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Volume 6 Issue 10…Dedicated to the Dialogue on Race…March 14, 2003
Bit of History
Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842)
US Constitution Article IV Section 2 Clause 3: No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.
Although the Privileges and Immunities Clause above recognized that a "Person held to service or labor," a euphemism for slave, may flee, it did not set up a mechanism for returning the master's property. On February 12, 1793, Congress sought to remedy this oversight with the Fugitive Slave Acts, which authorized the arrest or seizure of fugitive slaves and called for a $500 fine to be assessed against those aiding runaways.
In March 1826, Pennsylvania passed a "personal liberty law" that forbade state officials from assisting in the capture and return of slaves. It provided fines and imprisonment for anyone forcefully removing any Negro or mulatto from Pennsylvania, with a design or intention of selling and disposing of, or keeping or detaining, such Negro or mulatto, as a slave or servant for life.
In 1832, Margaret Morgan, the slave for life of Margaret Ashmore, a citizen of Maryland, escaped and fled to Pennsylvania. Edward Prigg, Ashmore's agent and attorney, obtained a warrant from a York County, Pennsylvania justice of the peace to have Morgan arrested as a fugitive. The state constable refused to recognize the case. In violation of Pennsylvania's 1826 law, Prigg took Morgan and her children that had been born in Pennsylvania back to Maryland. Indicted for kidnaping, Prigg pleaded not guilty. The case went to the US Supreme Court for a ruling on the constitutionality of the Pennsylvania statute. Counsel for the state of Maryland defended Prigg.
In Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842), Justice Joseph Story wrote the majority opinion. He ruled states were not obliged to enforce the 1793 federal fugitive slave law. Since this subject was exclusively vested in Congress, states could pass no laws regarding it. Therefore, Pennsylvania's statute was unconstitutional. Under this ruling, state authorities were prohibited from interfering for the purpose of protecting the right of the master and aiding in the recovery of his property.
Writing the minority dissent, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney concurred in declaring Pennsylvania's law unconstitutional. However, he asserted the master, pursuant to the right given to him by the US Constitution, was entitled to take possession of his property, wherever he might find it; and the protection of this right was left altogether to the state authorities.
Morgan's flight to freedom led to the Court's ruling in Prigg v. Pennsylvania. Entry into Pennsylvania by fugitive slaves became the equivalent of manumission and freedom. Runaway slaves founded a number of communities, notably "Freedom Road" in Mercer County, "Africa" in Franklin County, Wilmore in Cambria County, "Hayti" in Chester County, and "Guinea Run" in Bucks County. (Note: Mumia Abu Jamal's essay Another Side of Black History on unsung heroines was a source of inspiration. Information sources include http://vi.uh.edu/pages/alhmat/prigg.html and http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part2/2h62.html.)
Bit of History Homepage
Comments from the Bat Cave
The Dark Knight-Batman/White Ninja/Zorro and his sibling sidekick Boy Wonder- Tychi - can be counted on in these dark days to provide much-needed comic relief. Fresh out of detention for less than satisfactory conduct grades, the Dark One/Ninja/Zorro was heard one sunny afternoon chiding his unruly ally. With authority, he said, "You need to go to school to learn some self-control." Clearly, it was the pot calling the kettle black. Back to Bat Cave
Venue for an Artist
The People's Artist
By John Burl Smith
"I knew from the time I was very young that I wanted to be an artist." These are the words of Elizabeth Catlett, an 87-year-old sculptor and printmaker. Preempted almost fifty years ago, Catlett is recognized as one of the most important black artists of the twentieth century. Ranked with Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence, this ex-patriot rose above American obscurity to find success and acceptance in Mexico. Purposely, reflecting the plight of black and Mexican woman, the artistic value of Catlett's work was suppressed.
Declaring "I make work for my people, not for an elite, and I've paid a price for my commitment," Catlett was blacked-balled during the "red scare" of McCarthyism. Her work with a Mexican artist's collective labeled Catlett a communist in the 1940s. She became a Mexican citizen completing the union with her husband Francisco Mora and their three sons. The US government declared her an undesirable alien and denied her a visa to visit for 10 years. The keynote speaker at the National Conference of Negro Artists in 1961, Catlett called for black artists to create "An essentially American art," that brings about the "full social, political and economic equality of the Negro people in the United States, an authentic national aesthetic expression."
A descendant of North Carolina slaves, Catlett sketched and scribbled, while listening to stories her grandparents told about slavery. She experienced the personal burn the brand her heritage sears when she was refused admission to Carnegie Institute of Technology. "Too bad she's colored." Never fearing fire, Catlett matriculated Howard University and the University of Iowa, becoming the first woman and black to receive a master's in fine arts in 1937. Mentors, like James Vernon Herring, James A. Porter and Grant Wood, urged her to create based on what was most familiar to her.
A Harlem Renaissance artist, Catlett worked with Norman Lewis, Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson and Ralph Ellison. Always a frontline fighter for justice, while art director at Dillard University in New Orleans, she was arrested several times for protesting against segregated buses and public accommodations. As civil rights and black power took center stage, Catlett supported the black arts movement. She captured its spirit with powerful sculptures like Homage to My Young Black Sisters and prints like Malcolm X Speaks for Us, Angela Libre and Target.
I am a Negro Womanis a tribute to domestic and agriculture workers and leaders like Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth. "I know them best. I know what it is to be a mother, sister and lover." At her studio in Cuernavaca, Mexico, Catlett tells young people, "I think collective thought is always better than individualism. I have always wanted my art to reflect us, to relate to us, to stimulate us, to make us aware of our potential. We have to create an art for liberation and life." Venue for an Artist Homepage and other Essays by John Burl Smith
Academic and Athletic Admissions at UGA
On Monday, University of Georgia (UGA) President Michael Adams and Athletic Director Vince Dooley announced the suspension of UGA basketball coach James Harrick, Sr. They also announced the end of season for the basketball team, which has been pulled out of the SEC and NCAA post-season competition.
Blacks in Georgia comprise more than 30% of the state's population. Since ending its affirmative action program, black enrollment at Georgia's flagship university has declined from 6% in 2000 to 5.4% in 2002. While UGA's 'rigorous' academic requirements are problematic in the recruitment of blacks seeking a higher education, star athletes easily gain admissions.
According to former UGA basketball player Tony Cole, fictitious academic credentials can be concocted to pave the way for an athlete's admission into the school. From money to pay bills and purchase luxury items in violation of NCAA rules to grades for classes never attended, nothing is off limits in getting and keeping good athletes. Sadly, these young people do not get an education, which is supposed to be the principal purpose of institutions of higher learning. Recruited to make UGA money, athletes are admitted, while serious students are turned away.
Hood Notes Homepage
Disgruntled says:Children imitate adults, which is all the more reason for a civilized society to avoid aggressive behaviors. Students protesting against war are probably walking in their parent's footsteps. Likewise, those that drive cars recklessly fast and like to shoot guns are imitating their parents or some other adult role model. In the hands of children, fast cars and guns quickly become weapons of mass destruction. Georgia highways are frequently the scenes of carnage as young people in fancy cars imitate NASCAR drivers.
Disgruntled feels:Scripted! Recipient of a media bye, George Bush held a rare recital for public consumption. A press conference it was not. No one clamored to ask the definitive question; Bush followed his dance card; he said it was scripted. His trademark sound bytes were repeated ad nauseam. Like paste, his quirky smirk held steadfast throughout the war dance. Surreal, the press did not complain about being restricted and scripted!
Disgruntled wants to know:The February US unemployment rate rose from 5.7 to 5.8 %. This increase was due solely to the rise in black unemployment from 10.3 to 10.5 percent. White and Hispanic unemployment actually declined from 5.1 to 5.0% and 7.8 to 7.7%, respectively. Given that the jobs that were lost were those at the lowest end of the pay scale, doesn't it then logically follows that average hourly earnings would rise? More Disgruntled Moments
By John Burl Smith
George Bush's doctrine of preemption is a schizoid double bind. A borderline phobia, first, by definition, preemption presupposes that the future is set and invariant. It implies human behavior is the results of the nature of people, which cannot be changed. If one is a drug addict, alcoholic, murderer, liar or dictator, they will be that until they die. Considering people like Saddam Hussein, they will never change. The only choice is to swipe them off the face of the Earth. They cannot be educated, motivated or intimidated into altering the acts Bush believes they will commit. Their death is the only hope of averting destruction at their hands.
Conversely, when it comes to preemption, Bush believes that by wiping out people the future is no longer immutable. Having it both ways, through preemption, Bush changes the situations in order to change the future. Bush's preemption doctrine makes people irrelevant to the changes he desires. According to Bush's logic, changing the future is good if he acts to prevent what he assumes is going on in someone's mind. The problem is the world will never know whether that person would have acted as Bush suspected and predicted. Preempting future possibilities by acting in the present assumes the future is set and we know what that future will be.
This belief or doctrine is called nativism or determinism. A conservative philosophy, it is based the idea that neither circumstances nor the intervention of time can change one's nature. Adherents believe God ordained a particular order and sequence of life and men have no power to change God's will. Moreover, God established men at the top of this order and as such gave white men dominion over all. This ordained structure makes Christians the masters of this oligarchy. Therefore, the rest of humanity must accept they are the products of inferior genes. They should be grateful to serve as alter boys for their betters.
Bush's preemption denies any possibility that environmental influences will change human behavior. However, belief in Christ means accepting that all humans have the ability to change. Educated people accept the notion humans are learning creatures. As such, they use information acquired from the environment to adapt their actions to accommodate survival clues. Receiving information, synthesizing knowledge, testing hypothesizes and evaluating results are functions of the brain and/or mind.
If God is responsible for humanity's existence, then with the brains he gave us, along with intuition, curiosity, imagination, innovation and creativity, we can change our behavior and the circumstances of our lives. Bush acknowledges the possibility of change through preemption, but believes change through redemption is a trick. Totally schizophrenic! Essays by John Burl Smith
News You Use
More Help Wanted!
By Doug Springs
Fifty (50) plus black city employees, with help from the NAACP, went to the Cincinnati City Council to discuss ways to promote the city and decrease racial discrimination complaints. The city council passed some laws that were supposed to afford blacks better protection. It is not working! We are still being openly discriminated against. And, very few people want to even talk about this, both black and white. That is one of the reasons it is so easy to discriminate against us.
Please pass the word! The NAACP was willing to REVISIT the issues of black city workers being racially discriminated against in the year 2000. Now, three (3) years later, we are still facing the same or similar racial problems. We need your help. Please call the NAACP at 513-281-1900 and tell them that you support REVISITING the black city employees' issues. Also, any current or former black city employee can call in a complaint to NAACP. Thanks for your support! More News You Use
A sucker is candy on a stick. It is a naive person easily manipulated. History shows Americans are suckers for government propaganda. Successive US presidents beat the war drums claiming military force is necessary "in the name of humanity, in the name of civilization or in behalf of endangered American interests." Americans respond by turning unthinkingly 'patriotic.'
"Remember the Maine?" It was the rallying cry for war against Spain. Americans believed Spain had sunk the Battleship Maine in Cuban waters. Congress authorized the Spanish-American War, which lasted from April to August (1898), based on a lie. Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution based on the fictitious event to authorize the bloody Vietnam War. During the Reagan-Bush Administration, government officials lied to Congress and the US public about the sale of arms to Iran to finance an illegal conflict in Central America.
In the first Gulf War, the US lied to Saudi Arabia to get access to Saudi territory to stage attacks against Iraq. The Kurds were tricked into believing the US would provide assistance, if they rebelled against Saddam Hussein. As US troops withdrew from the region, Kurds were slaughtered. The Afghan Northern Alliance was fed similar lies and left to the tender mercies of the Russians. After 9-11, the Alliance's services were enlisted to overthrow the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. The US-backed regime is only concerned with the oil pipeline.
Today, many Americans believe Saddam Hussein orchestrated the 9-11 attacks. The US government hinted at it and the media made it reality. Colin Powell's presentation before the UN reinforced it. Powell's evidence has been dissected in the foreign press and shown to contain enough falsehoods to shake a monk's faith. US media talking heads have hailed it as all the proof needed to justify military intervention in Iraq.
But, the most recent lie could well be the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. According to Asian Times (www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/DJ30Df01.html), the al-Qaeda mastermind died in a 2002 shootout. More disturbing, witnesses to the raid in which he was supposedly captured on March 1, 2003 say it never happened. Reports in The Guardian and Independent News raise questions about US claims to the contrary. Suckers for government propaganda, Americans have swallowed this latest lie hook, line and sinker. Phantom Scribbler Homepage
Mailbox: E-Mails, Faxes & Phone Calls
Email email@example.com Since WWII, a cornerstone of US policy has been control of Middle East energy resources- the greatest geopolitical prize in the modern world. Control, not just access, was what all US administrations demanded, Republican and Democrat. Control of those resources gave the US control of its principal economic competitors-- a German-led Europe and a Japan-led East Asia. The US has never required Middle East oil-- its energy requirements could be filled from national sources. But Germany imports 80% of its energy resources, and Japan, 100%. Who controls world oil, controls the life-line of the modern world." [Carl Estabrook, "Israel and the US War on Iraq" - CounterPunch - (2-26-03)]
Email firstname.lastname@example.org: Committee for Economic Development (CED) claims: "Deficits matter -- they lead to less investment, less productivity and a lower future standard of living." In favor of short-term stimulus that doesn't result in bigger long-term deficits, the CED rejects Bush's tax cut. They point to the strain on Social Security, Medicare and private health and retirement systems beginning in 2008 as baby boomers retire. The workforce will not grow in proportion to the rise in retirees. Spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will skyrocket, while revenues will remain stable. This means bigger deficits - without Bush's new round of tax cuts or war in Iraq. See the article at http://www.junction-city.com/dailyfeed/.
Email email@example.com The UN has begun a top-level investigation into the bugging of its delegations by the US; it was first revealed in The Observer last week.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org Bush is only what his advisors pump into him - whether it be lies, drugs, unwarranted flattery, weird religious notions. He thinks he is a king who has been appointed by God to do the bidding of Jesus Christ. This is called the god-king concept and it is as ancient as the race is ancient. And, it is as common as a can off peas.
Email email@example.com A father and son bought T-Shirts at a store in a New York mall! The shirts said "Peace On Earth" and "Give Peace A Chance." The mall cops demanded that the father age 61 and son age 31 remove their T-Shirts!!! The son took his off, but the father did not feel comfortable stripping in the front of all the shoppers, so the cops handcuffed and arrested him! A nightmare, the USA is now a Facist Empire ruled by Insane Maniac Sociopathic Criminals! More Mailbox
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