Apr. 15, 2019


On this day in 1889, 130 years ago, one of the stalwart dynamic leaders of the black community was born, Asa Phillip Randolph. Mr. Randolph was one of the greatest labor organizers in the history of the United States. Where would our black communities be had it been not for Asa Phillip Randolph, who founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters? Not only for the enormous economic benefit derived by the members of the sleeping car porters union but also for the civil rights benefits secured for the black community during the civil rights struggle. Yes, without a doubt the impact of the Brotherhood of the Sleeping Car Porters was so significant. Can you imagine how the Montgomery Bus Boycott would've suffered had not the local leadership of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters not actively involved themselves under the leadership of E.D. Nixon? Can you also imagine how ill-informed the black southern populace would have remained had not those same black sleeping car porters not delivered the Chicago Defender, Baltimore Afro-American, and the Pittsburgh Courier to southern states by way of the railways? Asa Phillip Randolph demanded that black Americans being able to be employed in defense plans during World War Two.

As a matter of fact 22 years before the historic March for Jobs and Freedom on the Mall in Washington on August 28, 1963. Mr. Asa Phillip Randolph stood up for economic justice for black Americans by standing down President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and United States Congress segregationist's policies related to hiring black Americans to work in defense plants. Asa Phillip Randolph demanded that black Americans be hired to work in meaningful positions of employment in those defense plans funded with federal tax dollars. It was Mr. Randolph's idea to create a mass demonstration on the Mall in Washington DC in May 1941. If the hiring or I should say the lack of hiring of black Americans continued. So as a result of that proposed direct action proposed by Mr. Randolph, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802 which opened employment opportunities for black Americans to work in those military industrial plants as well as jobs in other federal agencies without the use of discriminatory practices that had previously denied them the right of employment.

Of course, Mr. Asa Phillip Randolph was actively involved in every facet of activity in the planning of the 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom. He also worked closely with other organization planning direct action in fighting the fight for Civil Rights. Asa Phillip Randolph was an American Hero whose chief aim was to ensure that every black American had the right to the pursuit of happiness as well as the rights protected by the US Constitution. So on this day 130 years after his birth, The Blackman Who Reads Aloud asks each and every member of the black community to thank God for the service, devotion, will, and determination that embodied Asa Philip Randolph.

Apr. 14, 2019

Smashing That White Ball

"Hey, Tiger Woods won the White Masters Tournament today. I watched closely the galleries at Augusta. If the golf enthusiasts were measured by diversity in the galleries. Then I can clearly say the 99.9% of those fans at the Augusta golf course were white. The only people of color Tiger Woods who congratulated on his way to sign his official scorecard for the win were his mother, son, and daughter. Otherwise, it was a caucasian explosion in Augusta Georgia at today's Masters. It's always been a caucasian explosion at the Masters but I did see a black token in a green jacket, who wasn't Tiger Woods. So I guess that is racial progress. Well, I glad that Tiger Woods got off the snide but I still cannot get excited about golf except you get to smash something white with a steel club."

Apr. 14, 2019

By Killing Lincoln Did Booth Also Kill Black Reparations? #joesmokeblackthoughts

When Lincoln was assassinated did John Wilkes Booth's bullet eviscerate black reparations? 
Ford's Theater
Washington DC

Today 152 years ago President Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth while attending a play at the Ford's Theater in Washington, DC. He died of that gunshot wound on April 15, 1865, a private home across the street from Ford's Theatre. Lincoln never awoke nor spoke a single word after that shot was fired that night at the theater. Secretary of War Stanton's words was historically noted upon Lincoln's death, "now he belongs to the ages".

My questions for today, Palm Sunday is considering Lincoln's age at the time of his assassination 57 and the fact that the US Constitution had specific no term limits for how long the President could serve. Imagine for just a moment many terms could Lincoln have served had he not been murdered? At the time of his death, Lincoln was riding a wave of extremely high northern republican approval. What if the John Wilkes Booth murder conspiracy had killed Andrew Johnson one of the targets that fateful Friday in American history. What if George Atzerodt had carried out the plot to kill Johnson rather than wandering around Washington DC in a drunken stupor? What if John Wilkes Booth hadn't been able to given that clear path to the Presidential Booth at Ford's Theatre. How different would the historical pathway to reparations for the recently freed slaves have been had Lincoln been in command of the Reconstruction policies? One thing is sure the former confederates certainly didn't turn out to be disappointed that Andrew Johnson's life was spared. Johnson turned out to the major impediment to freed slaves receiving any land grant reparations. 

Frederick Douglass, in 1876, 11 years after the murder of Lincoln told an audience that including the entire Cabinet, Supreme Court justices, significant members of the House and the US Senate along with President Grant at the unveiling of the Monument For Emancipation that Lincoln was "white man's president" and those words shook that audience fiber. Yet Douglass wasn't telling a lie in that Lincoln did all he could to salvage the Union and to dissuade the Confederacy from war. Yet as the Civil War continued Lincoln understood that slavery couldn't exist in the United States. Also, although Lincoln had compassion for the rebels Lincoln also didn't have any love for the massive loss of life that those rebels were responsible for. I doubt very seriously he would have been so gracious in returning the land to the plantation barons as Johnson was. As a matter of fact, Field Order #15 which guaranteed a 40-acre plot of land and an army mule would have been implemented by Lincoln since he had already signed off on General Sherman's mandate. The bullet that pierced the skull of Lincoln all but ended any chance of black reparations for the freed slaves.

You have to have thought that Lincoln would've kept his promise of providing the slaves recently freed of resources necessary for competing in this country, land, and resources to till the land? Knowing how essential Southern Reconstruction was to the future growth of the country. Lincoln's support in both houses of Congress wouldn't have necessitated any movement towards impeachment. Andrew Johnson actions were in direct opposition to the plans that were discussed by the leading Republican Charles Sumner to ensure protection for the freed slaves. Would it have taken 3 years to pass the 14th Amendment? Would it have taken 5 years to pass the 15th Amendment? Andrew Johnson had absolutely no love or connection to Black Reconstruction policies that engendered political power or economic progress. Lincoln had moved away from an emigration policy that would have forced freed slaves to migrate to foreign shores. The Recolonization Plan that Lincoln had proposed to those ministers he met during the Civil War was no longer part and parcel of Lincoln's Black Reconstruction Policy. So for Lincoln distribution of southern lands along with western expansion for freed blacks must have been his priority. So in terms of land reparations distribution, Booth's bullet definitely speared and destroyed that hope.

Personally had Lincoln lived he most likely would have won re-election at least in 1868. Quite possibly at the age of 67, Lincoln would have turned over the reigns of leadership to Grant in 1872. The nation would have been much better prepared to face those former Confederates who opposed Reconstruction. Because of the growing black populace having a more secure hold on economic and political power in those states. You can be sure the Lost Cause Movement would have been challenged by Lincoln because he understood the magnitude of loss of human lives those Confederates were responsible for. I also feel that the Reconstruction of the United States would've lasted more than the 12 years. Andrew Johnson had absolutely no intention of doing anything substantive to boost the support of Reconstruction. Certainly had Lincoln survived the assassination attempt of April 14, 1865, Andrew Johnson surely wouldn't have been on Lincoln's ticket in 1868. 

Could the corruptive elements of Grant's presidency been avoided had Lincoln lived? The bullet that pierced Lincoln's skull that fateful Friday sealed the fate of black reparations. Since that day 154 years ago today reparations have been paid to numerous ethnic groups for damages done by the peoples of the United States but the most inflictive, degrading, murderous damage has been done to Americans of African Descent. John Wilkes Booth not knowing the power of the bullet seemingly sealed the fate that black economic reparations would never be paid.

Apr. 13, 2019

Plessy v Ferguson : The Supreme Court Off The Rails Of Justice 1896

Today's lesson on #joesmokethoughts revolves around the Supreme Court Decision Plessey vs. Ferguson which solidified the second class citizenship status of Americans of African Descent in the United States. The Supreme Court is one of the most powerful agencies in our country. The nine seats that comprise the court has exceptional importance because each seat is a lifetime appointment. Once nominated a justice on the Supreme Court cannot be removed unless that person is impeached by a majority count in the House of Representatives and 2/3 supermajority of the United States Senate. Otherwise, once nominated by the President and approved by a simple majority in the United States Senate, justices serve on the Supreme Court for as long as he/she wants until he/she dies. These members have the capacity to change the course or direction of this country. You need to analyze and review pivotal racial cases that the Supreme Court decided. The absolute worst case decided in 1858 was Roger Taney's courts ruling (Dred Scott Vs Sanford) that blacks in this country whether freed or slaves had no rights for which white people need respect or acknowledge. The Supreme Court ruled 1888 that the Civil Rights Act of 1871 was unconstitutional which basically made the Civil War Constitutional Amendments null and void in every southern state in the country.

The decision I am spending time discussing today on this video is the 1896 Plessey Vs Ferguson. This case impressed upon the country's citizens that racial separation between whites and blacks was not only constitutional but also desired by every aspect of American society. The decision put the final nails in the coffin of Black Reconstruction although Black Reconstruction actually was struck down politically in the Compromise of 1877. The Supreme Court has been the moral voice of this nation since the country's inception. Now we have those nine court seats being controlled by an Executive and Legislative Branch that is not people oriented in the 21st century. It is vital to understand the complexities of the Supreme Court as well as understanding three branches of government and how those branches provide a system of checks and balances to perform effectively. In a period of this country's history when racists implemented policies the court fed the populace decisions based on those philosophies. That is why we have historical judicial decisions like Plessey, Scott, the 1888 decision rulings because of the fact that judges nominated to the court reflected the image of the decision-makers in the White House and the Senate chambers. How is today's Supreme Court going to be reflected in history when you have leaders like Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump responsible for directing the nomination process?

Apr. 12, 2019

400 Years: Still Waiting for REPARATIONS

400 years since that Jamestown Landing and still we wait;
waiting while being chained and whipped;
waiting while our justice is never untangled;
waiting while our black bodies were mangled;
waiting while getting denied direct action;
waiting while getting all sorts of lethal action;
waiting while getting treacherous Jim Crow'ed action;
waiting while receiving economic inaction;
waiting while getting fed drug-induced reaction;
waiting while doing overseas military action;
waiting and coming home from those wars without rights action;
waiting for misplaced affirmative action;
waiting while getting little or no judicial action;
waiting and receiving constant police state murderous action;
waiting, time’s up for waiting for your promised constitutional action;
waiting, no, time that we must take personal action;
waiting, no, times up, rebuild our cities and schools action;
stop waiting for someone’s false promised action;
waiting, no, otherwise we stay stuck in a state of perpetual inaction;
wait no longer it's time for real strategic, creative balancing the scale of justice action;
wait no longer the time is ripe for truth, economic, social and racial equality action;
400 years since that Jamestown Landing and no longer will we wait;
finally, reparations time has come so how about right now demand political action;
400 years is enough time for African Americans waiting