E.M. Monroe

"I knew, not from memory, but from hope, that there were other models by which to live." Weems

Models Monday: The Kiss

In Memoriam

It seems that folk no longer read comedian and activist Dick Gregory’s 1964 autobiography Nigger—actually, I don’t remember the Malcolm X t-shirt wearing, Public Enemy listening generation of mine discussing the work either. The 1990s political climate may have informed my decision to seek out this book. The back cover told a profoundly moving story that fueled my curiosity about the many everyday expressions of radicalism, thoughtfulness, historical rootedness, and political acumen that I observed from the folk in my own life. Gregory writes:

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I understand there are a good many Southerners in the room tonight. I know the South very well. I spent 20 years there one night…

Last time I was down South I walked into this restaurant, and this white waitress came up to me and said: ‘We don’t serve colored people here.’

I said: ‘That’s all right, I don’t eat colored people. Bring me a whole fried chicken.’

About that time these three cousins come in, you know the ones I mean, Klu, Kluck, and Klan, and they say: ‘Boy, we’re givin’ you fair warnin.’ Anything you do to that chicken, we’re gonna do to you.’ About then the waitress brought me my chicken. ‘Remember, boy, anything you do to that chicken, we’re gonna do to you.’ So I put down my knife and fork, and I picked up that chicken, and I kissed it.”

I wonder how those “cousins” looked when they left that restaurant; ready for war, but not for love.

Creativity emerges from the careful cultivation of one’s interior life. In Gregory’s instance, we see how in cultivating a rich interior life and reading the world you live in equips you with the tools to build peace in a world bent on destruction.



85-year-old Memphis Sanitation Worker Can Perhaps Retire

Mr. Nickleberry, left, with his colleague Sean Hayes, 45, on a break at McDonald’s. “It’d be much better in the city of Memphis if all people got together and stood up for rights,” he said. ANDREA MORALES FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES

After working 63 years for the city of Memphis, Elmore Nickleberry, 85, may finally reap the benefits of marching with Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. The city intends to award Mr. Nickleberry, along with 13 other survivors of the 1968 sanitation strike, a $50K tax-free grant. I’m not sure how $50,000 is supposed to be enough money for a man to retire on, but The New York Times is reporting this as if it were a success story. Somehow, intending to give an 85-year-old man who has worked the same job for 63 years less than some entry level sales representative passes for justice today.

Even when the nation could be shamed back in ’68, the sanitation workers only received a $.10 per hour raise; post-shame, Mayor Jim Strickland thinks that this $50,000 grant represents “doing the right thing.” The problem that shamelessness poses for freedom struggle needs greater attention than it’s getting. During the nation’s second Reconstruction, the media could be used to shame the United States into change. But what happens when the nation is shameless? Then what?

For more on this mess from Memphis, see:

Wendi C. Thomas

Both Killed by Cops, The Families Awarded Almost the Same Amount of Money by Lilly Workneh





Track Changing Thoughts on J.D. Vance of the NYT


Click here for the full PDF barack-obama-and-me-and-me

Ghosts of Slavery’s Christmas [Re-post]

DECEMBER 22, 2016 BY 

Belle Meade Plantation at Christmas (Source: Vacations Made Easy).

James Thomas was well-acquainted with powerful white southerners, intimate even. He was born in 1827 to an enslaved woman and John Catron, a justice of the supreme courts of the United States and Tennessee. During his childhood in Nashville, Thomas worked as an assistant to John Esselman, one of the most successful physicians in the city. Later, he became the personal assistant to Andrew Jackson Polk, a cousin of President James K. Polk and the owner of more than three hundred enslaved people.

Thomas used those connections to his advantage. As a barber, a practice that he began while enslaved and which he continued after gaining legal freedom in 1851, Thomas earned as much as $100 a month from a clientele that included William Giles Harding, the owner of the Belle Meade plantation and one of the wealthiest men in Nashville. It was from Harding and similar clients that Thomas gained not only a considerable income but also an understanding of what Christmas meant to them.

To antebellum white southerners, Christmas was a time of merriment—and fear.


Learning from Vienna in the 1930s — Abagond

Liel Leibovitz last week in Tablet Magazine wrote about what he learned from his grandfather Siegfried, who fled Vienna soon after Hitler took over. Here is some of it (edited, bolded and formatted by me for length and clarity): He was spooked by the goosesteps of Hitler’s goons. He convinced two of his sisters […]

via Learning from Vienna in the 1930s — Abagond

ThinkProgress will no longer describe racists as ‘alt-right’ A note from the ThinkProgress editors.

A reporter’s job is to describe the world as it is, with clarity and accuracy. Use of the term “alt-right,” by concealing overt racism, makes that job harder.

With that in mind, ThinkProgress will no longer treat “alt-right” as an accurate descriptor of either a movement or its members. We will only use the name when quoting others. When appending our own description to men like Spencer and groups like NPI, we will use terms we consider more accurate, such as “white nationalist” or “white supremacist.”

Click here for the full article:

An Open Letter To White Liberal Feminists NOVEMBER 19, 2016 BY RHON MANIGAULT-BRYANT [Repost]


Dear White Liberal Feminists,

After Donald J. Trump’s election to the highest and most powerful political office of the United States last week, many of you have approached me, and my black brothers and sisters especially, with tearful eyes and somber faces. In person, in private, in public, and in the digital sphere, you have bemoaned the state of this world and our political landscape. You have lamented the deep-seated divisiveness of this country. You have wept, you have hugged, and you have gingerly asked, “how are you?”

And yet, your actions and inquiries are especially loaded, as much for their selfishness as their disingenuous nature. Your hugs and tears are of the self-soothing kind. Your inquiries seldom derive from a true desire to learn about how I, as an African American woman, really feel. Rather…CLICK HERE FOR MORE:

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