Emmett Till Memorial to Be Replaced With Bulletproof Sign Due to Repeated Vandalism

Emmett Till Memorial to Be Replaced With Bulletproof Sign Due to Repeated Vandalism

In 2007, a sign was erected along the Tallahatchie River in Mississippi, marking the spot where the body of Emmett Till was pulled from the water in 1955. The murder of Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy who was brutally killed by two white men, became a galvanizing incident of the Civil Rights Movement. But over the years, the memorial commemorating his death has been repeatedly vandalized—first stolen, then shot at, then shot at again, according to Nicole Chavez, Martin Savidge and Devon M. Sayers of CNN. Now, the Emmett Till Memorial Commission is planning to replace the damaged memorial with a bulletproof sign.

This will be the fourth sign that the commission has placed at the site. The first was swiped in 2008, and no arrests were ever made in connection with the incident. The replacement marker was vandalized with bullets, more than 100 rounds over the course of several years. Just 35 days after it was erected in 2018, the third sign was shot at as well.

The third memorial made headlines recently when Jerry Mitchell of the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting, in conjunction with ProPublica, revealed that three University of Mississippi students had been suspended from their fraternity house after posing in front of the sign with guns, in a photo that was posted to the private Instagram account of one of the students. The Justice Department is reportedly investigating the incident.

The sign has now been taken down, and a new one is “on its way,” Patrick Weems, executive director of the Emmett Till Memorial Commission, said last week, according to CBS News. Chavez, Savidge and Sayers of CNN report that the replacement memorial will weigh 600 pounds and be made of reinforced steel. It is expected to go up by the Tallahatchie River in October.

“Unlike the first three signs, this sign calls attention to the vandalism itself,” the commission noted. “We believe it is important to keep a sign at this historic site, but we don’t want to hide the legacy of racism by constantly replacing broken signs. The commission hopes this sign will endure, and that it will continue to spark conversations about Till, history, and racial justice.”

Artist Dewey Crumpler Opposes Destroying 'Life of Washington' Mural For Very Good Reasons

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Artist Dewey Crumpler Opposes Destroying 'Life of Washington' Mural For Very Good Reasons

The firestorm over destroying the California New Deal-era George Washington Mural by Victor Arnautoff has hit Politico today. I've shared 2-3 earlier updates on AOC. For a refresher, Politico summarized the situation:

"The San Francisco Board of Education voted unanimously last month to paint over all 13 panels of the 1600 sq. ft. mural “Life of Washington,’’ a historic work commissioned during the New Deal that depicts George Washington as a slave owner. The move came after several vocal protesters demanded the move at a public meeting, saying their children were “traumatized” by depictions of the nation’s first president standing over the images of dead Native Americans."

Well, California Dems are so angry at the San Francisco school board that they sent out an emergency email alert seeking support for an effort to back a voter’s ballot measure to save the murals.

Dubbed the Coalition to Protect Public Art, the initiative aims to protect this art, “and perhaps other New Deal art in San Francisco’’ which may also be targeted.

The Forgotten History of Segregated Swimming Pools and Amusement Parks

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The Forgotten History of Segregated Swimming Pools and Amusement Parks

By Victoria W. Wolcott

Summers often bring a wave of childhood memories: lounging poolside, trips to the local amusement park, languid, steamy days at the beach.

These nostalgic recollections, however, aren’t held by all Americans.

Municipal swimming pools and urban amusement parks flourished in the 20th century. But too often, their success was based on the exclusion of African Americans.

As a social historian who has written a book on segregated recreation, I have found that the history of recreational segregation is a largely forgotten one. But it has had a lasting significance on modern race relations.

Swimming pools and beaches were among the most segregated and fought over public spaces in the North and the South.

The Resilience of Barbados Counters Trump’s ‘Sh-thole’ Remarks

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The Resilience of Barbados Counters Trump’s ‘Sh-thole’ Remarks

By J.M. Opal, Associate Professor of History and Chair, History and Classical Studies, McGill University. First published on The Conversation.

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, former attorney and future inmate Michael Cohen revealed some of the uglier things Donald Trump said to him during their many years together.

Among the alleged quotes: “Name one country run by a Black person that’s not a sh—hole.” (One wonders how Trump characterized the United States when Barack Obama was President.)

Rarely stated so bluntly, this racist trope is widespread. As always, Trump gives vulgar expression to quiet prejudice, making him sound “honest” to about 40 per cent of Americans no matter how many lies he tells. As Sarah Huckabee Sanders noted after a similar revelation last year, Trump’s straight-shooting bigotry is one thing his fans love about him.

Those who don’t love him need to fight back with specific examples from the real world. Time and again, we need to highlight the big, complex reality that Trump and many of his supporters call “fake news.” Otherwise, his twisted version of the truth will continue to displace objective reality.

Duke Ellington’s Melodies Carried His Message of Social Justice

DUKE ELLINGTON MURAL ON U STREET NW IN WASHINGTON DC.

DUKE ELLINGTON MURAL ON U STREET NW IN WASHINGTON DC.

Duke Ellington’s Melodies Carried His Message of Social Justice

At a moment when there is a longstanding heated debate over how artists and pop culture figures should engage in social activism, the life and career of musical legend Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington offers a model of how to do it right.

Ellington was born on April 29, 1899 in Washington, D.C. His tight-knit black middle-class family nurtured his racial pride and shielded him from many of the difficulties of segregation in the nation’s capital. Washington was home to a sizable black middle class, despite prevalent racism. That included the racial riots of 1919’s Red Summer, three months of bloody violence directed at black communities in cities from San Francisco to Chicago and Washington D.C.

Ellington’s development from a D.C. piano prodigy to the world’s elegant and sophisticated “Duke” is well documented. Yet a fusion of art and social activism also marked his more than 56-year career.

Ellington’s battle for social justice was personal. Films like the award-winning “Green Book” only hint at the costs of segregation for black performing artists during the 1950s and 60s.

Duke’s experiences reveal the reality.

The Story of East Africa's Role In The Transatlantic Slave Trade

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The Story of East Africa's Role In The Transatlantic Slave Trade

The recent discovery of the remains of the Portuguese slave ship São José off Cape Town has brought East Africa’s role in the transatlantic slave trade to public attention. But the São José was merely one of a large number of slave vessels that either rounded the Cape or put into Table Bay for refreshment.

The sinking of the São José two days after Christmas in 1794 marked the end of a bad year for the slave trade at the Cape of Good Hope. In April that year, a second vessel, the French ship Jardinière, had gone down off Cape Agulhas. Around 185 slaves had reached shore but many had then escaped or had died of their exertions. Only 125 were finally auctioned at Stellenbosch.