When Joanne Wilson stepped out to enjoy a balmy summer afternoon with her niece in 1956, she stepped into history. The two stood in front of a movie theater in downtown Mobile, Ala., dressed in their Sunday best. But the neon sign that loomed overhead — “Colored Entrance” — cast a despairing shadow.
“I wasn’t going in,” Mrs. Wilson recalled. “I didn’t want to take my niece through the back entrance. She smelled popcorn and wanted some. All I could think was where I could go to get her popcorn.”
That moment was captured by Gordon Parks, who was working on a Life photo essay that documented everyday life among an extended African-American family in the rural South. Although it was not among the final selections published in September 1956 as “The Restraints: Open and Hidden,” the photograph of Mrs. Wilson and her niece, Shirley Diane Kirksey, is among the most compelling of the project.
We usually associate civil rights photography with dramatic scenes of historic events. But this image helps us to understand that the battle for racial equality and justice was waged not just through epic demonstrations, speeches and conflagrations, but also through the quiet actions of individuals.
More than half a century later, the Gordon Parks Foundation honored Mrs. Wilson with a gift of that color print during its celebrity-filled annual awards dinner at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Speaking in a lilting but strong voice, Mrs. Wilson recounted on Tuesday night what it was like to encounter and work with Mr. Parks — how comfortable he made her feel and her need to teach him, the Northerner, “the things we could do and the things we could not do” under the watchful eyes of segregationists.
White supremacists understood the power of the camera to expose their violent prejudices and turn the nation against them. As Mr. Parks recalled later, the risk of retaliation for participating in the Life story was great, both for the photographer and for his subjects. But neither he nor Mrs. Wilson would be intimidated.
Gordon Parks, courtesy of the Gordon Parks Foundation
A black classroom in Shady Grove, Ala., 1956.
“My family saw the photo essay as an opportunity to advance the cause of civil rights,” said Michael Wilson, Mrs. Wilson’s son and the family historian. “These pictures were going to be published in a national magazine. People across the country would clearly see the problem. They could see our plight. Maybe then we could get help.”
Despite the poverty and racial enmity all around her, Mrs. Wilson endeavored to make life for her family as normal as possible. In 1956, she married Troy Wilson, a longshoreman. They had two children. After receiving her college degree, she taught American government and economics for 36 years at Mattie T. Blount High School, which served a predominantly black and low-income community in Prichard, Ala.
Like her father, Albert Thornton Sr., she believed in the power of education to uplift African-Americans and prepare them to overcome racism and segregation. Each year, she organized a bake sale to finance a trip to Atlanta for her female students and introduce them to the city’s historically black colleges.
Mrs. Wilson, who was not featured in the final photo essay, survived its publication relatively unscathed. Her sister and brother in-law, Allie Lee Causey and Willie Causey, were less fortunate. Mrs. Causey, a teacher in a ramshackle one-room schoolhouse in Shady Grove, Ala., was quoted in the piece as advocating integration as “the only way through which Negroes will receive justice.” One of the most outspoken members of the Thornton family, she helped to organize voter drives and teach community members the Bill of Rights, the recital of which from memory was a prerequisite for African-Americans to vote in many Southern states.
As Life later reported, Mrs. Causey’s candor and activism infuriated white supremacists, who taunted the couple about their participation in the photo essay. Service stations refused to sell gas to Mr. Causey, a woodcutter and farmer. He was soon accused of owing money on his truck, which was seized by alleged creditors. Without it, he was unable to work. Two weeks after the photo essay was published, Mrs. Causey was fired from her teaching job. Unable to make a living and fearing for their safety, the couple moved out of Alabama.
Mrs. Causey, who died in 2006, never taught again.
Despite these setbacks, the family had no misgivings about appearing in the piece. “Everyone was very impressed with the article,” Mr. Wilson said. “They felt that they had made a friend. Gordon had become part of the family.” After the essay was published, Mr. Parks would periodically check in with Mrs. Wilson’s parents.
Mrs. Wilson’s only quibble with the photograph of her and her niece was that Mr. Parks did not tell her the strap of her slip had fallen. “I always wanted to look neat and nice,” she said. “I did not want to be mistaken for a servant. Dressing well made me feel first class. I wanted to set an example.”
But Mr. Parks may have had a reason for the oversight: a desire to stress the human side of an image that, in its refinement and flair, could at first be mistaken for one of his fashion photographs. In this context, Mrs. Wilson was not just challenging racism and stereotypes through meticulous self-presentation. She was also going about her daily life, like millions of women, black and white — tending to the needs of an energetic young child, but in a hostile environment.
The price she paid for meeting this responsibility, as anyone who has cared for a child knows, was the distraction that made her overlook the fallen strap. Yet, it is this poignant detail that helps us to identify with her. And it is this appeal to empathy, a central goal of Mr. Parks’s civil rights work, that helped him to challenge racism’s abiding myth: that we are fundamentally different.
The decision of the Gordon Parks Foundation to honor Mrs. Wilson challenges another misconception: that history is principally the domain of the famous and powerful. As the Life photo essay shows, history is also made through the daily, unheralded acts of ordinary people. What we see in Mr. Parks’s image is a determined and self-possessed woman, challenging stereotypes and fortifying herself against the poisonous tide of oppression that threatened to engulf her and her family.
Mrs. Wilson’s humanity was under assault, and she chose, in her own way, to fight back. Fifty-seven years later, that moment is potent proof that even the smallest gesture, seen through the right eyes, can change the world.
This made me cry.
Shark Island is a small island located off the coast of Nambia. It’s
the site where over hundred years ago the Germans held a concentration camp which was also known as “Death Island”. Shark Island Concentration Camp is something like other African tragedies that is
omitted from history
Over 10,000 African people from the Herero and Namaqua tribe were killed between 1905 to 1907. At the time Nambia was under the German empire, On the island, Germans used some of the same
methods they used on Jews on the Herero and Namaqua. Methods such as
torture, forced larbor, and went as far cracking the skulls of the
Herero and Namaqua. WIth the dead bodies, the Germans ran “Medical Investigation” on the Herero and Namaqua to see which was the inferior
race. Other methods of torture were rape and forcing the women to do hard labor after and kept them starved for many days at time. Its not
Ironic to me events like this committed to African go omitted but Jewish Holocaust “Never Forget” slogan is used.
This is the finally Installment of SanCopha League White History,
where the Whites Lies were exposed, and omitted events that Europeans
were finally revealed for you see and learn from.
“Those who do not understand true PAIN can never understand true PEACE” ~ Pain
Maybe now you can understand our Pain
Post written By: @Oba_Tayo
Lester Chambers Attacked for Trayvon Martin Dedication - Exclusive Footage (by fuse)
Blues musician Lester Chambers, a 73-year-old man, dedicated a song from his set to Trayvon Martin. A racist in the audience felt some kind of way about it, so she climbed her thirsty ass on stage and attacked him.
Here is the video.
I’ll just leave this here.
I’m literally crying right now…
This happened in my fucking home town
This happened literally down the street from my house
I’m so fucking disappointed right now
I’m so enraged…
my dear fellow white women and feminists:
please watch this video. Please watch how this white woman storms the stage and attacks an elderly Black man. Please understand that, from what I’ve read about this incident, she was let go without being charged for anything. Please watch this. And please understand that THIS is one of the reasons why we are not trusted. Does this woman’s actions speak for all white women? of course not.
but the next time you want to act like white women have never been or are never complicit in violent racism, think about this video. think about the sheer sense of entitlement this woman has, the forceful way she storms across the lawn and launches herself onto the stage at a mere dedication for a dead Black boy.
and let’s not play and act like if it was a Black man storming a stage that a white woman was performing on he wouldn’t have been immediately maced, beaten by security and/or arrested before he even had the chance to get up on stage. But no on ever expects white women to do this to Black men, right? Because white women haven’t ever been and still aren’t complicit and active participants in violence against Black people, right?
This is fucking disgusting. I hope this woman feels absolutely fucking ashamed for doing this violent, racist act. I hope she fucking sees that this video and possible articles have gone viral, calling her out for being the racist douchebag that she is. I hope she feels shame for the rest of her fucking life.
BUT WHITE WOMEN DON”T HAVE FUCKING STRUCTURAL PRIVILEGE OVER BLACK MEN?
LOOK AT THIS SHIT
THIS WHITE WOMAN ASSAULTED A BLACK MAN FOR ACKNOWLEDGING BLACKNESS
THIS WHITE WOMAN ASSAULTED A BLACK MAN FOR LOVING BLACKNESS
THIS IS WHY I DON’T FUCKING TRUST WHITE WOMEN WHO GO ON AND ON ABOUT ‘MISANDRY’ WHEN Y’ALL ASSES GET BLACK MEN HURT AND KILLED.
REMINDER WHY BLACK PEOPLE DON’T GIVE A SINGLE FUCK ABOUT MACKLEMORE GIVING THAT PITIFUL ASS REMEBERANCE OF TRAYVON MARTIN. MACKLEMORE GETS PRAISE AND ACCOLADES AND THIS BLACK MAN GETS ASSAULTED. THIS HAPPEN ON FUCKING CAMERA, IT’S RECORDED BUT WHERE IS HER ARREST DOE, AND MACKLEMORE SAYS WHAT THIS MAN AND JAMIE FOXX AND PLENTY OF OTHER BLACK FOLKS BEEN SAYING, BUT MACKLEMORE IS ENLIGHTEN HE IS THE SAVIOR OF HIP HOP, HE IS POST BLACK…..THIS IS WHY WE DON’T LIKE YOU WHITE PEOPLE…THIS IS WHY WE ARE ANGRY, THIS SHIT RIGHT HERE THAT KEEPS HAPPENING IS WHY WE ARE FUCKING PISSED.
In case you were unclear…. this is white privilege
I’ve got the good times….. Not proud
what in the hairy hell!?
The Cosby’s though? Yall know yall wrong!
It pisses me off when older people say today’s music is so nasty when music like this is very common. This song is so nasty, I’d say it was sung by Millie Jackson’s grandmother
Can we talk about how she was singing about how good her pussy was in 1935?
I got nipples on my titties, big as the end of my thumb,
I got somethin’ between my legs’ll make a dead man come,
Oh daddy, baby won’t you shave ‘em dry?
Now, draw it out!
Want you to grind me baby, grind me until I cry.
Say I fucked all night, and all the night before baby,
And I feel just like I wanna, fuck some more,
Oh great God daddy,
Grind me honey and shave me dry,
And when you hear me holler baby, want you to shave it dry.
I got nipples on my titties, big as the end of my thumb,
Daddy you say that’s the kind of ‘em you want, and you can make ‘em come,
Oh, daddy shave me dry,
And I’ll give you somethin’ baby, swear it’ll make you cry.
I’m gon’ turn back my mattress, and let you oil my springs,
I want you to grind me daddy, ‘til the bell do ring,
Oh daddy, want you to shave ‘em dry,
Oh great God daddy, if you can’t shave ‘em baby won’t you try?
Now if fuckin’ was the thing, that would take me to heaven,
I’d be fuckin’ in the studio, till the clock strike eleven,
Oh daddy, daddy shave ‘em dry,
I would fuck you baby, honey I’d make you cry.
Now your nuts hang down like a damn bell sapper,
And your dick stands up like a steeple,
Your goddam ass-hole stands open like a church door,
And the crabs walks in like people.
Ooh! Baby, won’t you shave ‘em dry
A big sow gets fat from eatin’ corn,
And a pig gets fat from suckin’,
Reason you see this whore, fat like I am,
Great God, I got fat from fuckin’.
Eeeeh! Shave ‘em dry
My back is made of whalebone,
And my cock is made of brass,
And my fuckin’ is made for workin’ men’s two dollars,
Great God, round to kiss my ass.
Oh! Whoo, daddy, shave ‘em dry
On the morning of George Zimmerman’s acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murder earlier this year, with the mainstream media raising the specter of riots, blogger Jay Smooth made a prediction: ‘The fundamental danger of an acquittal is not more riots, it is more George Zimmermans.’
There were no riots. There have been more George Zimmermans.
Hoodoo, or Voodoo, as pronounced by the whites, is burning with a flame in America, with all the intensity of a suppressed religion. It has its thousands of secret adherents. It adapts itself like Christianity to its locale, reclaiming some of its borrowed characteristics to itself, such as fire worship as signified in the Christian church by the altar and the candles and the belief in the power of water to sanctify as in baptism.
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