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Colonel Tye and African Americans during the American Revolutionary War
by Black Kos guest writer, aaraujo

On March 5, 1770 in the restless city of Boston, a detachment of British soldiers shot into a riotous mob while trying to maintain law and order.  This event would later be known as the Boston Massacre.   Five people were shot and killed including an escaped slave named Crispus Attucks.  Attucks was the son of an African American slave and a Native American woman and he was one of the very first killed in the violent political upheaval that would later become the American Revolutionary War.  He was America’s first Black Patriot.  The Boston Massacre shocked the American population and contributed to the already increasing bitterness that was stirring amid the colonists towards their distant British authorities far across the Atlantic Ocean.

Five years later, on April 19, 1775 the American War of Independence broke out between the Thirteen Colonies of British North America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain under the rule of the sovereign monarch, King George III.  The American revolutionaries called themselves Patriots while those opposing independence were known as Loyalists.  The Revolutionary War could easily be considered a civil war within a society of white English-speaking peoples arguing over taxation and representative government.  Black African Americans, both free and enslaved, found themselves caught up in the midst of a maelstrom of a fight that was not their own.  In the northern colonies and especially New England, many African Americans, like Attucks, agreeing with the ideals of freedom and liberty, fought alongside the American Patriots.  However in the southern colonies, where the society was built on slavery, African Americans fought against their former masters as Black Loyalists.

Soon after the start, the War for Independence transformed into a very real struggle for freedom for hundreds of thousands of enslaved African American people in America.  In November of 1775, John Murray, Earl of Dunmore and royal governor of Virginia, issued a proclamation declaring that all “indentured servants, Negroes, or others” are free that are able and willing to bear arms and fight for British against the Americans.  This was the first declared emancipation, or legal mass liberation of slaves, in America.  The Dunmore Proclamation   convinced thousands of slaves to escape their masters and join with the British Loyalist cause.  The British did not free the slaves out of any sense of moral righteousness but as a military necessity to put down an armed insurrection

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Titus Cornelius, an African American male, was born into slavery in 1753 in New Jersey.  In the chaos of the Revolutionary War he took his opportunity to run away from his cruel master.  As a fugitive slave his options were slim.  He saw his chance for lasting freedom with Dunmore’s proclamation and seized upon it.  He joined the Ethiopian Regiment, a black loyalist guerrilla contingent in Virginia, and became known by his nom de guerre, Colonel Tye.  Colonel was only an honorary rank because the British would not recognize a commission for a black man.  He returned to New Jersey, leading a commando unit called the Black Brigade, and with intimate knowledge of the countryside became a famous combatant against the revolutionaries. Tye commanded an interracial unit of soldiers in a surprise attack against Patriot commander Joseph Murray.   Murray was reviled by the British for having executed Loyalists.  The Black Brigade successfully killed him.  Three days later the Brigade captured another Patriot commander, his men and their supplies.


       

                           John Corlies's runaway advertisement for Titus.


Thomas Jefferson writing in the Declaration of Independence stated one of the grievances of the Americans as, “He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”  Domestic insurrections implied to slave rebellions encouraged by the British proclamation.  This is in addition to the overt racism exhibited towards the Native Americans living on the western frontiers of the Colonies as “merciless Indian Savages”.  The future president, Thomas Jefferson, was considered an enlightened man that professed the liberty of men but he was a hypocrite that owned two hundred and fifty slaves.  

In 1779, the British commander in New York, Henry Clinton added to the Dunmore Proclamation by issuing the Philipsburg Proclamation.   This stated that any Negro to desert the rebel cause would receive full protection, freedom, and land. Thousands more of African Americans runaway slaves joined the British ranks.  

In 1780, Tye launched an attack on another Patriot leader, Josiah Huddy.  Huddy and a female companion succeeded in holding off the attackers for two hours. Eventually, Tye and his men smoked them out by lighting Huddy’s house on fire, but not before Tye had been shot through the wrist. The wound would become infected and Colonel Tye later died.

In 1783, the war finally ended with an American victory.  British soldiers and Loyalists, both white and black, had to evacuate the newly created United States.  The Americans wanted their former slaves, who they saw as seized property, returned.  The British commander Guy Carleton rejected General George Washington's request for the return of African Americans who had joined the British.  Thousands of Black Loyalists were granted certificates of freedom for their service and documented in a “Book of Negroes”  as they sailed to Nova Scotia, the Caribbean and Great Britain.  Later some of these refugees relocated to the newly formed British colony in Freetown, Sierra Leone on the western coast of Africa.  Sierra Leone was established for purpose of repatriating freed slaves.

Black Loyalists like Tye fought for their personal freedom and of those that they loved.    Freedom meant more than just the right to travel freely.  It allowed them to name themselves, raise their own families. Work and keep their profits for themselves and develop their own economies.  The former American slaves that had sought refuge in Nova Scotia and Britain soon found themselves surrounded by people that viewed them with suspicion, resentment and even hostility.  With little prospect of economic or social advancement in North America or Europe, many of them soon set off to start a new life in Freetown and their descendants later became known as the Sierra Leone Creoles.  Decades later, the neighboring American colony of Liberia would be established on the same premise for repatriation of former slaves of the United States.





As stated earlier, some African Americans fought for the American Patriot cause but in smaller numbers than the Loyalists.  In reaction to the British enlistment of African American slaves on the promise of freedom; Americans began to enlist free and enslaved blacks mostly from New England for the American Continental Army.  In 1778, Rhode Island formed the 1st Rhode Island Regiment and allowed the enlistment of "every able-bodied negro, mulatto, or Indian man slave" that chose to do so, and that "every slave so enlisting shall, upon his passing muster before Colonel Christopher Greene, be immediately discharged from the service of his master or mistress, and be absolutely free...."

In August of 1778, the 1st Rhode Island Regiment saw action in the Battle of Rhode Island.  The Continental Army commanded by General John Sullivan withdrew to the northern Aquidneck Island after ending their siege of city of Newport on Aquidneck Island’s south.  Newport had been occupied by the British three years.  The British forces in Newport, supported by Royal Navy ships, attacked the retreating Americans after the French Navy refused to engage. The battle ended without a clear victory for either side, but the Continental army afterward withdrew to the mainland, leaving all Aquidneck Island to the British.  A year later, the British forces abandoned Rhode Island to concentrate their attention on New York.

The Revolutionary War was not only the Americans struggle for independence but the largest slave revolt in African American history. There was an obvious inconsistency in the fact that white Americans wanted freedom and liberty from King George III in Great Britain but at the same time enslaving African Americans. This paradox has to do with white Americans ideas of liberty as opposed to that of African Americans. To white Americans the war was about political and economic liberty instead of the very real personal liberty that African American slaves wanted.

After the war, the northern American states gradually began abolishing slavery partly due to acknowledging the hypocrisy.  Canada would ban slavery in 1793, Great Britain would follow suit by 1833, and the southern American states would stubbornly continue the institution of slavery and ending it only with a very bloody Civil War in 1865.  It would take another hundred years after that before African Americans were granted civil rights and were accepted as full participating members of American society.


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                  News by dopper0189, Black Kos Managing Editor

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Deaths are down, and the heroes of the story aren’t who many people think they are. Slate: Good News on AIDS in Africa.
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The latest news on AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, the epidemic’s epicenter, is good. New HIV infections have declined by 25 percent since 2001, AIDS-related deaths have decreased by 32 percent over the past 6 years, and there are expanded options for testing and treatment. After decades of doom-and-gloom news about AIDS in Africa, optimism is finally in the air.

What’s behind this positive turn? The standard narrative attributes these recent improvements to Western engagement. The heroes are the best-known acronyms in the world of AIDS (PEPFAR, UNAIDS, WHO), the Global Fund, and a host of NGOs. Together, these organizations have waged total war against AIDS in Africa—or what looks like total war if you compare it to efforts devoted to other diseases. They have spent tens of billions of dollars. They have mobilized legions of scientists, medical professionals, development workers, educators, TV programmers, marketing specialists, and volunteers. And they have shunned, silenced, and demonized those who oppose their good work. The good news about AIDS in Africa—so this standard narrative goes—is the result of their efforts. It’s proof that even on that dark and desperate continent, awash with ancient superstitions, hypersexuality, dangerous traditional practices, and poor leadership, AIDS cannot withstand a sustained pummeling by well-intentioned and well-financed outsiders.

This narrative contains some important elements of truth: Pharmacological treatments in particular are transforming HIV from a death sentence into a manageable, chronic condition, at least for those with access to antiretrovirals. But most of the measured improvements in AIDS in Africa are actually the result of cumulative, widespread behavior change that has led to a reduction in new HIV infections. In other words, the standard narrative is wrong.

The narrative is wrong because it ignores local African responses to AIDS and characterizes religion and religious leaders as part of the problem. We have systematically studied the role of religious leaders in sub-Saharan Africa for about a decade. As a single class of people, local religious leaders sit at the very top of our list of who should receive credit for the behavior changes that have curbed the spread of HIV in Africa.



Approximately 90 percent of Africans are regular participants in a religious congregation. Above, a Baptist church in Kenya.
Photo by Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images


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For all the devastation and death  Haiti’s massive Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake unleashed, it also stirred hope of a healthcare turnaround for the most destitute of Haiti’s poor. Miami Herald: A new dawn for one of Haiti’s most notorious slums.
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For years, the low-lying slum along the bay and the AIDS clinic across the street lived in separate worlds, a one-way relationship where the sick shuffled out but healthcare providers didn’t dare go in.

Then Haiti’s massive Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake and subsequent cholera outbreak crumbled the barriers.

“We didn’t ask for any of it,” Dr. Jean William Pape, founder of GHESKIO, Haiti’s leading HIV/AIDS clinic and research center, said about the disasters. “But now we got them. What are we going to do with them?”

For all the devastation and death both catastrophes unleashed, they also stirred hope of a healthcare turnaround for the most destitute of Haiti’s poor.

For the past year, a small army of community healthcare workers has quietly ventured beyond the clinic’s front gate to confront some of the stumbling blocks that have long made providing quality healthcare in the developing world challenging.


Village de Dieu or Village of God has long been known as a refuge for gangs and kidnappers. But three years after Haiti's tragic earthquake, residents are finding hope in the efforts of an AIDS clinic that is bringing comprehensive healthcare to help improve the lives of the poor.
PATRICK FARRELL / MIAMI HERALD

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This is why I always advise my younger relatives to build cross ethnic, gender, and racial business networks. BusinessWeek: Blacks Lose When Whites Help Whites Get Jobs.
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There’s nothing illegal about giving a hand to a friend or family member who’s looking for a job. But when whites do it for other whites, blacks get stuck on the outside looking in. Most blacks still lack the networks to boost them into the kind of good jobs that whites take for granted.

That, in a nutshell, is the conclusion of a forthcoming (April 2013) book called The American Non-Dilemma: Racial Inequality Without Racism. It’s by Nancy DiTomaso, a professor of organization management at Rutgers University in New Jersey. 

Today DiTomaso spoke on a conference call with reporters that was sponsored by the Russell Sage Foundation, the book’s publisher. Three other experts joined her.

Nearly half a century after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, and gender, straight-out racism has become rare in the U.S., DiTomaso says in American Non-Dilemma.

The question is, why does the racial divide in employment remain stark? To find out why, DiTomasso conducted 246 interviews with working-class and middle-class whites in New Jersey, Ohio, and Tennessee. The vast majority believed in civil rights and equal opportunity. But they also believed in helping out their friends and family members—who for the most part were also white. DiTomaso’s conclusion, she said today, was that in hiring, “the favoritism of whites towards other whites may be more important than the discrimination of whites towards racial minorities.”




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Laura Beck looks back at confronting her own white privileged as a 5 year old at a doll store. Jezebel: The Problem With White Dolls.
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 met my first Cabbage Patch Kid at show-and-tell in Kindergarten. Julie Jones brought in the cherubic April Lynn and passed her around. There must've been something slightly creepy about the way I fondled the doll's shiny plastic head and crunchy blond ringlets because before my time was up, Julie snatched her out of my hands. It didn't matter, I was already in love — I had to have one.
After months of constant whining, my mother finally capitulated and drove us down to Toys-R-Us. I raced toward the Cabbage Patch Kid aisle, and I distinctly remember my heart dropping when I gazed up at the rows of dolls. They were all black. I don't remember this next part, but my mom said it was terrifying and humiliating — I apparently screamed at the top of my lungs, "I don't want a black doll! I want one that looks like meeeeee!!"

Never mind that Cabbage Patch Kids, no matter the skin tone, looked nothing like my five-year-old self; I didn't understand why I couldn't have a white one. My mom recalls grabbing me and making a beeline for the exit; apologizing along the way for her terrifying child. I can only imagine how awkward it was for every person we passed.

As a white girl, my experience even at five-years-old was that dolls were supposed to look like me. As Lisa Hix explores in her excellent essay in Bitch, little girls of color in America have a very different experience. In a new documentary by Samantha M. Knowles, Why Do You Have Black Dolls?, Debbie Behan Garrett, the author of Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion, speaks about the importance of black dolls.



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Hip-hop, the most urban of genres, is getting a new sound – courtesy of the small towns of a deep south state. The Guardian: Flow like the river: Big K.R.I.T. and Mississippi's flood of hip-hop
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Around 40 miles south of Jackson, Mississippi's state capital, just off Interstate 55, lies the town of Crystal Springs. Unless you need to fill up your car or your stomach, you almost certainly won't leave the freeway to visit it.

Around 6,000 people live in Crystal Springs. Last year, the town briefly made headlines when members of the congregation at the First Baptist Church on East Cayuga Street refused to let their pastor marry a black couple. It used to call itself The Tomato Capital of the World. That gives you a bit of insight into the kind of place this is.

When he was in high school in the early 90s, Jason Thompson would get into his 79 Chevy Impala and drive from his family's house on Utica Road, which meanders outside the town limits past the cemetery. He'd end up at the gas station with his friends. They'd sit outside, late into the night, scanning the dial for hip-hop.

"We'd hang out – post up, is what we would call it – and listen to music," Thompson says. "Real slow motion. We listened to a lot of east coast hip-hop: Nas, Rakim, KRS-One. That's when Outkast was popping off, so we listened to that."

The seeds planted by those gas station sessions are starting to pay off – both in Crystal Springs and elsewhere in the state. Something is happening in Mississippi. The small towns are starting to produce some of the coolest hip-hop music you'll ever hear. Drawing on styles from both the east coast and the dirty south, Mississippi's rappers seem to have an innate sense of musicality – an idea that the voice can be an instrument, not just a way to deliver a message.



'Where I’m from is humble, and people appreciate what they have' … Big K.R.I.T.
The Guardian


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Welcome to the porch, where it's always warm, and the conversations are just fine.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Black Kos on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 01:02 PM PDT.

Also republished by Black Kos community and Barriers and Bridges.

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