Yusuf Hawkins: Never Forget

Tuesday would have been Yusuf Kirriem Hawkins 46th birthday.  

The Brooklynite was viciously murdered in his own hometown almost 30 years ago when a quest to purchase a used car led him to a predominately white part of Brooklyn.

16-year old Yusuf Hawkins and three friends ventured into Bensonhurst on a summer’s night in 1989 to purchase a 1982 Pontiac.  They were instead met with a racist mob who ambushed them.  The mob of approximately 30 white men were armed with weapons, including a firearm and baseball bats.  They shouted racial epithets at the black youths and violently attacked them.

Yusuf Hawkins was shot twice in his chest and killed.

Lynch mobs hunting black people has been propagandized as being a practice of an ancient past.

However, every generation has a story of such occurrences happening during their lifetime.  These happenings leave indelible imprints on those who have watched them unfold directly or collaterally.  We must never forget!!

RIP Yusuf Hawkins and so many others.

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Black History Fact: Princess Laura Kofi

Princess Laura KofiGhanaian-born Laura Adorkor Kofi worked for Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) as the national field director.

Reputed to be an African princess, Laura Kofi came to American because dreams and spiritual visions prompted her to do so. She came to America with a mission to empower African-Americans to create an independent, self-sustaining community.

After splitting from Marcus Garvey, she created her own organization, the African Universal Church. She was murdered while delivering a sermon at her church. It was believed that she was murdered by a follower of the UNIA organization.

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Black History Fact Of The Day: The U.S. Virgin Islands

Red, Black & Green Elsie Law Logo“In 1917, the U.S. bought the Dutch West Indies for $125 million and renamed them the U.S. Virgin Islands. WWI was underway, and Uncle Sam wanted the islands as a naval base to protect the strategically important Panama Canal. The U.S. government assigned the administration of the islands to the Department of the Navy.” -From, “Gangsters of Harlem”

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National Geographic Admits To Its History Of Racist Reporting

National Geographic April 2018In the April 2018 “special issue” of National Geographic, named “The Race Issue,” the opening letter from the magazine’s current editor-in-chief, explores the racist history of National Geographic.

The editor’s letter contains the following acknowledgments of the publication’s historic racism:

• African Americans were not allowed to be members of National Geographic, at least through the 1940s. (NOTE: National Geographic was established in 1888.)
• For the April 2018 issue, National Geographic got Professor John Edwin Mason to explore the magazine’s archives and make an assessment of the publication’s coverage of Black people. He found that, “until the 1970s National Geographic all but ignored people of color who lived in the United States, rarely acknowledging them beyond laborers or domestic workers. Meanwhile it pictured “natives” elsewhere as exotics, famously and frequently unclothed, happy hunters, noble savages- every type of cliché.
The Professor concluded, “National Geographic did little to push its readers beyond the stereotypes ingrained in white American culture.” He states: “Americans got ideas about the world from Tarzan and crude racist caricatures. Segregation was the way it was. National Geographic wasn’t teaching as much as reinforcing messages they already received and doing so in a magazine that had tremendous authority. National Geographic comes into existence at the height of colonialism, and the world was divided into the colonizers and the colonized. That was a color line, and National Geographic was reflecting that view of the world.”
• National Geographic printed a caption under a 1916 photograph of two Australian Aboriginals, “South Australian Blackfellows: These savages rank lowest in intelligence of all human beings.”
• The magazine was guilty of omitting national news that dealt with major injustices involving people of African descent. Referencing a “massacre” that occurred in South Africa in 1959 where 69 Black South Africans were murdered by police in Sharpeville, “many shot in the back as they fled,” Professor Mason states that a subsequent article about South Africa in National Geographic: “Barely mentions any problems. There are no voices of black South Africans. That absence is as important as what is in there. The only black people are doing exotic dances…servants or workers. It’s bizarre, actually, to consider what the editors, writers, and photographers had to consciously not see.”

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Black History Fact Of The Day: Benjamin Banneker’s Grandfather

Red, Black & Green Elsie Law LogoVia his African grandfather, Benjamin Banneker had a royal lineage. Benjamin Banneker’s grandfather, Bannaky, came to America on a slave ship. In addition to his regal lineage, Bannaky also had an extensive knowledge of agriculture. This included building irrigation systems that prevented flooding. Bannaky also planted crops composed of foods he had grown in Africa (yams, sweet potatoes, rice, and watermelon).

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