Protests sparked in Detroit over dumping of black history books
July 10, 2013
A Detroit area school district has erupted in protest over the discarding of a historic book collection that is said to contain more than 10,000 black history volumes, included films, videos, and other artifacts. The blame, according to residents of Highland Park, a small city surrounded on nearly all sides by Detroit, belongs to Emergency Manager Donald Weatherspoon, who claims the collection was thrown out by mistake but that the district cannot afford to preserve it. Yesterday, angry residents held a public protest, blocking traffic, wielding megaphones, and displaying picket signs with slogans like “21st Century Hitler Burning Books” and “Dump The EM, Not The Books”—referring to the state-appointed emergency manager.
Among the picketers was Deblon Jackson, a Detroit-area musician.
"The emergency manager had been in the district for over a year and then they decided to throw away all the black artifacts—books that were no longer in print or published, all kinds of tapes and catalogues," Jackson explained to The Atlantic Wire. “We want to preserve those artifacts so our children have something to look back on. We’re just mad about it and we’re not going to stand for it, just throwing away our history like that."
The outcry began when a small portion of the volumes in question was discovered in a dumpster three weeks ago by Paul Lee, a local historian who helped assemble the collection. According to USA Today, the collection was largely the result of civil rights-era demands to incorporate African-American studies into school curriculums—especially in communities like Highland Park, whose population is about 93% African-American. Jackson hopes to place the books in a community center, but Weatherspoon has instead expressed interest in donating those with historical value to a library or museum. (Of course, the majority of the collection has already been lost to the dumpster.)
Marcia Cotton, a member of the Highland Park Renaissance Academy Board of Directors and lifelong resident, said she attended a meeting in which Weatherspoon took responsibility and claimed the books were discarded by mistake. Her fellow board member, Vice President Andre Davis, soon resigned over the controversy. But Cotton isn’t so sure the books are the most pressing issue in the community.
"I would very much like to get above the fray of the controversy and rather discuss solutions to the looming debt crisis facing the school district, the decline in school enrollment and city population, and how best we can work with our city officials and provide a greater quality of life for our residents and quality education in a safe environment for our children," Cotton said in an email. “We can’t solve 21st century problems with 20th century tactics."
Jackson, meanwhile, hopes to continue protesting.
"We have a protest scheduled every day this week until we get what we want," she said. “They don’t want the children to read, in my opinion. How do you have a library with no books? How do you mistakenly throw books out?"
"This is a modern-day Hitler," she added.
Turkish riot police storm Gezi Park in Istanbul
1. People run as riot police fires a water cannon on Gezi Park protesters at Taksim Square in Istanbul June 15, 2013. (Osman Orsal/Reuters)
2. Riot police fires a water cannon on Gezi Park protesters at Taksim Square in Istanbul June 15, 2013. (Osman Orsal/Reuters)
3. People run as riot police fires a water cannon on Gezi Park protesters at Taksim Square in Istanbul June 15, 2013. (Murad Sezer/Reuters)
4. Protesters try to resist the advance of riot police in Gezi Park in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, June 15, 2013. (Vadim Ghirda/AP)
5. A riot policeman orders protesters to evacuate Gezi Park near Istanbul’s Taksim Square June 15, 2013. (Yannis Behrakis/Reuters)
6. A protester reacts as police throw tear gas among tents during an operation to evacuate the Gezi Park of Taksim Square in Istanbul, Saturday, June 15, 2013. (Thanassis Stavrakis/AP)
7. A child suffering from tear gas inhalation is carried by a protester at the basement of a hotel where protesters took shelter next to Gezi park near Istanbul’s Taksim Square June 15, 2013. (Yannis Behrakis/Reuters)
8. Protesters are attacked by police water cannon next to Gezi Park near Istanbul’s Taksim square June 15, 2013. (Yannis Behrakis/Reuters)
9. An injured protester is helped in the basement of a hotel where protesters took shelter next to Gezi park near Istanbul’s Taksim square June 15, 2013. (Yannis Behrakis/Reuters)
10. Protesters bring stones to make a barricade after a police operation that evacuated the Gezi Park in Istanbul, Saturday, June 15, 2013. (Thanassis Stavrakis/AP)
The government will use any and all information at its disposal to find journalist sources, as shown in The Washington Post’s report this morning on a Department of Justice investigation into Fox News chief correspondent James Rosen, who may face criminal charges for reporting government secrets.
"Under US law, it is not illegal to publish classified information. That fact, along with the First Amendment’s guarantee of press freedoms, is what has prevented the US government from ever prosecuting journalists for reporting on what the US government does in secret. This newfound theory of the Obama DOJ - that a journalist can be guilty of crimes for "soliciting" the disclosure of classified information - is a means for circumventing those safeguards and criminalizing the act of investigative journalism itself."
PBS has long been a political target of conservatives, who have accused it of having a liberal bias. When the billionaire industrialist David Koch joined the boards of WGBH and WNET, it seemed to mark an ideological inroad, enabling him to exert influence over a network with a prominent news operation. After PBS ran Alex Gibney’s documentary “Park Avenue: Money, Power and The American Dream,” which focussed on Koch and wealth inequality in America, he cancelled his plan to make a large donation to WNET.
“Today, students, parents, teachers and community members gathered on 61st and Cottage Grove to protest school closings which will have a direct impact on their safety. They called for resources to be given to them, not taken away. Towards the end of the protest, several students and allies blocked traffic in a symbolic die-in and were arrested..” — Sarah-Ji Fotografa
Sister Megan said her only regret was waiting so long to stage her protest. “It is manufacturing that which can only cause death,” she said.
In a statement to the court, Boertje-Obed said: “Nuclear weapons do not provide security. Our actions were providing real security and exposing false security.”
The three activists admitted cutting the fence to get into the site, walking around, spray-painting words, stringing out crime scene tape and chipping a wall with hammers. They spent two hours inside.
They also sprayed the exterior of the complex with baby bottles containing human blood.
When a guard approached, they offered him food and started singing.
More than 500 dockworkers at the Port of Hong Kong ended their 40-day strike yesterday with a settlement that included a 9.8 percent wage increase. The strike, closely followed by mainland China labor activists and sympathizers, is a much-needed sign that resistance to global capital remains not only relevant but also possible.
In March and April, Young Americans for Liberty (my job) organized a national activism project called Generation of War. Students on nearly 100 campuses participated all around the country to protest the endless wars which have been going on for half of our lives, and activism stories are still rolling in to the YAL blog.
These are a few of my favorite photos from a handful of different YAL chapters. I’m so proud to be part of this!
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