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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Few Positive Links To Click Pertaining to the State of Black America!

After the Domino's food tampering story, perhaps we all need a few stories that can at least provide some evidence that human life and dignity might have a chance. Case in point-the continued revitalization of Black Wall Street. Unfortunately, today's youth probably have greater familiarity with rap artist, The Game's Black Wall Street record label than the Tulsa, Oklahoma historical business district (and 1921 riots that led to its demise) that inspired it. I have stated repeatedly that the American version of apartheid was a primitive and socially repressive system that will forever remain a scar in the annals of US racial history. But as reprehensible as segregation was, this era forced people of color into a type of self-sufficiency that many of our conservative brethren believe can be replicated for a post racial American populace. For more than a decade, Tulsa has spearheaded initiatives to attempt a revival of the famed district. Here's more on the city's efforts, as reported by Examiner.com:

Since the turbulence in the Greenwood back in 1921 (click here for part one and part two of this series), the neighborhood has continued to rebuild and thrive. One of the driving forces behind the resurrection of the Greenwood Historic District is the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce.

Reuben Gant, President and CEO of the Chamber was born and raised in Tulsa in the early ‘50’s. He said that back in the day, before the 1921 riot, Greenwood was the “crown jewel” of the African American quality of life in the U.S., coming into being due to segregation that denied Blacks the right to shop, eat, etc. south of the railroad tracks.

“History has it, whether true or not,” he said, “that more African American millionaires came out of Greenwood than anywhere else in the country at one point. That’s when it was given the moniker of the “Black Wall Street of America” by Booker T. Washington.”

Nevertheless, according to Gant, although Greenwood has that legacy and history, the community really does not exist in the same sense that it did, even after resurrecting itself from the ashes of the rubble of life and property lost during the riot. Desegregation, he said, brought about a different kind of devastation, because African Americans could exercise their right to spend their dollars wherever they desired.

“What was left was just one block and an expressway that really separated us,” Gant recalled, “so Greenwood went through a renovation, resurrection and renaissance.”

On this one business block today you will find almost two dozen tenants, many of which are Black-owned businesses. The rest of Greenwood is primarily residences, churches and the Oklahoma State University-Langston campus, the only Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the state.

The Chamber, which Gant has been involved with in several capacities since the mid-1980’s, is working tirelessly with all factions of the Tulsa community to further develop and expand the Greenwood District, while also striving to promote African American entrepreneurship and commerce here.

For the complete Examiner piece, click on the link below:

Tulsa: revisiting the past to understand the future

And for more Youtube clips of the above Tulsa Riots documentary, click on the links below:

Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma - Pt. 2

Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma - Pt. 3

And for unrelated (but positive news), it appears that recent stats are showing a decrease in the Black prison population regarding drug connected offenses. Conversely, there has been a rise in similar offenses amongst Whites. Here's a snippet regarding this phenomenon from The Washington Post:

For the first time since crack cocaine sparked a war on drugs 20 years ago, the number of black Americans in state prisons for drug offenses has fallen sharply, while the number of white prisoners convicted for drug crimes has increased, according to a report released yesterday.

The D.C.-based Sentencing Project reported that the number of black inmates in state prisons for drug offenses had fallen from 145,000 in 1999 to 113,500 in 2005, a 22 percent decline. In that period, the number of white drug offenders rose steadily, from about 50,000 to more than 72,000, a 43 percent increase. The number of Latino drug offenders was virtually unchanged at about 51,000.

The findings represent a significant shift in the racial makeup of those incarcerated for drug crimes and could signal a gradual change in the demographics of the nation's prison population of 2 million, which has been disproportionately black for decades. Drug offenders make up about a quarter of the prison population.

The Sentencing Project report and other experts said the numbers could reflect several factors, including an increased reliance by prosecutors and judges on prison alternatives such as drug courts and a shift in police focus to methamphetamines, which are used and distributed mostly by white Americans. In addition, the report said, crack use and arrests have declined steadily since the 1990s.

Click here for more from the Post article.

And lastly, as far as stats go, a rise in Blacks is occurring on the MLB front. All this good will can't be a trend....can it? Click on the link below for more info:

MLB Scores An "A" For Racial Diversity

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