Ghost of Mississippi: The Hyde-Smith, Espy race


Above photo caption.  Phil Carlos Wilson took this photo of Claudia Bivins wearing the flag.  "As I laid the rebel flag down across Vernon's grave, I told my grandson what it represents -- our hope that racism and hatred would die," Bivins said. "That it would be killed at the root of our hearts, minds and souls."

Click HERE to read more about Bivins tribute to Vernon Dahmer


Ballot Box – Election – MISSISSIPPI, USA

The final tally is pending official certification but this past Tuesday Republican candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith beat her opponent, Democratic candidate Mike Espy: 473,109 to 404,640.  While a victory is a victory the margin is yet another warning bell for the GOP (Grand Old Party) and President Donald Trump’s waning popularity.

People protest and march against US President Donald Trump’s alleged interference in Robert Mueller’s investigation in New York City on November 8, 2018. – President Donald Trump was accused on November 8, 2018, of pushing America toward a constitutional crisis after his firing of the attorney general cast doubt over the future of an explosive probe into election collusion with Russian agents. (BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

In a state where voting is polarized among ethnic and party lines, in a normal environment voting experts felt the race should not have been close.  Even though Hyde-Park will remain in Washington, DC as Mississippi’s second Senator, she was not viewed as a strong candidate.  In the run-off with Espy two blunders cost her more than a few votes that reminded people of Mississippi’s past.  Many voters voiced consternation about having to vote for Hyde-Smith but felt their loyalty to the GOP was more important to the state’s legacy.

Vestiges of Slavery

For some slavery is a thing of the past.  Not every White person owned slaves and not every African-American was a slave, although a good many were.  Fast forward to 2018, data shows our society is more congenial than ever.  However, there is still an attitude that persist with many Whites that African-American’s can never be their equal.   It will be denied but simply look at the social fabric of the United States and inequality remains a persistent thorn in our image.  That attitude is a direct result of the legacy of slavery and racism where one race was dominant over the others.

 

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”  Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th President

 

Segregation Academies

Brown v Board of Education was a landmark case in a pivotal time for the United States.  Shortly after the Supreme Court ruling public schools across the nation were ordered to end the practice of segregating students based on race.

 

While some accepted the ruling as the “law of the land” there were just a many who resisted.  The resistance came in many forms and the basis was race.  Many Whites who were part of that population didn’t necessarily define themselves as racist but through their ancestral inheritance they could never fathom direct association with African-Americans, let alone attend the same school with them.

 

Year after year, resistance took many forms.  Across the nation and specifically in Mississippi leaders developed a plan to thwart the ruling.  Rather than open their schools to all ethnicities they abandoned them and set-up private schools known as segregation academies.  The result was the assurance those with financial resources could opt out of public education and not have to attend classes with non-Whites.

 

In 1975, Cindy Hyde-Smith was a minor and she attended Lawrence Academy, which was a segregated academy founded in 1970.  More than likely the decision was made by her parents.  It’s one thing to aspire for a quality education but it is another to do so while minimizing your socialization with other groups?  Apparently Hyde-Smith enjoyed her school experience because to maintain the tradition, as an adult she enrolled her daughter in the same environment.

 

Creatures of habit

 

Some may think what is the big deal of wanting to attend a school with people like you?  The problem arises when you claim to want to represent a state made up of all types of people.   One’s socialization is in the spotlight of how you communicate with others.  In Hyde-Smith’s case, her past sheds light of some of her comments during the campaign where she appears to favor one group over the other, while claiming to be the representative for all!

 

The Ghost

Many Mississippians acknowledge their past history.  Since its opening in December 2017,  the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum has become a destination for locals and visitors to the state.  It showcases the resilience of the African-American experience in Mississippi but it also puts a spotlight on the injustices they had to deal with.  Part of the exhibit is the state’s history of lynching.

 

People from all walks of life make comments which may be viewed as racially insensitive.  Certain topics are taboo or better left unspoken.  One of those topics is any mention of lynching’s.  It conjures up all types of negative feelings and emotions.  For African-Americans who were oftentimes the victims, especially in Mississippi one would assume any comments would be held privately, let alone those who hold public office.

Hyde-Smith attempted to minimize her comment about lynching, instead employing the typical strategy of blaming those who brought her remarks up, as having some ulterior motive against her, instead of simply accepting the fact the remarks came out of her mouth?

 

The lynching comment and the fact of her likeness to segregated schools give pause to her mandate of successfully and equally represented all who claim Mississippi as their home state.

 

More perplexing is Hyde-Smith’s comments during the run-off debate on November 21st

 

 “WE HAVE TO DEFEND OUR CONSERVATIVE VALUES. WE HAVE TO DEFEND OUR SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS. WE HAVE TO DEFEND THE UNBORN CHILDREN IN MISSISSIPPI. I’M THE CANDIDATE THAT CARES. I’M THE CANDIDATE THAT HAS BEEN THERE SIX. I’M THE CANDIDATE THAT DONALD J. TRUMP HAS SAID WE NEED YOU BACK.  Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, Nov. 21st.

 

Mississippi acknowledges its past racial history.  Indeed, through the years it has made progress.  Hyde-Smith’s challenge will be her allegiance to all Mississippians, not just those who espouse the Conservative values she emits.  She also must reconcile her attitude for using lynching as a reference to someone she has affinity for.  Then, she must use her power to deal with the education schism the state is known for and one which her parents and she perpetuated by being active participants.

 

In the meantime, those who voted now can take a break and ponder if they are willing to adjust their own racial bias.

Special Report – THE DEVALUATION OF ASSETS IN BLACK NEIGHBORHOODS


Above photo The Brookings Institute is an independent, nonprofit organization that analyzes public policies and publishes its findings in relation to scholarship and public policy. (Photo by © Shepard Sherbell/CORBIS SABA/Corbis via Getty Images)

[Washington, DC]  This special report is provided courtesy of the Brookings Institute and explores the case of residential properties.

Presented by the following authors:

  • Andre Perry
  • Jonathan Rothwell
  • David Harshbarger

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE

2018.11_Brookings-Metro_Devaluation-Assets-Black-Neighborhoods_final

Conforming Loan Limits increased


above photo Mel Watt, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), from left, Jerome Powell, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Treasury secretary, and Jay Clayton, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), listen during a Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) meeting at the U.S. Treasury in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. Powell said at the meeting he is worried about a spillover from hard Brexit, but stocks and Treasuries showed little reaction. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

 

Today, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced conforming loan limits would increase from $453,100 to $484,350.  For higher cost areas (see map below) the new limit will be $726,525.  FHFA was created as the umbrella agency for the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac).

Fannie Mae Headquarters, Washington, DC (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Freddie Mac Headquarters, McLean, VA (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

They purchase home loans from a network of lenders across the nation.  The lenders originate the loans from consumers who are seeking to finance their home purchase or to refinance their existing mortgage.  The lenders also work with mortgage brokers, credit unions and other organizations who have direct contact with consumers.

Once the loans are funded, they are packaged and sent to respective investors (i.e., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) and sold as securities, which are backed or collateralized from the property.

 

The Impact

Nationally the average loan amount is $229,000.  The new guidelines take effect for mortgages that originate starting January 1, 2019.  The increase will help those who see home prices continue to rise.

Conforming loans are those where the loan amount is $484,350 OR LESS.  Any loan amount in excess of that loan is defined as a “Non-Conforming” loan.  For borrowers the impact is typically ½ point or 50 basis points on the interest rate.

 

As an example based on current limits

Loan Amount Rate Payment Mo. Difference
$453,100.00 4.81% $1,816.00 -$188.00
$453,101.00 5.31% $2,004.00

The bottom line difference could be approximately $190 each month.  So, while the monthly payment is crucial, the move also provides those with higher loan amounts an additional $31,250 to deal higher prices, while being able to obtain more affordable interest rates.

 

Mid Terms: Still Lots of Votes to Count!


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The mid-term election was on November 6, 2018.  Nearly five days later there are still many votes left that need to be counted or in the words of Democratic Nominee for Governor of Florida, Andrew Gilliam, “we must ensure every vote cast is properly recorded.

Higher turnout

Although interest in this year’s mid-terms was historic, turnout came in at approximately 50%, which is higher than normal but embarrassingly low for a nation that prides itself on democracy.  Many countries, even some which the United States mocks has turnout at 75-90 percent, far greater than the U.S.

 

The large numbers of votes yet to be counted is another issue.  No doubt millions were properly recorded but due to advances in the election process vote-by-mail and provisional ballots has increased year after year.

Too close to call

A greater concern regarding counting the outstanding balance is the large number of races which are considered, “too close to call.”  That number increased drastically during this cycle.  Some point to the interest as a response to Donald Trump’s antics.  Whatever the reason, democracy works best when more people take the time to vote.

 

As of latest report California has a little over 4 MILLION VOTES TO COUNT.

CLICK HERE

Los Angeles County has approximately 350,000

Mid-Term Postscript: Trump v “Low-IQ” Waters


Now that the much talked-about mid-term elections have come and gone, many who took time to engage can get back to their daily routine.

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

 

A part of Donald Trump’s political ascendance was his ability to target his opponents and mock them in a way to make them irrelevant or plucking away any political favorability they had.

 

It’s the House fool

 

As the mid-terms came many political pontificator’s were nervous in wiping Trump’s success off the table or declaring many of his missteps were self-inflicted.  After all his rallies were huge hits, packed to the brim with supporters?  Many assumed his magic would last forever and that he was untouchable?  A good many more bought into the notion of his celebrity and the new-found Republican party he had developed.  The economy was booming.  Tax cuts were rolling in.  The wall would be built, absent of any money from Mexico.   Ending his second year as president, Trump was feeling a bit giddy.  His tone was who in their right mind would vote against what was achieved?

 

The IQ Factor

From “low-energy Jeb” to “lyin’ Ted Cruz” to “dishonest Hillary” on and on, Trump had created a line that many supporters came to adore which was about the House of Representative from the 43rd district of California named Maxine Waters.  He declaredly labeled her as “Low IQ” Maxine.”  The name stuck with his supporters and he took glee and great pleasure in admonishing her.  The fact he has created a history of marginalizing or mocking those who are non-white, intimating them as lazy, stupid, criminalistic or other negative attributes was not seen as racist behavior.  To his supporters he was simply telling it like it is!!! And, after all he was making their lives better, not to mention giving them their country back?

 

The result of losing the house

 

For two years Trump and his administration has held the wild card of controlling all three branches of the government.  Yesterday, they received a public rebuke as they lost the House of Representatives.  While some will dismiss this fact, it is critical and may provide a glimpse of what Trump and his supporters must deal with.  The win provides the Democratic party with the coveted power of being transformed into chairs of the many committees.  It also provides them with power of the subpoena.

Attendees react as election results are displayed on a screen during an election night rally for State Senator Jennifer Wexton, a Democrat from Virginia and U.S. Representative candidate, in Dulles, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. Wexton defeated two-term Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock, ousting a Republican in a northern Virginia district that was arguably the top target for Democrats in their effort to take back the House majority, according to projections from NBC and CNN. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

 

One chair swap that will take place in January 2019 is the Financial Services Committee.  Despite Trump labeling her as a “low IQ” individual, Maxine Waters is in line to be selected as chair.  Those who know her define her not by an IQ issue but brilliant in being an advocate against the powerful, specifically personalities such as Trump.  They applaud her resilience and track record of getting the job done.  Whatever motivated Trump from creating the moniker he assigned her, he may come to regret it as she becomes laser focused on all of his alleged corruption and mis-dealings, including releasing to the public his long-promised tax returns.

Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Some will dismiss her strategy as “what’s the big deal?”  They may be blind of not understanding what transparency is all about?  Or, perhaps like some have stated, they may fear the exposure of his financial entanglements which perhaps could be a reason of his behavior, not necessarily just the Mueller special investigation?   In the meantime, yes, the economy is moving and consumer confidence is up but the core reality is many view the president as untrustworthy and the likes of Waters and others in the house now have the ability to put a spotlight of what they have been prevented from uncovering or at least obtaining an honest answer for the people they represent.

 

The Trump and Waters soliloquy will be an interesting dance.  One might assume Trump felt he would never lose the house to allow Waters to be unleashed?  The voters decided that reality.


BEFORE WE GO…..ICYMI

Many of you recall the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin?  The again, some of you are aware of the Women’s Movement which mushroomed the day after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president?  But how many remember the killing of Jordan Davis who was gunned down by Michael Dunn in Jacksonville, FL?  Unlike George Zimmerman the killer of Martin who was found not guilty, Michael Dunn was found guilty of Davis’ death and is now in prison.  Like the parents of so many who have been found their plight by the end of a gun, Davis’ mother found the energy to raise her voice and become a political voice.  

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Yesterday, Lucy McBath was one of those women who threw their hat in the political ring and won their election (although the results are within the range of an automatic  recount).  If she is ultimately successful, her victory is a sign of how democracy works – at the local level.

Lucy McBath declares victory in Georgia’s 6th District race  

The race was too close to call Tuesday night 

 

My review:  Los Angeles Freedom Rally, 1963


cover photo.  courtesy of CAAM and Harry Adams collection

Exhibit handout. Courtesy of CAAM

The United States civil rights movement escalated with the 1955 murder of young Emmett Till.  It was during that time the Rev., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. became the leader.  Fast forward to 1963 as the iconic March on Washington earned its place in the annals of world history.  Through that event Dr. King’s reputation became cemented as he displayed his oratorical gift.

 

 

 

May 26, 1963

As great as the March on Washington was you must go back to May 26, 1963 to understand a cornerstone of how a rally in Los Angeles generated the success it did.  Through the California African-American Museum (CAAM), historians and curators Tyree Boyd-Pates and Taylor Bythewood-Porter have created a “must-see” exhibit that underscores the little-known fact of how it was a critical complement to the March on Washington and why that date has historical significance.

Wrigley Field, Los Angeles

Titled, “Los Angeles Freedom Rally, 1963 “the exhibit highlights how Dr. King came to Wrigley Field in Los Angeles and stirred the crowd of 35,000 who came to hear him share why the movement needed their support.  1963 was a critical year.  In Birmingham, AL Safety Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor had unleashed a direct assault against the movement.  Peaceful protestor’s were being locked up and given unreasonable bail amounts.  Contrary to history, some have accepted the notion about Dr. King not being willing to go the jail?  However, the facts are much different as it was agreed Dr. King could do more out of jail, than in jail.  Thus, his time was spent traveling to various cities to raise funds needed to combat the malicious bail amounts rendered by the likes of Connor.  It was that reason Los Angeles was a target for him to visit and make an appeal.  The residents of Los Angeles responded and the rest is history as their support helped fuel the issue of providing money to get folk out of jail, and also helped undergird the funding needed for the eventual March on Washington.

Boyd-Pates and Bythewood-Porter have assembled a must-see exhibit.  It runs through runs until March 3, 2019.  Click BELOW to obtain the handout

lamarch1963

 


Group photo of those who attended presentation. Photo courtesy of Tyree Boyd-Pates and Taylor Bythewood-Porter

To listen to the full speech CLICK HERE

 


 

Positive Jobs Report.  Can that save Trump from being snakebit?


Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its jobs report which surpassed expectations.  250,000 new jobs were reported for October.  In the political world that is good news.  You would think with employment, the economy and other measures Donald Trump and the GOP (Republican party) brag about, they would be hard pressed for both houses of the chamber (Congress) to be in jeopardy?

 

A woman walks to cast her vote while other people fill out ballots during early voting October 25, 2018 in Potomac, Maryland, two weeks ahead of the key US midterm polls. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

The mid-term vote is just days away.  Surely you would think the positive jobs report might be the fuel needed to keep the chamber.  Unfortunately, Trump has communicated very little  to voters about the economy.  Perhaps in doing so and if they are honest, he and his supporters feel they would have to credit the Obama administration with establishing a positive foundation for them being able to reap the benefits they are achieving?   In the world of Trump, that is a no…no.

 

The snakebite effect

Instead of the economy, Trump feels he must feed his base one dish; Immigration.  He feels that subject will be enough for his base to out vote the Democrats and opposition voters to keep the chamber.  Some in the GOP aisle are frustrated that he has blown the opportunity gained in 2016 and feel he has been snakebit. They point to his antics and bombastic behavior that will lead many voters to insist a change is the best option to end the polarization he has created.

 

As it stands right now, despite the jobs report and other economic news, when Trump wakes up next Wednesday the Democrats, who need 23 seats to claim control of the House of Representatives, might wind up with approximately 35.  The Senate is expected to remain in GOP control.  The result will be voters have recognized that a check or balance on the Executive is needed versus having one party controlling all three branches?  At the same time, it must be noted Trump and his supporters are hoping for the same “shocking” result they achieved in 2016, when they faced long odds of winning, yet came out ahead.

Democratic congressional candidate the Midterm elections, Ilhan Omar, speaks to a group of volunteers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on October 13, 2018. – Somali-American state legislator Ilhan Omar claimed victory in her primary in Minnesota in August, putting her on track to become one of the first female Muslim members of the US House of Representatives. (Photo by Kerem YUCEL / AFP) (Photo credit should read KEREM YUCEL/AFP/Getty Images)


**MORE HISTORIC VOTING NEWS**

Political history is being made in Harris County as a record 19 Black women are running for judge in the upcoming Nov. 6 election. It also marks the first time in history that 19 Black women are running for judicial seats in one county, which happens to be the third largest county in the United States. Courtesy of Defender.com

My review: Central Avenue


[Exposition Park]  On October 25th, the California African-American Museum (CAAM) kicked off its symposium series about Central Avenue.  In what appeared to surprise CAAM, nearly 500 came out to hear the presentation from historian Robert Johnson and staff from the Tom & Ethel Bradley Center.  The room was filled with enthusiasm and anticipation, and eventually swelled to a standing-room only crowd.


Fred with Robert Lee Johnson, historian and lecturer CAAM

Central Avenue evokes positive feelings for African-Americans.  The community became the pride and joy for many, particularly those known as “Easterners.”  The event kicked off with a short video provided by the Tom & Ethel Bradley Center titled, “Los Angeles: Displacement of Utopia”  It served as an excellent precursor to set the stage of how African-Americans were relegated to the Central Avenue district of Los Angeles.  It showcased how despite tremendous racial hostility, they were able to carve out a community which became a model for those migrating from the south, who were also seeking a fresh start.  (the video is expected to be made available to the public in the first quarter of 2019)

 

Johnson, through his brilliance spoke about the development of Central Avenue and how it became a cornerstone to showcase positive attributes of African-American culture.  Staff from the Bradley center served as an excellent complement by sharing their research.  They also encouraged those in attendance to contact them and help build more oral histories and other memorabilia to insure the story is historically correct.  There were many in attendance who had a first-hand experience about Central Avenue.  Among them was the son of John Dolphin who created and built the iconic Dolphins of Hollywood Record Shop.

 

As good as the event was, a downside was CAAM not being prepared for the large crowd.  So many in attendance brought specific anecdotal experiences about Central Avenue.  Unfortunately, the question and answer period lost its stealth due to a shortage of microphones needed for those to communicate their question as well as some who wanted to speak but could not refrain from turning a question into a diatribe.  One other point which hopefully the organizers will address at the next series is keeping the questions on point.

The passion about Central Avenue was obvious from the vibe in the room.  The African-American experience in Los Angeles is vast and no doubt Central Avenue has tremendous pride.   The event was set for two hours and due to the overwhelming interest the discussion could have gone on for two weeks!  However, some inadvertently commented about their general experience and other communities versus sticking to the topic everyone came to hear about:  Central Avenue

One other criticism was noted regarding attendance demographics.  A lady commented about bringing her mother as well as her kids and pointed out that many more might be in attendance (particularly millennials) to gain this important knowledge if the time was better suited for those who work during the day.


Admission is free.  The series continues November 15th and December 13th. To RSVP CLICK HERE.

Tom & Ethel Bradley Foundation housed at California State University Northridge.  Click here bradley csun