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“Business in the Black: The rise of Black business in America, 1800s-1960s” is a documentary. Finally there’s a film that looks at the achievements of African Americans in the arena of business starting with slavery times. This film is special because little is said about the accomplishments of slaves and African Americans in the area of business. "Business in the Black" is showing in San Francisco at Safehouse Arts Center, Saturday, March 10, 7 p.m. reception, film at 7:30 p.m., admission $10, tickets available on Eventbrite.
On March 25, 1931, at the age of 69, Ida B. Wells-Barnett joined the ancestors, leaving an incredible legacy of courage, sacrifice, dedication and activism. Given the harsh, dangerous conditions of the post-Civil War context in which she struggled, her accomplishments were truly amazing. She was surely one of the 20th century’s most remarkable women. Long live the spirit of Ida B. Wells-Barnett.
I have been in the system over 30 years and was in the system when Yogi and George Jackson and the rest were all in the Adjustment Center, and the guards and George were killed in 1971. An entire generation has come and gone since then. Very few in the system today even know who they are. Nor do they know how bad conditions were back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, especially for Black and Brown people both in the system and out in the streets.
Black August adds another hero and martyr to the roll. By some accounts, it was his first day on the yard after 46 years in solitary confinement when Hugo “Yogi” Pinell was assassinated Aug. 12. Prison guards celebrated on social media: “May he rot in hell” and “Good riddens” (sic), they typed. Yogi was the only member of the San Quentin 6 still in prison, and his role in the events of Aug. 21, 1971, the day George Jackson was assassinated, has earned the guards’ incessant enmity ever since.
As more and more white unions gained entrance into the AFL, more and more Negroes lost jobs and the opportunity to enter others. Astute observers of the time noted that Negroes were being excluded from occupations which they once held under slavery, that Negroes were being segregated into separate locals in trades where whites and Blacks formerly worked side by side, and that the economic plight of the Black was growing worse while unionism advanced.
Life is like a game of chess and checkers. Many of us play checkers. And many of us think we’re playing chess, but, in practice, we’re actually playing checkers. So it should be of no surprise to any of you when I say, most poor people play checkers, prisoners in particular. Now what does this analogy imply? Most people make decisions in life without thinking ahead or assessing the ramifications of their decisions, especially prisoners!
The Scottsboro Boys have been vindicated, but there are many more waiting in the wings – waiting for justice. It is often said that justice delayed is justice denied. Many years have passed in so many unresolved civil rights crimes and injustices. And if no one is prepared to step up and pursue these cases, we must wonder if justice will ever come.
Oakland may seem like a local anomaly with its big increase in homicides in 2011-12 and the anti-crime hysteria which now engulfs it. But Oakland is just a prime example of the intertwining of crime and criminalization under capitalism, in which the ruling class divides working people one from another and targets particular groups for victimization.
In 1989 the California Department of Corrections opened Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP). Their primary stated reason for its construction was to reduce prison violence by isolating “alleged” gang leaders and members, but contrary to their stated purpose, prison violence has both rapidly and dramatically increased. California prisons are more violent now than before the opening of Pelican Bay.