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port of harlem magazine
August 4 – August 17, 2016
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On The Dock This Issue:
melvin morris   Black, Brave, & Bold Part 5 - African American Congressional Medal of Honor Winners - Vietnam War To The Present
More African Americans won the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War than in any other single major American conflict.
    The Intersection of Race and Other Identities
New #RaceAND video series explores our multiple identities.
    $2,000 Sought for Gambian Scholarships
For just $75 you can join the spirt of cooperation by supporting a Gambian child’s educational goals.
    Photography Workshop Clicks with Audience
While some tips took greater understanding of photography to fully comprehend, others seemed simple once told.
    VA Governor Fights Structural Racism
He restores voting rights to hundreds of Blacks.
    Vote USA 2016
Donald Trump, David Duke, Courts have stroke down voter ID laws in four states.
Interesting, diverse things to do
    Readers' Trends
Port Of Harlem, Pinterest, and Facebook
Praising the Past

Black, Brave, & Bold Part 5 - African American Congressional Medal of Honor Winners- Vietnam War To The Present

CR Gibbs

melvin morrisOn the heels of the French withdrawal from Vietnam in 1954, the United States slowly began to involve itself in the affairs of that divided nation. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy promised to help the government of South Vietnam achieve independence.

Three years later, when U.S. naval vessels were allegedly attacked by North Vietnamese forces, Congress pushed through the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which authorized presidential action in that country. In February 1965, President Lyndon Baines Johnson ordered continuous bombing of North Vietnam below the 20th parallel. In the meantime, American armed forces poured into Vietnam, peaking at well over half a million troops by 1969. Already by the end of that year, 20 African Americans had earned the Congressional Medal of Honor.

More African Americans won the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War than in any other single major American conflict. The first two occurred in 1965: Private First Class Milton Olive, III, who gave his life by jumping on an exploding grenade to save his friends, and Specialist Sixth Class Lawrence Joel, an Army medic, who, despite his own wounds, continued to treat his fellow comrades until his superiors ordered him to evacuate the battlefield.

Olive and Joel were members of the same unit, the 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade. Olive's medal was awarded posthumously. Joel survived his wounds to receive his medal at a White House ceremony.

In 1966, Donald Russell Long, an Army sergeant, threw himself on an enemy grenade to save his comrades and gave his life in the process. Six Black Americans won the Medal of Honor in 1967. Five more earned the medal in 1968. And six more in 1969. These forgotten heroes were soldiers and marines, officers, and sergeants - - although, as in past wars, some were kept waiting for their day of justice for a long time. Of the 20 Black Americans who earned medals in Vietnam, a total of 15 were awarded posthumously. Of the five remaining recipients who survived to personally receive the award, only Melvin Morris (pictured) and Clarence Sasser are alive today.

Sasser, an Army Private First Class, won his medal in 1968. Although wounded, he provided first aid to other wounded soldiers for more than five hours until they were evacuated from the battlefield. Sergeant First Class Morris had been shot three times as he rescued a wounded soldier.

In March 2014, Morris finally received his medal for heroic deed performed on the battlefields of Vietnam 40 years earlier. As had been the case in the delayed awards of World War II, his medal was upgraded from a previously awarded Distinguished Service Cross.  (Read Part 4 of this series.) The upgrade resulted from a congressionally mandated review of awards to ensure that the heroism of veterans was not overlooked as it had been in the past because of prejudice or discrimination.

So far, no African Americans have been awarded Medals of Honor for conspicuous courage above and beyond the call of duty for exploits in the Persian Gulf/Iraq wars or in Afghanistan.
So far, no African Americans have been awarded Medals of Honor for conspicuous courage above and beyond the call of duty for exploits in the Persian Gulf/Iraq wars or in Afghanistan.

A Final Note: During this five part series, the focus has been on African American Congressional Medal of Honor winners, but let me add that in late April 2016 there was a ceremony at Saint Elizabeth's Hospital Cemetery in Washington, D.C. to honor Joseph Benjamin Noil. He was an African Canadian who was born in Nova Scotia and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1862. Ten years later, he won a Medal of Honor for diving off the deck of the U.S.S. Powhatan, during a gale, to rescue a shipmate.  Noil, whose final resting place and medal award were somehow overlooked and forgotten in the ensuing century and a half, was one of 108 Canadians and the only Black Canadian known to have won the Medal of Honor.

All these men personify the words of Nelson Mandela, who observed "”that courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."

From Our Archives: Black, Brave, & Bold Part 1 - African American Congressional Medal of Honor Winners - During the Civil War, Sergeant William H. Carney became the first Black to win the award.

Black, Brave, & Bold Part 2 - African American Congressional Medal of Honor Winners - The Indian Wars & The Interim Period

Black, Brave, & Bold Part 3 - African American Congressional Medal of Honor Winners - The Spanish-American War & World War I

Black, Brave, & Bold Part 4 - African American Congressional Medal of Honor Winners – World War II & Korean War

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ivan brown realty

The Intersection of Race and Other Identities

When it comes to oppression, harmful outcomes can be compounded by barriers erected in response to each layer of a person’s identity. At Race Forward they talk about race explicitly, but not exclusively: it’s Race and ____ (fill in the blank). In their new #RaceAND video series, their subjects peel back layers to reveal how race intersects with their nationality, gender, and much more. You may even see some familiar faces.

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$2,000 Sought for Gambian Scholarships

byda footbridgeThis has been the year of cooperation for the Port Of Harlem Gambian Education Partnership.
  Now, school is about to begin and our goal is to fund the education of 21 young, needy Gambians. For just $75 you can join the spirt of cooperation by supporting a Gambian child’s educational goals.

And, since the United States Dollar ($) has been rising against the Gambian Dalasi (D), sponsorship costs in dollars is the same as it was last year. However, the cost per child has risen in dalasis, the Gambian currency. The cost of uniforms, for instance, rose from D550 to D650 (but because of the strength of the dollar, that is still about $14.80).

In addition, to a school uniform, you can also provide your child a pair of shoes, books, lunch (daily), and a school bag - -- all for the $75 donation! The donation last for the full school year. Tuition in Gambian schools is now free.

The Baobab Youth Development Association administers the scholarship with us as part of their many development programs. In addition to the scholarship program, the young adults are still spearheading clean-up projects, upgrading the local mosque, rebuilding a footbridge (pictured), and organizing an annual soccer tournament. Pictures of their accomplishments are on the Baobab Youth Development Association Facebook page and periodically covered in Port Of Harlem.

Photo:  BYDA members build a footbridge to provide their community a safe passage over flood waters during the rainy season.

donate nowClick Here to Donate Now

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Photography Workshop Clicks with Audience

photographer george tolbertFormer United States Senate photographer George Tolbert offered a simple, but often overlooked tip on taking better pictures, “have your manual and read it.”  Even after more than 13 years as a professional photographer in the nation’s highest legislative body, Tolbert says he still consults the operating manual that came with his camera.

Being a Senate photographer meant that most of his subjects were seasoned White men. And, Tolbert, the first Black to hold the position, says there are differences between capturing the images of Whites and Blacks, including how to deal with contrasts. However, he added, no matter the hue of the subject, photographers “have the same problems with capturing contrasts,” but handle the problems differently based on the subject’s hue.

To reveal contrast in the finished product, Tolbert described techniques and equipment he uses to create accurate distinctions between light and dark. For example, he said, a dark person can stand in front of a white wall, and the dark person’s photographic image will come out darker and the wall will come out darker, maybe a light gray. Some cameras automatically pick up an accurate contrasts and some don’t, he continued.  One low tech technique he uses to create a more hue accurate picture is to pull the person away from the wall.

During A Port Of Harlem Summer at the Alexandria Black History Museum, Tolbert critiqued the photographs taken by a mix of amateur, budding, and professional photographers who attended the two hour event.  After displaying one participant’s photograph, he suggested having the subject being photographed also stand or sit about three feet away from the wall to prevent shadows from surrounding the image in the photograph. 

While critiquing another participant’s photographs, he suggested that people stand at an angle, not full frontal, to look smaller. Flashes, which normally work 10 to 12 feet from a camera, will most likely not work well for you if you are trying to capture an image on stage, he warned.

Tolbert also suggested placing picture subjects in shadows. However, he added that there are tricks you can use that will allow you to take great shots in the sunshine.

While some tips took greater understanding of photography to fully comprehend, others seemed simple once told.  “Holding your head up makes your look confident, while holding your head down signals “humility,” he continued.

Photo credit: Bonita Bing.
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VA Governor Fights Structural Racism

terry mcauliffeThe Virginia Supreme Court ruled that Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) does not have the authority under the state constitution to issue a blanket rights restoration to everyone in the state with a felony record who has already served their full sentence. However, McAuliffe has vowed to restore the rights individually.

“Excluding Virginians from the ballot, even after they’ve paid their debts to society, is a cruel, inhumane reminder of past mistakes,” said Tram Nguyen, executive director of the New Virginia Majority. “Importantly, today’s ruling validates entrenched interests in the Virginia General Assembly bent on silencing a large swath of Black Virginians in order to maximize their political power.”

A study earlier this year found that the vast majority of those impacted — 80 percent — committed non-violent crimes. Most have been out of prison for more than a decade, and African Americans are disproportionately represented. Forty-six percent of the ex-offenders are Black, though Blacks make up less than 20 percent of the state’s population.

Note:  President Obama achieved victory in 2012 by carrying 93 percent of African American voters, 71 percent of Latino voters, 73 percent of Asian American voters, and only 39 percent of White voters.

Read More on McAuliffe's Efforts

More on the Battle Against Structural Racism: Social Security Expansion on the Table
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Vote USA 2016

vote usa 2016 - David Duke, as the former Ku Klux Klan leader, said he was running for U.S. Senate in Louisiana in the Republican primary.

- Donald Trump On President Barack Obama: "I think President Obama has been the most ignorant president in our history. His views of the world, as he says, ‘don't jive’ and the world is a mess.

obama clinton hug

- Obama Rallying for Clinton

- The courts have stroke down voter ID laws in Wisconsin, Texas, and  North Carolina. In the North Carolina cases, the judges found the provisions "target African Americans with almost surgical precision." Republicans who created the laws claimed they were preventing voter fraud. 

In particular, the court found that North Carolina lawmakers requested data on racial differences in voting behaviors in the state. "This data showed that African Americans disproportionately lacked the most common kind of photo ID, those issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)," the judges wrote.  So the legislators made it so that the only acceptable forms of voter identification were the ones disproportionately used by White people.

- ajamu barakaGreen Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has picked Ajamu Baraka (pictured), an international human rights scholar and activist, as her running mate. Baraka has taught political science at several colleges and worked with Amnesty International to uncover human rights violations.

- Glamour Exclusive: President Barack Obama Says, "This Is What a Feminist Looks Like"
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port of harlem gambian education partnership


gary air show 2016

Gary Air Show

Hand to God
Studio Theater
14th and P, NW
extended through Sun, Aug 28, $20-$70

KMT: The African Roots of Ancient
Egypt's Glory
CR Gibbs
Woodbridge Library
Wed, Aug 17, 7p, free

Summer Spirit Festival 201
Merriweather Post Pavilion
Columbia, MD
Sat, Aug 6, 2p, $
Sun, Aug 7, 2p, $
(Park And BZB Spirit Festival Marketplace Opens At 1p)

Bethlehem, Pa
RUN-DMC Sat, Aug. 6
Aretha Franklin Mon,  Aug. 8

Pullman National Monument Hike
Pullman Neighborhood
Meet at 112th Street and 111th Place
Sat, Aug 20, 9a, free

Kampala, Uganda
The Innovation Village Kampala
Plot 14A Chwa II Road Ntinda
Complex Block B, Level 3
Kampala, Central Region, Uganda
Fri, Aug 19, 6p-8:30p, free

New York
African Food Festival
Brooklyn Navy Yard
63 Flushing Ave
Sat, Aug 13, 12:00p, $10-$150

Richmond, VA
America Living Expo
Richmond Raceway Complex
Sat, Aug 6-Sun, Aug 7, $

At the Theater
Southside with You
(The Obamas on their first date on Chicago's Great South Side)
Fri, Aug 19, $

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Social Security
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in Israel,

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the South

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