Black Africans Built and Ruled Ancient Kemet (Egypt)

•March 5, 2011 • Leave a Comment

My Girl from KC (Dana Gilmore)

•March 5, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The Growth of Black-Owned Businesses: Entrepreneurship by Necessity

•March 5, 2011 • 1 Comment

“I had to make my own living and my own opportunity! But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them!” Madam C.J. Walker, trailblazing African-American businesswoman

There is a silver lining in the dark cloud of the great recession. A new Census Bureau report reveals that from 2002 to 2007 the number of Black-owned businesses in the United States increased by 60.5 percent to 1.9 million – more than triple the national rate. According to Census Bureau Deputy Director Thomas Mesenbourg, “Black-owned businesses continued to be one of the fastest growing segments of our economy, showing rapid growth in both the number of businesses and total sales during this time period.”

The reasons for this are many, beginning with the long history of African-American entrepreneurship in response to poverty, high unemployment and discrimination. Consider the case of Madam C.J. Walker, the daughter of slaves who, in the early 1900s, turned her dream of financial independence into a hair care and cosmetics business that revolutionized the beauty products industry, created good paying jobs, and made her a wealthy woman and philanthropist.

Like Madam C.J. Walker, many African Americans may have turned to entrepreneurship in the years covered by the Census Bureau study because of high unemployment in our communities. The fact is Black unemployment never got back down to where it was before the recession in 2001. So in effect, what we are seeing is a bit of entrepreneurship by necessity. There’s also an economic independent streak, particularly among emerging generations in the Black community. Building a business gives great satisfaction and cushions them from the shock of losing jobs because of economic down cycles.

New York State leads the country with more than 204,000 Black-owned businesses, followed by Georgia and Florida respectively. From 2002 to 2007, nearly four in 10 of these businesses operated in the health care and social assistance; and repair, maintenance, personal and laundry services sectors. The retail trade and health care and social assistance sectors accounted for 27.4 percent of Black-owned business revenue.

The survey also found that in addition to an increase in the number of Black-owned businesses, annual sales increased by 55 percent to $137.5 billion.

I recently called on federal, state and local governments to develop a “hyper-focus” on Black- and minority-owned businesses. Every city, county, and state needs to have a plan that focuses on small and minority business. There is a spirit of entrepreneurship out there that needs to be nurtured and energized.

While the Census Bureau report is generally good news, we know that Black businesses still make up only 7 percent of all companies and they tend to be smaller and have lower gross receipts than other businesses. Black-owned businesses are also often hampered in their revenue growth by a lack of capital, connections and contracts.

What I hope this report says loudly and clearly to the investment community is that you are missing an emerging market in the United States. If minority businesses are growing at a faster clip than overall businesses, imagine what the growth rate would be if those barriers were eliminated or lowered. We need the investor community to look at this report and recognize that they are missing an incredible opportunity

9 Reasons To Hate Anti-Abortion Billboards That Target Black Women

•March 5, 2011 • Leave a Comment

One of my favorite aunts—the one who taught me about Maat, whole foods and natural haircare—bristles when I tell her I hate something. I’ll say, “I hate the last four episodes of ‘The Game.’” She’ll tsk, “Words are powerful. Hate takes too much energy.”

I’m going to have to disappoint my aunt today. Because I am still feeling some serious hatred about the racist anti-abortion billboards Jamilah King covered yesterday. I’m so pissed, I had to write a list:

1. I hate Life Always, the faux-pious anti-choice group behind thatsabortion.com and the racist billboard, which has “The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb” looming above the image of a 6-year-old black girl named Anissa Fraser.

2. I hate how Anissa’s mother dressed her baby in pink ruffles, put a bow on her pretty, kinky twist-out and took her down to a modeling agency for the ultimate picture day, only to see her daughter’s image used for racist propaganda.

3. I hate how I’m toying with the idea of explaining why the billboard is racist propaganda.

4. I hate how thatsabortion.com directs black women to seemingly innocuous pregnancy centers that withhold information and hinder choice. I also hate how the site twists CDC mortality data. From a so-called fact sheet: “Twice as many African Americans have died from abortion than the combined tolls of violent crime, cancer, heart disease, accidents and AIDS.”

5. I hate how Stephen Broden, a black Texas pastor and Life Always board member linked the billboard to Black History Month in the group’s press release.

6. I hate that Lamar Advertising, the company paid to erect the billboard, took the Soho one down last night, but I’ve heard about at least one in L.A. (If you’ve seen it, please share the address in the comments!) [Editor’s note: Here’s a photo of the L.A. billboard and information on the campaign behind it.]

7. I hate how Lamar claims they removed the Soho billboard because workers at the Mexican restaurant below feared for their safety—not because SisterSong and the Trust Black Women Partnership made serious noise, Brooklyn city councilwoman Letitia James initiated a change.org petition, city council speaker Christine Quinn condemned it, NYC public advocate Bill de Blasio called for its immediate removal, and Al Sharpton was plotting a press conference.

8. I hate how groups like Life Dynamics (blackgenocide.com), The Radiance Foundation (toomanyaborted.com), and the aforementioned Life Always tell black women who make the complicated, difficult, highly personal choice to end a pregnancy that they’re committing genocide. Genocide is the deliberate, systematic destruction of a racial, political or cultural group. People like Christopher Columbus (yeah, I said it), King Leopold II, Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot and Raphael Trujillo committed genocide.

9. I hate how this whole mess is the flip side of the breeder, Welfare Queen and Jezebel stereotypes.

But honey, one thing I love: How black women across the political and religious spectrum have been speaking out about the billboard and connecting it to the overall attack on women’s reproductive freedom. These billboards might have been a stab at humiliating sisters who have had abortions, but based on the conversations I’ve had and those crackling across the Internets, that ish didn’t work. Like veteran marketer and author Thembisa Mshaka wrote, “That abortion.com billboards are an ad FAIL.”

Are black vs. brown tensions being exploited in jobs debate?

•March 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

A hearing in the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement on Tuesday received a sharp rebuke from Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, who accused Republicans on the committee of trying to use immigration to drive a wedge between communities of color.

“I am concerned by the Majority’s attempt to manufacture tension between the African American and immigrant communities,” Cleaver’s statement read. “It seems as though they would like for our communities to think about immigration in terms of ‘us vs. them’, and I reject that notion.”

The third immigration hearing since January focused on whether illegal immigration contributes to higher jobless rates among black and Hispanic Americans.

“When employers hire foreign workers who will work for less than American workers, Americans lose jobs,” committee chairman, Rep. Elton Gallegly (CA) said in his opening statement. “Importing millions of poorly educated foreign workers won’t help our country, but instead will only hinder its growth.”

The hearing comes at an awkward time for the GOP, which despite historic gains in the U.S. House and statehouses around the country in 2010 faces the prospect of a younger, browner electorate in 2012.

As one Republican Congressman told Politico’s Jonathan Martin for a recent article:

The electorate will look much different in 2012 than it did in 2010,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who was a political operative for decades before coming to Congress. “It’s going to be younger, browner, and more to the left.

While nationally, Republicans rarely enjoy more than minimal support from black voters, their weakness among Hispanics is especially problematic, given that Hispanic voters are the fastest growing demographic, and given the harsh anti-immigration policies Republicans are proposing in states like Arizona.

Gallegly, who became the subcommittee chairman when the House leadership passed over controversial Congressman Steve King, has occasionally attracted attention for his immigration views. Since 1991, he has introduced multiple bills that would change the 14th Amendment to strip the American-born children of illegal immigrants of their birthright citizenship. All of the bills failed.

Tuesday’s hearing seemed designed to re-frame the Republican immigration message in terms of jobs, rather than inflammatory proposals like Gallegly’s.

In his statement, the chairman cited high rates of unemployment for blacks and Hispanics: 15.7 percent and 11.9 percent, respectively — as well as a 2006 study by Harvard University professors George Borjas and Lawrence Katz, which stated that a 10 percent increase in the supply of a particular skill group due to immigration, “reduced the black wage in that skill group by 3.6 percent,” and “lowered the employment rate of black men by 2.4 percentage points.”

However, the Borjas study made no distinction between legal and illegal immigration, and it is difficult to quantify when and where native and illegal immigrant communities actually compete for the same jobs, though in the case of jobs like construction and food service, it seems likely that in some instances, they do
The committee heard from two African-Americans: Frank Morris of Progressives for Immigration Reform — a group linked to the controversial Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which played a role in drafting Arizona’s controversial immigration law; and Vanderbilt University political science and law professor Carol Swain, author of the book Debating Immigration, who told the panel illegal immigration indeed has a negative economic impact on black Americans.

Also testifying: Wade Henderson, the President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and George Rodriguez with the San Antonio Tea Party.

The Immigration Policy Center (a project of the pro-immigrant American Immigration Council) released its own report Tuesday finding no correlation between the size of the foreign-born population in U.S. metropolitan areas and the African-American unemployment rate:

African-American unemployment rates in many low-immigration cities are far higher than in many high-immigration cities. For instance, immigrants were 17.6 percent of the population in Miami in 2009, but only 3.1 percent of the population in Toledo. Yet the unemployment rate for African-Americans in Toledo (30.1 percent) was much higher than that of African-Americans in Miami (17.6 percent).

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, some three-quarters of illegal immigrants to the U.S. are Hispanic, with about 6 in 10 coming from Mexico. Another 11 percent apiece are from Asia or Central America, 7 percent from South America, 4 percent from the Caribbean and less than 2 percent from the Middle East.

There is evidence that foreign-born workers have gained more jobs than the native-born since 2007, and that their wages simultaneously fell faster – particularly those of Hispanic workers, indicating a growth in low-wage jobs. But there again, no breakout exists between legal and illegal immigrants.

But as Manuel Pastor of the University of California, Santa Cruz stated in a September 2006 report for the Joint Center on Political and Economic Studies, the impact of illegal immigrants on the labor market, particularly for African-Americans, is more complex, because:

There are many other, far more significant factors contributing to unemployment and low wages among African American men in particular, such as “the rising level of skill requirements of jobs, racial discrimination, and spatial mismatch between the location of employment opportunities and residential locations of blacks.

Three CBC members sit on the immigration subcommittee: Rep. John Conyers, the ranking member, from Michigan, Rep. Maxine Waters of California and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas. All were critical of the hearing afterward, calling it an attempt to divide black and brown voters and divert attention from the root causes of minority unemployment.

Gallegly, in media interviews, called their allegations “shameful.”

California and Texas rank number one and number three, respectively, in terms of undocumented immigrant populations. Yet California and Texas were home to just three of the 18 metropolitan areas with the highest black unemployment in 2009, and 10 of the 21 metro areas with the highest Hispanic unemployment.

“Many American workers are suffering from the same economic condition, and our broken immigration system creates a race to the bottom for the worst paying and most difficult jobs,” Cleaver’s statement concluded.

“Playing politics with immigration only re-enforces the status quo. It is time that we that we all come to the table, negotiate, and fix our broken immigration system. We need reform if we want to level the playing field in the workplace and stop the race to the bottom that our current system promotes

BEWARE OF GREEKS BEARING GIFTS

•February 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

THE NEGRO, COMMUNISM, TRADE UNIONISM AND HIS FRIEND
Atlanta Penitentiary, ca. July 1925
by Marcus Garvey

If I must advise the Negro workingman and laborer, I should warn him against the present brand of Communism or Workers’ Partizanship as taught in America, and to be careful of the traps and pitfalls of white trade unionism, in affiliation with the American Federation of white workers or laborers.
It seems strange and a paradox, but the only convenient friend the Negro worker or laborer has, in America, at the present time, is the white capitalist. The capitalist being selfish–seeking only the largest profit out of labor–is willing and glad to use Negro labor wherever possible on a scale “reasonably” below the standard white union wage. He will tolerate the Negro in any industry (except those that are necessarily guarded for the protection of the whiteman’s material, racial and assumed cultural dominance) if he accepts a lower standard of wage than the white union man; but, if the Negro unionizes himself to the level of the white worker, and, in affiliation with him, the choice and preference of employment is given to the white worker, without any regard or consideration for the Negro.

White Unionism is now trying to rope in the Negro and make him a standard wage worker, then, when it becomes generally known that he demands the same wage as the white worker, an appeal or approach will be made to the white capitalist or employer, to alienate his sympathy or consideration for the Negro, causing him, in the face of all things being equal, to discriminate in favor of the white worker as a race duty and obligation. In this respect the Negro if not careful to play his game well, which must be done through and by his leaders, is between “hell and the powder house.”

The danger of Communism to the Negro, in countries where he forms the minority of the population, is seen in the selfish and vicious attempts of that party or group to use the Negro’s vote and physical numbers in helping to smash and over-throw, by revolution, a system that is injurious to them as the white under dogs, the success of which would put their majority group of race still in power, not only as communists but as whitemen. To me there is no difference between two roses looking alike, and smelling alike, even if some one calls them by different names. Fundamentally what racial difference is there between a white Communist, Republican or Democrat? On the appeal of race interest the Communist is as ready as either to show his racial ascendancy or superiority over the Negro. He will be as quick and eager as any to show the Negro that he is white, and by Divine right of assumption has certain duties to perform to the rest of us mortals, and to defend and protect certain racial ideals against the barbarian hordes that threaten white supremacy.

I am of the opinion that the group of whites from whom Communists are made, in America, as well as trade unionists and members of the Worker’s party, is more dangerous to the Negro’s welfare than any other group at present. Lynching mobs and wild time parties are generally made up of 99 ½ percent of such white people. The Negro should keep shy of Communism or the Worker’s party in America. Since they are so benevolent let them bring about their own reforms and show us how different they are to others. We have been bitten too many times by all the other parties–“Once bitten, twice shy”-Negroes have no right with white people’s fights or quarrels, except, like the humble, hungry, meagre dog, to run off with the bone when both contestants drop it, being sure to separate himself from the big, well fed dogs, by a good distance, otherwise to be overtaken, and then completely outdone. If the Negro takes my advice he will organize by himself and always keep his scale of wage a little lower than the whites until he is able to become, through proper leadership, his own employer; by so doing he will keep the good will of the white employer and live a little longer under the present of things. If not, between Communism, white trade unionism and worker’s parties he is doomed in the next 25, 50 or 100 years to complete and general extermination.

The Negro needs to be saved from his (?) “Friends,” and beware of “Greeks bearing gifts.” The greatest enemies of the Negro are among those hypocritically profess love and fellowship for him, when, in truth, and down in their hearts, they despise and hate him. Pseudo-philanthropists their organizations are killing the Negro. White men and women of the Storey, Joel Spingarn, Julius Rosenwald, Oswald Garrison Villard, Congressman Dyer and Mary White Ovington type, in conjunction with the above mentioned agencies, are disarming, dis-visioning, dis-ambitioning and fooling the Negro to death. They teach the Negro to look to the whites in a false direction. They, by their practices are endeavoring to hold the Negroes check, as a possible dangerous minority group, and yet point them to the impossible dream of equality that shall never materialize, as they well know, and never intended; at the same time distracting the Negro from the real solution objective of securing nationalism. By thus decoying and deceiving the Negro and side-tracking his real objective, they hope to gain time against him in allowing others of their race to perfect the plan by which the blacks are completely destroyed as a competitive permanent part of white majority civilization and culture. They have succeeded in enslaving the ignorance of group of so-called “Negro intellectuals” whom they use as agents to rope in the unsuspicious colored or Negro people. They have become resentful bitter toward the Ku Klux Klan, and use the influence of their controlled newspaper (white and colored) to fight them, not because they so much hate the Klan, where the Negro is concerned, but because the Klan, through an honest expression of the whiteman’s attitude toward the Negro, prepares to him himself.

This hypocritical group of whites, like Spingarn and Storey, have succeeded an earlier group that fooled the Negro during the days of Reconstruction. Instead of pointing the Negro to Africa, as Jefferson and Lincoln did, they sought to revenge him, for the new liberty given him, by imprisoning him in the whiteman’s civilization; to further rob his labor, and exploit his ignorance, until he is subsequently ground to death by a newly developed superior white civilization. The plot of these Negro baiters is wretched to contemplate, hence their hatred of me and their influence to crush me in my attempt to save the black race.

Between the Ku Klux Klan and the Morefield Storey National Association for the Advancement of “Colored” People group, give me the Klan for their honesty of purpose towards the Negro. They are better friends to my race, for telling us what they are, and what they mean, thereby giving us a chance to stir for ourselves, than all the hypocrites put together with their false gods and religions, notwithstanding. Religions that they preach and will not practice; a God they talk about, whom they abuse every day–away with the farce, hypocrisy and lie. It smells, it stinks to high heaven. I regard the Klan, the Anglo-Saxon Clubs and White America Societies, as far as the Negro is concerned, as better friends of the race than all other groups of hypocritical whites put together. I like honesty and fair play. You may call me a Klansman if you will, but, potentially, every whiteman is a Klansman, as far as the Negro in competition with whites socially, economically and politically is concerned, and there is no use lying about it.
__________________
“If the enemy is not doing anything against you, you are not doing anything”
-Ahmed Sékou Touré

The Sphinx and its Astrological Significance…

•February 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The Sphinx was not built with quarried blocks like the pyramids and temples it guards, but carved out of the living bedrock. Its makers gave it a woman’s head and the body of a lion. It is 66 feet high and an impressive 240 feet long. It has the most extraordinary expression, like a hundred Mona Lisas all rolled into one. And its eyes gaze forever at the distant horizon due east, at the Equinox Point, at something not of this world but beyond it…in the sky.

The ancient Egyptians constantly referred to a remote “Golden Age” they called Zep Tepi, the “First Time” of Osiris, which they believed had long predated the Pyramid Age. Osiris was Orion, and the Great Pyramid had a shaft directed to Orion at the meridian. This astro-architectural language seemed to be spelling out, “Here is Osiris, in the sky when these pyramids were built…yet know too, that his origins are rooted in the “First Time”…but the “First Time” of what? How could the stars of Orion have a “First Time”?

Well they can…and they do. Provided, of course, that you can read through the allegorical “language” of the ancients via the symbolic architecture and the related pyramid texts. Allegory, to put it in another way, is the “Q-Basics” of the master astronomers who designed the Gizeh complex. When the stars of Orion are observed on the meridian in the precise manner that the ancient Egyptian astronomers did over many centuries, they could not help noticing that these stars crossed the south meridian at different altitudes at different epochs. This, of course, is due to the phenomenon of the Precession of the Equinoxes. In short, the stars of Orion can be said to have a starting point or “beginning” at the nadir of their precessional cycle. Simple calculations show that this occurred in 10,500 BC…

Could the ancient astronomers of the Pyramid Age have used their very clever “silent language” combined with the precession to freeze the “First Time” of Osiris – somewhat as the gifted architects of gothic cathedrals froze in allegorical stonework the “time of Christ?”

In 1993 Graham Hancock investigated this issue. He was quick to realize the important implications this approach could have on the Sphinx problem. He had a hunch that the curious harking back to the epoch of 10,500 BC by the pyramid builders was an invitation by them to consider the actual age of the Sphinx. If this hypothesis was correct, then the Sphinx must be an “original” time-marker of that remote epoch, using a celestial tag valid for 10,500 BC. But which tag? What could the Sphinx be representing that was in the sky? Could this have something to do with the due east direction of its gaze toward the horizon?

In his Fingerprints of the Gods, Hancock pointed out that the “First Time” date of 10,500 BC also denoted the beginning (or “First Time”) of the Age of Leo. This was when the constellation Leo would have risen heliacally (at dawn before the Sun) on the day of the Vernal Equinox (March 20). This event brought the constellation to rest due east, thus in perfect alignment with the Sphinx. In other words, the Sphinx was made to look at her own image in the horizon – and consequently at her own “time.”

Hancock pointed out that 10,500 BC was no random date. It precisely denoted another beginning…that of Orion-Osiris defined on the ground with the pattern and alignments of the nearby Pyramids. Could it be possible that some blueprint was put into motion in 10,500 BC with the making of the Sphinx, then to be completed much later by the builders of the Pyramids?

As 10,500 BC was the beginning of the Age of Leo, and the zodiac signs move backward in the “Precession of the Equinoxes,” the building of the Sphinx denoted the time when the precession was changing, i.e., going from the Age of Virgo to the Age of Leo (an astrological age=2160 years). This is why the body of the Sphinx is that of a lion (Leo the Lion) and the head is that of a female (Virgo the Virgin). Thus we have the ancient Egyptians of Africa acknowledging the Precession of the Equinoxes by building the Sphinx, one of the true wonders of the world, in honor of their civilization going from the Age of Virgo to the Age of Leo in 10,500 BC…certainly their “First Time.”