Category: Struggle for African American equality
A year after George Floyd’s death, pent-up rage remains as Louisiana faces its own policing issues

A year after George Floyd’s death, pent-up rage remains as Louisiana faces its own policing issues

It began with a few dozen protesters shouting into traffic on North Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans, four days after George Floyd was killed last May under a police officer’s knee in Minnesota.

Hours later, a wave of rage over Floyd’s death and the policing of Black people in America began spilling across the state.

Thousands of protesters poured into the streets in Lafayette and hundreds more in Lake Charles, Shreveport and the state Capitol in Baton Rouge. Smaller groups took to the courthouse in Houma, the civic center in Monroe, a gritty corner in the West End of New Iberia.

Protesters gather around a Henry Lipkis mural in Jackson Square depicting the slain George Floyd.

In New Orleans the protests ran for weeks into the summer, including a clash on the Crescent City Connection in which police lobbed tear gas and fired projectiles.

The cry that echoed loudest at those protests was Floyd’s: “I can’t breathe.”

The pent-up outrage that was unleashed over the Floyd killing one year ago remains, fueled most recently by Louisiana’s own horrific contribution: police body cam footage unearthed by the Associated Press last week showing Black motorist Ronald Greene dying in a brutal, long-hidden 2019 encounter with White Louisiana State Police troopers.

How much Floyd’s death, or that of Greene, has altered attitudes in Louisiana over police accountability is uncertain — though there are indications of a shift.

Lawmakers this week are debating a host of policing reforms, including tight limits on chokeholds and no-knock warrants. Advocates also are pushing for legislation to end the “qualified immunity” that shields misbehaving police officers from state lawsuits seeking damages.

This undated handout photo provided by Christopher Harris shows George Floyd. (Christopher Harris via AP)

The bills came out of a task force the Legislature set up a month after Floyd’s killing, as a debate over the use of excessive force by law enforcement roiled nationally.

“This is really about being who we say we are as a country,” said Judy Reese Morse, president and CEO of the Urban League of Louisiana. “Quite honestly, the proof is in the pudding, and the pudding just doesn’t taste good right now.”

A survey released in April by LSU’s Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs found a wide gap between how Black and White respondents viewed racial discrimination in various contexts. But on one point the majority agreed: Black people are treated less fairly by police.

Ted Quant, a longtime civil rights activist in New Orleans, said the video of Floyd’s final moments provided evidence that couldn’t be explained away.

“People witnessed George Floyd being murdered. They could see it. And it couldn’t be covered up, it couldn’t be lied about,” Quant said. “I think it was an education for the people of America.”

The nonprofit E Pluribus Unum, founded by former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, released its own survey this week. It found similar divisions across the Southern states.

While a large majority of Black respondents said Floyd’s killing and others prove there is a systemic problem, “Whites have a tendency to want to say it’s a few bad apples,” Landrieu said of the survey results.

Still, Landrieu pointed to a broader agreement for the notion that Floyd was wrongfully killed and that more reforms need to happen, as well as support for getting rid of total civil immunity for offending police officers.

“One of the things the public is demanding now, across racial and party lines, is transparency — before you can get to accountability,” Landrieu said. “People do not think we have done enough. Everyone wants the police to treat people with great respect and great dignity. That’s a pretty high line of common ground.”

The family of African American George Floyd appealed on Tuesday for sweeping police reform on the anniversary of his murder by a white officer as they met President Joe Biden at the White House.

George Floyd’s family urges police reform on anniversary of murder
Updated 14:54, 26-May-2021

Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, talks to reporters alongside other family members and lawyers after meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House, May 25, 2021. /CFP

The family of African American George Floyd appealed on Tuesday for sweeping police reform on the anniversary of his murder by a white officer as they met President Joe Biden at the White House.

The president and Vice President Kamala Harris hosted several of Floyd’s relatives in the Oval Office after the family spoke to top lawmakers hoping for progress on police reform.

“If you can make federal laws to protect the bird, the bald eagle, you can make federal laws to protect people of color,” said Philonise Floyd, George’s younger brother, after a private meeting in the Oval Office.

Floyd’s mother, siblings and his daughter Gianna, along with family lawyers, had earlier gathered at the U.S. Capitol with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic members of Congress.

A mural reading “I Can’t Breathe” at George Floyd Square in Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 25, 2021. /CFP

“We have to act. We face an inflection point,” said Biden in a statement issued by the White House after meeting the family nearly a year after their first encounter ahead of Floyd’s funeral.

Biden said he was “hopeful” that a deal could be struck on the police reforms after the Memorial Day holiday this weekend, though the president reportedly had set Tuesday as a deadline for passing police reform legislation.

Floyd, 46, who died in handcuffs with his neck pinned to a Minneapolis street under the knee of Derek Chauvin – a white policeman, has become the face of a national reckoning with racial injustice and police brutality in the U.S.

Chauvin, 45, faces up to 40 years in prison when he is sentenced on June 25. The three other officers at the scene have pleaded not guilty to aiding and abetting Chauvin, and will go on trial next year.

Local leaders and politicians, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, seventh from left, kneel for more than nine minutes to remember the murder of George Floyd in New York, May 25, 2021. /CFP

How the U.S. remembered Floyd

In Minneapolis, a foundation created in Floyd’s memory by some in his family organized an afternoon of music and food in a park near the downtown courtroom where Chauvin was convicted last month of murdering Floyd.

Later on Tuesday, mourners gathered for a candlelight vigil at the stretch of road where Floyd passed away.

By the afternoon, small crowds were gathering at the intersection for a festive, sunny afternoon of music and children’s activities. A man set out paint ready to create a fresh mural in the square, which has been closed to most vehicle traffic for a year and is filled with flowers and art commemorating Floyd and other Black victims of police violence.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey were due to join activists in a city park for a silence of nine minutes and 29 seconds – the time that Chauvin knelt on Floyd, in memory of Floyd’s murder.

Demonstrations were planned in New York City and Mayor Bill de Blasio joined activists in kneeling in silence for nine minutes and 29 seconds. Earlier on Tuesday, Shaun Donovan, a Democratic candidate for mayor, was among a group of five protesters arrested for blocking traffic near a major tunnel into Manhattan.

A bullet casing is seen after shots were fired in George Floyd Square on the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, May 25, 2021. /CFP

Events at George Floyd Square were briefly interrupted by gunfire on Tuesday. One person was reported injured as at least 20 rounds were fired. Police said the incident remains under investigation, and it is unclear if the shooting is connected to events in the area commemorating the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s death.

Legislation has been pursued in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia to increase the accountability or oversight of police, and 24 states have enacted new laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The laws have included the mandating of body-worn cameras for officers, banning neck restraints or making it easier for the public to see police officers’ disciplinary records.

Read more:

U.S. House approves police reform bill named after George Floyd

(With input from agencies)

Black US doctor dies of Covid alleging racist hospital care
worker | December 24, 2020 | 7:59 pm | COVID-19, struggle against racism, Struggle for African American equality | Comments closed

 Black US doctor dies of Covid alleging racist hospital care

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image captionDr Susan Moore passed away from Covid complications on Sunday

A black physician in Indianapolis has died with Covid-19 weeks after she accused a doctor of denying her proper medical care because of her race.

In a video from her bed at Indiana University Hospital North, Susan Moore said she had to “beg” for treatment.

Offering its condolences, the hospital said it took accusations of discrimination very seriously but could not comment on specific patients.

Black people are at greater risk from Covid than white people, studies show.

Dr Moore, 52, passed away at another local hospital on Sunday.

In her 4 December post on Facebook, she described how her pain had been downplayed by the doctor, whom she said was white, though she had been crying and having difficulty breathing.

“He did not even listen to my lungs, he didn’t touch me in any way. He performed no physical exam. I told him you cannot tell me how I feel,” she wrote.

A statement from the hospital said “as an organisation committed to equity and reducing racial disparities in healthcare, we take accusations of discrimination very seriously and investigate every allegation”.

“We stand by the commitment and expertise of our caregivers and the quality of care delivered to our patients every day,” it added.

Dr Moore is survived by her 19-year-old son, Henry, and her parents, who suffer from dementia, according to a GoFundMe page set up to help cover the family’s expenses. The page has already raised more than $102,000 (£75,000).

‘This is how black people get killed’

Dr Moore tested positive for Covid-19 on 29 November and was admitted with a high fever while she coughed up blood and struggled to breathe. But even as a physician herself, she said she had struggled with getting care.

Dr Moore said she had had to plead for antiviral Remdesivir doses and request a scan of her chest. The doctor at one point reportedly told her she did not qualify for the drug and that she should go home.

“He made me feel like I was a drug addict,” Dr Moore said in a Facebook video. “And he knew I was a physician. I don’t take narcotics. I was hurting.”

Dr Moore wrote she had requested a medical advocate and had asked to be transferred elsewhere. She was eventually discharged but had to return hours later after experiencing a drop in blood pressure and fever.

“This is how black people get killed,” Dr Moore said. “When you send them home and they don’t know how to fight for themselves.”

Her post later included an update saying the hospital’s chief medical officer had said staff would receive diversity training. But a promise for an apology from the doctor she accused of discrimination fell through.

“I put forward and I maintain, if I was white, I wouldn’t have to go through that,” she said.

Dr Moore’s experience and death has sparked an outcry over US healthcare disparities faced by black Americans.

The virus has disproportionately affected black and other minority communities in the US. Black Americans are three times more likely to die from the virus than white Americans.

An analysis by the Brookings Institution reported “in every age category, black people are dying from Covid at roughly the same rate as white people more than a decade older”.

A 2015 paper published in the American Journal of Public Health found “most health care providers appear to have implicit bias in terms of positive attitudes toward Whites and negative attitudes toward people of colour”.

Capitalism Means I Can’t Breathe

The Incomplete List of US Companies & Universities That Benefited From Black Slavery – Abagond
worker | April 30, 2018 | 7:17 pm | African American history, Struggle for African American equality | Comments closed

The Incomplete List of US Companies & Universities That Benefited From Black Slavery



University Hall in Brown University. Providence, Rhode Island, December 27th 2003.

Americans tend to think that only the South or only slave traders and slave owners benefited from slavery.

But it was not that simple. Slaves and land were the main forms of wealth in the US before 1860. Therefore slaves figured in insurance policies and bank loans. Therefore universities turned to slave owners and slave traders to raise money. Industry in the North and in Britain made money processing slave-grown tobacco, cotton and sugar from the South and the Caribbean. Railway companies used slave labour. The most profitable activity on Wall Street was – the slave trade.

For example:


AIG – bought American General Financial which owns US Life Insurance Company. US Life used to insure the lives of slaves.


Aetna – insured the lives of slaves in the 1850s.


Bank of America – grew in part out of the Bank of Metropolis, which accepted slaves as collateral.


Brooks Brothers – got its start making clothes for slaves!


Brown Brothers Harriman – a Wall Street bank that owned hundreds of slaves and lent millions to Southern planters, merchants and cotton traders.


Brown University – named for the Brown brothers who gave money to the university. Two were slave traders, another ran a factory that used slave-grown cotton. University Hall was built in part by slave labour.


CSX – rented slaves to build rail lines.


Fleet Boston – grew out of Providence Bank, founded by one of the Brown brothers (see Brown University above), a slave trader who owned slave ships. The bank made money from the slave trade. Providence, Rhode Island was the home port for many slave ships.


Harvard Law School – endowed with money from Isaac Royall, an Antiguan slave owner and sugar grower.


JP Morgan Chase – made a fortune from the slave trade. Predecessor banks (Citizens Bank, Canal Bank in Louisiana) accepted slaves as collateral, taking possession of 1,250 slaves from owners who defaulted on loans.


New York Life – insured slaves. Of its first 1,000 insurance polices, 339 were policies on slaves.


Norfolk Southern – the Mobile & Girard, now part of Norfolk Southern, rented slaves to work on the railroad. Central of Georgia, also now part of the company, owned slaves.


Princeton – raised money and recruited students from rich, slave-owning families in the South and the Caribbean. Princeton was not alone in hitting up slave owners and traders for money and students. So did:

  • Harvard,
  • Yale,
  • Penn,
  • Columbia,
  • Rutgers,
  • Brown,
  • Dartmouth and the
  • University of Delaware.

By the middle 1700s, most Princeton students were the sons of slave owners. Many of Columbia’s students were sons of slave traders.


Tiffany’s – founded with profits from a cotton mill in Connecticut that processed slave-grown cotton.


USA Today – its parent company, Gannett, had links to slavery.


Wells Fargo – Georgia Railroad & Banking Company and the Bank of Charleston owned or accepted slaves as collateral. They later became part of Wells Fargo by way of Wachovia. (In the 2000s Wells Fargo targeted blacks for predatory lending.)


Yale University – money from slave trading went to its first endowed scholarships, professorship and library.

Universities not only sought and accepted money from slave owners and traders, they helped to create scientific racism.

Sources: Craig Steven Wilder, “Ebony & Ivy” (2013), Atlanta Black Star (2013), Nell Irvin Painter, “Creating Black Americans” (2006), The Harvard Crimson (2006), New York Times (2001).

worker | April 22, 2018 | 9:11 pm | African American history, Analysis, Struggle for African American equality | Comments closed

Day the dream died: 50 years on from MLK assassination (VIDEOS)

Day the dream died: 50 years on from MLK assassination (VIDEOS)

Wednesday marks 50 years since Dr Martin Luther King Jr was gunned down on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

A passionate orator, King’s distinctive voice captivated audiences in the United States and around the world. As one of the most visible leaders of the civil rights movement, he strove to end racial segregation and used the tactics of non-violence and civil disobedience to further the cause of workers’ rights.

He was in Memphis supporting striking sanitation workers the day he was murdered, April 4, 1968. The previous night he’d given a rousing speech to the workers in which he proclaimed, somewhat prophetically: “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now…. I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know the night that we as a people will get to the promised land.”

In as much as King’s rousing speeches inspired hope in his followers, they also instilled fear and suspicion in his enemies. Then-FBI Director J Edgar Hoover infamously ordered agents to wiretap King’s home and office phones. He also asked for listening devices to be planted in his hotel rooms as he crossed the country.

King was subject of an investigation by the FBI’s Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO) at the time of his death. He was monitored by both the CIA and NSA. This would later be used to cast doubt on the case against the shooter James Earl Ray and to speculate about possible collusion between elements of the US government and the assassin.

Ray initially confessed to murdering King but recanted his testimony shortly after being handed a 99-year prison sentence. Ray’s lawyer had convinced him to enter a guilty plea in order to avoid a trial that would likely have resulted in him being given the death sentence. A 1976 Senate investigation concluded that Ray probably had accomplices but said there was “no convincing evidence of government complicity in King’s assassination.”

Here, takes a brief look at the civil rights leader’s most iconic moments.

1963 I have a dream

King’s most famous speech took place in 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. In front of 250,000 people assembled on the Washington mall, King described his hopeful and inclusive vision for the country. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” he said.

“I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted and, every hill and mountain shall be made low. The rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight. And the glory of the lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”

The following year, King, aged 35, became the youngest man to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and announced that the $50,000 prize money would be used to advance the fight for civil rights in America. That same year, King’s relentless pursuit of equality was bearing fruit. With civil rights atop the American political agenda, the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed.

In 1965, King was in Alabama to take part in the infamous series of marches from Selma to Montgomery in support of voting rights. Despite a vicious reaction by Alabama authorities, particularly during the violent events after the demonstrators crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, activists were undeterred. Later that year, the Voting Rights Act was passed.

Assassination and manhunt

Three years later, King, then 39, lay dying after being shot outside his room at the Lorraine Motel, leaving his wife Coretta and four children to carry on his legacy. His death sparked riots in more than 100 US cities, resulting in the deaths of 40 people. Authorities launched a manhunt after identifying James Earl Ray, a 40-year-old escaped convict, as the assassin.

Ray was eventually caught two months later travelling on a false Canadian passport in London. Upon recanting his confession, Ray claimed to have been framed by a gun-smuggler he knew only as ‘Raoul.’

His lawyer William Pepper campaigned to reopen his client’s case, a push that culminated in a televised interview between Ray and Dr King’s son, Dexter Scott King, in 1997. During the encounter, Dexter supported Ray’s claim that he was innocent. Despite this, the case was not reopened and Ray died in prison the following year.

Conspiracy theories continued to gain traction even after the assassin’s death. A Justice Department investigation conducted on behalf of the King family between 1998 and 2000 failed to turn up sufficient evidence to warrant a further investigation.

It’s 50 years since Dr Martin Luther King died at the hand of a gunman. However, his indomitable spirit lives on, notably in his nine-year-old granddaughter Yolanda Renee King, who recently took to a podium to call for an end to gun-violence in the wake of the Parkland High School tragedy.

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By David Fleming

Video Sergio Angulo