The Long-Lasting Legacy of the Great Migration

When millions of African-Americans fled the South in search of a better life, they remade the nation in ways that are still being felt

By Isabel Wilkerson  SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE 

By (1963), millions of African-Americans had already testified with their bodies to the repression they had endured in the Jim Crow South by defecting to the North and West in what came to be known as the Great Migration. They were fleeing a world where they were restricted to the most menial of jobs, underpaid if paid at all, and frequently barred from voting. Between 1880 and 1950, an African-American was lynched more than once a week for some perceived breach of the racial hierarchy.

Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/long-lasting-legacy-great-migration-180960118/#IlFcMhg0kzBh4iEJ.99

Elizabeth Keckly

Elizabeth Keckly, Dressmaker and Confidante to Mary Todd Lincoln

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Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley ( February 1818 – May 1907) was a former slave who became a successful seamstress, civil rights activist, and author in Washington, DC. She was best known as the personal modiste and confidante of Mary Todd Lincoln, the First Lady. Keckley had moved to Washington in 1860 after buying her freedom and that of her son in St. Louis. She created an independent business in the capital based on clients who were the wives of the government elite. Among them were Varina Davis, wife of Jefferson Davis; and Mary Anna Custis Lee, wife of Robert E. Lee.   After the Civil War, Keckley wrote and published an autobiography, Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House(1868). It was both a slave narrative and a portrait of the First Family, especially Mary Todd Lincoln, and is considered controversial for breaking privacy about them. It was also her claim as a businesswoman to be part of the new mixed-race, middle-class that was visible among the leadership of the black community. Read more HERE.

Gladys West

When You Are Lost, Thank Gladys West for Your GPS

In a Jan. 19, 2018 photo, Gladys West and her husband Ira West stand in their home in King George, Va. West was part of the team that developed the Global Positioning System in the 1950s and 1960s. (Mike Morones/The Free Lance-Star via AP)

byCathy Dyson, The (Fredericksburg, Va.) Free Lance-Star /AP via militarytimes.com

Gladys West was putting together a short bio about herself for a sorority function that recognized senior members of the group.  She noted her 42-year career at the Navy base at Dahlgren and devoted one short-and-sweet line to the fact she was part of the team that developed the Global Positioning System in the 1950s and 1960s. Read more HERE.

Mabel Grammer, Whose Brown Baby Plan Found Homes for Hundreds

By Alexis Clark

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They were called “brown babies,” or “mischlingskinder,” a derogatory German term for mixed-race children. And sometimes they were just referred to as mutts.  Born during the occupation years in Germany after World War II, the offspring of German women and African-American soldiers, their fathers were usually transferred elsewhere and their mothers risked social repercussions by keeping them, so the babies were placed in orphanages. But when Mabel Grammer, an African-American journalist, became aware of the orphaned children, she stepped in.  Read more about this extraordinary woman HERE and HERE.  The documentary, Brown Babies: The Mischlingskinder Story is available for use to libraries, schools and museums. For more information about the film, visit http://brownbabiesfilm.com/.

Faith Church and Other Leaders Take Civil Rights History Trip

News Coverage and Reflections of the Alabama trip:

In early January, a delegation of 37 Christians and Jews from Hartford traveled together to Alabama to retrace the steps of civil rights leaders.
The trip, which has grown from members of Faith Congregational Church and its sister congregation, Immanuel Congregational Church, was co-sponsored by and included travelers from the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut (JFACT) and the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford’s Jewish Community Relations Council. The Alabama trip included visits to new civil rights museums  (The Legacy Museum:  From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which commemorates 4,000 lynching victims, opened to the public on April 26, 2018, in Montgomery, Alabama) as well as the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma (the sight of Bloody Sunday), the 16th Street Baptist Church and Kelly Ingram Park  in Birmingham.  United Church of Christ representatives included Connecticut Conference Minister the Rev. Kent Siladi, Immanuel Congregational Church Senior Pastor the Rev. Kari Nicewander, Immanuel Associate Pastor The Rev. Isaac Lawson and Faith Congregational Church Pastor Stephen Camp.  

In Honor of Martin Luther King Day, CT Jewish Ledger, Jan. 15, 2019

Selma Tourism Impacted by Government ShutdownAlabama News Network, Jan. 4, 2019

Local Interfaith Leaders to Retrace Civil Rights History, We-Ha.com, Dec. 27, 2018

Reflections

Seeing Is Believing– Stephen Camp

I Felt Fear. But We Shall Overcome – Isaac Lawson

To Tell the Truth: Reflections on Alabama – Kari Nicewander

You Can’t Change What You Don’t Acknowledge– Kent Siladi

America’s Other Family Separation Crisis

Sending a mother to prison can have a devastating effect on her children. Why, then, do we lock so many women up?

By Sarah Stillman  writing in Newyorker.com

Photo by Zoraida Lopez

She writes, “America imprisons women in astonishing numbers. The population of women in state prisons has increased by more than eight hundred percent in the past four decades. The number of women in local jails is fourteen times higher than it was in the nineteen-seventies; most of these women haven’t been convicted of a crime but are too poor to post bail while awaiting trial. The majority have been charged with low-level, nonviolent offenses, such as drug possession, shoplifting, and parole violations. The result is that more than a quarter of a million children in the U.S. have a mother in jail. One in nine black children has a parent who is, or has been, incarcerated.”  Read the entire article HERE.

Sexual Abused Rabbi Speaks Out

By Gillian Friedman   |  February 5, 2019 at 4:08 pm MST

A Utah Orthodox rabbi said his childhood nanny sexually abused him for 10 years. Here’s why he decided to tell his story for the first time

SALT LAKE CITY — From behind the witness stand, Utah Rabbi Avrohom (“Avremi”) Zippel gazes out into the sea of faces and prepares to speak.

It’s a dreary Tuesday morning, and normally, public speaking doesn’t intimidate the 27-year-old. Since he was a child — the precocious and prized eldest son of a prominent rabbi — he has reveled in the attention of a crowd. But today, sitting in a courtroom in downtown Salt Lake City, the confidence that usually comes so easily evades him.  He clears his throat, and in a voice barely above a whisper, begins to share a story that has haunted him for decades. 

Read more HERE.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Rabbi Avremi Zippel poses for photographs outside the Scott M. Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City on Monday, Feb. 4, 2019.

Opioids!

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Opioid Overdoses Kill More Americans Than Car Crashes 

According to the Emergency Email and Wireless Network, U.S life expectancy has been dropping year-on-year since 2015. However, it’s not due to the prevalence of a number of illnesses. It isn’t even because of the amount of car deaths on American roads. Rather, it’s down to the increasing number of opioid deaths across the country.  In some of the most recent reports, around 63,000 Americans died of an overdose in 2016; of that, almost two-thirds were the direct result of an opioid overdose. That adds up to roughly 42,249. Read more HERE.

CDC Reveals Deadliest Drug in the US 

According to the latest numbers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, Fentanyl is now the most commonly used drug that is involved in drug overdoses. The new report says that the rate of drug overdoses involving the synthetic opioid increased by about 113% each year from 2013 through 2016. For more information, click HERE.

Obesity-Related Cancers on Rise in Young Adults

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According to the Emergency Email and Wireless Network, United States millennials ages 24 to 49 who are overweight are discovering that they are forming more cancers than in previous years, according to a recent study done by the Center for Disease Control. Obese individuals experience a wide variety of types of cancers which may be related to the amount they weigh. Some of these types of cancer include those such as: 
Colorectal
Uterine
Kidney
Gallbladder
Pancreatic
Multiple myelomas

Read more HERE.

Black Migrations

Slaves
courtesy of: http://www.cambridgeblog.org/2016/02/black-history-month-slavery-and-forced-migration-in-the-deep-south/

The theme for Black History Month in 2019 is “Black Migrations” tracking the continuous movement of blacks from the American South to the industrialized North and beyond.

Beginning in the early 20th century, a growing number of black industrial leaders and black entrepreneurs emerged as families relocated from farms to cities, and from the South to the more industrialized Northeast and Midwest.

Read more here