For this Cinco De Mayo remember the History of the Mascogos, a people with African-America, Indigenous, and Mexican roots.
By dopper0189, Black Kos, Managing Editor
Across the country people will be celebrating Cinco De Mayo this weekend, as America celebrates the contributions of the third largest ethnic group in the United States, Mexican-Americans. Yet unknown to most outsiders living in the mountains of the Mexican state of Coahuila, in the remote village of El Nacimiento, are a group people with a fascinating history. The people who live there are known by Mexicans as the Mascogos (also known as negros mascagos) and they have a transnational history that spans the US and Mexican borders.
The Mascogos are an Afro-descendant-Mexican group. They are centered in the town of El Nacimiento in the Múzquiz Municipality. In an amazing twist of history the Mascogos are descendants of a group of Black Seminoles. Their black Seminole forefathers escaped the threat of repression and slavery in ”Indian Country” and in the United States. The Black Seminoles, are themselves descendants of escaped African slaves who joined with the Indigenous Seminole Indians in Florida to form a new dual-ethnic identity. The Mascogos are almost entirely direct descendants of a famous group of Black Seminoles, the Seminole Negro Indian Scouts.
The name Mascogo may have been derived from native word Muscogee. The Mascogo perform capeyuye, a religious song accompanied by hand clapping at funerals, New Years and Christmas. Afro-Seminole Creole is used for the capeyuye and is spoken mostly by the elderly. In 2015, a capeyuye album titled Mascogo Soul featuring four Mascogo matriarchs was published.
The Mascogos also celebrate the African-American holiday Juneteenth, memorializing the message slavery had ended in the USA. During the festivities, the Mascogo community is visited by family members and Black Seminoles from Brackettville, Texas. Mascogo traditional dishes include soske (a type of atole), tetapún (bread made from camote), pumpkin or piloncilloempanadas and pan de mortero. The traditional costume of the Mascogo women is a long, polka-dotted dress, an apron and a kerchief tied around the head.
In the 1700’s in Florida the Seminoles and Black Seminoles were living peacefully and prosperously in Spanish and British ruled colony. Although the Black Seminoles were technically considered slaves of the Indigenous Seminoles, under Seminole tribal law their status was more akin to what in the Western world would be vassals and allies. Seminole Indians did not practice a European version of racial slavery. Furthermore Black Seminoles did to some degree intermarried with the Indigenous Seminoles. But overall the Black Seminoles mostly lived in separate settlements, where they blended Seminole customs with customs from their African heritage.
As European Americans expanded their search for new lands in the areas of Florida inhabited by Seminoles, both groups of Seminoles, Indigenous and Black united and fought back. In the 1800's there were three Seminole Wars as the Seminoles and Black Seminoles fought against forced removal to so called “Indian Territory”. One of the Seminoles main arguments against this forced removal was that they would be forced to share this Indian country reservation with Creek Indians. The Creek’s practiced slavery more closely aligned with European’s racial hereditary slavery. The Seminoles were worried that their black members would be at risk from slave traders. This fear was later shown to be well founded. Once the Seminoles were finally forced on to reservations, the Black Seminoles had to repeatedly take refuge at the forts. Black Seminoles were repeatedly stolen and sold right under the noses of the US soldiers. Some of the Indian agents even appear to have collaborated with the slavers.
Furious and desperate, a group of Seminoles and Black Seminoles under the leadership of a junior chief named Wild Cat and a full Black Seminole chief named John Horse (also known as Gopher John or Juan Caballo) rallied their people and fled Indian Territory. They traveled for almost a year, crossing the United States into Mexico, where slavery was outlawed. Once in Mexico the Black Seminoles realized they could earn a living working for the Mexican Government as a sort of military colonists. The Black Seminoles would be tasked with defending the Mexican border against cross border Indian raids. The group settled at El Nacimiento in 1852. The Seminoles then shared their duties as military colonists with a group of Kickapoo Indians who had accompanied them from US territory. Just as they had in Florida and Oklahoma, the black members of the Seminoles settled in their own village, close to that of their Seminole allies. And, for the first time, they were referred to by their own name, the Mascogos.
From 1850 to 1870 as the Mascogos lived and prospered in Coahuila the non-black Indigenous Seminoles did not fare as well. Smallpox decimated their ranks in Mexico and eventually the remaining non-black Seminoles returned to Oklahoma. But toward the end of the 1860s things became difficult for the Mascogos as well. Mexico was in a constant state of civil war, and the duties of military colonists went from defensive fighting against Indian raids to conscription in large military operations. The Mascogos preferred farming to fighting, although they were viewed as excellent warriors. Also with the departure of their Seminoles allies, they were left to carry a heavier burden of fighting, and the raiding by Indians from the American side of the border was increasing.
Then, in the late 1860s US Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Ely S. Parker began to make overtures to all the Indians living in Nacimiento to return to the U.S.A. The U.S. government was developing a policy that found that the best way to stop the Indians from raiding into Texas, was to get the Indians who lived in the Coahuila Mexican mountains back into the US and resettled into reservations. This proposed policy was not specifically aimed at the Mascogos, rather it was a broad attempt to get all the Indians "Kickapoo, Seminoles, Potawatomie, Lipan, Delaware, Mescalero, Muscayus (Mascogos) etc." back on the U.S. side of the border, where they would be more controllable. But of all the Indians contacted only the Mascogos responded. Slavery in the USA had officially ended, so there was no strong reason for them not to at least consider the idea. So called traditionalist Seminoles were at that time in power in the Seminole Nation in Oklahoma, and they were welcoming to their black members. Life seemed like it might be more peaceful and prosperous on the reservation. So the Mascogos were very interested in the possibility of returning to US controlled teritory.
In 1870, Colonel Jacob De Gress, commander at Fort Duncan, sent an official invitation to the Indians at Nacimiento to come to Fort Duncan to discuss a return to the USA. John Kibbetts, representing the Mascogos, negotiated an agreement proposing that his people to come over and settle on the military reservation while awaiting a decision about resettlement.
In May of 1870, Captain Frank Perry, who had replaced De Gress as commander at Fort Duncan, was authorized to accept the agreement and to bring the Mascogos over back the border. He suggested that while the details of their removal were being worked out between the army and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, they could be very useful to the US army. He requested that the able bodied male members of the Mascogos be enlisted as Indian Scouts, to help the inexperienced Regular US Army fight against the Kickapoo and Lipan who were continuously raiding into that part of Texas. The Mascogos were intimate with the countryside and with the Indians they would be fighting. This proposal was approved and John Kibbetts and Captain Perry finalized an agreement, called by the Mascogos "the treaty", which set out the details of the Scouts employment. Unfortunately, if this treaty was ever put on paper, no copies exist.
Major John Titcomb Sprague, an Army officer familiar to them from the Seminole Wars in Florida journal gives an account of the meeting:
Friday, July 5th, 1850: At 9 ½ A.M. we reached Las Moras, where was encamped the Train destined for El Paso. The road was excellent, the country barren Prairie. This is an excellent camping ground, it is at the head of a stream some twenty feet wide, which rises from Springs, and empties into the Rio Grande, about twenty miles distant, running through a narrow rich bottom. The ground here is quite elevated, grass is good and abundant. Distance today…7 miles.
Saturday, July 6th: Coacooche, or Wild Cat, came into my camp today with his band of fifty Kickapoo warriors, twenty Seminoles, and many Negroes. The whole band numbered about one hundred and fifty souls. Gopher John was along as Interpreter. He said he was on his way to Fort Duncan. The train is making preparations to move on the 10th. Mr. Coons is still in the rear with twenty wagons.
But like almost all “agreements” between the United States and Indians there was a “misunderstanding” on the terms. The Mascogos understanding was that they would be provided removal expenses, rations, and a place to live for the group. In exchange their men would serve as scouts for the army while awaiting removal to permanent settlement on the Seminole reservation, where they would be provided land under the same terms as other Seminoles.
Over the next several years almost all of the Mascogos left Mexico and resettled on the military reservations at Fort Duncan and Fort Clark. Initially, only 10 men were enlisted in the Seminole Negro Indian Scouts, but later the Scouts came to number as many as 100. In 1873, command of the Scouts was given to Lt. John Bullis. Under Lt. Bullis the scouts would spend the next ten years as a major force in the eradication of Indian and bandit depredations in that area of Texas. Every commander who worked with the scouts praised them for their courage and their skills - and those who worked most closely with them were the most vehement in their protests at the abandonment and mistreatment of the Mascogos by the U.S. government. The scouts would win four Medals of Honor, an incredible statistic for their tiny numbers. They served valiantly in a number of capacities until they were disbanded in 1914, but the U.S. Government kept none of its promises to them. From 1871 on the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Army took turns denying responsibility for the Mascogos presence in the US and for fulfilling the promises that had been made to them. Not only were they never awarded the promised land in Indian Territory, or anywhere else, but they were also denied rations and any survival aid for any but enlisted Scouts during the period of time that they were awaiting a decision about removal.
At any given time, the Scouts were only a small portion of the total Black Seminoles gathered at Forts Clark and Duncan awaiting removal. The majority of the Black Seminoles there were women, children, and men to old for service. At the height of the Indian Wars, the Scouts were continuously in the field providing invaluable service to the U.S. Army and the citizens of Texas. Meanwhile in a familiar pattern of US government betrayal the Mascogos families and community were starving because the US government cut off their rations and would give them land or supplies for farming.
Furthermore the Bureau of Indian Affairs refused to fund moving the Mascogos to Indian Territory and giving them land there. The primary excuse for this breach of trust was the argument that since the Mascogos were black, they couldn't be Indians and therefore the government's agreements with them were nullified. This, however, did not stop the government from making great use of the scouts in their military campaigns. Actually, the usefulness of the Scouts may have worked against them, as their superiors were not eager to lose them to Indian Territory.
But there is also a lengthy historical paper trail as most of the officers who worked closely with the Scouts entreat the government to give them land due to them somewhere. If not in Indian territory they asked land in Texas, or Florida.
Several times a new Commissioner at the Bureau of Indian Affairs would agree to honor the agreement, and arrangements would begin to be made to move the Mascogos to Indian Territory. Then enviably the Commissioner would discover that the Mascogos were black and rescind the order, or be replaced and his successor would have no interest in setting a precedent of giving aid to Black Indians.
By the mid 1870's the Black Seminole community was mostly destitute and starving, forced to resort to stealing stock from local ranchers to survive. The army insisted it was not its responsibility to feed them, and without land they couldn't feed themselves. Tension rose between the Black Seminole settlements and local ranchers, and in 1876 an assassination attempt was made on the life of the Black Seminole chief, John Horse. That was just too much for a number of the Scouts and their families. Severely crippled by the attack, John Horse led a sad exodus back to Nacimiento. At least there they had land that they could farm. In the following years a number of Black Seminoles returned to Nacimiento, but maintained close ties with their relatives across the border in Brackettville.
In 1914, when the Scouts were disbanded, the remaining Black Seminoles were ordered off the military reservation. Destitute, many of the older people had to return to Nacimiento, as they had nowhere else to go. Most of the younger families stayed in Texas and worked on cattle ranches. Even at this late date, the Army and Bureau of Indian Affairs kept trying to shift responsibility for the Mascogos onto each other's shoulders. But, in the end, the Mascogos had to take responsibility for themselves and go back where they could support themselves.
Today, there are Black Seminoles in all parts of the U.S., with the heaviest concentrations in Oklahoma and Texas. The Mascogos in Coahuila, Mexico are still in close contact with the Black Seminoles in Brackettville and Del Rio, Texas. They share customs and celebrations and ancestors.
In May 2017, the Governor of Coahuila Mexico, Ruben Moreira Valdez signed a decree that recognized the tribu de los negros mascogos as a "pueblo indígena de Coahuila". He said that he hopes the Mascogos can begin receiving funds from the Instituto Nacional de Pueblos Indígenas by 2018. Moreira Valdez also highlighted that the history of the Mascogos, Kickapoo and Chinese-Mexicans were now included in the state's history textbooks.
But the Mascogos are once again destitute, as drought has dried up the San Juan Sabinas River, leaving them without much water for subsistence farming. There are very few ways to make an honest living in their area of Coahuila. The majority of young people are forced to leave Nacimiento and go to the bigger Mexican cities where they are being absorbed into the mainstream Mexican culture and losing their unique blend of African American, Native American and Mexican cultures.
As of 2016, the only "pure blood Mascogo" was 85-year old Lucía Vázquez. This is a result of frequent inter-marriage in the community. According to Homero Vásquez, an elderly Mascogo whose mother was from Chihuahua, starting in the 1930s there was an influx of farmers to the region; resulting in an increase of marriage with outsiders. There is significant migration to other parts of Mexico and the United States of the young people of El Nacimiento due to a lack of opportunities.
(This video is in Spanish)
Like their ancient rivals and allies, the Kickapoo, the Mascogo would like to have dual citizenship. This would allow them to cross into the U.S. to work and still return to Nacimiento to keep their culture alive. In 1979 the Mexican Kickapoo requested clarification of their status, as they had no clear legal status in either the United States or Mexico. A law was passed in 1983 by the US Congress, which recognized them as a distinct subgroup of the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma. It also granted federal recognition to the Texas Kickapoo. The a 1985 law gave the Texas tribes the option of selecting Mexican or U.S. citizenship.
Yet the descendants of the Seminole Negro Indian Scouts, who valiantly served the US Government and never given land they were promised have been completely forgotten by politicians in the United States. They have been denied their birthright as Native Americans and African AmericanThis Cinco De Mayo as your celebrating don’t forget the contributions of the Mascogo and their forgotten political cause.
News by dopper0189, Black Kos Managing Editor
You’ve probably never heard of Clarice Phelps. If you were curious, you might enter her name into Google. And, if you had done so anytime between September of last year and February of this year, you would likely have found her Wikipedia entry. The nuclear scientist is thought to be the first black woman to help discover a chemical element; she was part of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory team that purified the radioactive sample of berkelium-249 from which the new element, tennessine, was created. But on Feb. 11, in the middle of Black History Month and on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Phelps’ page was deleted. The optics, as they say, weren’t good.
The deletion came after a brief but intense dispute between Wikipedia contributors over whether Phelps met the site’s criteria for notability. Ordinarily, such editorial spats are considered a feature of the crowdsourced encyclopedia, not a bug. If one of the site’s hundreds of thousands of active contributors mistakenly or purposely adds incorrect information, the wisdom of the crowd will ensure that truth prevails.
But in the case of Phelps, the crowd made the wrong call, and the site’s rules facilitated that. The entire spectacle revealed just how much work remains to be done to address the systemic biases that disproportionately keep women and people of color out of Wikipedia’s pages.
Phelps’ entry was created last September by Jess Wade, a postdoctoral researcher in physics at Imperial College London. As a side project, Wade has been working to combat the underrepresentation of female scientists on Wikipedia. She tries to write one new biography per day, an endeavor that has brought her considerable media attention. So when a journalist writing a book about superheavy elements learned of Phelps’ contribution to the discovery of tennessine, he sent Wade a private message on Twitter, and she promptly created a Wikipedia entry.
Somali-American model Halima Aden will become the first model to wear a burkini and hijab in the upcoming Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, the publication announced yesterday (April 29). On sale May 8, the issue will feature Aden wearing a vibrant blue one-piece suit, topped with a green headwrap and overlay.
On her Instagram @halima, Aden noted her excitement, posting: “Don’t change yourself .. Change the GAME!! Ladies anything is possible!!! Being in Sports Illustrated is so much bigger than me. It’s sending a message to my community and the world that women of all different backgrounds, looks, upbringings… can stand together and be celebrated.”
Born in Kenya at the Kakuma Refugee Camp, where she lived until age seven when her family moved to the United States, Aden is used to making waves. In a 2016 profile piece on the model, the StarTribune highlighted her layers of fierceness—including being the first Muslim homecoming queen at St. Cloud’s Apollo High School in Minnesota, the first Somali-American in her college to participate in student government and, at 19, the first contestant to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant.
With the crowning of Cheslie Kryst as Miss USA last night, a trio of black women have now claimed the crowns in three major beauty pageants, including Miss America and Miss Teen USA.
Kryst, a 28-year-old attorney from Charlotte, N.C., works on behalf of prison inmates, and as CNN reports, gave a sterling answer to a question about #MeToo and #TimesUp at the pageant, held Thursday night in Reno, Nev.
The question, if we all want to roll our eyes in unison, was whether the respective awareness campaigns had gone too far:
“I don’t think these movements have gone too far,” she said. “What #MeToo and #TimesUp are about are making sure that we foster safe and inclusive workplaces in our country.
“As an attorney, that’s exactly what I want to hear and that’s exactly what I want for this country. I think they’re good movements.”
She joins Miss Teen USA Kaleigh Garris, who turned heads this week as she won the title while rocking a crown of natural curls.
“The night before, I finger curled every single piece of my hair in the shower, which led to a very long shower, but it was for the greater good,” Garris told Refinery29. “I know what I look like with straight hair, with extensions, and with my curly hair, and I feel more confident and comfortable with my natural hair.”
She was the first Miss Teen USA winner since 1999 to forgo a blowout in favor of wearing her natural texture.
With former Liberian militia leader Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu soon to be sentenced, others like him remain unprosecuted in the U.S.—even living alongside their victims. The New Republic: How the U.S. Became a Haven for War Criminals
Isaac was 12 when he was taken. He and his 18-year-old sister Marie had been living in the Liberian bush for about a month, having left Kakata, a town just beyond the perimeter of the U.S.-owned Firestone rubber plantation, when Charles Taylor’s forces launched an attack on the nearby city of Monrovia in October 1992.
That November day, like most Fridays, Isaac and Marie carried fruits and cassava into Konola village to sell at the market. They put the items down for people to inspect. Suddenly, a swarm of armed men and boys closed in. People began running in all directions. Marie clasped Isaac in her arms, but the rebels snatched him from her grip and tossed him into the back of a pickup truck with other able-bodied men and boys.
Marie and others ran after the vehicles. Someone told them Taylor’s defense minister, “Chief Woewiyu,” was in town. Perhaps he could release their boys.
Liberia’s back-to-back civil wars, from 1989-2003, devastated the country and killed an estimated 250,000 people. Some well-known warlords have since been promoted to the highest levels of government in Liberia; others fled to the United States, building families and businesses. One cruel side effect of this migration has been the unexpected stateside reunion of perpetrators with their erstwhile victims. Authorities estimate that as many as two-thousand human rights violators and war criminals have sought refuge in U.S. diaspora communities.
In May 2014, 73-year-old Philadelphia resident Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu—the articulate, well-dressed spokesperson, co-founder, and for several years defense minister of Charles Taylor’s infamous National Patriotic Front of Liberia—became one of the few Liberian leaders to be arrested in the United States and charged with multiple counts of immigration fraud and perjury. After a trial last June featuring testimony from Liberian victims, including Marie and Isaac, who had never before testified in a criminal proceeding about the NPFL’s crimes, he was convicted in July 2018 on eleven counts of immigration-related perjury and fraud related to lying about his violent past. His sentencing has been postponed multiple times, most recently having been scheduled for April 30. It is now expected to take place sometime in May.
Prosecutors in the U.S. and human rights groups in Liberia have celebrated the case as a victory. But the nature of the charges—immigration fraud rather than rape, murder, child-soldier conscription, or other war crimes; and nearly three decades after the offenses rather than one or two years—have also highlighted the U.S. government’s inadequate legal tools in cases like these, allowing human rights violators to live freely in the U.S. for years, even decades.
We finally have specific details about some of the shows, films, and documentaries Barack and Michelle Obama have been working on in conjunction with Netflix since their partnership with the streaming company was announced last May.
Higher Ground Productions, the production company owned by the former president and first lady, announced a slate of upcoming content on Tuesday that “encompasses a wide range of fiction and non-fiction signature productions for all audiences,” according to a press release.
“We created Higher Ground to harness the power of storytelling. That’s why we couldn’t be more excited about these projects,” said former president Obama of the company, which launched last spring.
“Touching on issues of race and class, democracy and civil rights, and much more, we believe each of these productions won’t just entertain, but will educate, connect, and inspire us all," he said.
The projects are at various stages of production and cover a wide range of content, including documentaries, series, and narrative features.
Here’s a brief description of some of the upcoming stories, which will be released over the next few years:
American Factory: A feature film that takes place in postindustrial Ohio, where a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in an abandoned General Motors plant. The film was acquired by the Obamas’ production company after its premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. It was directed by the Academy Award–nominated and Emmy-winning duo Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert.
Crip Camp: This is a feature-length documentary focusing on a 1970s summer camp for teenagers with disabilities, just down the road from Woodstock, which helped put the disability rights movement in motion.
U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, is adding her voice to the list of U.S. lawmakers concerned about growing gang-related violence in Haiti.
In recent months, gangs have been terrorizing the population, accused of massacring and raping poor Haitians and turning parts of the country into no-go zones. This weekend a police station in the rural Artibonite was attacked after a gang affiliated with a wanted warlord, Arnel Joseph, overpowered police.
Following a massacre in the La Saline neighborhood of Port-au-Prince in November, a bipartisan group of 104 House members called on U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month to launch an independent investigation into the extrajudicial killings, as well as allegations of human-rights violation by the Haitian National Police during February’s violent protests that shut the country down for 10 days. Haiti’s ambassador in Washington has denied the accusations.
As late as last week, Haiti’s press reported that gangs have continued their attack on La Saline by setting fires to homes. The growing violence comes just months before a United Nations peacekeeping mission is scheduled to permanently end its presence in Haiti after 15 years, to be replaced with a special political mission.
“When we learned about houses being burned down, and the killings that took place, we were appalled and shock,” Waters said during a press conference at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport prior to leaving Haiti on Wednesday evening. “We listened directly to some of the relatives of victims and victims tell us about that.”
Waters, who was not among the signatories on the Pompeo letter, said the more attention brought to La Saline and the violence, the more it will help “to not only get some engagement with this administration here in Haiti to find out how this is happening, why this is happening, what are their plans, but using whatever leverage and power we have to help make it cease because this is not conscionable and not tolerable.”
If she wants to keep competing, she is now required to take hormonal therapy to reduce natural testosterone. Slate: The Decadelong Humiliation of Caster Semenya
After an exhibition women’s 800-meter race in the Amsterdam 1928 Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee and the organizing body for track and field now known as the International Association of Athletics Federations decided to scrap the event. It wouldn’t return to international competition and the Olympic program for 32 years. Their stated reasons: scientific concerns that the event was too hard for women. Newspaper accounts of the race contributed to the decision and stood as historical record: “Below us on the cinder path were 11 wretched women, 5 of whom dropped out before the finish, while 5 collapsed after reaching the tape,” wrote John Tunis of the New York Evening Post. Even Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne contributed, declaring: “It was not a very edifying spectacle to see a group of fine girls running themselves into a state of exhaustion.”
In 2012, Roger Robinson, former senior writer for Running Times magazine and world-class runner for England and New Zealand, decided to reconstruct the race narrative by patching together piecemeal footage. In doing so, he successfully debunked media (mis)representations of the spectacle of women collapsing all over the track. Robinson determined nine—not 11—women started the race. Of those nine, all finished, and only one runner fell to the track, and she did this in the way elite athletes are trained to do, leaning at the finish. Five women finished under the time of the former world record. Women were excelling in the 800-meter.
I thought about that on Wednesday, when South African runner Caster Semenya lost an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. If she wants to compete in her best events—the 400-, 800-, or 1,500-meters—at the 2019 World Championships or any future international competition, she must take hormonal therapy to reduce natural testosterone. The saga of the Amsterdam 1928 women’s 800, placed alongside apocalyptic rhetoric casting Semenya as a threat, offers a lesson about how institutions rely on bad science to “protect” women in sport.
The ruling marks the end of a lengthy and troubling battle. After Semenya won the 2009 World Championships 800-meter, her medical records were leaked and the IAAF began work to develop a new regulation for women with elevated testosterone. It was just the start of the extraordinary scrutiny that she has been subject to over the past decade—scrutiny that has likely already required her to reduce her testosterone levels. In 2011, the IAAF introduced hyperandrogenism regulations that required all women with “excessive production of androgens (testosterone)” within the male range and without androgen insensitivity to undergo medical treatment to bring testosterone levels to within the regular female range. In 2015, those regulations were suspended when Indian sprinter Dutee Chand appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
This week, Adrienne Jones became the first woman and the first person of color to lead Maryland’s House of Delegates.
Her election Wednesday isn’t just a win for the state’s historically underrepresented black community; it’s also a microcosm of the tensions the Democratic Party is navigating nationally: from figuring out how to raise up the voices of different demographics to accepting that the burgeoning progressive wing can no longer be ignored.
Though Jones is certainly qualified for the position (she’s been a member of the House of Delegates since 1997, and speaker pro tempore for the past 16 years), if you had asked her the morning of the election if she thought she’d be the new leader of the House, she said she would have said no.
Jones had dropped out the speaker race last week as the conflict between two other Democratic candidates — Maggie McIntosh and Dereck Davis — intensified. Progressives backed McIntosh, an openly gay white woman, while the Legislative Black Caucus and Republicans backed Davis, a black centrist man. This bitter competition threatened to split the Democratic caucus up until the day of the election.
In an effort to keep the party unified, legislators compromised by uniting behind Jones: a well-respected politician who was liberal enough to make the progressives happy while still achieving the historic milestone of being the first black speaker in Maryland. Jones was elected to the position unanimously.
As speaker pro tem, Jones worked behind the scenes assisting the former Speaker Michael Busch, whose death in early April resulted in the speaker race. Over the years, she has backed bills that funded infrastructure projects and increased spending on education.
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