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Keeping Our Eyes on the Movement
Commentary by Black Kos Editor Denise Oliver-Velez

One of the things that for me is disheartening is the lack of national attention being focused on the Moral Mondays grass-roots fusion movement that is growing throughout the south.

We cannot depend on the Traditional Media (TM) to carry the message. While TM sources are willing to pay tribute to civil rights history events, and commemorations for fallen martyrs, they are far less apt to give headlines to, and follow the groundswell of support for the pushback against Republican repression of voting rights and civil rights.

We have the responsibility to do the work carrying the message, using our social media - email, facebook, twitter, tumblr, you tube and on blogs.

It is not a matter of the information being unavailable.  

I can't begin to tell you how many political people I know who failed to learn about the 80,000 plus people who went to Raleigh and marched back in February.

At that time, the Freedom Summer 2014 organizing was announced. Well - that time is here - Now.

Local media in North Carolina are covering this summer's events.

NC coverage:

Moral Monday: Fiery speeches mark rally at Corpening Plaza

The Moral Monday rally in the city’s Corpening Plaza came after the first day of a hearing in U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem on the state's controversial new election law. The state NAACP sponsored the event.

“We are going to fight and litigate in court against what is unmistakably the worse attack on voter rights since Jim Crow,” Barber said. “It’s a blood fight. The hands that once picked cotton now pick a president, a governor and the legislature. Now (they) want to change the rules.”

Barber questioned the motivations of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger for passing and signing the bill into law, saying that it rolls back voting rights for North Carolinians.

“We are going to fight for the rights that come through blood,” Barber said, referring to the civil-rights activists who died in the 1960s for supporting of voting rights for blacks.

600 attend Moral Monday rally in Winston-Salem
About 600 people attended a rally in Corpening Plaza Monday afternoon during which the Rev. William Barber, president of the N.C. NAACP, and other speakers called for the repeal of the state’s voter ID law.

The rally came after the first day of a hearing on the state's controversial new election law.

“We are going to fight and litigate in court against what is unmistakably the worse attack on voter rights since Jim Crow,” Barber said. “It’s a blood fight. The hands that once picked cotton now pick a president, a governor and the legislature. Now (they) want to change the rules.”

The crowd cheered and chanted, "Forward together, not one step back," after Barber's 20-minute speech.

After the rally, Kismet Loftin-Bell of Winston-Salem said she was inspired by Barber’s message and his call for people to register and vote in the November elections.

“It is absolutely important just so the process of democracy works,” she said.

'Moral Monday' hits the road to Winston-Salem


Winston-Salem, N.C. — Nearly 1,000 people rallied outside the federal courthouse in Winston-Salem on Monday after state NAACP lawyers argued against the state's voter ID law, the organization said in a statement.

The rally was the first "Moral March to the Polls" effort as organizers move from weekly protests at the General Assembly to registering voters for the Nov. 4 election.

NAACP lawyers are working with attorneys from the U.S. Department of Justice, the League of Women Voters and the American Civil Liberties Union to ask a judge for a preliminary injunction to temporarily delay a law requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls and eliminate same-day voter registration.

"Let us not forget that HB 589 is not about voter ID and voter integrity," Rev. William Barber, state NAACP president, said in a statement. "It is about the intentional identification of voters that the extremists feel may not support their political ideology and the conjuring up and passing of laws to suppress and exclude those voters' rights and opportunities at the ballot box."

Challenge heard to NC voter ID law
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A federal hearing is underway in Winston-Salem today over the state’s controversial Voter Information Verification Act, commonly known as the “Voter ID” law.

U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder is hearing arguments on whether to block many of the state’s voting law provisions from taking effect during the Nov. 4 general election in a case that’s being closely watched across North Carolina and throughout the country.

The Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, was among the first at the courthouse this morning.

“This is the worst attempt to abridge and suppress the right to vote that we’ve seen since the days of Jim Crow,” said Barber.

The NAACP has filed three lawsuits against the act. However, they will not be heard until next year. Barber says the suits are not only about requiring voters to have an ID, but also shortening early voting, eliminating same-day registration and doing away with pre-registration for minors.

Students Joining Battle to Upend Laws on Voter ID: College Students Claim Voter ID Laws Discriminate Based on Age
WASHINGTON — Civil rights groups have spent a decade fighting requirements that voters show photo identification, arguing that this discriminates against African-Americans, Hispanics and the poor. This week in a North Carolina courtroom, another group will make its case that such laws are discriminatory: college students.

Joining a challenge to a state law alongside the N.A.A.C.P., the American Civil Liberties Union and the Justice Department, lawyers for seven college students and three voter-registration advocates are making the novel constitutional argument that the law violates the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age to 18 from 21. The amendment also declares that the right to vote “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age.”

Thanks to a phone call from Onomastic I didn't miss the live coverage of the kickoff event for voter registration in Winston-Salem.  

If you did - the entire rally is here:

Live Stream video

Sister Yara Allen opened with a rousing version of "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round".  
Rev. Barber's fiery speech, referenced above comes at about 48:00 in the video.

If you aren't following Moral Monday Freedom Summer, or the movement, please bookmark their pages.

Spread the word.  Support the movement:

Moral Mondays twitter

Moral Freedom Summer

North Carolina NAACP Moral Mondays Freedom Summer

Donate, become a member NC NAACP

Keep your eyes on the prize of our freedoms.


                  News by dopper0189, Black Kos Managing Editor


A new short film is a vivid reminder of the difficulties black parents face when searching for their lost loved ones. The Root: Who Will Save Our Missing Children of Color?
A few weeks ago while attending the American Black Film Festival in New York City, I witnessed the short film Muted. Written by Brandi Ford, featuring Grey’s Anatomy star Chandra Wilson and Malcolm-Jamal Warner, and directed by Rachel Goldberg, Muted was only 20 minutes long, but the offering sat on my chest like a lump of steel for days afterward.

In the film a sweet, loving and creative African-American girl, Crystal Gladwell (Daniele Watts), leaves her home in the morning to go to school and is never seen alive again. Gleaned from the experiences of real African-American families forced to endure such terrible circumstances, Muted’s plot is an accurate depiction of what black families searching for their lost children can expect. A side storyline includes a white teenage girl, abducted at the same time, who is featured on the local evening news. Meanwhile, Crystal’s mother (Wilson) has to beg local journalists to cover the story, to no avail.  

I say this often, but art does often imitate real life. When a black child goes missing, the authorities seemingly lack in action and empathy as black parents beg for help locating their missing child. Oftentimes, standard questions place blame on the missing: “Has the child run away before? Has the child gotten into a recent disagreement with their parents? Does the child use illegal drugs? Have you checked with the child’s friends?”

When C-SPAN invited viewers on Thursday to offer their thoughts on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, a handful of individuals used the opportunity to lament white oppression. Talking Point Memo: Callers Use C-SPAN Civil Rights Discussion To Complain About White Oppression.
"Washington Journal" host Steve Scully listened as an "independent" caller named Thomas from Maryland told him that he is "much less liberal today" than he was in 1964 when the landmark law was signed by Lyndon B. Johnson.

"And I think the blacks have brought on most of their present-day problems themselves. They insult white people," he told Scully. "I heard it right on your own show, I heard some black call Karl Rove a 'white boy.' And I don't think that's right. They're attacking white people in the big cities and we're supposed to put up with that kind of stuff and like them and say, 'Well, come into our neighborhood.' And how about the discussion of the black crime that goes on in this country?"

The caller went on to complain that the discrimination endured by Irish, Mormons and Italians is widely ignored.

"You people will never, never discuss that. You only discuss the discrimination against the black people," he said.

Scully asked the caller if he had faced discrimination himself.

"Yes, I have felt discrimination in my life. Yes, because I am of Irish descent I have felt it," he said.

Later, Scully read a tweet from Danny who said that the "racists are those who set out to destroy the nation's white identity, that is racist."

And Scully eventually heard from two consecutive callers who each said that white guys are getting a bum rap. First up was Joe in Ohio, who said there is a "war on white men in this country from liberal white women that claim there is a war against women."

A local New York newspaper ran an op-ed that used the N-word in its headline about President Barack Obama. Talking Point Memo: Newspaper Ran Op-Ed About Obama With N-Word In The Headline (PHOTO).
he op-ed, in the monthly West View News of the West Village in New York, by James Lincoln Collier, was actually not a piece criticizing Obama. Collier argued that "far right voters hate Obama because he is black."

"The simple truth is that there is still in America an irreducible measure of racism," the op-ed said. "America's increasing tolerance of far-right opinion has made racism more acceptable."

The New York Post printed an image (pictured) of the headline with the n-word blurred out.

The West View News also ran a column below Collier's by Alvin Hall, an African-American columnist, titled "This headline offends me."

According to West View News editor George Capsis Collier was able to convince him to print the headline even though the editorial staff had reservations.


Grammy winner Alicia Keys joined MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry at the 20th Annual Essence Festival, with a message empowering black women to end AIDS. The Grio: Alicia Keys empowers black women to end AIDS.
Keys hosted a special Essence Empowerment Experience panel on Friday, July 4th called “Through Love of Self, Family and Community, Empowering Black Women to End AIDS.”

Throughout the one-hour conversation, moderated by Harris-Perry, Keys spoke to women whose lives have been impacted by the virus.

Keys was  joined by two additional women with incredible stories: Kym, a young professional who found out she was positive when her new husband became sick and died as a result of HIV/AIDS, and Teresa, a mother whose unconditional love of her HIV positive son has helped him to maintain his treatment and thrive in the face of this disease.


Entrepreneurs who cater to the growing Afro-Brazilian consciousness are at the center of an economic resurgence. The Root: Booming Black Businesses Fuel Brazil’s New Middle Class.
ust 12 years ago Adriana Barbosa was unemployed and selling clothes at tiny street bazaars. It was the 21st century, but Barbosa realized that much of the country’s Afro-Brazilian population was still unable to find products and services designed for them. So she created Feira Preta, a cultural fair where hundreds of black exhibitors showcase various products, from traditional hairstyles and beauty products to English courses focusing on black culture.

Today her business interests encompass a production company and promotional business, and she is branding Feira Preta throughout Brazil. Barbosa’s success is far from an isolated incident. Black Brazilian entrepreneurs, especially women, are pushing their way into the country’s rapidly growing middle class.

Fueled by a blossoming economy and a government program aimed at reducing income inequality, approximately 80 percent of Brazil’s new members of the middle class are black. Over the past decade, the middle class has grown by 38 percent, according to government reports from the Strategic Affairs Secretariat of the Presidency. Incomes of black Brazilians grew by 123 percent between 2000 and 2012—five times faster than the rest of the population, according to a report by Globo newspaper in 2012.

People crowd the popular market Saara in downtown Rio de Janeiro, Dec. 27, 2011.  


Voices and Soul


by Justice Putnam
Black Kos Poetry Editor

Since I was a child, I have been both enamored and appalled at the increasing militancy of our nation. We glory the Soldier as a Hero, one whose pedestal is not to be sullied. Songs are sung and films are broadcast about yellow ribbons and Gold Stars and red sky at morning and Johnny come marching home and tears at Arlington on Memorial and Veteran's Day with 20 gun salutes and full metal jackets shredding jungles and deserts and seas and air.

Everywhere I look, supplicants genuflect and tithe at the Altar of the Military; politicians and preachers sky pilot high school football homecoming prom dances, while daddy works in a coal mine going down down down burning fossil microbes to steam a turbine and economies and marriages suffer from codified martial strategies of weapons procurement and international arms sales.

A pedestal not to be sullied; a Hero exalted. Semper Fidelis until Johnny needs a job and a shoulder to lean on when the slide show of dismembered limbs and dead babies scorched against the charred breasts of scattered skeletons scrolls behind closed eyelids on a lazy summer afternoon; an exalted Hero until stumbled on the cold winter night theater district broken sidewalk hungry and lame and mumbling about the Newburgh Conspiracy and how he is just a festering scar on the nation and no amount of cleaning the wound will stop the seeping ooze of his forgotten service, no amount of slicing away the rotting flesh will justify the public amnesia.  



Black men are oaks cut down.

Congressional Medal of Honor Society
United States of America chartered by
Congress, August 14, 1958; this certifies
that STAC John Henry Louis is a member
of this society.

“Don’t ask me anything about the
medal. I don’t even know how I won

Debridement: The cutting away of dead
or contaminated tissue from a wound
to prevent infection.

America: love it or give it back.

Groceries ring
in my intestines:
grits aint groceries   
eggs aint poultry
Mona Lisa was a man:
waltzing in sawdust   
I dream my cards
has five holes in it,   
up to twenty holes;   
five shots out of seven   
beneath the counter;   
surrounded by detectives   
pale ribbons of valor   
my necklace of bullets   
powdering the operating table.

Five impaled men loop their ribbons   
’round my neck
listening to whispers of valor:
“Honey, what you cryin’ ’bout?   
You made it back.”

Four M-48 tank platoons ambushed
near Dak To, two destroyed:   
the Ho Chi Minh Trail boils,   
half my platoon rockets   
into stars near Cambodia,
foot soldiers dance from highland woods
taxing our burning half:

there were no caves for them to hide.
We saw no action,
eleven months twenty-two days   
in our old tank
burning sixty feet away:
I watch them burn inside out:   
hoisting through heavy crossfire,   
hoisting over turret hatches,   
hoisting my last burning man   
alive to the ground,
our tank artillery shells explode   
killing all inside:
hoisting blown burned squad   
in tank’s bladder,
plug leaks with cave blood:

there were no caves for them to hide—

In the Projects
Slung basketballs at Jeffries   
House with some welfare kids   
weaving in their figure eight hunger.

Mama asked if I was taking anything?   
I rolled up my sleeves:
no tracks, mama:
“black-medal-man ain’t street-poisoned,”
militants called:
“he’s an electronic nigger!”

“Better keep electronic nigger 'way.”
Electronic Nigger?   
Mama, unplug me, please.

A White Friend Flies In from the Coast
Burned —black by birth,
burned —armed with .45,
burned —submachine gun,
burned—STAC hunted VC,
burned —killing 5-20,
burned —nobody know for sure;   
burned —out of ammo,
burned—killed one with gun-stock,   
burned —VC AK-47 jammed,   
burned —killed faceless VC,   
burned —over and over,
burned —STAC subdued by three men,   
burned —three shots: morphine,   
burned —tried killing prisoners,   
burned —taken to Pleiku,
burned —held down, straitjacket,
burned —whites owe him, hear?   
burned —I owe him, here.

Mama’s Report
“Don’t fight, honey,   
don’t let ’em catch you.”

Tour over, gear packed,   
hospital over, no job.

“Aw man, nothin' happened,”
explorer, altar boy—

Maybe it’s ’cause they killed people   
and don’t know why they did?

My boy had color slides of dead people,   
stacks of dead Vietnamese.

MP’s asked if he’d been arrested   
since discharge, what he’d been doin’:

“Lookin’ at slides,
looking’ at stacks of slides, mostly.”

Fifteen minutes later a colonel called
from the Defense Department, said he’d won the medal;

could he be in Washington with his family,   
maybe he’d get a job now; he qualified.

The Democrats had lost, the president said;   
there were signs of movement in Paris:

Fixing Certificates:   Dog Tags:   Letters Home
Our heliteam had mid-air blowout   
dropping flares—5 burned alive.

The children carry hand   
grenades to and from piss tubes.

Staring at tracer bullets
rice is the focal point of war.

On amphibious raid, our heliteam
found dead VC with maps of our compound.

On morning sick call you unzip;   
before you piss you get a smear.

“VC reamed that mustang a new asshole”—
even at movies: “no round-eye pussy no more”—

Tympanic membrane damage: high gone—
20-40 db loss mid-frequencies.

Scrub-typhus, malaria, dengue fever, cholera;   
rotting buffalo, maggoted dog, decapped children.

Bangkok: amber dust, watches, C-rations,   
elephanthide billfolds, cameras, smack.

Sand&tinroof bunkers, 81/120 mm:
“Health record terminated this date by reason of death.”

Vaculoated amoeba, bacillary dysentery, hookworm;
thorazine, tetracycline, darvon for diarrhea.

'Conitus’ : I wanna go home to mama;
Brown’s mixture, ETH with codeine, cortisone skin-creams.

Written on helipad fantail 600 bed Repose;
“no purple heart, hit by ’nother marine.”

“Vascular repair, dissection, debridement”:
sharp bone edges, mushy muscle, shrapnel: stainless bucket.

Bodies in polyethylene bag: transport:   
'Tan San Nhat Mortuary’

Blood, endotracheal tube, prep   
abdomen, mid-chest to scrotum—

“While you’re fixin' me doc,
can you fix them ingrown hairs on my face?”

“They didn’t get my balls, did they?”
50 mg thorazine—“Yes they did, marine!”

Swans loom on the playground   
swooning in the basket air,
the nod of their bills
in open flight, open formation.   
Street-poisoned, a gray mallard   
skims into our courtyard with a bag:

And he poisons them —

And he poisons them

my pass is a blade   
near the sternum
cutting in:
you can make this a career.

Patches itch on my chest and shoulders—
I powder them with phisohex
solution from an aerosol can:
you can make this a career.

Pickets of insulin dab the cloudy
hallways in a spray.
Circuits of change
march to an honor guard—
I am prancing:   
I am prancing:

you can make this a career.

Makin’ Jump Shots
He waltzes into the lane
’cross the free-throw line,   
fakes a drive, pivots,
floats from the asphalt turf   
in an arc of black light,
and sinks two into the chains.

One on one he fakes   
down the main, passes   
into the free lane
and hits the chains.

A sniff in the fallen air—
he stuffs it through the chains   
riding high:
“traveling” someone calls—
and he laughs, stepping
to a silent beat, gliding
as he sinks two into the chains.

Debridement:   Operation Harvest Moon:   On Repose
The sestina traces a circle in language and body.

Stab incision below nipple,
left side; insert large chest tube;   
sew to skin, right side;
catch blood from tube
in gallon drain bottle.
Wash abdomen with phisohex;   
shave; spray brown iodine prep.

Stab incision below sternum   
to symphis pubis
catch blood left side;
sever reddish brown spleen
cut in half; tie off blood supply;   
check retroperitoneal,
kidney, renal artery bleeding.

Dissect lateral wall
abdominal cavity; locate kidney;   
pack colon, small intestine;   
cut kidney; suture closely;   
inch by inch check bladder,   
liver, abdominal wall, stomach:   
25 units blood, pressure down.

Venous pressure: 8; lumbar
musculature, lower spinal column   
pulverized; ligate blood vessels,   
right forearm; trim meat, bone ends;   
tourniquet above fracture, left arm;   
urine, negative: 4 hours; pressure   
unstable; remove shrapnel flecks.

Roll on stomach; 35 units blood;
pressure zero; insert plastic blood
containers, pressure cuffs; pump chest   
drainage tube; wash wounds sterile   
saline; dress six-inch ace wraps;
wrap both legs, toe to groin; left arm   
plaster, finger to shoulder: 40 units blood.

Pressure, pulse, respiration up;
remove bloody gowns; scrub; redrape;
5 cc vitamin K; thorazine: sixth
laparotomy; check hyperventilation;
stab right side incision below nipple;
insert large chest tube; catch blood drain bottle ...

The Family of Debridement
Theory: Inconvenienced subject will return to hospital   
if loaned Thunderbird
Withdrawn. Hope: Subject returns,
Foreclosure for nine months unpaid mortgage;   
wife tells subject hospital wants deposit,
Diseased cyst removal:
'Ain’t you gonna give me a little kiss good-bye’
Subject-wife: To return with robe and curlers—
Subject tells friend he’ll pay $15 to F’s stepfather   
if he’ll drive him to pick up money owed him.

“This guy lives down the street,
I don’t want him to see me coming.”

“It looked odd for a car filled with blacks
to be parked in the dark in a white neighborhood,   
so we pulled the car out under a streetlight   
so everybody could see us.”

Store manager: “I first hit him with two bullets   
so I pulled the trigger until my gun was empty.”

“I’m going to kill you, you white MF,” store manager   
told police. Police took cardload, F and F’s parents for   
further questioning. Subject died on operating table: 5 hrs:

Subject buried on grass slope, 200 yards   
east of Kennedy Memorial,
overlooking Potomac and Pentagon,   
to the south,
Arlington National Cemetery.

Army honor guard
in dress blues,
carried out assignment   
with precision.

-- Michael S. Harper


Welcome to the Black Kos Community Front Porch


Originally posted to Black Kos community on Tue Jul 08, 2014 at 01:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges.

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