Carter G. Woodson- Chapter 17: Higher Strivings in the Service of the Country

It’s Black History Month, so I am continuing with the series of posts regarding Shaw resident and Father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson and his book The Mis-Education of the Negro, published in 1933.

Holy Moley I’m running out of month. Tomorrow is the 1st of March and I have two more chapters to finish. So sadly these last two chapters are going to be a bit more slap dash than I’d like.

Especially outside of the South, African Americans had the opportunity to vote before the Civil Rights movement of the 60s. So I believe it was those voters Woodson was thinking about when talking about the ‘New Negro’. “The New Negro in politics, moreover, must not be a politician. He must be a man. He must try to give the world something rather than extract something from it.”

This post is going to be rather short so I will post a few opening paragraphs from the chapter and the last two paragraphs. My own commentary is in choosing what sections to bold.

Another factor the Negro needs is a new figure in politics, one who will not concern himself so much with what others can do for him as with what he can do for himself. He will know sufficient about the system of government not to carry his trouble to the federal functionaries and thus confess himself a failure in the community in which he lives. He will know that his freedom from peonage and lynching will be determined by the extent that he can develop into a worthy citizen and impress himself upon his community.

The New Negro in politics will not be so unwise as to join the ignorant delegations from conferences and convention which stage annual pilgrimages to the White House to complain to the President because they have socially and economically failed to measure up to demands of self-preservation. The New Negro in politics will understand clearly that in the final analysis federal functionaries cannot do anything about these matters within the police powers of the states, and he will not put himself in the position of being received with coldness and treated with contempt as these ignorant misleaders of the Negro race have been from time immemorial. The New Negro in politics, then, will appeal to his own and to such friends of other races in his locality as believe in social justice. If he does something for himself others will do more for him.

The increasing vigor of the race, then, will not be frittered away in partisan strife in the interest of the oppressors of the race. It ought not to be possible for the political bosses to induce almost any Negro in the community to abandon his permanent employment to assist them and their ilk in carrying out some program for the selfish purposes of the ones engineering the scheme. It ought not to be possible for the politicians to distribute funds at the rate of fifty or a hundred dollars a head among the outstanding ministers and use them and their congregations in vicious partisan strife. It is most shameful that some ministers resort to religion as a camouflage to gain influence in the churches only to use such power for selfish political purpose.

The Negro should endeavor to be a figure in politics, not a tool for the politicians. This higher role can be played not by parking all of the votes of a race on one side of the fence as both blacks and whites have done in the South, but by independent action. The Negro should not censure the Republican party for forgetting him and he should not blame the Democratic party for opposing him. Neither can the South blame any one but itself for its isolation in national politics. Any people who will vote the same way for three generations without thereby obtaining results ought to be ignored and disfranchised.

and the last two:

Why should the Negro wait for some one from without to urge him to self-assertion when he sees himself robbed by his employer, defrauded by his merchant, and hushed up by government agents of injustice? Why wait for a spur to action when he finds his manhood insulted, his women outraged, and his fellowmen lynched for amusement? The Negroes have always had sufficient reason for being radical, and it looks silly to see them taking up the cause of others who pretend that they are interested in the Negro when they merely mean to use the race as a means to an end. When the desired purpose of these so-called friendly groups will have been served, they will have no further use for the Negro and will drop him just as the Republican machine has done.

The radicals bring forward, too, the argument that the Negro, being of a minority group, will always be overpowered by others From the point of view of the selfish elements this may be true, and certainly it has worked thus for some time; but things do not always turn out according to mathematical calculations. In fact, the significant developments in history have never been thus determined. Only the temporary and the trivial can be thus forecast. The human factor is always difficult for the materialist to evaluate and the prophecies of the alarmist are often upset Why should we expect less in the case of the Negro?

Wrong perp for the crime

I went to the impromptu August 7th ANC 5E meeting at Friendship 7th Day Adventist and there was something at the meeting that’s been bugging me. Nope. It wasn’t the ABRA case invovling Pub and the People.

Nope.

The thing that’s been bugging me is Robert Brannum’s resolution that he included in the meeting packet, to be voted on at a later date by the 5E ANC. I’ve embedded the proposal below:

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5E Resolution No 2019 by Mm Inshaw on Scribd


One of the things that bugs me (and it a very tiny bug) is that the focus is on non-local incidents by non-local perps/ white supremacists. The beauty of the ANC system is that it is HYPER-local. It is about things occuring in the immediate neighborhood. In walking distance. This is not local.

A larger bug is the fact that crimes against gay men in Shaw and transgender women in NE have not been allegedly commited by white supremists. In April 2018, a gay couple was brutally beaten on the 2200 block of 10th St NW. From the grainy video, it looks like they were attacked by 3 black guys. A few months ago, a gay man, with his boyfriend was beaten very badly by a group of teens on the 1300 block of U St NW. Two teens are juviniles so no info there but the “adult” was a 19 year old Marcus Britt of Fort Washington, MD. That’s in PG County, bet money he’s of African descent. They were not charged with a hate crime. The alleged killer of a Black trans woman killed near the DC border (that’s what Eastern Avenue is) is not white.

Did you know fewer than half of LGBT hate crime arrests in DC are dismissed? Eleanor Holmes Norton enquired about that.

Sadly, the message the city and this resolution is indirectly saying is that if you are Black, you have a license to beat up people in the LGBT community in DC. It would help if the resolution denounced hate crimes commited by anyone, even teenage POCs.

Sex, consent and local government- trigger warning

Crop of Marion Barry Vincent Gray
Credit: dbking via a Creative Commons License
Last night our Truxton Circle book group came together to talk about Dream City by Harry Jaffe and Tom Sherwood. It was my second time with the book. The first time I “read” (I cheat with audiobooks), it was prior to the #metoo movement and the many public discussions and arguments that regarding sexual and romantic relationships.

Just a quick review of the book: it is a sandwich. It’s local government bread holding a rise and fall and rise and decline of Marion Barry fixin’s. It’s about 75% Barry, going into his rise from his civil rights days as a student, to his messy relationships with and use of women, and his challenges with substances from booze to drugs.

Considering “Mayor for Life” Barry’s struggles with drugs, that horse has dang near beaten to death. However, Barry and women hasn’t really been reviewed in light of the new zeitgeist. This is probably because a)he’s dead and b) many women who enabled and or had sexual relationships with Barry are still alive and may still be involved in local government.

But back to the book and my title regarding consent, there were two ‘scenes’ in the book that struck me. There was one event that shocked me the first time I was aware of it. The authors’ claimed that in a hotel room in the Caribbean, various women were shuttled to Barry’s hotel room under the promise that the women could get jobs with the city government. Barry was under the influence and when one woman expressed not wanting to have sex with the mayor, he forced himself on her. The authors did not use the word “rape” for this instance, but it was rape. The other incident happened when the police were called to the apartment of a woman because of a disturbance. When the police arrived, the woman refused to let the police in because Mayor Barry was hiding in her bedroom. She protected and provided sexual favors to the Mayor because she did not want to endanger her program that needed city government support.

That second incident got me thinking, if a city contract or grant or job is in play is the sex consensual? If you swap out Barry for Harvey Weinstein and the grant/contract for a role in a movie, is it different? This also reminded me of the July 10, 2009 Washington City Paper headline, “You Put Me Out in Denver, ‘Cause I  Wouldn’t Suck Your ____” As I remember the lady in question was a city contractor and Barry was a City Councilman at the time. If she did provide the sexual act, would that have been consensual? Was the relationship consensual? It sure wasn’t ethical.

Yes, powerful men in this town have been receiving sex for jobs, money, votes, or whatever since they moved the capitol from Philadelphia. However, Barry’s corruption and problems with women was such an open non-secret, like Harvey Weinstein in Hollywood, but more in your face. Despite everyone knowing, too many people did not care if he had consent or not.

Holy Crap this is close- ANC 5E-05

Holy Crap!

Seriously.

Holy F’ing crap. Just a 2 vote difference. Your vote may be a drop in the bucket in citywide elections but it means a lot in ANC races.

First. Is this even legal? Ms. Robinson-Paul appeared twice on my ballot. She ran against Kenyon McDuffie, the current councilman for Ward 5 under the name Joyce (Chestnut) Robinson-Paul. That I expected, as it was in the Voter Guide that was sent out. But I was taken aback when I saw her name again when I went to vote for my ANC Bradley A. Thomas. I was under the impression Bradley was running unopposed. Was this mentioned at yesterday’s BACA meeting (I was home because the kid was miserable and I didn’t want to abandon my spouse for a meeting)?

Second, WTF?

Be a troublesome smart voter

So the Primary election is June 19th, and since the District is basically a one party town it’s sort of the main election. With that you may have noticed traffic islands and lamp posts littered with campaign signs. One day riding out to the Costco, I noticed this sign.

My thought was, so this guy is going after the stupid vote. Before you get on my case hear me out.

The first thing to grab my attention was “Cut property tax for 65 and older.” There is already a program in place for that. Go to the tax office’s website and see about three programs for old people. The first is the Senior Citizen Homestead Deduction, here is the application for that (PDF). The second is Senior Citizen/ Disabled Owner Property Tax Relief. For that the whole household income must be less than $130,550, I guess you have to OTR call about that one. The third one is the Tax Deferral For Low-Income Senior Property Owners And Low-Income Property Owners. This one has strings, and I don’t trust it, but here’s where you’d find the application. So vote for Mari Inshaw, city wide, she’ll point out stuff you already have. It’s like he’s depending on voters not to know about these programs.

The other things are beyond a newbie (heck even at times an experienced) legislator’s ability. It seems that it depends on the voter believing that the council person can perform magic, such as pulling affordable housing out of a hat.

I say be a troublesome smart voter. Your vote is worth more than empty promises and stuff you already have regifted back to you.

A snowball’s chance in Hell

Okay I’m back from vacation and I gather I and several other bloggers must have gotten email from the campaign of some guy named Richard Urban who is running for the at large seat on the council. Okay he’s a socially conservative white guy running as an independent. In this town. Snowball’s. Chance. In. Hell.

Last thought, never announce you’re going on vacation on blogs or social media sites. That’s almost asking for it. Even though I had an unemployed unpaid intern house sitting while I was gone, I figured it was best not to say anything.

Marion Barry

Marion has mojo, a particular political mojo that allows him to get away with anything. If you could bottle his mojo it would be as valuable as that unobtainium stuff in the movie Avatar. It would make any politician invincible, so they can sleep with anyone, not bother with federal taxes, be sloppy with city funds and be a shoo in around election time. If you could bottle his power, you can rule the world, or Ward 8.

Safeway at RI and 4th NE

Really I should stay of this. But the store that was closed for a short period due to a rat infestation. It is a store at the top of the hill and about 1/4 of a mile from the Giant near the Rhode Island metro station. I’ve been in the Giant a few times. I know people hate it. I’ve been okay with it, but haven’t been in enough times to say if it’s any worse than the O Street Giant. I’ve been in that Safeway once and haven’t felt any deep need to return.
So on the listservs there is this clamoring to keep the Safeway from closing. Harry Thomas has gotten involved. There is some sort of petition for a Harris Teeter.
Okay, someone enlighten me. Someone ‘splain to me how the politicos are supposed to convince a private business to land on top the same old unprofitable rat’s nest? As Safeway said they aren’t making enough money in that spot, how is a Teet supposed to make it work?
Anyway good luck with that, but since a Harris Teeter is slated to open near the NY Ave metro, I don’t see one popping up anytime soon 1 mile away.

No stopping Leroy

Today on ANC 2C02 Kevin Chapple’s blog is a letter announcing that Mr. Leroy Thorpe, who was deposed, dethroned, by Kevin in 2006, is requesting a recount for the 2008 election. I’m not that concerned this year, as the difference is 29 votes, as opposed to 5 votes in 2006.
This is just one thing, but Leroy surprised us back in 2006 with his take over of the ECCA and the invented position of puppet master, I mean Parliamentarian for ANC2C chair Doris Brooks. So any guesses of what else he’ll do besides this? Will he start up a ANC2C centric ‘non-profit’, or his own publication. What will he do next because I don’t think he’ll go quietly.