Tag Archives: Black History

Activist Colin Kaepernick Blacklisted

Activist Colin Kaepernick Blacklisted

Happy birthday to the blacklisted activist
Born November 3, 1987

Activist Colin Kaepernick Blacklisted

August 2016

August 14 & August 20, 2016: injured San Francisico 49er quarterback Kaepernick goes unnoticed while sitting during the anthem. Kaepernick wasn’t in uniform and didn’t play during these first two games.

August 26, 2016: Kaepernick gained attention for his protest. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said.

August 28, 2016: Kaepernick met with the media two days after the game and for the first time since the protest gained national attention. He reiterated that he was acting to give a voice to people who didn’t have one.

“I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me, this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”

Activist Colin Kaepernick Blacklisted

September 2016

September 1, 2016: Kaepernick took a knee during the anthem and teammate Eric Reid joined him. This was the first time during his protest, Kaepernick wasn’t alone.

Also, Jeremy Lane of the Seattle Seahawks sits during the national anthem

Lane became the first non-teammate to join Kaepernick in protest. He sat on the bench prior to the national anthem in Oakland, just minutes after Kaepernick and Reid took a knee during the anthem in San Diego.

“I wasn’t trying to say anything. Just standing behind Kaepernick,” Lane said following the game. He added that he would keep doing it until he felt like justice was served. (FS & CK, see Sept 4)

September 4, 2016: National Women’s Soccer League Megan Rapinoe knelt during the national anthem in support of Colin Kaepernick. Before the NWSL match between the Seattle Reign and Chicago Red Stars, Rapinoe took a knee during the national anthem, while the rest of her teammates remained standing. She expressed solidarity with Kaepernick, saying that, as a gay American, she knows “what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties,” and that “it’s important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this.” (FS & CK, see Sept 9)

September 9, 2016: Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall took a knee during the national anthem at the NFL regular season opener.

Marshall became the first player to take a knee or sit during the anthem prior to a regular season game. He was a college teammate of Kaepernick at the University of Nevada. Like Kaepernick, Marshall said it was about social change.

“I’m not against the military. I’m not against the police or America,” Marshall said, according to the Denver Post. “I’m against social injustice.

September 11, 2016: NFL Seahawks, Dolphins, Chiefs and Patriots players demonstrated during nation anthem

The first Sunday of the NFL season took place on the 15th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. This made the national anthem ceremonies on that day particularly emotional. Four Dolphins players — running back Arian Foster, safety Michael Thomas, wide receiver Kenny Stills and linebacker Jelani Jenkins — took a knee during the anthem after standing up for a 9/11 acknowledgment.

After the game, Foster explained that he loves the country and the rights it affords him. He later tweeted “don’t let the love for a symbol overrule the love for your fellow human.”

No Seahawks players took a knee during the anthem, but the entire team did link arms as a way of honoring the flag and continuing the conversation that Kaepernick started.

The Kansas Chiefs locked arms before kickoff of their game with the San Diego Chargers. Cornerback Marcus Peters held up a fist, saying he supported Kaepernick’s efforts to raise awareness to the justice system.

Prior to Sunday Night Football, Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett and safety Devin McCourty also raised their fists after the national anthem.

September 12, 2016: Eric Reid kneels alongside Colin Kaepernick. 49ers teammates and Rams players raise their fists

Kaepernick maintained his protest, and was joined by several players set to take the field before Monday Night Football. As expected, safety Eric Reid knelt next to the quarterback during the national anthem, just as he did during the last week of the preseason. 49ers linebacker Eli Harold and safety Antoine Bethea stood, but with their fists raised in the air.

The 49ers players were joined by their opponents. Rams defensive end Robert Quinn (No. 94) and wide receiver Kenny Britt (No. 18) also stood with their fists in the air.

September 16, 2016: all of Garfield High School’s (Seattle) football players and coaches kneel during the national anthem.

Joined by a few players from the West Seattle Wildcats, Garfield High School’s football players and coaches kneeled during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which head coach Joey Thomas said would continue for the rest of the season. Speaking with the Seattle Times, Thomas was candid about racial injustice and the team being compelled to protest the anthem, especially after players learned about the song’s racist third verse.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

September 16, 2016: twelve high school football players from Laguna Creek High School in Sacramento took a knee during the national anthem

According to the Sacramento Bee, a number of parents reportedly told the players to “stand up.” The Elk Grove School District announced in a statement that it would not discipline the students, saying that although it supports standing for the national anthem, it “respects and supports our students’ individual experiences and their right to exercise their freedom of speech and expression protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

September 17, 2016: Howard University (Washington, DC) cheerleaders knelt during the national anthem

Before Howard took on Hampton University at the AT&T Nation’s Football Classic, Howard University’s cheerleaders took a knee during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Howard’s players did not kneel, but raised their fists instead. (FS & CK, see Sept 18)

September 18, 2016: more San Francisco 49ers joined Kaepernick, Dolphins continued protest

Kaepernick’s teammates Antoine Bethea, Eli Harold, Jaquiski Tartt and Rashard Robinson joined in protesting during the national anthem by raising their right fists ahead of San Francisco’s game vs. the Carolina Panthers.

Meanwhile in Foxboro three of the same Miami Dolphins players continued their protest. Arian Foster, safety Michael Thomas and wide receiver Kenny Stills all kneeled during the anthem. (FS & CK, see Sept 19)

September 19, 2016: four Philadelphia Eagles raised their fists during the anthem

Prior to the game, Malcolm Jenkins said the Eagles would protest during the anthem. Jenkins was joined by Steven Means, Ron Brooks and Marcus Smith in raising a fist while standing during the anthem. (FS & CK, see Sept 20)

September 20, 2016: in support of Colin Kaepernick’s protest against racial injustice, several members of Oakland Unified School District’s Honor Band took a knee while playing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It happened toward the end of the song.

Band director Zack Pitt-Smith said he didn’t know until rehearsal that the band was going to kneel, saying that the idea originally came from a few students and eventually spread around. John Sasaki, a spokesperson for the school district, stated that the organization was “proud” of its students for making the decision to kneel:

“They knew that this was a controversial issue across our nation, and yet they decided to go ahead with their protest knowing it would not be well-received by some Americans.”

That evening, during his appearance on Conan, Marshawn Lynch was asked about his thoughts on Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem. Lynch said he’d rather see Kaepernick “take a knee than stand up, put his hands up, and get murdered.”

September 21, 2016: Cleveland Cavaliers player Iman Shumpert announced he would raise money for families impacted by police fatalities

On his Twitter and Instagram accounts, Shumpert announced that, for every steal he makes during the 2016-17 NBA season, he will donate money to organizations that aim to “improve the struggle between the badge and the citizen.” While showing support for Kaepernick, he also noted that he would not be kneeling during the national anthem, despite originally hinting at it in a song he released on Sept. 16 titled “His Story,” saying “I no longer believe taking a knee is the answer.”

September 21, 2016: in the Women’s National Basketball Association, the entire Indiana Fever team and two Phoenix Mercury players knelt during the national anthem

Before the first game of the WNBA playoffs, every player on the Indiana Fever locked arms and kneeled during the national anthem, while the Mercury’s Kelsey Bone and Mistie Bass joined them on the other side. Afterward, Fever coach Stephanie White told her team that she was “proud of y’all for doing that together.”

September 22 Peace Love Art Activism

September 22, 2016: Time magazine featured Colin Kaepernick on its cover in its October 3 issue.

It featured Kaepernick kneeling in his full 49ers uniform. The issue included a cover story from Sean Gregory, where Kaepernick’s protest was a centerpiece in a larger conversation among athletes regarding sports activism and patriotism.

Also on September 22, Houston Texan’s Duane Brown raised a fist while standing during the national anthem

Brown didn’t play due to an injury, but did participate in the protest for the first time that season. He had been vocal about recent police shootings.

Activist Colin Kaepernick Blacklisted

October/November 2016

October 1, 2016: in college football, before East Carolina took on the University of Central Florida, a few members of ECU’s band took a knee during the national anthem. People in the crowd noticed, and the response was split between students and alum.

When it came time for the band to perform at halftime, there were many boos directed at them.

ECU chancellor Cecil Staton issued a statement shortly after, saying that the school “respects the rights of our students, staff and faculty to express their personal views.” (see FS & CK, see Oct 4)

October 4, 2016: NBA’s  Rockets and Knicks opened the season joined arm in arm The Celtics also showed unity as a team, standing together with their arms crossed and heads down.

November 6, 2016: Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall decided to stand during the anthem again. Before the Broncos’ Sunday Night Football matchup against the Raiders, Marshall explained in an Instagram post why he would no longer kneel during the national anthem.

I’m encouraged with the many productive discussions and progress that has taken place as the Denver Police department has decided to review its use of force policy, ” Marshall wrote. “I’m proud to have joined so many of my peers throughout sports who’ve also made their own statements.”

Activist Colin Kaepernick Blacklisted

2017

March 1, 2017: the San Francisco 49ers announced that quarterback Colin Kaepernick opted out of the final season of his contract with the organization in order to become an unrestricted free agent.

August 12, 2017: in the NFL, Marshawn Lynch knelt after coming out of retirement. Lynch retired during the 2016 season, but returned to join the Oakland Raiders in the offseason. While he didn’t play in the team’s preseason opener, he made his thoughts on the last year’s events regarding Kaepernick clear by taking a sit on the bench during the playing of the National Anthem.

August 13, 2017: NFL Michael Bennett remained seated during the national anthem. The outspoken Bennett had expressed support for Kaepernick in the past, and as the Seahawks faced the Chargers in preseason action, he remained seated for the national anthem.

September 24, 2017: President Trump called for football fans to boycott N.F.L. games unless the league fired or suspended players who refused to stand for the national anthem, saying that players must “stop disrespecting our flag and country.”

“If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our country, you will see change take place fast,” Mr. Trump wrote.

Activist Colin Kaepernick Blacklisted

October 2017

Activist Colin Kaepernick Blacklisted

October 13, 2017: in an unusual and public call to arms, Russell Okung, a Los Angeles Chargers lineman, posted a letter on The Players’ Tribune urging the league’s 1,700 players to take a unified stand against pressure from N.F.L. team owners to curb demonstrations during the national anthem before games.

“We can either wait until we receive our respective marching orders, speak up individually, or find a way to collaborate, and exercise our agency as the lifeblood of the league,” Okung, wrote.

Okung’s nearly 900-word manifesto took N.F.L. owners to task for making decisions on anthem demonstrations, which had typically involved players kneeling or sitting during the anthem, without broadly consulting players. The demonstrations were originally intended to draw attention to racial inequality and police shootings of African-Americans.

October 15, 2017:  Kaepernick, who remained unemployed after the 2016 season in which he began the movement of players protesting during the national anthem, filed a grievance accusing NFL teams of improperly colluding to keep him out of the league.

Kaepernick reportedly retained an attorney to pursue the collusion claim and it will be Kaepernick’s outside legal representation and not the NFL Players Association primarily in charge of preparing and presenting his grievance.

The collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the league and the players’ union prohibits teams from conspiring to make decisions about signing a player. but the CBA also said the mere fact that a player was unsigned and evidence about the player’s qualifications to be on an NFL roster do not constitute proof of collusion.

October 16, 2017: President Trump reiterated that he wanted the National Football League to suspend players if they knelt during the pregame renditions of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” saying the players were disrespecting the country.

October 17, 2017: National Football League officials announced that they would not seek commitments from its players to stop kneeling during pregame renditions of the U.S. national anthem.

“We spent today talking about the issues that our players have been trying to bring attention to. About issues in our communities to make our communities better,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters.

October 18, 2017: at the next day of the NFL meetings, NFL Houston Texan owner Robert McNair, in response to some players supporting Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling in 2016 with their own associated protests, said, ” “We can’t have the inmates running the prison,”

NFL executive Troy Vincent, a former player, later stood up and said he was offended by McNair’s characterization of the players as “inmates.” Vincent said that in all his years of playing in the NFL — during which, he said, he had been called every name in the book, including the N-word — he never felt like an “inmate.”

October 29, 2017: about 40 members of the Houston Texans knelt during the national anthem in protest of their team owner Robert McNair’s “inmates running the prison” remarks.

Activist Colin Kaepernick Blacklisted

November /December 2017

November 1, 2017: Papa John’s Founder and CEO John Schnatter claimed that the NFL kneeling protests were costing the company lots of money. Papa John’s had been an official NFL sponsor since 2010, but has seen its stock drop 24 percent in 2017

Schnatter  blamed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Schnatter said, ““The NFL has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle to the players’ and owners’ satisfaction … The NFL has hurt Papa John’s shareholders.”

November 14, 2017: Pizza chain Papa John’s apologized for its CEO John Schnatter’s claim that protesting National Football League players had hurting profits.

On its official Twitter account Papa John’s  “sincerely” apologized “to anyone that thought they [Schnatter’s remarks] were divisive.” “That definitely was not our intention,” the company added.

Schnatter’s remarks also led to the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer to endorse Papa John’s as the official pizza of the self-proclaimed alt-right — an accolade the company rejected.

November 20, 2017:  President Donald Trump’s attack on black athletes continued as he tweeted criticizism of Oakland Raiders player Marshawn Lynch for sitting during “The Star-Spangled Banner” and then standing for Mexico’s national anthem. The Raiders were playing the New England Patriots in Mexico.

Trump’s tweet read in part: “Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down.

November 23, 2017: Kaepernick went to Alcatraz Island to join Native Americans protesting the genocide they said  Thanksgiving Day represents to them.

Kaepernick made the surprise visit to the site of the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary to join indigenous people who occupied the island off the coast of San Francisco between 1969 and 1971. There has been an annual sunrise gathering on the island since the takeover of Alcatraz to highlight the deadly, destructive impact on indigenous people of the arrival in America of European colonizers.

He received two eagle feathers from a Native American elder before delivering a brief speech at the UnThanksgiving Day event.“I’m very humbled to share this space with all of you,” he said. “Our fight is the same fight. We’re all fighting for our justice, for our freedom. And realizing that we’re in this fight together makes us all the more powerful.”

December 3, 2017: the ACLU of Southern California presented the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award to Colin Kaepernick.

Our next honoree took a stand. He took a stand knowing he would risk his job,” Southern California ACLU Executive Director Hector Villagra said. “And he has lost his job, one that he loved and was supremely talented and skilled at. He took a stand knowing that some would criticize him, and he has been viciously and unfairly criticized. He has been called a traitor, because too many people in this country confuse dissent for disloyalty. He took a stand knowing some would even threaten him, and he has had his life threatened, which is why, though we are profoundly honored to have him here, we didn’t publicize his presence tonight.”

Kaepernick raised a fist as he received a standing ovation.

December 4, 2017: Time magazine announced that Colin Kaepernick was a finalist for their Person of the Year award.

December 5, 2017: Kaepernick received the the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. According to its site, “The Legacy Award was created in 2008 to honor former athletes and sports figures who embody the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy as vehicles for changing the world.”

Activist Colin Kaepernick Blacklisted

2018

January 23, 2018: Colin Kaepernick was named a finalist for an award honoring players for their community service work.

Kaepernick and four other players were announced as finalists for the NFL Players Association’s (NFLPA) Byron “Whizzer” White Community MVP award.

April 21, 2018: human rights organization Amnesty International  honored former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick with its Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2018, lauding his peaceful protests against racial inequality. The former San Francisco 49ers star was handed the award at a ceremony in Amsterdam by onetime teammate Eric Reid.

Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty called Kaepernick “an athlete who is now widely recognized for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination.”

May 23, 2018: the National Football League’s 32 owners decided to overhaul N.F.L. policy on protocol for the national anthem. At their two-day meeting in Atlanta, the owners said that the league would allow players to stay in the locker room during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” but said that teams would be fined if players “do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.”

Those teams can then punish players however they see fit.

July 10, 2018: the NFL players union filed a grievance over the league’s new requirement that players stand for the national anthem or wait in their dressing rooms, a policy that followed President Donald Trump’s denunciation of pregame protests.

The National Football League said on May 23 it would require any player who did not wish to stand during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before games to stay off the field until the ceremony ended.

Before the league announced the new policy, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) had offered to discuss other ways to defuse tensions over the protests, which were prompted by a series of police killings of unarmed black men in Missouri, New York and other cities.

“The union’s claim is that this new policy, imposed by the NFL’s governing body without consultation with the NFLPA, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights,” the NFLPA said.

July 19, 2018: hours after The Associated Press reported that Miami Dolphins players who protest on the field during the anthem could be suspended for up to four games under a team policy issued, the NFL and the players union issued a joint statement saying the two sides were talking things out.

The NFL and NFLPA, through recent discussions, have been working on a resolution to the anthem issue. In order to allow this constructive dialogue to continue, we have come to a standstill agreement on the NFLPA’s grievance and on the NFL’s anthem policy. No new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks while these confidential discussions are ongoing,”

August 30, 2018: arbitrator Stephen Burbank decided that NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick’s grievance alleging the league’s owners colluded to keep him out can go to trial.

September 3, 2018: Colin Kaepernick signed a new,  multiyear deal with Nike that made him a face of the 30th anniversary of the sports apparel company’s “Just Do It” campaign. The campaign featured his image with the words, “”Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything” over the image.

Nike would produce new Kaepernick apparel, including a shoe and a T-shirt.

Nike would also donate money to Kaepernick’s “Know Your Rights” campaign.

Activist Colin Kaepernick Blacklisted
https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/rihanna-super-bowl-halftime-show-colin-kaepernick-744650/

October 17, 2018: NFL owners announced that their national anthem conduct policy was no longer in effect.

Team owners and commissioner Roger Goodell signaled that message at the exit of the NFL’s annual fall meetings in New York when all the power brokers passed on revisiting punishment for forms of social protest by players. The league’s anthem conduct policy had been suspenced by team owners last July and hadn’t been brought back to the table since, despite a handful of players continuing to protest social and racial inequalities during the pregame ceremony.

After the NFL’s broadcast partners stopped showing the anthem on television and political rhetoric around the issue died down, the league passed on revisiting forms of punishment in what was billed as a meeting where any changes (if at all) could be made.

October 25, 2018: on line sales of Nike’s Colin Kaepernick t-shirt sold out in 7 hours.

November 1, 2018: Kayla Morris, of Antioch, California and a member of Gold Rush, the San Francisco 49ers cheerleader,  appeared to take a knee during the national anthem. It was the first time that an NFL cheerleader had done so.

Activist Colin Kaepernick Blacklisted

2019

February 15, 2019: Colin Kaepernick reached a settlement over his collusion grievance against the National Football Leage. His attorneys, Mark Geragos, and Ben Meiselas and the NFL released a joint statement announcing that a settlement had been reached by the league and the former San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid, who filed a similar grievance.

February 27, 2019:  WINK TV reported that Charlotte County School District school authorities forced Alissa Perry, a Port Charlotte High School teacher, to take down a Black History Month poster she made because it featured former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

“Thank you all for participating in this,” said Perry.

Perry made a poster to celebrate Kaepernick for Black History Month, but the poster stirred up a different type of emotion in a lot of parents.

The District said the front office was getting too many phone calls asking for the poster to be taken down, but students said the school district cracked under pressure.

October 10, 2019: Trump supporters tossed 23-year-old Saul Eugene out of a Trump rally in Minneapolis. Eugene had worn a Colin Kaepernick shirt to a He also called th N- word. Eugene is white.

November 12, 2019: according to a copy of a memo to the league’s 32 teams that was reviewed by The New York Times, the NFL invited Colin Kaepernick to work out for teams on November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons’ facility so they could evaluate whether to sign him.

“Earlier this year, we discussed some possible steps with his representatives, and they recently emphasized his level of preparation and that he is ready to work out for clubs and be interviewed by them,” the memo said. “We have therefore arranged this opportunity for him to work out, and for all clubs to have the opportunity to evaluate his current readiness and level of interest in resuming his N.F.L. career.”

Workout moved

November 16, 2019: 30 minutes before its scheduled start, Colin Kaepernick changed the location of his planned NFL workout, moving the event to Drew High School in Riverdale, Georgia, roughly 60 miles away. In a statement after the workout, the free agent quarterback slammed the NFL for a lack of transparency.

Kaepernick’s agent Jeff Nalley told reporters that representatives from eight teams attended the event.

The NFL responded with a statement saying they are “disappointed that Colin did not appear for his workout.” According to the NFL’s statement, 25 teams had sent representatives to the original location. [CBS News article]

November 23, 2019: ESPN reported that in the week after Colin Kaepernick worked out for seven NFL teams at Charles R. Drew High School in Riverdale, Georgia, no teams reached out to work him out, visit with him or sign him

Kaepernick’s representatives also sent video of their client’s workout to the 25 NFL teams that did not attebd, but that did not led to any interest, either.

No Response

Activist Colin Kaepernick Blacklisted

November 23, 2019: ESPN reported that in the week after Colin Kaepernick worked out for seven NFL teams at Charles R. Drew High School in Riverdale, Georgia, no teams reached out to work him out, visit with him or sign him

Kaepernick’s representatives also sent video of their client’s workout to the 25 NFL teams that did not attend, but that did not led to any interest, either.

Activist Colin Kaepernick Blacklisted

Successful shoe release

December 23, 2019: Nike’s new Colin Kaepernick “True to 7” shoe  sold out on the first day of its North American release, according to the company’s website.

“This Air Force 1 season, Nike partnered with a collective of collaborators to design an AF1 that connects to their life personally. Colin was identified because we believe his voice and perspective inspire many generations on and off the field,” said a Nike spokesperson in an email.

The $110 black-and-white shoe sports an embroidered portrait of Kaepernick on the heel tab, reflective Swoosh and his personal logo on the tongue. [CNBC article]

Activist Colin Kaepernick Blacklisted

2020

Drew Brees

June 3, 2020: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees said in an interview that he would never agree with N.F.L. players who knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality, and he was immediately condemned.

Drew Brees walks back

June 4, 2020: a host of players, including some of Drew Brees’s teammates, responded with statements of their own, calling Brees’s comments hurtful and criticizing him for ignorance of or callousness to the struggles of African-Americans.

“Drew Brees, you don’t understand how hurtful, how insensitive your comments are,” Malcolm Jenkins, Brees’s teammate, said in a video posted to Twitter. “I’m disappointed, I’m hurt, because while the world tells you, ‘You are not worthy,’ that your life doesn’t matter, the last place you want to hear it from are the guys you go to war with and that you consider to be your allies and your friends.

“Even though we are teammates, I can’t let this slide.”

Later that day, Brees walked back his position in a post on Instagram, saying his earlier comments were “insensitive and completely missed the mark.” Brees also asked for forgiveness and said that he took full responsibility for his words.

“I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening … and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen,” he wrote.

President Trump, who had praised Bree’s first comment, criticized Bree’s retraction.[NYT article]

Roger Goodell support

June 5, 2020: though not mentioning Colin Kaepernick by name,  NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, issued his strongest support yet for the players seeking to fight racism and police brutality.

In a swift response to a video montage featuring star players asking the league to address systemic racism, Goodell said he apologized for not listening to the concerns of African-American players earlier and said he supports the players’ right to protest peacefully.

Activist Colin Kaepernick Blacklisted

Docuseries

July 6, 2020: Colin Kaepernick’s production arm, Ra Vision Media, and Disney announced that Colin Kaepernick would be featured in an exclusive docuseries produced by ESPN Films as part of a first-look deal with The Walt Disney Co

The partnership would focus on telling scripted and unscripted stories that explore race, social injustice and the quest for equity. It also will provide a platform to showcase the work of minority directors and producers.

“I am excited to announce this historic partnership with Disney across all of its platforms to elevate Black and Brown directors, creators, storytellers, and producers, and to inspire the youth with compelling and authentic perspectives,” Kaepernick said in a statement. “I look forward to sharing the docuseries on my life story, in addition to many other culturally impactful projects we are developing.” [ESPN article]

Activist Colin Kaepernick Blacklisted

#StillReady

November 23, 2020: for the first time in the National Football League’s history, the seven-man crew officiating the Monday Night Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were Black.

However, on the same day the Colin Kaepernick tweeted out a video of himself training with former San Francisco 49ers teammate Eric Reid, along with the caption: “1,363 days of being denied employment. Still putting in work with @E_Reid35 Still going hard 5 days a week. #StillReady #StopRunning.” [CNN story]

Activist Colin Kaepernick Blacklisted

Colin Kaepernick/Ben & Jerry’s

December 17, 2020: Vermont ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s honored Colin Kaepernick with a new flavor blending his civil rights activism and non-dairy, vegan appetite.

Change the Whirled” — a mix of caramel sunflower butter, fudge chips, graham crackers and chocolate cookies — would raise money for Kaepernick’s “courageous work to confront systemic oppression and to stop police violence against Black and Brown people,” the company said in a statement. [VTDigger story]

Activist Colin Kaepernick Blacklisted

Mamie Smith Crazy Blues

Mamie Smith Crazy Blues

Mamie Robinson Smith was born in Cincinnati on May 26, 1891.

By the time she was only 10 years old, she toured with the Four Dancing Mitchells, a white act.

As a teenager, she danced in J. Homer Tutt and Salem Tutt Whitney‘s Smart Set. In 1913, she left the Tutt Brothers to sing in clubs in Harlem and married William “Smitty” Smith, a singing waiter. William Smith died in 1928.

In 1918, Smith starred in Perry Bradford’s musical review, Made In Harlem, in which she sang the song “Harlem Blues.”

In 1920, Perry Bradford encouraged Fred Hager, Okeh Records A & R director, to record Smith. Despite racist and boycott threats, Okeh, a white recording company, took a risk and did.

Mamie Smith Crazy Blues

That Thing Called Love

In February she recorded two of Bradford’s songs: “That Thing Called Love” and “You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down.” A white band accompanied her.

Mamie Smith Crazy Blues

Crazy Love

On August 10, 1920 she and Bradford recorded another of his songs: “Crazy Love,”  a somewhat reworked Harlem Blues.

According to David Hajdu in a New York Times article,  the song “changed the course of music history.  [The song was] a boisterous cry of outrage by a woman driven mad by mistreatment [and] …spoke with urgency and fire to Black listeners across the country who had been ravaged by the abuses of race-hate groups, the police and military forces in the preceding year — the notorious “Red Summer” of 1919.”

The song was a hit, selling 75,000 copies in the first month, eventually selling more than two million.

Again according to Hajdu, “It established the blues as a popular art and prepared the way for a century of Black expression in the fiery core of American music.”

Mamie Smith Crazy Blues

Crazy Blues Code

Subjugated groups  create hidden ways of expressing themselves. “Crazy Love” did that.  The song may simply seem to be a sad one about a woman who has lost her love, but it turns out to be a song in which the woman is driven to literally kill that love, that abusive love.

Now the doctor’s gonna do all that he can,

But what you’re gonna need is an undertaker man.

I ain’t had nothin’ but bad news,

Now I’ve got the crazy blues.

Mamie Smith Crazy Blues

Race Records

Not unlike The Kingston Trio’s success leading to Columbia Records signing Bob Dylan, the success of “Crazy Blues,”  led Okeh and other recording companies [Emerson Records, Vocalion Records, Victor Talking Machine Company, Paramount Records, and several other companies] to record other Black female singers such as Ma Rainey, Ethel Waters and Bessie Smith as well as Black male musicians.

They and many more women made hundreds of records that sold millions of copies over more than a decade — all before the great  Robert Johnson recorded for the first time,  on November 23, 1936.

While the records did sometimes cross racial lines, a genre called Race Records came into being. Race records led to radio stations whose popularity was with the local Black population.

Mamie Smith Crazy Blues

Smith Successes/Issues

Mamie Smith’s financial success from her recording royalties and performance fees allowed her to purchase a large home in Harlem.  According to Barry Kernfeld in his brief bio,  “Dan Burley of the Amsterdam News reported “There were servants, cars, and all the luxuries that would go with being the highest paid Negro star of that day.”

Smith and Bradford parted ways because of financial disputes and Bradford sold her contract to Maurice Fulchner, a white manager.

In 1922 she recorded “I Ain’t Gonna Give Nobody None O’ This Jelly Roll.”

Smith continued to tour and performed through the 1920s and into the 1930s.

She toured Europe and also worked in films: Jailhouse Blues (1929), Fireworks of 1930, Paradise in Harlem (1940), Mystery in Swing (1940), Murder on Lenox Avenue (1941), and Sunday Sinners (1941).

Jailhouse Blues

Sunday Sinners

Her last concert was at New York’s Lido Ballroom in August 1944. She died on September 16, 1946 . She is buried in Frederick Douglass Memorial Park, Staten Island, NY.

Mamie Smith Crazy Blues

Main source: Harlem Renaissance Lives from the African American National Biography, edited by Henry Louis Gates (Jr.)

All Music’s credit list for Perry Bradford

All Music’s credit list for Mamie Smith.

Mamie Smith Crazy Blues

American Lynching 3

American Lynching 3

1921 – 1933

Some rationalize American terrorism toward American Blacks by saying that poverty created the defensive urge in some poor whites, but Bob Dylan may have gotten closer to the truth when he wrote:

A South politician preaches to the poor white man
“You got more than the blacks, don’t complain
You’re better than them, you been born with white skin, ” they explain
And the Negro’s name
Is used, it is plain
For the politician’s gain
As he rises to fame
And the poor white remains
On the caboose of the train
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game.

Whatever the reason, the arc of justice, if it was bending toward justice, may have bent for some, but hardly for others–if at all.

As the lynchings continued the echoes of States Rights from the Civil War continued to thwart attempts by some to outlaw lynching.

Wade Thomas lynched

December 26, 1920: Wade Thomas was a native of Jonesboro County, Arkansas. On Christmas night 1920, Thomas was armed with a pistol and was playing a game of craps with his neighborhood black friends. Police officer Elmer “Snookums” Ragland raided the game, and shots were fired. Ragland was killed and Thomas was injured. Thomas escaped to the next county but was arrested there and brought back to Jonesboro County.

A coroner’s jury  indicted Thomas for murder. Allegedly, Thomas confessed to killing Policeman Ragland, but claimed that he did not shoot until after he had been wounded twice.  An angry mob stormed the court and told the judge to leave unless he wanted to witness the lynching. After Thomas was taken from his jail cell, a noose was draped around his neck and he was led to a telephone pole and hung. [Black Then article]

Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill

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October 20, 1921: the House Judiciary Committee favorably reported Leonidas C. Dyer’s Anti-Lynching Bill which would impose heavy penalties on persons involved in mob action resulting in the taking of life.

Despite filibusters and ongoing southern Democratic obstruction, the House, controlled by a Republican majority,   eventually passed the bill and sent it to the Senate where the like-minded southern Democrats were able to kill the bill.

See Dyer for an expanded chronology of the long sad story.

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And lynching continued…

Arthur Young & Charles Wright lynched

December 12, 1922: Arthur Young and Charles Wright were accused of killing a local white school teacher. Though items found near the woman’s body belonged to a local white man, police were convinced the perpetrator had to be a black man, and quickly focused on Wright as a suspect. The deep racial hostility that permeated Southern society during this time period often served to focus suspicion on black communities after a crime was discovered, whether evidence supported that suspicion or not. This was especially true in cases of violent crime against white victims.

After several days of violent manhunts that terrorized the black community and left at least one black man dead, police arrested Charles Wright with a friend named Arthur Young. Before the men could be investigated or tried, a white mob seized Mr. Wright as they were being transported to jail and burned him alive.

Four days later, on December 12th, the lynch mob attacked again. As officers were moving Arthur Young to another jail, the mob seized him, riddled his body with bullets, and left his corpse hanging from a tree on the side of a highway in Perry, Florida.  [EJI article]

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Rosewood burned

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January 1, 1923: in Sumner, Florida, Fannie Taylor, a sixteen-year-old married white woman, claimed she had been assaulted by Jesse Hunter, a black fugitive from a prison chain gang. There was no evidence against Hunter, but local white men launched a manhunt in Rosewood, a nearby town of about 200 black people.  [Guardian report]

January 2, 1923: a mob of white men kidnapped, tortured, and lynched Sam Carter, a black craftsman from Rosewood, on suspicion that he had helped Jesse Hunter escape. White men continued to terrorize Rosewood searching for Hunter and black residents armed themselves in defense. [Black Past report]

January 4, 1923: hundreds of white men began the burning of Rosewood, Fla. Within three days, the entire African-American town had been burned to the ground. By the time the violence ended, six African Americans and two whites had died. No one was ever prosecuted. Survivors later recounted that Fannie Taylor had made false accusations against Jesse Hunter to conceal her extramarital affair with a white man. In 1994, the Florida Legislature voted to compensate victims and their families.

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Moore v. Dempsey

February 19 Peace Love Art Activism

February 19, 1923: in Moore v. Dempsey, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-2 that mob-dominated trials violated the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In 1919, African-American sharecroppers had gathered in a church at Elaine, Ark., to discuss fairer prices for their products. White men fired into church, leading to three days of fighting and the killing of five white men and more than 100 black men, women and children. A white committee appointed by the governor concluded the black men planned to kill all the whites. More than 700 African-American men were arrested with 67 sent to prison and a dozen to Death Row. The Supreme Court reversed the cases on appeal, concluding the trial had been prejudiced by a white mob outside yelling that if the black men weren’t sentenced to death, the mob would lynch them. The court decision was a major victory for African Americans and the NAACP, which had represented the men. (PBS article)

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Murderer Acquitted

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July 13, 1923: US House representative Leonidas Dyer of St Louis stated that he was not surprised at the acquittal of a George Barkwell at Columbia, Missouri on the charge of murder in connection with the lynching of James Scott, a Black. Dyer referred to statistics which, he said, showed that 3,824 lynchings had been recorded during the last thirty-five years and that in all those cases there had scarcely been a conviction. [H of R bio]

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Ben Hart lynched

August 24, 1923: a 34-year-old black farmhand Ben Hart was killed based on suspicion that he was a “Peeping Tom” who had that morning peered into a young white girl’s bedroom window near Jacksonville, Florida. According to witnesses, approximately ten unmasked men came to Hart’s home around 9:30 p.m. claiming to be deputy sheriffs and informing Hart he was accused of looking into the girl’s window. Hart professed his innocence and readily agreed to go to the county jail with the men, but did not live to complete the journey.

Shortly after midnight the next day, Hart’s handcuffed and bullet-riddled body was found in a ditch about three miles from the city. Hart had been shot six times and witnesses reported seeing him earlier that night fleeing several white men on foot who were shooting at him as several more automobiles filled with white men followed.

Police investigating Hart’s murder soon determined he was innocent of the accusation against him; he was at his home 12 miles away when the alleged peeping incident occurred. [EJI  story]

John Carter lynched

May 4, 1927:  near Little Rock, Arkansas, two white women – Mrs. B.E. Stewart, age forty-five, and her daughter Glennie, seventeen – were driving a wagon on a rural road, heading toward Little Rock. According to their report a black man approached and assaulted them. Sheriff Mike Haynie organized a posse which found John Carter, a local black man.

Mob members took Carter to a telephone pole and hit him with a revolver. They told him to confess, and then to pray. Before he finished, someone put a rope around his neck and told him to climb on top of a car. When he couldn’t, he was pushed up. Someone drove the car out from under him and he swung in the air. A line of fifty men fired guns, striking Carter with more than two hundred bullets.

Despite a picture of the hanging body, with the crowd of 400+ visible in the background, none of the mob members admitted to being there. A report said Carter had been killed “by parties unknown in a mob.”3

The mob took Carter’s body to Little Rock to burn it. When they got to the city, they tied him to the car’s bumper and dragged him through the city for an hour. The mob eventually stopped at Ninth and Broadway, the center of the black business district. They poured gasoline and kerosene over Carter’s body. They piled on boxes, tree limbs, and pews from the nearby Bethel A.M.E. Church, and lit the fire. More white people hurried to the area. By that point the crowd was about seven thousand men, women, and children watching.

No one was ever charged or prosecuted for lynching John Carter. [Black Then article; ABHM article]

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Lynch law for Blacks only

July 15, 1930: Senator Coleman L. Blease‘s advocated a lynch law for Blacks (only) guilty of criminally assaulting white women. “Whenever the Constitution comes between me and the virtue of the white women of South Carolina, I say ‘To hell with the Constitution.’ “

Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith lynched

August 7 Peace Love Art Activism

August 7, 1930: a white mob lynched Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Marion, Indiana. The two young black men, 18 and 19 years old respectively, had been arrested that afternoon. They were accused of attacking a young white couple, beating and fatally shooting the man, and attempting to assault the woman. Once the men were detained, word of the charges spread and a growing mob of angry white residents gathered outside the county jail.

Around 9:30 p.m., the mob attempted to rush the jail and was repelled by tear gas. An hour later, they successfully barreled past the sheriff and three deputies, grabbed Shipp and Smith from their cells as they prayed, and dragged them into the street. By then numbering between 5000 and 10,000 people (half the white population of Grant County) the mob beat, tortured, and hung both men from trees in the courthouse yard, brutally executing them without benefit of trial or legal proof of guilt. As the men’s bodies hung, members of the mob re-entered the jail and grabbed 16-year-old James Cameron, another youth being held for the crime. The mob beat Cameron severely and were preparing to hang him alongside the others when a member of the crowd intervened and insisted he was innocent. Cameron was released and the mob later dispersed.

Enraged by the lynching, the NAACP traveled to Marion to investigate, and later provided United States Attorney General James Ogden with the names of 27 people believed to have participated. Though the lynching and its spectators were photographed, local residents claimed not to recognize anyone pictured and no one was charged or tried in connection with the killings. A photograph of Shipp’s and Smith’s battered corpses hanging lifeless from a tree, with white spectators proudly standing below, remains one of the most iconic lynching photographs. After seeing the photo in 1937, New York schoolteacher Abe Meeropol was inspired to write “Strange Fruit,” a haunting poem about lynching that later became a famous song recorded by Billie Holiday.  [Black Past article]

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1930

Jessie Daniel AmesLyn

November 20 Peace Love Art Activism

November 20, 1930: The Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching founded in Atlanta, Georgia by Jessie Daniel Ames, a white Texas-born woman active in suffrage and interracial reform movements. The ASWPL was comprised of middle and upper-class white women who objected to the lynching of African Americans.

Anti-Lynching Congress

November 25, 1930: a delegation from the Anti-Lynching Congress, which was meeting in Washington, D.C., delivered a protest to President Herbert Hoover, demanding that he take action to end the lynching of African-Americans. The group was led by Maurice W. Spencer, president of the National Equal Rights League and Race Congress. President Hoover did not respond.

Herbert Hoover was basically sympathetic to the needs of African-Americans in American society, but was not willing to expend any political capital on civil rights. He was very upset, for example, when Southern bigots protested when First Lady Lou Henry Hoover invited the wife of African-American Congressman Oscar DePriest to the White House for tea (along with all the other Congressional wives), on June 12, 1929. He responded by inviting Robert Moton, President of Tuskegee University, to the White House in a symbolic gesture.

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1931

Raymond Gunn lynched

January 12, 1931:  authorities arrested Raymond Gunn, an African American man, after he was accused of killing a white schoolteacher.

Following his arrest, police took Gunn to jail in a neighboring county due to threats of lynching. Lynch mobs still formed and attempted to seize Gunn from jail, so officials transported him to another prison with reinforcement from firemen and a tank company of the Missouri National Guard.

On January 12, the morning of Gunn’s arraignment, a mob of about two thousand white men, women, and children gathered outside the courthouse. Despite the previous attacks, the local sheriff did not request assistance from the National Guard. With little resistance from local law enforcement, and sixty members of the National Guard at ease in an armory one block from the courthouse, Mr. Gunn was seized by the mob and burned on the roof of the schoolhouse. [EJI article]

Residents flee

January 14, 1931: black residents of Maryville, Missouri fled the town after the lynching of Raymond Gunn on January 12. More than 20 percent of Maryville’s black population fled the town in fear. Despite investigations initiated by state officials, no one was ever arrested or convicted of any crime related to the lynching of Raymond Gunn. [EJI article]

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1933

Reuben Micou lynched

April 2, 1933: a mob of white men broke into the Winston County jail in Louisville, Mississippi to lynch a 65-year-old black man named Reuben Micou. Micou had been arrested after he was accused of getting into an altercation with a prominent local white man.

Micou’s body was found in a nearby churchyard, riddled with bullets and bearing injuries suggesting that Micou had been whipped. Seventeen white men were indicted and arrested for participating in the lynching, but in July 1933 the cases against the seventeen men were “indefinitely postponed.” No one was ever tried or convicted for Micou’s murder. [EJI story]

George Armwood lynched

October 18, 1933: a mob of at least 2000 white residents of Princess Anne, Maryland beat, hanged, dragged, and burned George Armwood to death. Armwood, reportedly known to be “feeble-minded,” had been accused of assaulting an 80-year-old woman who was also the mother of a local white policeman. Shortly after being arrested, Armwood was dragged out of the jail and an 18-year-old boy immediately cut off his ear with a butcher knife. The growing mob then beat George Armwood nearly to death and dragged him to a tree, where he was hanged. Afterward, the mob cut down his corpse, dragged it through the streets, hanged it again, and then staged a public burning. The New Journal and Guide reported that “[m]en, women and children, participated in the savage orgy.”

Armwood’s lynching sparked a national outcry and calls for prosecution of the lynchers, yet investigations at the county, state, and federal levels faced obstacles and delays. Inquiries following the lynching were marked by residents’ refusal to identify participants as well as mockery and intimidation of black witnesses. The American Civil Liberties Union, frustrated with the silence, began offering a $1000 reward to people willing to name leaders of the mob.

Even when finally presented with identifying evidence, the county prosecutor refused to act. When the Maryland Attorney General ordered troops to arrest eight named participants, white residents who supported the accused lynchers waged riots of protest. Four white men were ultimately tried for the lynching of George Armwood, and acquitted by all-white juries. [EJI article]

For previous and subsequent chronologies, see…

American Lynching 3