African American Voting: A Retrospective

“As of 1901, nearly every African American had been effectively stripped of all elective rights in Alabama and virtually every southern state. After passage of a new state constitution in 1901, Alabama allowed the registration only of voters who could read or write and were regularly employed, or who owned property valued at $300 or more- a measure clearly aimed at complete elimination of Blacks from voting. In Mississippi, only those who were able to pay a poll tax of up to $3 and who could, according to the voting registrar’s personal assessment, read or understand any clause in the U.S. Constitution could register. Louisiana permitted only those who could read and write or owned at least $300 worth of property. (However, any person who could vote on January 1, 1867, or his descendants, was allowed to continue voting regardless of reading skills. This literal ‘grandfather clause’ guaranteed continued voting rights for illiterate and impoverished Whites).

South Carolina required literacy or property ownership. North Carolina charged a $2 poll tax and required the ability to read. Virginia, after 1904, allowed to vote only those who had paid their annual $1 poll tax in each of the three years prior to an election and who could fill out a registration form without assistance. Veterans from either the armies of the Union or the Confederacy were exempted of the requirements- though few of the thousands of African Americans who fought in the Union army were acknowledged as veterans.” – From, “Slavery By Another Name” By: Douglas A. Blackmon

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Quote Of The Day

“The ways in which we act, interact, speak, read, think, and negotiate urges and goals online are remarkably different from the way we handle these activities offline. What may be more remarkable, however, is that our online traits are unconsciously being imported into our offline life, so that our idea of what a real-life community should be, for example, is being reconfigured in the image of a chat room, and our offline persona increasingly resembles that of our avatar.” -Elias Aboujaoude

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Book Excerpt Of The Week: Part 2- “Warrior Song” By: Djehuti Wa Kamau

“From what we’re doing with our bodies we go to what we’re putting into them, the voluminous drug intake by our people, supplied by European pushers. We can trace the parts just about all the ‘classic’ drugs have played in the slave trade, cocaine, heroin, opium, etc., but our focus will remain on the two that in most eyes have and continues to have the most detrimental effects upon us: alcohol and tobacco (with or without additives). Undoubtedly, the mass production of these high-toxins needed the blood-blistered hands of the Afrikan to keep the slave cogs turning, the picking and cutting of cane and leaves from can’t see to can’t see. That scenario hasn’t changed, as we still take to the fields for slave-like ‘wages’ or outright slavery on the very same plantation.

What the big corporations want most at this time though is for us to be mass consumers- mind slaves. The center of attention is the Black buyer, so every turn leads to a corridor of consumption- nothing new, but the dollars and stakes are higher and the fight is on to procure what’s left in already nearly-empty pockets. Mass consumption is the result of mass media.” -From, “Warrior Song” By: Djehuti Wa Kamau

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Book Excerpt Of The Week: Part 1- “Warrior Song” By: Djehuti Wa Kamau

“All Reggae was kept off u.s. ‘black’ radio during the 70s, when the Black revolution was all but squashed. Yet [Bob] Marley eventually came out as Reggae itself. The first time many Blackfolk ever heard of Marley was the day he died. That was the plan; the subliminal message being this is what happens when you commit to saving your people. As with Malcolm X and MLK, the sole ‘charismatic leader’ ‘black messiah’ image prevailed; when that leader dies, so does their movement, and everyone wallows in nostalgia for their lost prophet.” -From, “Warrior Song” By: Djehuti Wa Kamau

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The 2008 not guilty verdict in the Sean Bell case evoked outrage, emotion, and debate. It is not an anomaly that the police officers involved in the Sean Bell slaying were acquitted of all charges on all counts in State Supreme Court. I could run out of ink printing the names of people who have been victimized by the inaptly named justice system.

The American justice system has been especially terroristic towards the African American community. Many community members can cite historic and personal accounts to prove this. Therefore, it would be foolhardy (at the least) to turn to a system that has methodically oppressed us, and request that they free us. We can only free ourselves through extreme discipline and intelligent planning.

As a community we have been too compliant with leaders who organize ineffective, delayed reactions. The only strategy that can save us in this last hour is one that calls for a collective code of conduct that will be conducive to improving the conditions of our community, and shifting the paradigm of how we are treated by outside entities. The first step of this code of conduct should be based on economics.

The old adage of “money talks,” still reigns true in the new millennium. Any political scientist worth his or her library card will tell you that: “Economic powerlessness equals political powerlessness,” and conversely “economic power equals political power.” This means that if we continue to allow our wealth to be extracted from our community, we will remain impotent.

The power of the collective “Black Dollar” is often discussed. However, that power has been left unchanneled. Today is the day to change that. A one-time boycott is not going to bring long-term change and respect to our community. Our community has launched boycotts before. Our success and ascension will be based on what we consistently do. For this reason, we should initiate “BUY BLACK FRIDAYS.”

BUY BLACK FRIDAYS is a small step towards our community acquiring power via controlling our economics. Every Friday, people who acknowledge the injustice and oppression that the African American community has been consistently subjected to should do one of the following:

Option #1: Spend $0 on Friday
Option #2: Spend no more than $10 on Friday
Option #3: Only Shop at Black Businesses on Friday
[PLEASE NOTE THAT THE ABOVE OPTIONS CAN & SHOULD BE EXERCISED ON A DAILY BASIS. However, we can all at the very least focus on Fridays. This way we can take a collective stand and build our collective discipline. Please remember that this is only Phase 1!].

To the people who are tempted to label “BUY BLACK FRIDAYS” as racist, I say this: In the big scheme of things, this is about right & wrong, justice & injustice. The African American community is a strong, proud community that has endured the brunt of America’s iron fist. We must stop the pounding. I feel that any fair-minded individual will concur, and join in.

ANY business that is privileged to enjoy the support of the African American community MUST return that support.

I thank you in advance for your effort and dedication.

-Elsie Law AKA Starface

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The African Constitution

The following is an excerpt from the book, “The Destruction of Civilization” By: Chancellor Williams. [SIDEBAR: I’m not certain which time period this came from.]

“Drawn from African Constitutional and Customary Laws. Different versions and modifications of the same laws occurred in different societies…


The following is a representative number of human rights, also drawn from customary laws or tradition constitutions:

Every Member had

1) The right to equal protection of the law.

2) The right to a home.

3) The right to land sufficient for earning livelihood for oneself and family.

4) The right to aid in times of trouble.

5) The right to petition for redress of grievances.

6) The right to criticize and condemn any acts by the authories or proposed new laws. (Opposition groups, in some areas called “The Youngmen,” were recognized by law.)

7) The right to reject the community’s final decision on any matter and to withdraw from the community unmolested- the right of rebellion and withdrawal.

8) The right to a fair trial. There must be no punishment greater than the offense, or fines beyond the ability to pay. This latter is determined by income and status of the individual and his family.

9) The right to indemnity for injuries or loss caused by others.

10) The right to family or community care in cases of sickness or accidents.

11) The right to special aid from the Chief in circumstances beyond a family’s ability.

12) The right to a general education covering morals and good manners, family rights and responsibilities, kinship groups and social organization, neighborhoods and boundaries, farming and marketing, rapid mental calculation, and family clan, tribal and state histories.

13) The right to apprentice training for a useful vocation.

14) The right to an inheritance as defined by custom.

15) The right to develop one’s ability and exercise any developed skills.

16) The right to protect one’s family and kinsmen, even by violent means if such becomes necessary and can be justified.

17) The right to the protection of moral law in respect to wife and children- a right which not even the king can violate.

18) The right of a man, even a slave, to rise to occupy the highest positions in the state if he has the requisite ability and character.

19) The right to protection and treatment as a guest in enemy territory once one is within the gates of the enemy’s village, town or city.

20) And the right to an equal share in all benefits from common community undertakings if one has contributed to the fullest extent of his ability, no matter who or how many were able to contribute more.”

[SIDEBAR: How much would the greatness of our communities increase if we abided by the above stated rules.]

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