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      News — black men

      Black History Snippet--Ida B. Wells

      Black History Snippet--Ida B. Wells

      Black History Profile:

      Ida. B. Wells (1862-1931)

      --though born in slavery and freed by the Emancipation Proclamation AND the 13th Amendment, living in Mississippi was extremely harsh due to the Black Codes all southern (and some northern) states enacted

      --Wells received her schooling at Shaw University as a child, but dropped out at 16 when both her parents and one sibling died of yellow fever; she obtained a job teaching--claiming she was 18

      --at 22, on a train ride to Nashville, even though she'd bought a first-class ticket, she was forcibly removed and thrown into the "black car"--she bit the hand of one of the men who threw her off the train; she sued and won $500, but the win was overturned by the Tennessee Supreme Court--ordering her to pay court costs

      --this sparked her to write about the injustices of race in the south; eventually becoming the owner of three Memphis newspapers

      --while campaigning against the squalid conditions in black schools, she was fired from several teaching jobs for her stances

      --in 1892, three African-American men—Tom Moss, Calvin McDowell and Will Stewart—set up a grocery store in Memphis. Their new business drew customers away from a white-owned store in the neighborhood, and the white store owner and his supporters clashed with the three men on a few occasions. One night, Moss and the others guarded their store against attack and ended up shooting several of the white vandals. They were arrested and brought to jail, but they didn't have a chance to defend themselves against the charges—a lynch mob took them from their cells and murdered them

      --the Memphis police refused to investigate and Ida's pleas fell on deaf ears, so she went on a crusade to bring attention to lynching deaths, cataloging them and publishing them in her newspaper; after she published the stories AND the names of the lynch-men, a mob stormed her offices, destroying them and threatened her death if she returned to Memphis

      --In 1898, Wells brought her anti-lynching campaign to the White House, leading a protest in Washington, D.C., and calling for President William McKinley to make reforms--showing proof that most lynching were a direct result of blacks competing with whites, rather than being based on criminal acts

      --lynching became her platform and she documented every known case she could find--discovering around 3500 known cases in 33 years

      --called out numerous racist women's organizations, including the Women's Temperance Christian Union (a 200,000 member "anti-racism" suffrage group) for the comments made about black people and their fight to gain white women suffrage, but not black women

      --considered a founding member of the NAACP, she left because she felt the organization lacked action-based initiatives--and was deliberately excluded by W.E.B. DuBois

      --as part of her work with the National Equal Rights League, called for President Woodrow Wilson to put an end to discriminatory hiring practices for government jobs and was a fierce advocate of women's suffrage

      --a leading proponent of the Dyer Anti-Lynching bill, which proposed fines and jail-time for offenders--it failed along with 200 other attempts to stop lynching

      --after a lifetime of fighting, Ida B. Well died mid-sentence while writing her autobiography; succumbing to kidney failure

      --"I'd rather go down in history as one lone negro who dared to tell the government that it had done a dastardly thing than to save my skin by taking back what I said."

      Ida. B Wells

      Black History Snippet-Jesse Owens

      Black History Snippet-Jesse Owens

      Black History Profile:
      James Cleveland Owens (Jesse Owens)
      --fallaciously called 'Jesse' by his school teacher, his nickname comes from J.C., his first two initials--which he then legally changed to 'Jesse'
      --his high school track coach pushed him and would never reveal his track times--until he tied the world record for the 100 yard dash, which his coach made him run 3 consecutive times to be sure
      --in college, he won 8-straight individual championships, but The Ohio State University refused him a scholarship--so he had to work part-time to cover tuition
      --while traveling, he was not allowed to eat with team and was only permitted to stay on 'black-only' hotels, which he credited with furthering his drive to destroy his competition
      --in Ann Arbor, he had what is considered one the the 'greatest sports days ever' by setting 3 world records and tying a 4th within a 46 minute span (his long jump stood for 25 years--another record)
      --during the Olympics in Berlin, Owens undermined Hitler's propaganda of the racially superior Aryan and inferior African by winning 4 gold medals--but German women loved him, cutting off his clothes with scissors whenever they saw him; culminating in him being allowed to stay in 'white-hotels' with the other athletes
      --after his victories, Hitler "was highly annoyed by the series of triumphs by the marvelous colored American runner, Jesse Owens." And said: People whose antecedents came from the jungle were primitive; their physiques were stronger than those of civilized whites and hence should be excluded from future game"
      --after the Olympics, it was said that Hitler actually shook hands with Jesse Owens (behind a set of bleachers and where no one would see), but FDR was "too busy" to acknowledge Owens--so Owens campaigned for his opponent claiming "It wasn't Hitler who snubbed me, it was our president who snubbed me."
      --after the games had finished, the Olympic team and Owens were all invited to compete in Sweden. He decided to capitalize on his success by returning to the United States to take up some of the more lucrative commercial offers. United States athletic officials were furious and withdrew his amateur status, ending his career immediately. Owens was angry, saying, "A fellow desires something for himself.
      --became the first sponsored black athlete when Adi Dassler (Adidas) asked him to wear his shoes
      --spent the rest of his life working odd jobs before being prosecuted for tax evasion
      --after initially rejecting the black power salute from the 1968 Olympics (Smith/Carlos), Owens admitted that "any black man who wasn't a militant in 1970 was either blind or a coward."
      --"For a time, at least, I was the most famous person in the entire world."
      --Jesse Owens