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Preserving Nelson Mandela's Legacy

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By George E. Curry
NNPA Editor-in-Chief

PRETORIA, South Africa (NNPA) – Nearly a month after his death, there is a bitter struggle to define – and, in many instances, re-define – the legacy of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically elected president.

“There is an attempt to do in his death what they could not do in life – take away his story,” Jesse Jackson said in a speech at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg. “… He did not go to jail as some out-of-control youth who needed to be matured. He went in as a freedom fighter and came out as a freedom fighter.”

The effort to soften the image of Mandela as a freedom fighter began long before his death.

Speaking at an African National Congress (ANC) celebration a year before Mandela’s death, South African President Jacob Zuma said, “Inside our country, even those who were are who are still, fundamentally opposed to the ANC, and who fought tooth and nail to keep South Africa a racist pariah state, now claim Nelson Mandel as their own.”

In in trying reclaim Mandela as their own, many Whites are trying to sanitize him image, Jackson argues.

Part of that effort begins with attributing many of Mandela’s outstanding qualities to his 27 years in prison. For example, television commentators in the U.S. and in Africa say Mandela learned to love his enemies in jail and cite his forgiveness of his former jailers as evidence to support that assertion.

However, Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, traces that lesson back to his youth.

“On this first day of classes I was clad in my new boots. I had never worn boots before of any kind, and that first day, I walked like a newly shod horse. I made a terrible racket walking up the steps and almost slipped several times. As I clomped into the classroom, my boots crashing on that shiny wooden floor, I noticed two female students in the first row were watching my lame performance with great amusement. The prettier of the two leaned over to her friend and said loud enough for all to hear: ‘The country boy is not used to wearing shoes,’ at which her friend laughed. I was blind with fury and embarrassment.

“Her name was Mathona and she was a bit of a smart aleck. That day I vowed never to talk to her. But as my mortification wore off (and I became more adept at walking with boots) I also got to know her, and she was to become my greatest friend at Clarkebury,” a Wesleyan missionary school Mandela began attending at the age of 16.

In his autobiography, Mandela gave another example of not humiliating his opponents.

“I learned my lesson one day from an unruly donkey,” he recounted. “We had been taking turns climbing up and down its back and when my chance came I jumped on and the donkey bolted into a nearby thornbush. It bent its head, trying to unseat me, which it did, but not before the thorns had pricked and scratched my face, embarrassing me in front of my friends. Like the people of the East, Africans have a highly developed sense of dignity, or what the Chinese call ‘face.’ I had lost face among my friends. Even though it was a donkey that unseated me, I learned that to humiliate another person is to make him suffer an unnecessarily cruel fate. Even as a boy, I defeated my opponents without dishonoring them.”

Many public reflections understate the depth of Mandela’s hatred of apartheid, a system where a White minority of 10 percent controlled the 90 percent Black majority.

“In their relationship with us, South African whites regard it as fair and just to pursue policies which have outraged the conscience of mankind and of honest and uprights men throughout the civilized world,” he said in his famous speech from the dock on Oct. 22, 1962, the first day of his trial. “They suppress our aspirations, bar our way to freedom and deny us opportunities to promote our moral and material progress, to secure ourselves from fear and want. All the good things of life are reserved for the white folk and we blacks are expected to be content to nourish our bodies with such pieces of food as drop from their tables of men with white skins. This is the white man’s standard of justice and fairness. Herein lies his conceptions of ethics. Whatever he himself say in his defense, the white man’s moral standards in this country must be judged by the extent to which he has condemned the vast majority of its inhabitants to serfdom and inferiority.”

In that same speech, Mandela said, “I hate the practice of race discrimination, and in my hatred I am sustained by the fact that the overwhelming majority of mankind hate it equally… Nothing that this court can do to me will change in any way that hatred in me, which can only be removed by the removal of the injustice and inhumanity which I have sought to remove from the political and social life of this country.”

There have been some efforts to depict Mandela as South Africa’s version of Martin Luther King, Jr. But unlike America’s apostle on nonviolence, Mandela was in charge of the military wing of the ANC.

“Some of the things so far told to the court are true and some are untrue. I do not, however, deny that I planned sabotage,” Mandela said in his statement from the dock. “I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness, nor because I have any love of violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation, and oppression of my people by the whites.

“I admit immediately that I was one of the persons who helped to form Umkhonto we Sizwe [the military arm of the ANC], and that I played a prominent role in its affairs until I was arrested in August 1962.”

Mandela explained, “We felt that without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy. All lawful modes of expressing opposition to this principle had been closed by legislation, and we were placed in a position in which we had either to accept a permanent state of inferiority, or to defy the government. We chose to defy the law. We first broke the law in a way which avoided any recourse to violence; when this form was legislated against, and then the government resorted to a show of force to crush opposition to its policies, only then did we decide to answer violence with violence.”

His widely-praised leadership skills were also honed during Mandela’s youth.

“As a leader, I have always followed the principles I first saw demonstrated by the regent [the man who took him in after his father died] at the Great Place. I have always endeavored to listen to what each and every person in a discussion had to say before venturing my own opinion. Oftentimes, my own opinion will simply represent a consensus of what I heard in the discussion. I always remember the regent’s axiom: a leader, he said, is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”

In 2013, Black America Suffered as White Anger and Black Fratricide Struck, Say Analysts

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By Ashahed M. Muhammad and Charlene Muhammad
Special to the NNPA from The Final Call

The year 2013 saw George Zimmerman tried for the killing of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin and the case kept the country riveted. However, when Mr. Zimmerman was found not guilty, a wave of grief and anger swept over Black America. That verdict, along with other brutal killings caused many to believe that it was “open season” on Black people.

A morbid and troubling list of those who had lives cut short under suspicious circumstances, at the hands of police or apparent self-appointed vigilantes marked 2013. Some of the names on the unfortunate list includes:

January 2013 athlete Kendrick Johnson was found in his Georgia high school dead, wrapped up in a wrestling mat. Later it was discovered that his organs were missing after his body was exhumed as his family sought the truth about his death.

September 2013 unarmed former Florida A& M football player Johnathan Ferrell was shot and killed by a police officer, while apparently seeking assistance after being involved in a car accident.

October 2013 34-year-old unarmed Connecticut mother Miriam Carey was shot to death at the U.S. Capitol by police.

November 2013 unarmed 19-year old Renisha McBride was killed in Detroit, shot by a man after she also sought assistance following a car accident. Because of the manner in which she was gunned down, a closed casket funeral was held.

“With the election of President Obama, our first African American president, we’re supposed to be reaching a post-racial society but in many ways it seems like civil rights issues and cases have gotten much more difficult,” said Atty. Benjamin Crump, who represented the family of Trayvon Martin and now represents the family of Kendrick Johnson and other males killed or hurt under questionable circumstances.

“This begs the question what is the value of Black life?” Atty. Crump told The Final Call.

He’s received calls for help from families whose loved ones were killed in unbelievable incidents. The calls have doubled since Trayvon Martin’s case, he said. But, many of the deaths never make the news because establishment media doesn’t report when Black and Brown children are killed, Atty. Crump said.

“It’s not front page news. It’s almost a cliché. We have to fight to give value to our children’s lives,” Atty. Crump said.

Statistical data shows if Whites kill Blacks, the killings are found to be justified 66 percent of the time. But when Blacks kill Whites the conviction rate rises to 97 percent.

“If you kill a White person and you’re Black you’re going to jail, but if you kill a Black person, maybe, maybe not,” Atty. Crump said.

In cases like Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride and Jordan Davis, who was fatally shot after a White man fired into a truck of Black males after a confrontation over music. The killers put themselves in harm’s way then claimed self-defense under Stand Your Ground laws, said the lawyer.

Stand Your Ground allows citizens who feel threatened to use deadly force, but these situations did not occur in that context, argue many advocates and activists.

“On Trayvon, George Zimmerman never had to get out of the car. On Renisha McBride, the killer never had to open the door. And then on Jordan Davis, if the kids were playing loud music, he could just drive away! He didn’t have to say anything to them as to why they were parked in the parking lot,” Atty. Crump said.

A system of brutality tied to racial oppression

“The brutality is built into the system itself,” explained Dr. Neely Fuller, Jr., a Black psychologist and author of a textbook on racism and White supremacy. People classified as non-White are considered targets of “Whites” for fun, glory and material gain, and the activity is institutionalized, explained Dr. Fuller.

It plays out in all areas of life, including economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex and war, Dr. Fuller added.

Atty. Crump believes people have to stand up and not remain silent, in particular when it comes to Black youngsters getting shot in the back by police and civilians. “They (the public) just sit there like it’s not my concern. Well if they keep saying that, it’s going to be their concern when it’s their child,” he warned.

“The discussion for years and rightfully so has been the criminalization of Black men but what we really have is the criminalization of Black and Brown bodies now that are particularly younger, that are Latino ethnically and are women,” commented Rosa Clemente, hip hop activist and historian. “We have to see it in a larger context in terms of they’re just attacking us no matter what. Your gender doesn’t save you. Your Latino-ness doesn’t save you,” Ms. Clemente said.

White fears of losing control

Tim Wise, anti-racism activist and author, attributes White hatred to Whites feeling a loss of control—whether it’s a Black president, demographic and cultural changes in America, or the bad economy. White levels of anxiety, fear, and concern about the dreaded “other,” whoever that is, become intensified, the Caucasian activist told The Final Call.

White anxiety is likely to rise as America’s demographics continue to shift and White reactionaries realize the increasing difficulty of White votes to win national elections, he added. “It’s not going to dissipate any time soon. It’s probably only going to intensify,” Mr. Wise said.

Carl Dix, of the Revolutionary Communist Party and co-founder of the October 22nd Coalition, believes America’s outsourcing of manufacturing is part of the backdrop for a slow genocide against Blacks and Latinos.

Part of the brutality stems from the system’s fear of people’s responses to not having a legitimate way to raise their families or survive, Mr. Dix said.

In the 1960s and 1970s, such disparity and uncertainty helped usher in an era of protests, civil disobedience and calls for revolution.

“They are moving to stop that from happening this time with the conscious policy of criminalization, policification, prisons, laws designed to target Black and Latino youth disproportionately and warehouse them in prison,” Mr. Dix said.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan launched an important weekly 2013 lecture series titled, “The Time and What Must Be Done” conveying clear truths and delivering the sound doctrinal teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

His weekly messages explored a broad range of topics such as genetics, race relations, history, and foreign policy.

But his clear message and warning: It is time to separate from White America. The Minister discussed control still exerted over Blacks in America and worldwide. In Black neighborhoods in the United States and Black nations globally, a type of control and colonization still exists, he noted. “We live in an appropriated area, under the control of the Whites—through Black preachers, politicians and business people that White people control,” Min. Farrakhan observed in parts 48 and 49 of the weekly series that airs Saturday nights at NOI.org/thetime.

“Black peoples’ condition in Africa, the Caribbean and Central America is nothing more than a colony of Blacks subjected to the whim or will of outside forces. So, you are separate, but very, very unequal … So now, your desire is to integrate into the major colonial power—not completely separate from them?” he asked in a message broadcast Dec. 14.

“So as it teaches in the 16th Chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, verses 1-6, you are still like ‘a baby’ cast out in the open field, with no one to cut the umbilical cord, so you are not washed and cleaned and you are absolutely not clothed or covered. But, you are polluted in the blood, or life, directed by a colonial, or slave, mentality. It is a worldwide colonization of the darker people of our planet,” he said.

“That is why the message of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is so vital, so necessary, for the darker people, the aboriginal people of the world, to wake them up to make them see that they have been neo-colonized.”

Gun deaths, media and images of slavery

In addition to the violence of police officers and those outside of the community, there was a tragic level of Black on Black violence. The January death of Chicago teen Hadiyah Pendelton was a poignant example of the how fragile Black life is in Black neighborhoods. Weeks after performing at the inauguration of President Obama, she died when a gunman fired into a crowd on a playground not far from the president’s home in Chicago.

The proliferation of guns in America in general, and illegal weapons flowing throughout neighborhoods dominated by Black and Brown people in particular, is the problem, according to Ronald M. Holt, commander of the Special Activities Section of the Chicago Police Department.

“There has to be a more conscious effort put on how to deal with stemming the flow of illegal firearms getting into the hands of violent individuals and mentally unstable individuals,” he said.

Mr. Holt’s knows firsthand the effects of gun violence. His son, 16-year-old Percy L. Julian High School honor student son Blair Holt was a tragic victim of gun violence in 2007. Blair was shot and killed when a 16-year-old reputed gang member shot wildly into a crowded bus. Blair was not the intended target, and in 2009, his killer received a sentence of 100 years in prison.

The United States is “out of control” with the use of firearms and George Zimmerman, and many like him with guns, are “high powered cowards,” said Ron Holt. Having a weapon gives them a false sense of security and bravado, a brazen attitude and a sense of power, he added.

“Not everyone deserves or should have the privilege of having a firearm in their possession,” said Mr. Holt. “Stand your ground laws should be abolished in every state of the union.”

The Zimmerman trial “was inexcusable, unacceptable and the entire judicial process was tragically, socially and racially imbalanced and flawed to the (highest) degree,” said Mr. Holt.

There is also a tie between mental health and public safety, Mr. Holt noted. “People will begin to see the human loss, which is the overarching impact, but you see the financial strain and financial loss that goes into it when people are not getting treatment for their mental issues,” said Mr. Holt.

Dr. Frances Cress Welsing agrees mental health issues are significant within Black communities. Add to that rampant unemployment, Black men being effeminized, killed and the fact that many leaders are either too afraid or being prevented from speaking about the issue of racism. Without immediate and direct action, the problems in the Black community will continue.

“It doesn’t matter if it is a Black person or a White person, anybody who refuses to talk about racism and White supremacy hates Black people,” said the Washington, D.C.-based psychologist.

“Racism is a spear in the heart of Black people. It is killing us, and we are being prevented from talking about it,” she said.

In Hollywood, movies such as “Django,” “The Butler,” and “12 Years A Slave,” brought moviegoers face to face with the brutality of slavery and the experience of Blacks in America.

Those films displayed the complexities of America’s racial issues and the brutality suffered by Blacks in greater detail than any movies in recent memory. “Fruitvale Station,” chronicling the tragic death of Oscar Grant III, stood out in its depiction of the legal injustices faced by Blacks in America almost daily.

The wildly popular television series “Scandal” has been a source of lengthy discussions. Some see the fictional character Olivia Pope as the epitome of Black female empowerment, while others, such as Dr. Cress Welsing view it as another media driven assault on the fragile collective Black psyche.

“We don’t have any clue as to how media is being used,” said Dr. Cress Welsing, noted author of “The Isis Papers.”

“Media manipulates minds. If you understand what is going on, you are less influenced because you are able to interpret and put things in place,” she said.

Dr. Cress Welsing says many Blacks are viewing movies and TV shows out of context and as a result, the movies or programing can be misinterpreted and people remain confused. On the surface, it could be perceived as a good thing that movies are being made about aspects of Black history, but slavery has not ended, she noted.

“Slavery was just one phase of the system of racism (White supremacy). The system is continuous up to the present,” said Dr. Cress Welsing. “As long as people can mistreat you and you can’t do anything about it, you are a slave,” she added.

“We are in a system of racism. If we don’t understand it, we don’t know how to measure these products that come forth,” said Dr. Cress Welsing. “White people, they have to understand—consciously or subconsciously—what they are doing because the system is for their genetic survival as a White minority on the planet.”

The Rise and Fall of the KKK

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By Michael McGee
Special to the NNPA The Dallas Examiner

When history buffs think about the term “Progressive Era reform” they may imagine some of the early 20th century’s biggest milestones; perhaps the Armistice of Compiègne that ended WWI, or the creation of the Pure Food and Drug Act. However, some scholars might be shocked to learn that between 1915 and 1929, the Ku Klux Klan were part of such reforms from time to time.

Dr. Natalie Ring, associate professor of history at the University of Texas at Dallas and author of The Problem South: Region, Empire and the New Liberal State, 1880-1930, held a lecture at the Dallas Holocaust Museum Center for Education and Tolerance on Dec. 12 about the turbulent and often contrary nature of the 20th century KKK and its statewide presence.

Both informative and at times puzzling, given the image of the KKK, Ring presented her lecture with the subtitle The Double-Headed Hydra. The reference to the mythological beast illustrated a major point of the professor’s talk: much of what the KKK did during the Jim Crow era in Dallas, in Texas, and across the U.S., was intended by them to improve society, despite their narrow boundaries of what was proper in society and their tendency toward violence outside of the law.

Ring painted a picture of a religious, political and social organization that was not on the fringe of the community but rather an organization that had major influence within society. This was the resurrection of the original 1800s Klan, she said, a second phase in the history of the group. Ring revealed that Dallas had the largest Klan chapter – Klavern 66 – in America during that period. Members could be found in the police department, the Sheriffs Department, on the City Council, the Chamber of Commerce and a multitude of other civic establishments within the city.

What made the reformed Klan so popular in Texas is something that the professor couldn’t pin down to just one answer, she admitted.

“Why so large in Texas?” Ring pondered to those assembled. “One of the things we were kind of struggling with in my class is why did people join the Klan when a lot of what the Klan believed in was what Americans in general believed in the 1920s, particularly their hostility to immigration, their allegiance to White supremacy, [and] Protestantism in the 1920s.

“The historians are still trying to tease out of that distinction.”

Ring credited publisher and former U.S. Rep. Thomas Watson as one of those who supported a rebirth of the KKK. She spoke about the Leo Frank case of 1915, an instance that involved the only known lynching of a Jewish man in the United States.

“He became obsessed with the Leo Frank case [and] published many, many scathing anti-Semitic articles on Leo Frank,” she said. After the lynching of Frank in Marietta, Ga., Watson published a piece that was aimed at White Southerners.

“He essentially said to his audience, and speaking to Georgia in particular, that he believed that they should establish another Ku Klux Klan to establish home rule,” Ring stated. “And the phrase ‘home rule’ essentially referred to the belief that White Southerners should assume complete and total control of their own state without any intervention in the federal government.”

UPS, Amazon to Offer Refunds For Missed Christmas Deliveries

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Atlanta-based UPS says it will offer refunds on shipping costs to customers who did not receive packages by Christmas as promised, The Washington Post reports. Also falling in line to offer relief to aggrieved customers are Amazon.com and FedEx.

While UPS is refunding customers’ shipping costs, Amazon took things a step further and will provide customers who failed to get their deliveries by Christmas Day $20 gift cards in addition to refunds on their shipping charges.

FedEx, which makes fewer Christmas deliveries than UPS, did not promise refunds but said it would work with people who experienced late deliveries.

UPS was hit with a mountain of criticism on Christmas Day when customers took to social media en masse to complain that deliveries were not made as pledged. The company said they underestimated the large volume of air packages they would receive between Thanksgiving and Christmas and apologized.

“We’re terribly sorry,” UPS spokeswoman Natalie Black told CNN.

Other company officials added that, “[t]he volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity of our network immediately preceding Christmas so some shipments were delayed.”

Memphis-based FedEx said early Wednesday it was delayed getting some packages to homes by Christmas, but that there “would be very few” packages not delivered on time.

Delays are being blamed on bad weather, a surge in online shopping, and a shorter Thanksgiving-to-Christmas shopping season. As sometimes happens, there was one fewer week between the two holidays this year, which may have led to

UPS had not posted a service update to its website as of early Friday, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported.

“UPS experienced heavy holiday volume and is making every effort to get packages to their destination as quickly as possible,” said a service update posted to the company’s website on Thursday. “UPS has resumed normally scheduled service on December 26. For the most-up-to date information, click here to track your specific shipment’s progress on UPS.com.”

Severe weather across the nation didn’t help either, but of course, that did little to sate thousands of customers left gift-less on the holiday.

St. Lucia Cleans Up After Brutal Weather Leaves 8 Dead

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Special to the NNPA from the New York Carib News

CMC – Electricity and other services were being gradually restored here less than 24 hours after a slow moving low level trough caused widespread flooding and destruction to St. Lucia.

Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony told nationals he could not “recall when we have had such heavy rainfall on the eve of Christmas”.

The rains and strong winds, which had blamed for five deaths and damage to roads, bridges and houses, also caused destruction in neighboring St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where nine people were confirmed dead and the search continuing for three others, presumed dead.

The St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports (SLASPA) said that the Hewanorra International Airport, south of here, remained closed and that crews were working tirelessly to have the airport reopened as soon as possible.

“Passengers expecting to travel or coming to pick up someone, please contact your party for the status of the flight before coming to the airport,” it added.

The St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC) said that it had been able to restore power to “nearly all areas that had been affected by outages resulting from the heavy rains and severe lightning”.

LUCELEC Transmission and Distribution Manager Gilroy Pultie said acknowledged that some areas in the south of the island that had been severely battered by the rains and winds have not been re-energised, but hoped the situation would be completed as soon as possible as crews deal with fallen poles and trees that have brought down power lines.

“All other areas around the island have power, except for a few isolated pockets which will be attended to over the next several hours.”

The telecommunications company, LIME, said that it was gradually restoring services to customers and that the network link between Bexon and Dennery was once more functional.

“All services off these nodes including Cell Sites in the valley and the village, as well as Police and Fire Stations, have been restored,” promising that “service restoration teams will continue working through the night to get the rest of the affected communities online, including Vieux Fort, Canaries and Soufriere”.

The main opposition United Workers Party (UWOP) said it was “saddened by the widespread destruction caused by heavy rains on Christmas Eve” and that political leader Allen Chastanet as well as the

Parliamentary Representative for Castries South-East, Guy Joseph, had toured affected areas.

“At a time that is traditionally filled with happiness, joy and laughter, it is heart wrenching to witness families grappling with the total loss of personal items and property.

“The party is even more pained to the core after learning that several families are mourning the loss of loved ones. To them, we extend sincere condolences and also, provide assurance that we will do as much as we can to assist in their hour of need,” the party added.

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