Newkirk: Mississippi Delta, Reparations and the Wealth Gap


Above photo:  WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19: Writer Coleman Hughes testifies during a hearing on slavery reparations held by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on June 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. The subcommittee debated the H.R. 40 bill, which proposes a commission be formed to study and develop reparation proposals for African-Americans. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

PASADENA, CA. Vann Newkirk (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)(Photo by Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Politicon)

The Atlantic’s Vann Newkirk has produced a riveting expose about “The Great Land Robbery.”  It is worthy of reading and understanding so that you can weave historic realities into today’s current events.

If you’ve ever been through the Mississippi Delta (Delta) you are right in the passenger seat of Newkirk’s article.  The “Delta” stretches from Memphis Tennessee through the western part of Mississippi down to Jackson.  The land is legendary for its agriculture yield.  Following slavery key parts became transformed into the ownership of African-American farmers.  The boon was tremendous but survival did not come without peril.  Led by the backlash of emancipation, through the suffocation of Jim Crow and even the Civil Rights era,  there was much oppression.  The goal of the white power structure was always the same; make it as difficult as possible for African-American farmers to succeed with the bottom-line intent to strip ownership and stunt growth .

 

The article is compelling and brings you up to date regarding land and ownership in the “Delta” and even provides a perspective on the reparations debate.  While the article focuses on farmers in the “Delta” the same principals and examples could be used throughout the United States.  Most critically, it will help you understand the notion and primary driver of the wealth gap between Whites and African-Americans.


READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE


To view a special clip of the interview Vann Newkirk did for PBS Newshour see below

Aruba:  International Roaming


It is not uncommon that even though on vacation most are tethered to their smartphone.  It is nothing wrong with this practice as unlike years ago, a smartphone allows you to do so much more than just talk!  Aruba is a very tourist-friendly country, however for those who do not pay attention or manage their visit as once you return back home and get your bill, it can result in a big frown or a big smile.  Years ago, a big frown was my reality as I forgot to turn off roaming and the result was a bill nearly $2,000.  Back then, it was not uncommon to rent/purchase a device from the local carrier (Digicel) or of course you could use your own.

 

Fast-forward as technology has improved and pricing has become much more competitive and lower.  Most carriers offer a specific “international plan” which ranges from $8– $12 per day.  I’ve had T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon and for my weekly stay to Aruba I was paying approximately $70.  Not cheap…. but way better than my $2,000 bonehead?


My most recent trip consisted of 8 days.  Another reality:  Many consumers think Consumer Cellular is designated for seniors due to the reduced cost?  That is kind of correct, although not totally 100% correct.  A couple of years ago I had Verizon and gladly paid $70.  I heard about Consumer Cellular but had doubts, however since I was officially retiring, I was exploring how to reduce my monthly cost.  I contacted Verizon and inquired if they offered a “senior” plan or “reduced’ option?  I was told no, although they did offer some reductions but no where near the less than $50 per month that Consumer Cellular was offering. So….adios to Verizon!

 

The bottom-line is I just reviewed my most recent bill which including the roaming charges for my Aruba trip.  The cost was $48 which was far less than the $70 I had been paying or even the $60 my wife paid from her AT&T account.

 

Word to the wise – pay attention to your cost and do not pay more that what you have to.  By the way, while I am not endorsing a product or service, Consumer Cellular has exceeded my expectations by offering the same service I had been using, which includes using lots of data at far less than what I had been paying.

Updated Travel Guidelines to CUBA


[Washington, D.C.]   Ever since the June 5th announcement I have received many calls/text and other communication regarding this matter.

 

Unfortunately, similar to the infamous Mueller report, MOST people simply refuse to read the specs for themselves!!!!  It appears they are more comfortable hearing from third-party sources such as media, friends, acquaintances, etc. rather than just taking a couple of minutes to read and comprehend for themselves.  The result is lots of misinformation.

 

Effective June 5, 2019, a regulatory amendment to the CACR removes an authorization for people-to-people educational travel that was conducted under the auspices of an organization that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction and that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact (group people-to-people educational travel).

 

No doubt, the Trump administration continues its assault on guidelines created by the Obama administration to prevent U.S. citizens from going to Cuba.   It has been stated this move was implemented in part because the Cuba government supports the Maduro regime of Venezuela?  The assumption is any money spent from U.S. travelers would financially benefit the Cuban government.  The two largest groups impacted are those who traveled by a cruise ship or who went under the peer-to-peer license.  For a smaller minority, travel is permitted as long as it is under the licenses per the June 5th memorandum.

 

For clarity on the updated guidelines, please take 5 or 10 minutes to READ THE DIRECTIVE HERE

Carnival cruise lines is one major company that is negatively impacted by the new guideline and yesterday announced it will need to restate its corporate financial projections.

 

Watts, an update


Thanks to our remote cultural correspondent Elena Bell, LSW we are sharing a screening of the Broken Bread series titled “WATTS.”

A common misconception by most is understanding the 1965 Watts Riot DID NOT START IN WATTS.  The California Highway Patrol stopped Marquette Frye on 116th & Avalon which is in South Central.  His arrest triggered community resistance which became the flash-point of the riots.  It eventually spread to Watts as the main street, 103rd Street was home to the local business strip.

Watts, CA is a mysterious to most, while “home” to so many who have moved from the area but have an affection as the place their ancestors settled when coming to Los Angeles.  What it is not, is the community immediately south of the Santa Monica freeway (I-10).  It is approximately 11 miles southeast of downtown.   Specifically it is tucked into what is called South Central and its boundaries are:

  • North – Firestone Blvd.
  • South – Imperial Highway
  • West – Central Avenue
  • East – Alameda Blvd.

This 30 minute clip gives you a snapshot of what is going on in Watts today.

As African-Americans fled oppression in the South, the early 1940’s saw a migration of basic working-class folk looking for a safe place to raise their families.   Watts and spots in South Central became home to thousands.  In the late 80’s the ethnic composition took another change as a new migration took place and Latinos moved in, however today a small cadre of African-Americans remain.

https://www.kcet.org/shows/broken-bread/episodes/watts

 

Emmanuel hits the screen for 2 days – June 17th & 19th


Monday, June 17th will mark the 4th year congregants were in bible study at Mother Emmanuel A.M.E. church in Charleston, SC.   After inviting a stranger by the name of Dillon Ruth to join them for study, time passed before he committed an unforgettable act.  He shot and killed nine souls!

The news shocked the nation!  shocked the world!  They became known as the “Charleston Nine!”


Stephen (Step) Curry, Viola Davis and an extraordinary team has pulled together a documentary of the event.  The one and one-half film will be shown two days only, June 17th and 19th and as of this posting many theaters have reported sell-outs (check your local theater for details).

Processed With Darkroom

My review will follow as we will be at the June 19th screening in Baldwin Hills, CA.

Here is the trailer

Netherlands National Players in MLB v2019


[Oranjestad]     For the first year we will feature baseball players from the Netherlands who are playing in MLB (Major League Baseball).

The Netherlands is located in Europe; however, it has six countries in the Caribbean that are part of their governing system.  Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire are known as the ABC Islands.  Due to the climate Aruba and Curacao long ago embraced the sport of baseball.  A new dimension of Netherlands pride was created in 2013, as 21-year-old Xander Bogaerts who hailed from the Lago Heights community of Aruba staked his greatness as the starting shortstop for the Boston Red Sox.  Coincidently, the Red Sox surprised many by going all the way and winning the World Series.  Currently there are seven players from the Netherlands who are part of MLB. Four are from Curacao, one is from Aruba and one is from the Netherlands.


During my recent visit to Aruba I came across a new eatery just adjacent downtown called Parada.  There I encountered Mr. Humphrey Mohammed who is passionate and knowledgeable about the game.  He proudly stated, “there is great talent in Aruba and Curacao and we are very pleased of the way they are representing our country.  I am fortunate as I have access to the MLB channel so I can stay informed of the progress.”

 


Fred with Mrs. Sandra Brown during interview about her son and family’s success in baseball.
Xander Bogaerts field in Lago Heights

While the sport of baseball….is baseball, games in the Caribbean/Latin America are a bit different than the USA brand.  And, that is not a bad thing but it boils down to your perspective of understanding the game and the cultures who have adopted it.  There is lots of emotion and fan engagement featuring bands, horns and other devices and instruments presenting enthusiastic sounds.

The interior of the newly remodeled Joe Lavist Sports Park

 

Joe Lavist field in Sint Nicolas

Currently Netherlands is ranked 8th determined from the World Baseball Confederation.

This year’s edition has been expanded to include the 40-man roster instead of the 25-man roster.  This was done since technically they are eligible to play at a moment’s notice.

To understand the difference please read here

25 player roster – known as the Active Roster – A club’s 25-man roster is its full roster of active Major League players.

40 player roster – The 40 Man roster is the group of players who are eligible to be added to the active (25 manroster.



NETHERLANDS NATIONAL PLAYERS ON MLB 40 MAN ROSTER
Teams 2019
TOTALS>>> 7
Arizona Diamondbacks
Atlanta Braves 1
Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox 1
Chicago Cubs
Chicago White Sox
Cincinatti Reds
Cleveland Indians
Colorado Rockies
Detriot Tigers
Houston Astros
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Angels 1
Los Angeles Dodgers 1
Miami Marlins
Milwaukee Brewers
Minnesota Twins 1
New York Mets
New York Yankees 1
Oakland Athletics 1
Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
Seattle Mariners
St. Louis Cardinals
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Texas Rangers
Toronto Blue Jays
Washington Nationals

Cuban National Players in MLB v2019


[Havana]     For the third year we feature Cuban national baseball players who are play in MLB (Major League Baseball).

I was in Havana on my way to Estadio Latinoamericano when MLB, the MLB Players Association and the Cuban Federation reached a historic agreement allowing Cuban nationals to achieve a path to play in the MLB.  The agreement eliminated the need for players to defect or leave under negative circumstances.  Unfortunately, four months later the Donald Trump administration maintained its posture of dismantling anything viewed as positive which the Obama administration was part of, and abruptly canceled the agreement.   In the meantime, many have adopted a slogan adopted by MLB last year which simply states, “Let the kids play!!!!”

Ranked #5 in the World

Baseball is still an important part of Cuban culture.  With a population of approximately 11 million their impressive ranking is 5th as determined from the World Baseball Confederation.  While it is great that MLB fans get a first-hand opportunity to see the players perform, one can only imagine how good the national team would be had there not been defections, which have impacted the talent pool?

25 player v 40 player?

This year’s edition has been expanded to include the 40-man roster instead of the 25-man roster.  This was done since technically they are eligible to play at a moment’s notice.

To understand the difference please read here

  • 25 player roster – known as the Active Roster – A club’s 25-man roster is its full roster of active Major League players.
  • 40 player roster – The 40 Man roster is the group of players who are eligible to be added to the active (25 manroster.

Currently there are 25 players who are Cuban nationals who meet the criteria.  Of the thirty MLB teams, Houston is the leader with five players.


CUBAN NATIONAL PLAYERS ON MLB 40 MAN ROSTER
Teams 2019 2018 2017 Change 2019 v 2018
TOTALS>>> 25 20 0 5
Arizona Diamondbacks 1 0 1 1
Atlanta Braves 0 0 2 0
Baltimore Orioles 0 0 0 0
Boston Red Sox 0 0 1 0
Chicago Cubs 0 0 0 0
Chicago White Sox 3 2 2 1
Cincinatti Reds 3 1 1 2
Cleveland Indians 0 2 1 -2
Colorado Rockies 0 0 0 0
Detriot Tigers 0 1 1 -1
Houston Astros 5 2 0 3
Kansas City Royals 1 0 1 1
Los Angeles Angels 0 1 1 -1
Los Angeles Dodgers 1 2 2 -1
Miami Marlins 0 1 1 -1
Milwaukee Brewers 1 0 0 1
Minnesota Twins 0 0 0 0
New York Mets 2 1 1 1
New York Yankees 3 1 1 2
Oakland Athletics 0 0 1 0
Philadelphia Phillies 0 0 0 0
Pittsburgh Pirates 0 0 0 0
San Diego Padres 0 0 0 0
San Francisco Giants 0 0 0 0
Seattle Mariners 1 2 2 -1
St. Louis Cardinals 1 0 1 1
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2 1 1 1
Texas Rangers 0 0 0 0
Toronto Blue Jays 1 3 0 -2
Washington Nationals 0 0 0 0

Nipsey Hussle: Murals around the Crenshaw district


On March 31, 2019 Ermias Ashgedom who was affectionately known as “Nipsey Hussle” was murdered outside of his Marathon clothing store.  Hussle was well-known in the Crenshaw community and promoted a self-help message.  He was a musician and well known in the rap genre.  It was his love for community and his entreprenurial talents that many echoed as they described his love and appreciation for developing the area.

Murals have been doting the landscape since “Nip’s” death.  We are creating a photo-essay to showcase those we are able to locate.

 

Review:  Amazing Grace the Movie


[Los Angeles, CA]   Aretha Franklin recorded her Amazing Grace album January 13th & 14th 1972 at New Temple Missionary Baptist Church located on 87th & Broadway in South Los Angeles.  It was a live recording and featured many greats, including Rev. James Cleveland.

First screened Feb. 2019

The album was produced but the live footage was shelved for decades until the estate of “The Queen of Soul” approved it to be shown.  In February of this year, the Pan-African Film Festival featured the screening as part of it’s opening night festivities.  The screening took place at the Director’s Guild in Hollywood.

 

Starting April 5th, the general public has been given an opportunity to see the screening as it debuted in over 1,000 theaters.  I was one of those viewers.

 

The film is just as iconic as the album as “The Queen” at age 29 dazzled those in attendance by her gospel renditions.  The 87-minute film is more raw footage of the two-day concert and features many camera angles which were present to document the occasion.

 

While the documentary is, what it is; it falls short on taking advantage of the storytelling which are featured in similar formats.  You are left wondered why the producers could not have woven in more anecdotal reactions from those who participated in the filming as well as more commentary which was surely would be available before and following 1972?

 

The documentary is worth seeing.  The church is still on 87th & Broadway so it will be interesting to see the reaction of those who take a stroll down memory lane.


My “Hoodie Score” on a scale of 1-10 (ten being the highest) is an 8, due to the rare footage.