By Gayatri Patnaik and Christian Coleman | In her compelling Boston Globe article “Celebrating Black History Month as Black History Is Being Erased,” Renée Graham writes that Black History Month this year has a specific purpose and burden, “and that burden is not for Black people to bear alone.” The challenge, Graham notes, “is to save this crucial American history from being eroded book by book, law by law, and state by state.” We couldn’t agree more.
By Solomon Jones | The first time I heard Geneva Reed-Veal speak of her late daughter, she did so with the passion of a preacher. Her voice rose and fell with righteous indignation and when she paused, I was anxious to hear more. Sandra Bland’s mother is a force to be reckoned with, and when I interviewed her for my radio program in 2016, she told me that her daughter was too. Sandra had shown as much while asserting her rights during her traffic stop arrest, and even through the pain of recalling what it was like to see that, Geneva made room for pride.
By Solomon Jones | The pain of that night was still fresh in Tracy’s mind when I interviewed him in 2015, three years after George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon. Tracy also remembered the good times he’d shared with his son, and he freely shared all he could recall. Tracy, a truck driver who grew up in the impoverished city of East St. Louis before moving to Miami in his early twenties, lit up when he talked about Trayvon.
What a difference a year makes. Book banning is back—and it’s on steroids. Is it a coincidence that it’s all the rave—more like rage—during Black History Month? The pearl-clutchers have assembled and are targeting not only books dealing with sex and gender but also books featuring Black themes and US history. It’s a predictable flex. A tired flex.
A Q&A with Solomon Jones | One of the things I realized in working against racism in policing is that Frederick Douglass was right when he said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” You simply can’t have an effective movement without very specific demands. If you don’t know exactly what you want and you can’t articulate it clearly, the power structure decides for itself what it is willing to give, and that often turns out to be nothing.