Sunday, January 27, 2013

Jonathon Romain commissioned by Clemson University

... to prepare a commemorative painting for the 50th Anniversary of the University's integration. Congratulations Jonathon!




Saturday, January 26, 2013

Manual Graduate Mark Clark a true civil rights leader

Fallout continues more than four decades after Hoover connected cops kill Black Panthers Mark Clark and Fred Hampton during infamous West Side raid.


by Lawrence J. Maushard

In 2011, the late Peorian Mark Clark was inducted into the local African American Hall of Fame. Last year, that honored position with the Hall found its way into the city's all-new Riverfront Museum.

So now in 2013, more than four decades after Clark's killing – he was gunned down along with fellow Illinois Black Panther Party colleague Fred Hampton, 21, by Chicago police authorities in a predawn house raid on December 4, 1969 – would be a good time for the Peoria Journal Star to finally revisit some grievous wrongs set to print at that time.

According to Kristan H. McKinsey, Director of Collections and Senior Curator at the Peoria Riverfront Museum, the following description is currently included alongside a photograph within the digital confines in one historical kiosk display:

"Mark Clark was a Defense Captain of the Black Panther Party. He was born and raised in Peoria, and attended Manual High School. In 1969, Clark started the first free breakfast program in Peoria for children; a program which spread across the country. Chicago police killed Clark and fellow party member, Fred Hampton, in December of 1969. Their deaths are seen as a landmark event in the Civil Rights movement."

At the web site for The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther by Jeffrey Haas (Lawrence Hill Books, 2009), a detailed account of the killings, lawyer-author Haas writes that he and his colleagues “ultimately exposed the conspiracy between FBI agents carrying out FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s secret and deadly Counterintelligence Program and the Chicago Police that led to Hampton’s assassination. Black Panther leader Mark Clark was also killed in the 1969 police raid on the Hampton house.”

December 4, 1969, raid on the Hampton house
“Nothing but a northern lynching,” one witness described the carnage after the shooting.

So how did the Journal Star react to the killings back in the day? In its December 10, 1969 issue, less than a week after Clark's murder, the lead editorial claimed, “And it was finally put together under the Panther label by a coterie of articulate ex-convicts and jobless civil rights activists who duped a few young men who were not overly bright to sell their newspapers and play the cannon-fodder roles of tough-guy revolutionaries.”

With appalling gall, the editorial went on to posit that “Hate coupled with intimidation and demagoguery made the Panthers into a sort of black Ku Klux Klan. The white sheet was replaced with the black beret and jacket.”

Confidently asserting that “We doubt very much that anything resembling a murderous police conspiracy against the Panthers exists” the Journal Star also arrogantly maintained, “Just as intelligent whites refused to have anything to do with the Klan, intelligent blacks must refuse to tolerate or associate with the Panthers. The real sympathy that the Panthers need from black leaders of the day is the kind which attempts to protect these young men not from the police but from the idiotic Panther leadership which should not be allowed to continue to drive young men like Mark Clark to early graves.”

Indeed, the Journal Star was so secure in its, ahem, historical understanding and social sensitivities that it even titled this incredibly paternalistic editorial, “The Panthers Need Help.”

Zoom  your computer screen to read article
A week after its first Panther editorial, the Journal Star published a follow-up piece on December 17 entitled “Slowness in Washington” that decried the US Attorney General's apparent foot dragging in ordering the FBI to investigate Clark and Hampton's killings.

The reason for that delay? Again, incredibly, the Journal Star blamed the victim: “The slowness of Attorney General (John) Mitchell's response and the complete silence from the White House in regard to the Chicago affair is a discouraging commentary on how far the extremist tactics of the Black Panthers and other violent groups have set back black people in their quest for justice.”

That editorial confidently concluded, “We know justice will be done in Chicago . . . but it may be a little longer in the doing.”

In fact, no one was ever convicted in the deaths, and it took until 1983 that a $1.85M settlement was finally awarded to the raid survivors, families of Hampton and Clark, and their lawyers. A little longer, indeed.

So, after 43 years and counting, will a little editorial justice finally play in Peoria?

Back when it really mattered, the Journal Star not only didn't do its homework, it indulged in grotesque and detestable characterizations on a par with anything the Deep South could ever conjure up regarding Mark Clark and the Black Panthers.

Those deplorable editorials still speak for themselves through a yet-to-be-cleaned decades old textual bullhorn of hate and racism with a mouthpiece resting squarely on the doorsteps at 1 News Plaza, Peoria, IL. This cranky old river city is the home of Richard Pryor, Betty Friedan, Joe Girardi, Philip Jose Farmer, Ray LaHood, Jim Thome, Bob Michel, Dan Fogelberg, Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, and Caterpillar Inc. to name a few notables.

But hey, don't take my word for it. My analysis, if not my exact choice of language, doesn't appear to be so wildly off the mark if you take into account at least one scholarly review on the subject:

“The Peoria Journal Star offered a conservative perspective in its coverage of the raid and the murders of Clark and Hampton which did not look favorably upon its native son.”

Authors Dr. Judson L. Jeffries, Professor and Director, Department of African American and African Studies, Community Extension Center, The Ohio State University and Dr. Omari L. Dyson, Assistant Professor of Education at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, came to this assessment in “Nobody Knows My Name:The Marginalization of Mark Clark in America's Collective Consciousness,” International Social Science Review (2010, Vol. 85, Nos. 3 & 4).

Authors Jeffries and Dyson based their claim upon reading “all news articles that pertained to the raid over a six-month period, from Dec. 4, 1969, to June 30, 1970.” This analysis included 43 articles in the Journal Star over that period, not to mention more than 545 other articles in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Daily News, Chicago Daily Defender, Maywood (IL.) Herald [hometown of Fred Hampton], The New York Times, and Washington Post.

They conclude, in part, that, “In sum, the press's treatment of the circumstances surrounding the death of Mark Clark as an afterthought has undoubtedly contributed to his marginalization in America's collective consciousness – something that serious students of politics and history alike should find unsettling.”

Among the work's annotations, they added, “Clark's lack of national distinction should not detract from viewing him as an important figure in American history. He is important because he sacrificed his life so that others may live a better life. He is important just as hundreds of civil rights workers whose names were not household words were important, but whose work made a difference in people's lives.

More PJStar Mark Clark conundrum here...






December 4, 2009

Friday, January 25, 2013

And ain't I a woman? The Truth

Truth

This is Frances Gage's account of a speech given by Sojourner Truth at the Women's Rights Convention, on January 25, 1851, in Akron, Ohio. She published the account in The History of Woman Suffrage, volume 1, co-authored with Susan B. Anthony, published in 1881.

Recent scholarship has disputed whether this account, written about 30 years after the speech was given, is an accurate representation of Truth's speaking style. The dialect, in particular, was most likely an addition by Gage.

1881 Account by Frances Gage:

"Wall, chilern, whar dar is so much racket dar must be somethin' out o' kilter. I tink dat 'twixt de niggers of de Souf and de womin at de Nork, all talkin' 'bout rights, de white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all dis here talkin''bout?

"Dat man ober dar say dat womin needs to be helped into carriages, and lifted ober ditches, and to hab de best place everywhar. Nobody eber helps me into carriages, or ober mud-puddles, or gibs me any best place!" And raising herself to her full height, and her voice to a pitch like rolling thunders, she asked "And a'n't I a woman? Look at me! Look at me! Look at my arm! (and she bared her right arm to the shoulder, showing her tremendous muscular power). I have ploughed, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And a'n't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear de lash a well! And a'n't I a woman? I have borne thirteen chilern, and seen 'em mos' all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And a'n't I a woman?

"Den dey talks 'bout dis ting in de head; what dis dey call it?" ("Intellect," whispered some one near.) "Dat's it, honey. What's dat got to do wid womin's rights or nigger's rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yourn holds a quart, wouldn't ye be mean not to let me have my little half-measure full?" And she pointed her significant finger, and sent a keen glance at the minister who had made the argument. The cheering was long and loud.

"Den dat little man in black dar, he say women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wan't a woman! Whar did your Christ come from?" Rolling thunder couldn't have stilled that crowd, as did those deep, wonderful tones, as she stood there with outstretched arms and eyes of fire. Raising her voice still louder, she repeated, "Whar did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothin' to do wid Him." Oh, what a rebuke that was to that little man.

Turning again to another objector, she took up the defense of Mother Eve. I can not follow her through it all. It was pointed, and witty, and solemn; eliciting at almost every sentence deafening applause; and she ended by asserting: "If de fust woman God ever made was strong enough to turn de world upside down all alone, dese women togedder (and she glanced her eye over the platform) ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now dey is asking to do it, de men better let 'em." Long-continued cheering greeted this. "Bleeged to ye for hearin' on me, and now old Sojourner han't got nothin' more to say."

Amid roars of applause, she returned to her corner, leaving more than one of us with streaming eyes, and hearts beating with gratitude. She had taken us up in her strong arms and carried us safely over the slough of difficulty turning the whole tide in our favor. I have never in my life seen anything like the magical influence that subdued the mobbish spirit of the day, and turned the sneers and jeers of an excited crowd into notes of respect and admiration. Hundreds rushed up to shake hands with her, and congratulate the glorious old mother, and bid her God-speed on her mission of "testifyin' agin concerning the wickedness of this 'ere people."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Why so many teacher resignations mid-year?

We already heard about Principal Randy Simmons' recent departure from The District. Simmons, who was removed as Principal of Peoria High School and placed as Principal of Von Stubein Middle school in 2011, took his retirement at the end of 2012.

The January 14, 2013, HR Report shows that teacher resignations in The District continues. It seems unusual for a teacher to resign at this point in the year. Teacher resignations have increased significantly under the current Superintendent.

Resignation
Fowler, Nicholas – Trewyn / Social Studies Grade 7-8 01/01/13
Harridge, Douglas – Manual / Chorus Grades 9‐12 01/11/13
Haughwout, Amy – Manual / Math Grades 9‐12 12/21/12
Rayburn, Julia – Glen Oak / Language Arts Grade 6 01/07/13
Robins, Brianna – Glen Oak / Music 12/21/12
Schmillen, Carrie – Whittier / Parental Leave 01/14/13
Sheble, Heather – Lincoln / Language Arts Grade 8 12/18/12
Terry, Dorothy – Trewyn / Grade 2 01/04/13
Wilson, Alyssa – Developmental Center / Speech Pathologist 05/30/13
Bloom, Cori – Roosevelt / Music 12/31/12
Bowlin, Shelley – PHS / Math 01/01/13
Davis, Tasha – Hines / Grade 4 11/30/12
Williams, Amanda – WCTC / English 9‐12 12/21/12

Leave of Absence
Coleman, Annette – PHS / Asst. Principal 02/26/13 – 05/22/13
Maubach, Robin – Roosevelt / Grade 1 01/07/13 – 05/30/13

Resignation Agreement
Guthrie, Brian – Day Treatment / Special Education 01/10/13