Bayard Rustin: One of the Tallest Trees in Our Forest

bayard rustin

Rev. Irene Monroe: During the Civil Rights movement, Bayard Rustin was always the man behind the scene, and a large part of that had to due with the fact that he was gay.

Most Read Led by Sharon Kyle’s Take on “The Help”

the help cast

LA Progressive’s Publisher, Sharon Kyle, had a big week this week, placing two articles in the top 10 most read articles: “Why “The Help” Is Little Help” and “Black History Month, Who Needs It?”

Reflections on Black History Month

march on washington

Carol Lutness: This is not just a struggle for the African American. It is a struggle for all but the very few. Never was there a greater crisis than we all face now economically, politically and environmentally.

What Good Is Black History Month?

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Sharon Kyle: I have this gnawing sense that with the exception of official national holidays, the only time our nation honors people with a special day or month is when they are members of an exploited group.

A Mother and Son Talk About Race in America

mother and son holding hands

Mom: Why do you think Martin Luther King made all those speeches? He would have accomplished nothing by not talking about race and the situation they were in. Son: Because 50 some-odd years ago the issue was awareness. Mom: The issue is still awareness, trust me.

America: The World’s Greatest Purveyor of Violence Today

american gun violence

February is Black History Month, and a perfect time to reflect on the nonviolence and antiwar stance of Dr. Martin Luther King. Recently, my colleague, Mark Thompson, reminded me of an important Dr. King quote when I appeared on his radio show to discuss the Tucson shooting. It was a speech the slain civil rights [...]

Vodou’s Acceptance of Gays

Erzulie Dantor

Rev. Irene Monroe: Misconstrued by racist images, of zombies rising from graves, jungle drums, orgiastic ceremonies ritualizing malevolent powers of black magic, and engaging in cannibalism, by today’s popular culture images courtesy of Hollywood’s and New Orleans’ tourism industries, Vodou is a persecuted religion.

Honoring Black Women’s Roles in Our Health

Janette Robinson Flint: Black Women for Wellness is delighted with the inclusion of Harriet Tubman as she is a leading icon of the Civil War and with African American history but also because it offers an opportunity to add dimension her life and work.

The Other Down Low: Sagging

Gardena Councilman Steve Bradford and Carson Councilman Mike Gipson

Jasmyne Cannick: Don’t expect an end to sagging by Black men in or out of prison coming anytime soon. Heavily influenced by mass media, what started off as a signal for other prisoners that one was gay, is now a part of pop culture.

Womanist and Saying Who We Are

Pat Parker

Rev. Irene Monroe: The secular use of “womanist” is by African-American women who have either left the Black Church because of its gender bias and homophobia, or who do not come from the Black Church religious experience. These women use the term to identify a culturally specific form of women-centered politics and theory.

21st Century Racism on UC San Diego’s Campus

Noose

Anthony Samad: For the past five weeks, one of the ugliest episodes of racism in recent years (before the Tea Partiers started spittin’ on people and calling Congress people “Nig**rs” and “Fag**ts” at the Congressional health care vote last weekend) has been playing out on a campus of one of the nation’s largest publicly funded university systems.

Women’s History and a Woman’s Subtle Power

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Catherine Allgor: The Obama presidency has given rise to much soul-searching about who we are as a nation and how we should behave toward each other, within our borders and around the world. Perhaps this is the time we should consider the alternatives Dolley Madison offered us at the dawn of the national experiment. In the early days of the nation, few of Dolley’s contemporaries could resist her invitations. At this particular turning point in our modern nationhood, neither should we.

Asian Americans: Whose Side Are You On?

Mari Matsuda

John Delloro: Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) response to the racial incident at UCSD may foreshadow the fate of race and racism in this nation.

Mau Mau, Marx and Coca Cola: 18th Annual Pan African Film & Arts Festival

Nate Parker (who played a leading role in The Great Debators) alongside actress Lela Rochon (Waiting to Exhale), and Dr. Ben Chavis, Co-Founder, President of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN).

Ed Rampell: Probably the most controversial film screened this year at PAFF was the Australian doc Stolen, which, according to co-director Daniel Fallshaw, started out as a documentary about the plight of people in refugee camps as a result of the West Sahara liberation movement against Morocco led by the Polisario. But, he said, in the process of filming Fallshaw and co-director Violeta Ayala purportedly stumbled upon something quite unsettling: the existence of slavery in these resettlement centers, with some Blacks owned by Arabs in the camps.

The New Jim Crow

Michelle-Alexander

Michelle Alexander: The clock has been turned back on racial progress in America, though scarcely anyone seems to notice. All eyes are fixed on people like Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey who have defied the odds and achieved great power, wealth and fame.

Black and Queer in Nazi Germany

Valaida Snow

Rev. Irene Monroe: While in pre-Hitler Germany all-female orchestras were de rigeur in many avant-garde entertainment clubs, these homosocial all-women’s bands created tremendous outrage during Hitler’s regime. Snow was sent to a concentration camp not only because she was black and in the wrong place at the wrong time, but also because of her “friendships” with German women musicians, implying lesbianism.

Honoring Notorious Gladys Bentley

Bentley Bently

Rev. Irene Monroe: A talented pianist and blues singer, and one of the most notorious and successful entertainers during the Harlem Renaissance, Bentley cultivated a large LGBTQ following up until the 1950s. As an African-American woman whose success derived from her raunchy and salacious lyrics to popular tunes, Bentley not only openly sang about sex, but she also openly lived and celebrated her sexual orientation as an out lesbian.

Do We Still Need to Celebrate Black History Month?

Greensboro sit-in: Ezell Blair Jr., Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil and David Richmond

Rev. Irene Monroe: Within the African- American LGBTQ community, Black History Month has always come under criticism. And rightly so! The absence of LGBTQ people of African descent in the month-long celebration is evidence of how race, gender and sexual politics of the dominant culture are reinscribed in black culture as well.

Who Won the Civil War? Organizations Refuse to Defend Farley

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As we celebrate the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the inauguration of America’s first black president, and Black History Month, it’s worth pondering the question, “Who won the Civil War?” On November 20, 2002, I wrote in a Nashville [...]

Jackie Robinson’s Mandate – Black History Month in Pasadena

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A life can be a work of art, but like art, there are  standards to meet before it can be classified as “art”. A life that is a “work of art” has to do something pretty spectacular, like advance the human race or something equally valuable. The life of Pasadena’s own Jackie Robinson, was a [...]

Black History and the Progression of the Black Community

bethune1

Candidly speaking, the need for a black history month would not exist if the American halls of academe did not use systematic exploitation (past and present) to minimize exposure to African-American history. The city school systems, colleges, universities, and the media are by-products of Eurocentric educational philosophies. These systems were designed to teach African-Americans to [...]

Pentagon Targets African-American and Hispanic Kids to Fight Its Wars: Third in a Three-Part Series

blacksoldiers

by Sherwood Ross – If African-Americans are overrepresented in the armed forces it is likely because of the military’s practice of “strategically targeting low-income youth and students of color,” the ACLU has found. Result: While African-Americans make up only 16% of the same-age civilian population, in 2006 they represented about 22% of enlisted Army personnel.

Ode to the Mac Man

One of the funniest comedians I ever heard in my life, Bernie Mac, died this past weekend. He was 50 years old. Overcoming life’s challenges is often not considered funny material. Black life in America is often recalled as sad but true. Bernie Mac had a way of relating our experiences in a way that [...]

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