Tag Archives: Texas

Texas mom calls out textbook publisher

A mom in Texas put publisher McGraw-Hill on blast for stating in the updated history book that Africans came to the United States as workers.  Yes workers. According to McGraw-Hill Africans immigrated to the United States to work on the plantations. So apparently Africans jumped on these ships gleefully looking at the United States as the promised land back in the day.

Check out the the video below by Roni Dean-Burren.

It’s a good thing she caught this. I remember reading about how the folks in Texas wanted to make changes to the school history books and the Republican controlled Texas State Board of Education approved the changes.

Five million public school students in Texas will begin using new social studies textbooks this fall based on state academic standards that barely address racial segregation. The state’s guidelines for teaching American history also do not mention the Ku Klux Klan or Jim Crow laws.

And when it comes to the Civil War, children are supposed to learn that the conflict was caused by “sectionalism, states’ rights and slavery” — written deliberately in that order to telegraph slavery’s secondary role in driving the conflict, according to some members of the state board of education.

Slavery was a “side issue to the Civil War,” said Pat Hardy, a Republican board member, when the board adopted the standards in 2010. “There would be those who would say the reason for the Civil War was over slavery. No. It was over states’ rights.”

Looks like Texas wants to soften the slavery issue.  If the true history of how blacks have been treated in the United States isn’t mentioned in the school textbooks it’s up to parents to start teaching their children themselves.

According to the Washington Post:

Students in Texas are required to read the speech Jefferson Davis gave when he was inaugurated president of the Confederate States of America, an address that does not mention slavery. But students are not required to read a famous speech by Alexander Stephens, Davis’s vice president, in which he explained that the South’s desire to preserve slavery was the cornerstone of its new government and “the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.”

McGraw-Hill took notice of Ms. Dean-Burren’s video and they have responded:

“We believe we can do better,” the publisher wrote in a Facebook post. “To communicate these facts more clearly, we will update this caption to describe the arrival of African slaves in the U.S. as a forced migration and emphasize that their work was done as slave labor. These changes will be reflected in the digital version of the program immediately and will be included in the program’s next print run.”

And when will the next print run happen? Five years from now? The Texas Board of Education should be ashamed of themselves for approving the whitewashed textbooks. The history of this country isn’t all sunshine and roses and they need to accept that fact. Black folks didn’t immigrate here back in the 1600’s, 1700’s and 1800’s. The KKK and Jim Crow laws did exist in this country.

If you’re looking for an excellent book on the history of African Americans check out From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans by John Hope Franklin.  This book isn’t cheap but it’s worth it.  And it should be required reading for all high school students.  For a photographic look at the history of African Americans check out Black America: A Photographic Journey Past to Present by Marcia A. Smith.

What happened to Sandra Bland

#WhatHappenedToSandraBland

On July 10 a Texas trooper pulled over 28 year old Sandra Bland for failing to signal while changing lanes. According to original reports she was arrested for allegedly assaulting Texas trooper Brian Encinia. Three days later she was found dead in her jail cell. An autopsy report stated that she committed suicide. But family, friends and concerned citizens don’t believe this story. Many people wonder why would a young lady with a promising future and a new job commit suicide? Sandra graduated from Prairie View A&M University in 2009 and was about to start working at her alma mater.

SandraBland

The dash cam video released yesterday by Texas authorities raises even more questions about what happened to Sandra. With distrust towards police departments by black folks all over the country some are questioning whether the just released video was edited.

In the video Trooper Encinia tells Sandra Bland to put out her cigarette which she doesn’t have to do since she is in her car. After she said no he stated that she was under arrest. He is also heard shouting I will light you up and threatening her with a taser.

According to newly released police video, a Texas trooper threatened Sandra Bland with a Taser when he ordered her out of her vehicle during a traffic stop on July 10, three days before she was found dead in a county jail.

Bland — a 28-year old African American woman — was stopped for failing to signal while changing lanes, but the routine traffic stop turned confrontational after the officer, Brian Encinia, ordered Bland to put out her cigarette.

“Would you mind putting out your cigarette, please?” Encinia said.

“I’m in my car, why do I have to put out my cigarette?” Bland answered.

“Well, you can step on out now,” Encinia said.

Bland refused, saying she did not have to step out of the car.

Encinia opened the driver’s door and attempted to physically remove Bland from the vehicle.

“I’m going to yank you out of here,” Encinia said as the two struggled in the car. “I’m going to drag you out of here.”

“Don’t touch me, I’m not under arrest,” Bland said.

“I will light you up!” Encinia said, while pointing the Taser at Bland.

State Sen. Royce West (D) said that after viewing the video, he could confirm that Bland was threatened with a Taser by the officer.

Details of the confrontation were not included in the arrest warrant written by Encinia, which officials released Tuesday, 11 days after the arrest — and eight days after Bland’s death in the Waller County Jail.

Check out the video below.

In another video that takes place after they found Sandra in her jail cell there is a man walking around in a orange jumpsuit. Who is he?

Right now Sandra’s death is being investigated as a murder and her family has requested an independent autopsy. I don’t blame them. I don’t have much faith in Texas authorities. I haven’t forgotten the McKinney, Texas incident. Blacks and the police just don’t mix well in that state. No state is utopia when it comes to the police and black folks but this state is one of the worse.

According to the Washington Post The Texas Rangers, a division of the state Dept. of Public Safety, is investigating this case with the help of the FBI.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday that the FBI was continuing to monitor the Sandra Bland situation. She said that federal officials were awaiting the results from ongoing investigations being carried out by local authorities in Texas.

Trooper Encinia has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation. He has been a state trooper for a year. Looks like he might not be cut out for this type of work. According to the Texas Dept. of Public Safety Encinia violated the agency’s procedures during this traffic stop. I wouldn’t be surprised if he went back on duty after this investigation.

SandraBland2

The 150th Anniversary of Juneteenth

Today is the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth.

On June 19, 1965 Major General Gordon Granger, a Union soldier arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War had ended and that all slaves were free. This was two years after the President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1963.

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863.

After General Granger arrived in Texas he read the General Order Number 3:

General_Order_Number_3

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”

There are various reasons why there was a delay in this information reaching the slaves in Texas.

Later attempts to explain this two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years. Often told is the story of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another, is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. And still another, is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation.

The phrase Juneteenth comes from the month of June plus the word nineteenth.

A wide range of activities were provided to help celebrate this annual tradition that started in Texas. According to many Juneteenth usually focused on education and self-improvement. Strawberry soda pop became a favorite drink amongst those who celebrated and people prepared different types of dishes including lamb, pork and beef.

Juneteenth3

Juneteenth2Juneteenth celebrations experienced a decline during economic hard times in the early part of the 19th century but saw a resurgence during the Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s and 60’s.

In January 1, 1980 thanks to Texas Rep. Al Edwards of Houston, Juneteenth became an official state holiday.

On January 1, 1980, Juneteenth became an official state holiday through the efforts of Al Edwards, an African American state legislator. The successful passage of this bill marked Juneteenth as the first emancipation celebration granted official state recognition. Edwards has since actively sought to spread the observance of Juneteenth all across America.

As of June 1, 2014 Maryland became the 43rd state to recognize Juneteenth National Freedom Day. The bill was signed by former Governor Martin O’Malley.

(Annapolis, Maryland) – Maryland, the home state of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, is now the 43rd state to officially recognize Juneteenth Independence Day as a state holiday or state holiday observance. State Representative Melvin Stukes recently introduced HB 549, “An Act concerning State Government – Commemorative Days – Juneteenth National Freedom” requiring the Governor to “annually to proclaim a certain day as Juneteenth National Freedom Day” in Maryland.

“We especially thank Rep. Stukes for leading the effort for Juneteenth to be recognized in the home state of the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass,” states Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Founder & Chairman of the National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign and the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF). “Douglass, who gave the greatest oration ever spoken on the subject of enslavement, ‘What to the American Slave Is the 4th of July’, should be honored across America whenever Juneteenth is celebrated by the reading of this historic ground breaking speech.”

Seven states still do not recognize Juneteenth: Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah.

You can find out more information about Juneteenth below at the following links:

Juneteenth.com

The Hidden History of Juneteenth

What is Juneteenth?

Independence Day

An Obscure Texas Celebration Makes Its Way Across the U.S.

12th Annual Juneteenth Celebration in St. Mary’s County, Maryland

McKinney police officer resigns

McKinney Police Cpl. Eric Casebolt, aka Barney Fife, has resigned from his job according to McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley.

McKinney_police

Casebolt, a 10 year veteran of the McKinney Police Department was on administrative leave after the video of him manhandling a 14 year old girl went viral.

The Texas police officer at the center of a controversial video that showed him forcefully handcuffing and drawing his gun on a group of black teenagers at a pool party last weekend has resigned, the city’s police chief announced Tuesday.

McKinney Police Cpl. Eric Casebolt, who was under investigation, “resigned on his own will,” police Chief Greg Conley said at a news conference. He called Casebolt’s actions “indefensible.”

“As the video shows, he was out of control during the incident,” Conley said, “I had 12 officers on the scene and 11 of them performed according to their training.”

He said the internal investigation into Casebolt’s actions is now over.

“I do not condone the actions of those individuals who violated the rules of the community and showed disrespect to the security personnel on the scene and officers,” he added.

Interesting how he gets to resign. He should have been fired.  I think he’s getting off too easy.  According to the Daily Beast he gets to keep his pension.

Also according to the Daily Beast:

Casebolt, who had previously been put on administrative leave pending an investigation, was sued in 2008 for racial profiling during a roadside search. At the time, Casebolt had claimed he saw two marijuana seeds and an open container in a black man’s vehicle (no such items were ever found in the car). A judge dismissed that case in 2009.

Another situation in this video is bugging me.  What about the beefy white dude who was seen hovering over the 14 year old black girl?

beefy_white_dude

Who the hell is he? Why was he participating in this nonsense? Is he an off duty cop? When Casebolt was telling everyone to leave why was he still standing around like he’s been deputized?  At one point he actually has the girl’s head between his legs.  If he’s not a cop he shouldn’t be touching her.

McKinney, Texas police officer manhandles black teenager

This past Friday police were called to the Craig Ranch North Community Pool in McKinney, Texas in response to calls for a disturbance involving a large number of teenagers. According to the callers the young people did not live in the community and didn’t have permission to be there.

The McKinney Police Department said in a statement that officers were called to the neighborhood, responding to reports of a “disturbance” involving multiple juveniles who “do not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to leave.”

One of the officers, later identified as Cpl. Eric Casebolt, was recorded pinning a teen girl to the ground and handcuffing her. At one point, Casebolt, who is white, could be seen pulling the girl’s hair and pushing her face toward the ground.

The officer also appeared to draw his gun and point it toward several teens in the area. He was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

But according to the host of the pool party most of the young people there were residents of the community.

A woman identified as Tatiana Rhodes, 19, said that she and some friends had organized and were enjoying the party at the Craig Ranch North Community Pool on June 5 when the conflict with a white neighbor broke out.

“This lady was saying racial slurs to some friends that came to the cookout. She was saying such things as ‘black effer’ and ‘that’s why you live in Section 8 homes,’ ” Rhodes told E. Johnson IV, a photographer who recorded the conversation and uploaded it online.

More insults were traded. One neighbor said “go back to your Section 8 home,” Rhodes said, referring to a form of federal housing assistance for low-income people.

A 7 minute video was uploaded to YouTube was uploaded this weekend. The video shows one officer, Cpl. Eric Casebolt manhandling a black teenage girl and chasing her friends around with a gun.

I had to watch this video several times.  Eric Casebolt acted like a rogue cop on a mission to yell at any black kid he laid eyes on.

McKinney_police

He didn’t seem to be yelling at any white kids, especially the one filming the whole thing.  What was with the fat white guy (only way I can describe him) walking around like he’s been deputized and standing over the young black girl.  And what was with the  manhandling of the young black teenager?  He just threw her to the ground and treated her like a rag doll with his knee on her back. The way he threw her to the ground reminded me of the Indian grandfather thrown to the ground in Madison, Alabama back in March.

Brandon Brooks, the young white person who filmed the entire episode said he was ignored by the police yet everyone who was targeted by the police were black.

Cpl Eric Casebolt has been suspended with pay.  He did not handle this situation well at all.  He needs to be fired.    According to the McKinney Police Dept:

Pool Party Incident:

On June 5, 2015 at approximately 7:15 p.m., officers from the McKinney Police Department responded to a disturbance at the Craig Ranch North Community Pool. The initial call came in as a disturbance involving multiple juveniles at the location, who do not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to leave. McKinney Police received several additional calls related to this incident advising that juveniles were now actively fighting.

First responding officers encountered a large crowd that refused to comply with police commands. Nine additional units responded to the scene. Officers were eventually able to gain control of the situation.

McKinney Police later learned of a video that was taken at the scene by an unknown party. This video has raised concerns that are being investigated by the McKinney Police Department. At this time, one of the responding officers has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation.

American Violet

There’s a new film that came out yesterday titled American Violet. The film stars Nicole Beharie, Alfre Woodard, Charles S. Dutton and Michael O’KeefeAmerican Violet is in limited release.

american_violet2

american_violet

American Violet is loosely based on the real life story of the Panhandle Regional Narcotics Task Force case in Texas. Dozens of residents, mostly African Americans, were arrested on charges of selling cocaine.   The film focuses on Dee Roberts, a mother of four, portrayed by Nicole Beharie.  Dee’s character is based on Regina Kelly, who was one of the many residents falsely arrested in Hearne, Texas.

A documentary based on this case, Tulia, Texas was shown on PBS’s Independent Lens earlier this year.

The movie has been receiving some pretty good reviews.  I’m glad to see that whoever cast this film didn’t go the usual Hollywood route when it comes to black actresses by hiring some r&b singer for the leading female role if you know what I mean.  As a matter of fact they cast a newcomer in the leading role of Dee Roberts.  You know this is a rare moment for a black actress who’s also a Julliard graduate.

Check out an interview with Nicole Beharie at Beliefnet.com and an interview with Regina Kelly and American Violet writer Bill Haney at HollywoodChicago.

Betty Brown’s message to Asian Americans

Texas Rep. Betty Brown has a message for Asian Americans:  Please Americanize your names.  Miss Betty, a Republican representative from Terrell, Texas, told a Chinese American lawyer, Ramey Ko, that Asian Americans should pick new names so it would be easier for Americans to deal with.

betty_brown

Lawmaker defends comment on Asians
Call for voters to simplify their names not racially motivated, Terrell Republican says

By R.G. RATCLIFFE

AUSTIN — A North Texas legislator during House testimony on voter identification legislation said Asian-descent voters should adopt names that are “easier for Americans to deal with.”

The comments caused the Texas Democratic Party on Wednesday to demand an apology from state Rep. Betty Brown, R-Terrell. But a spokesman for Brown said her comments were only an attempt to overcome problems with identifying Asian names for voting purposes.

The exchange occurred late Tuesday as the House Elections Committee heard testimony from Ramey Ko, a representative of the Organization of Chinese Americans.

Ko told the committee that people of Chinese, Japanese and Korean descent often have problems voting and other forms of identification because they may have a legal transliterated name and then a common English name that is used on their driver’s license on school registrations.

Easier for voting?

Brown suggested that Asian-Americans should find a way to make their names more accessible.

“Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?” Brown said.

Brown later told Ko: “Can’t you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that’s easier for Americans to deal with?”

Democratic Chairman Boyd Richie said Republicans are trying to suppress votes with a partisan identification bill and said Brown “is adding insult to injury with her disrespectful comments.”

Brown spokesman Jordan Berry said Brown was not making a racially motivated comment but was trying to resolve an identification problem.

Berry said Democrats are trying to blow Brown’s comments out of proportion because polls show most voters support requiring identification for voting. Berry said the Democrats are using racial rhetoric to inflame partisan feelings against the bill.

“They want this to just be about race,” Berry said.

Miss Betty needs to get a clue. There are plenty of good ole Americans of European descent who have names that aren’t easy to pronounce.

Has she heard of these names:

Mika Emilie Leonia Brzezinski
Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski
Mike Krzyzewski
Rod Blagojevich

Has she complained about their names?  Not everyone in the United States have last names like Brown, Lewis, Green, Bush, Rove, White, Gray, Washington, Perry, etc.

A couple of days after her ignorant comment Miss Betty apologized.

Texas legislator apologizes for remarks

AUSTIN, Texas — The state lawmaker embroiled in a controversy over pending voter identification legislation has apologized for her remarks regarding Asian-descent voters’ names.

Rep. Betty Brown, R-Terrell, said that she “apologizes for her remark in the Elections Committee on Tuesday, April 7,” in a statement issued late Thursday.

She said she appreciates testimony that made legislators aware of problems faced by Asian-Americans when acquiring identification and that she understands the “diversity of Texas” and the “enrichment” that Asian-Americans have brought to the state.

The Texas Democratic party and others called on Brown to apologize after she said voters of Asian descent should adopt names that are “easier for Americans to deal with.”

The comments were part of an exchange with Ramey Ko, a representative of the Organization of Chinese Americans, during a hearing Tuesday by the House Elections Committee.

If you have one of those names that Miss Betty just can’t deal with try the Betty Brown Name Generator.

Even though I was born in the good ole USA and my family has been here for the past few centuries, here’s my brand new American name:

My Betty Brown Approved Name is

LaVerne “Americana” Brown.
Take Betty Brown Name Generator today!
Created with Rum and Monkey‘s Name Generator Generator.

Hat tip to Angry Asian Man.

The aftermath of Hurricane Ike

I had a feeling with the name Ike, this hurricane would be fierce.  Overnight Hurricane Ike left some serious damage in southeast Texas including Galveston and Houston.  Southwest Louisiana was also affected by Hurricane Ike.  Some folks who decided not to evacuate regretted their decision.

Ike wears itself out beating up on Texas

GALVESTON, Texas (CNN) — Rescuers in Galveston, Texas, were going door-to-door Saturday to check on the estimated 20,000 people who failed to flee Hurricane Ike, which has slowed to tropical storm status.

As of Saturday afternoon, the Galveston Fire Department had taken 27 people to a shelter in a high school on the coastal island, which was without electricity or water pressure.

No casualties had been discovered so far in the search and rescue efforts, which have been hampered by heavy flooding and scattered debris.

“We are in a recovery mode,” Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas said in a press conference Saturday afternoon. “This eye came right over us, stayed a while and went on, but it brought a lot of damage to our city.”

Galveston City Manager Steve LeBlanc said the island would be closed while authorities assess damages, including to the causeway, which was in “bad shape” because of debris and road damage.

“The road buckled in a number of places,” LeBlanc said. “Even if we opened it up you couldn’t get through.”

LeBlanc said 17 buildings on the island had been destroyed, including ten homes that caught fire and a boat storage warehouse that was set ablaze as Ike approached.

The other buildings fell because their structures were battered by winds and storm surge, LeBlanc said.

Ike was downgraded Saturday to a tropical storm 11 hours after it crashed ashore as a Texas-sized hurricane that walloped southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana.

Check out the entire article here.  I was watching CNN earlier today and they mentioned that over 2 million people were without power in Texas and Louisiana.  And of course gas stations are jacking up the gas prices.

The New York Times has a section on the Galveston Storm of 1900.  This hurricane occured on September 8, 1900 and caused over 6,000 deaths.

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