Blight: What gives the Confederacy its staying power?

In April, when Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell issued a proclamation reviving Confederate History Month in the commonwealth, he reminded us once again of the Confederacy’s staying power. Wittingly or not, McDonnell demonstrated that historical “memory disputes” are always about the present, as he spoke in the tradition of a long line of Southern leaders beginning with the founders of the Confederacy itself.

Immediately, Civil War causation and slavery became the lightning-rod issues as McDonnell’s defense of his proclamation flashed all over American media.

“There were any number of aspects to that conflict between the states,” he said. “Obviously, it involved slavery. It involved other issues. But I focused on the ones I thought were most significant for Virginia.”

It involved slavery. In that throw-away phrase, the governor spoke volumes, even if he didn’t know it. To put it simply, yes, slavery was the cause of the Civil War.

via What gives the Confederacy its staying power? –

Ted Fellow Cesar Harada Blogs 1811 Louisiana Slave Revolt, Gulf Coast Oil Spill, Environment

In 1811 white landlords were forcing black slaves to manipulate fatal toxic, such as the one required in the fabrication of Indigo (pigment). Today, the swamps owned by the former slaves children has been bought by major energy companies at an unfair price to host multi-millions polluting facilities. The descents of the slaves still live on the “fence lines” of these industries. The inhabitants suffer severe health issues (cancers, asthma) and the fancy playgrounds built by corporations have no children playing.

Read the rest at Contemporary Slavery – TED Fellows.

Dorothy Height, Civil Rights Hero, Has Died (NPR)

“We need to look at who has the opportunities. We need to look at — Obama himself pointed that to us, that you can’t have a flourishing Wall Street and a destroyed Main Street. He could have also said, I’m working for the middle class, but we still have poverty. And we cannot divide up like that. We cannot say who’s hurting the most. We have to make sure they be dealing with everyone.”

Quotes, broadcasts and more via Dorothy Height, Civil Rights Hero, Has Died – The Two-Way – Breaking News, Analysis Blog : NPR.

Civil rights activist Dorothy Height in ‘very serious’ condition –

Civil rights activist Dorothy Height, 98, remained in “very serious, but stable condition” Saturday, her friend and spokeswoman said.

“A flurry of rumors about Height’s death appeared Saturday on the Internet, particularly on the social networking site Twitter, where her name was a trending topic. Wikipedia also briefly reported Height’s death.

Height remains hospitalized, according to Alexis Herman, her friend and former secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. Height was admitted to Howard University Hospital earlier this week. Further details about her condition were not immediately available.

“We are grateful for the professional care of her doctors,” Herman said in a written statement. “We especially thank everyone for your thoughts, prayers and support during this challenging time.”

Height, who turned 98 Wednesday, is chair and president emerita of the National Council of Negro Women. In the 1960s, she worked alongside civil rights pioneers, including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., future U.S. Rep. John Lewis and A. Philip Randolph.

She has been active in civil rights since the New Deal era, according to her biography on the National Council of Negro Women’s Web site.

As a leader of the United Christian Youth Movement of North America beginning in 1933, “she worked to prevent lynching, desegregate the armed forces, reform the criminal justice system and for free access to public accommodations,” the site says.

She was elected president of the NCNW in 1957 and held the post until 1998.”

via Civil rights activist Dorothy Height in ‘very serious’ condition –

A Story Like No Other: Louisiana’s African American Heritage Trail

Louisiana’s African American Heritage Trail has expanded and a new website added titled A Story Like No Other.

Excerpt from the website welcome by Mitch Landrieu, lieutenant governor:

“Louisiana is marking the second anniversary of our African American Heritage Trail with its first expansion plus this new website, I announced the news today at St. Augustine Church in New Orleans, one of the original 26 trail sites and the spiritual anchor of the Tremé neighborhood.

If you’re not familiar with it, Tremé is America’s oldest African American neighborhood. It is the place where jazz was born. And it is home to four sites along the trail. Today’s announcement coincides not only with the start of Black History Month but with the beginning of the neighborhood’s bicentennial commemoration. Happy birthday, Tremé!…”

Press video below:

Explore the site here.

Texas Conservatives Win Vote on Textbook Standards

AUSTIN, Tex. — After three days of turbulent meetings, the Texas Board of Education on Friday approved a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathers’ commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light….

Read the rest HNN:: Texas Conservatives Win Vote on Textbook Standards –

“Fireburn” National Holiday Proposed in St. Croix

Photo of Fireburn reenactment from via Repeating Islands

Photo of Fireburn reenactment via Repeating Islands via

“ST. CROIX – A bill that would add a holiday commemorating the 1878 Fireburn to the list of government holidays will go before the full Senate for consideration, after the Rules and Judiciary Committee gave the measure a nod on Tuesday.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Terrence Nelson, notes the significance of the 1878 laborers’ revolt to the people of the Virgin Islands and adds Fireburn Day to the 18 local government holidays already on the books.

The holiday would fall on Oct. 1.

Although the Danish government freed local slaves in 1848, the following year, it issued a Labor Act that restricted the bargaining power and mobility of plantation workers by fixing their wages and requiring that on Oct. 1, they sign a contract to work on a particular plantation for an entire year, Nelson wrote in the preamble to the bill….”

Read the rest here. Via Repeating Islands::VI Daily News

SSRC Forum: Haiti, Now and Next

“Haiti is an alarming reminder that natural disasters have more devastating consequences where physical infrastructure is weak, where institutions are problematic, and where there is a lot of poverty. So trying to foster development is also a response to disaster. How humanitarian assistance is administered may make it more or less conducive to longer term development, may make a transition from one set of actors (emergency responders) to another (development aid agencies) go more smoothly, may lead to better preparedness for the next time.

The SSRC has asked people we believe are deeply reflective about the situation in Haiti to share their thoughts about the present moment and its relationship to humanitarian assistance and transitions to development. This collection of postings is the result of that effort.”

Find it here: Haiti, Now and Next — Social Science Research Council.

Table of Contents:

Introduction: When Is Disaster Intolerable?
by Craig Calhoun
Beyond the Earthquake: A Wake-Up Call for Haiti
by Alex Dupuy
Country, City, Service
by Ferentz Lafargue
Cracks of Gender Inequality: Haitian Women After the Earthquake
By Régine Michelle Jean-Charles
Haiti Update
by William O’Neill
Haiti and the International System: The Need for New Organizational Lending Formats
by Saskia Sassen
Haiti: Can Catastrophe Spur Progress?
by William O’Neill
Mobilize the Diaspora for the Reconstruction of Haiti
by Dilip Ratha
Hope Admist Devastation: Towards a New Haitian State
by Robert Fatton Jr.
Haiti’s Earthquake and the Politics of Distribution
by Andrew Apter
Moving Beyond Disaster to Build a Durable Future in Haiti
by Greg Beckett
Haiti and the Unseen World
By Elizabeth McAlister
Rebuilding Haiti: The Next Two Hundred Years
by J. Michael Dash
Reckoning in Haiti
by Jean Casimir and Laurent Dubois
Run From the Earthquake, Fall Into the Abyss: A Léogane Paradox
by Karen Richman
Rebuilding Haiti, Rebuilding the Fragile State Framework
By Yasmine Shamsie