Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"A Nation Under Our Feet" Highlights Black Political Struggles

book cover of "A Nation Under Our Feet" by HahnReview of A Nation Under Our Feet 

Have you ever read this one? A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration by Steven Hahn (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2005) won the Pulitzer Prize in history when it was published, and deservedly so. It chronicles the various, long, difficult struggles for political, social, and economic equality for blacks in the rural South. One interesting finding is that slave associations (kinship, work, religion) were very strong, and plantation life was the beginning of black political movement. Recommended.

Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth Passes

Shuttlesworth, one of the leaders of the civil rights movement, has passed at 89. Shuttlesworth is one of the figures in the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta. King once called Shuttlesworth "the most courageous civil rights fighter in the South." Shuttlesworth organized two weeks of daily demonstrations by black children, students, clergymen, and others against segregated Alabama. After much struggle, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed, after the historic Alabama marches that year from Selma to Montgomery, which Mr. Shuttlesworth also helped organize. Read the October 5, 2011 New York Times article.

New Approach to Getting Homeless Off the Streets Is Working

At the Safe Havens in New York City, which started in 2007, nonprofit groups help homeless adults find permanent homes with adjacent social services. The City said it had been able to lure them off the streets by opening smaller and more welcoming shelters, averaging 40 beds. The City's Department of Homeless Services has also contracted with one nonprofit group in each borough to scour the streets around the clock, seven days a week, and persuade homeless people to move inside. The number of single, homeless people in the borough has fallen 80% since 2005, according to a City estimate. Read the October 17, 2011 New York Times article.

Indian Legal Leader Passes

Elouise Cobell - whose Indian name was Yellow Bird Woman and who was a great-granddaughter of a renowned tribal leader, Mountain Chief - was a heroine to American Indians for winning a 15-year legal battle on June 20, 2011 so the federal government has agreed to pay $3.4 billion in compensation for mismanagement of Indian trust funds since the late 1800s. She was 65 and lived on the Blackfeet reservation near Browning, Montana. Cobell was the lead plaintiff in Cobell v. Salazar, one of the largest and most complicated class-action lawsuits ever brought against the U. S. Over 300,000 members of many tribes will receive payments under the settlement. Read the October 17, 2011 New York Times obit.