactured desires, imagined memories or convenient attitudes in an audience. The invocation of Dr. King by corporate hip hop, like the corporate sponsorship of the DC King Memorial aim to erase his revolutionary context, to excise his transformative content, to rebrand Dr. King in their image and for their purposes, not ours.

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A Long-ago State of the Union Address: Lincoln Proposes to Ship Blacks Out of Country

by Glen Ford

lincoln and colored infantry

 

At the beginning of the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln wasn't contemplating an Emancipation Proclamation, but wholesale deportation of Blacks - slave and newly freed alike. Problem was, Lincoln wasn't sure where to send the human cargo. A look at Lincoln's 1861 State of the Union Address.

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