Port of Harlem Snippets
April 30 - May 13, 2009 


Celebrating the Confederacy in S.C. - Destroying Emancipation Day in D.C.

Democratic State Senator Robert Ford, who is a descendant of enslaved North American Africans, is pushing a bill that would require South Carolina cities and counties to give their workers a paid day off for Confederate Memorial Day or lose millions in state funds.

Ford’s bill won initial approval from a Senate subcommittee. It would force county and municipal governments to follow the schedule of holidays used by the state, which gives workers 12 paid days off, including May 10 to honor Confederate war dead. Mississippi and Alabama also recognize Confederate Memorial Day - states with large populations of descendants of enslaved Africans, but in which Obama lost to McCain in the 2008 U.S. Presidential election due to overwhelming non-Black opposition.

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, a descendent of enslaved Caribbean Africans, has proposed to eliminate as a public holiday Emancipation Day, which commemorates President Abraham Lincoln’s decision in 1862 to free enslaved Africans in the District.

The fiscal 2010 Budget Support Act, which sets out the legislative changes needed to implement Fenty’s proposed spending plan, transforms Emancipation Day, April 16, from a legal public holiday — when schools and the government are shuttered — to an optional private holiday. At press time, the D.C. Council is not going along with Fenty's proposal.

Historian and Port of Harlem contributor C.R. Gibbs, who has helped develop Emancipation educational programs in D.C. since 1991. Click here to read Gibbs’ Black Freedom Days Worldwide: A Summery of Key Events in the Abolition of Slavery Worldwide.

Picture:  The flag of the United States of the Confederacy, the symbol of those who tried to destroy the United States of America and preserve the enslavement of Africans.  Patriot and enslaved African Nat Turner bravely confronts a U.S. enslaver.


Raising Him Alone –
Conference Helped to Heal the
African-American Nation

More than 70 percent of African-American children are born out of wedlock

“When a child is separated from a parent there is some pain,” said Adeyemi Bandele co-facilitator of the Father Factor: Addressing the Pain of Our Sons Experiencing an Absent Daddy at the Raising Him Alone conference in Baltimore City. And pain’s visit made one single mother uncomfortable. She began to cry as she shared her story and formulate her question. She attempted to make her toddler sit still, but he began to whine.

Pain’s visit continued as a formerly single mother talked about her 20-something-year old son “cutting a fool” then releasing his anger by telling her that she did not feel his pain of coming home to “look at another man’s face instead of that of his own father.” He also revealed thoughts of suicide.

Co-facilitator Richard Rowe stepped in, “You have to create a way for the son to act out or channel his frustrations.” He offered that the mother have her son

  • Write a journal
  • Connect with a paternal uncle or cousin so he can hear stories of his father
  • Live within boundaries she sets
  • Live with responsibilities she sets
  • Respect her, humanity and his environment

For the small boy Bandele channeled his frustration of his mother wanting him to sit still in a chair as an adult by allowing him to walk around and occasionally holding him in his arms. Instead of being an annoyance, the small child and the facilitator became living examples of what one can do to raise a son alone.

New Findings: Sharp Decline in Black Incarceration for Drug Offenses

For the first time in 25 years, since the inception of the "war on drugs," the number of African Americans incarcerated in state prisons for drug offenses has declined substantially, according to a study released by The Sentencing Project. It finds a 21.6% drop in the number of Blacks incarcerated for a drug offense, a decline of 31,000 people during the period 1999-2005.

The study also documents a corresponding rise in the number of Whites in state prison for a drug offense, an increase of 42.6% during this time frame, or more than 21,000 people. The number of Latinos incarcerated for state drug offenses was virtually unchanged.



Do You Want to Show Support for the President’s Budget?

The Democratic Senatorial Committee has released a new ad supporting the Commander-in-Chief’s budget. Click here to view it and to sign a petition supporting his plan.


No Artist Market This May

The Artist Market at St. Franciscan Monastery will not take place this fall. Look for announcement in the print issue and in Snippets for this winter’s Artist Market.


Brazil’s President Blames Economic Problems on
“Blue-Eyed” People

This crisis was caused by the irrational behavior of White people with blue eyes, who before the crisis appeared to know everything and now demonstrate that they know nothing,” said Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The Washington Afro-American reports that he made the statement in a joint press conference with Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The Brazilian added: “I do not know any Black or indigenous bankers so I can only say [it is wrong] that this part of mankind which is victimized more than any other should pay for the crisis.” The Latin American leader made the statements as a lead-up to the G-20 Summit in London, but the statements were not widely reported in American media. The President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez is restoring Venezuela's ambassador in Washington. He made the announcement after meeting President Obama.

Free Summer Science Program

The ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp (BHSSC) is a free, academic program of The Harris Foundation, which takes an active role in shaping education in students entering grade 6,7, or 8 in the fall of 2009. Bernard Harris, a former NASA astronaut and the first African American to walk in space, created the free science camps four years ago. The camps will take place across the country including at Indiana, Howard, Bowie State, and Delaware State Universities.


Note: Cuban Arnaldo Tamayo-Mendez (picture) became the world’s first Black astronaut on September 18, 1980.

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