Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Story of 40 Acres and a Mule

William T. Sherman

General William Tecumseh Sherman had a different idea regarding how the war should be prosecuted.  Late in 1864 although the South had suffered extreme wounds on the battlefield the home and hearth of the South had yet to be really touched, and the morale and fighting spirit of the population remained extremely high. 

General Sherman set out to change all that with his “March to the Sea”.  Sherman had just finished torching the city of Atlanta the confederate’s workshop and his troops were fat and happy and ready to do some damage after spending months camped in the city.

Sherman let loose from his normal supply chain with the intent of “foraging liberally” and allowing both his armies hunger and thirst for vengeance to bring the war to the actual people of the South.

Sherman split his 60,000 man force into two units and feinted towards two sides of the state while actually heading for the state Capital of Milledgeville.  The twin forces made the populace howl, removing anything that could have been of military value and food.

He also began to collect a large following of newly freed slaves snapping at the first opportunity to leave the burning plantations and sullen White folks of their bondage.

General William Tecumseh Sherman was no natural friend of Black people.  He counseled them to remain where they were.  Sherman wanted people just given a promise by the Emancipation Proclamation to stay on the plantations and with Masssah.  He had military reasons, his army was moving fast and light and without supply he had no real ability to provide for the newly freed, but that’s just an excuse he could have, there were 1000’s of former slaves assisting his army by building roads and providing the labor for military engineering, but he like many Union officers and his lieutenant General Jefferson Davis were racist.

Ebenezer Creek

Painting By Dave Russel

As the XIV Corps prepared to cross Ebenezer Creek, Davis ordered that the refugees be held back, ostensibly 'for their own safety' because Wheeler's horsemen would contest the advance. 'On the pretense that there was likely to be fighting in front, the negroes were told not to go upon the pontoon bridge until all the troops and wagons were over,' explained Colonel Charles D. Kerr of the 126th Illinois Cavalry, which was at the rear of the XIV Corps.
 'A guard was detailed to enforce the order, ' Kerr recalled. 'But, patient and docile as the negroes always were, the guard was really unnecessary.'
 Kerr saw Wheeler's cavalry 'closely pressing' the refugees from the rear. Unarmed and helpless, the former slaves 'raised their hands and implored from the corps commander the protection they had been promised,' Kerr wrote. '…[but] the prayer was in vain and, with cries of anguish and despair, men, women and children rushed by hundreds into the turbid stream and many were drowned before our eyes.'
 Though what happened once Davis's troops had all crossed remains in dispute, it seems fairly certain that Davis had the pontoon bridge dismantled immediately, leaving the refugees stranded on the creek's far bank. Kerr wrote that as soon as the Federals reached their destination, 'orders were given to the engineers to take up the pontoons and not let a negro cross.'
 How many women, children, and older men were stranded cannot be determined precisely, but 5,000 is a conservative estimate. 'The great number of refugees that followed us…could be counted almost by the tens of thousands,' Captain Hopkins of New Jersey guessed. Major General Oliver O. Howard, commander of the right wing of Sherman's army (which included Davis's corps), recalled seeing 'throngs of escaping slaves' of all types, 'from the baby in arms to the old negro hobbling painfully along the line of march; negroes of all sizes, in all sorts of patched costumes, with carts and broken-down horses and mules to match.' Because the able-bodied refugees were up front working in the pioneer corps, most of those stranded would have been women, children,
and old men.
 What happened next strongly suggests that Davis did not have the refugees' best interest in mind when he delayed their crossing of the creek, to say nothing of his apparently having ordered that the bridge promptly be dismantled. Davis's unabashed support of slavery definitely does not help his case, though Sherman insisted his brigadier bore no 'hostility to the negro.'

When news of the Ebenezer Creek Massacre reached the abolitionist North Secretary of War and strict abolitionist Edwin M. Stanton was not pleased.   He traveled to Savannah Georgia the terminus of what became Sherman’s successful march and there he held a meeting on January 12, 1865 with Sherman, but also with a group of Black Freedmen and religious leadership at Charles Green’s mansion on Macon Street.

Edwin M. Stanton

The Root

Their chosen leader and spokesman was a Baptist minister named Garrison Frazier, aged 67, who had been born in Granville, N.C., and was a slave until 1857, "when he purchased freedom for himself and wife for $1000 in gold and silver," as the New York Daily Tribune reported. Rev. Frazier had been "in the ministry for thirty-five years," and it was he who bore the responsibility of answering the 12 questions that Sherman and Stanton put to the group. The stakes for the future of the Negro people were high.
 And Frazier and his brothers did not disappoint. What did they tell Sherman and Stanton that the Negro most wanted? Land! "The way we can best take care of ourselves," Rev. Frazier began his answer to the crucial third question, "is to have land, and turn it and till it by our own labor … and we can soon maintain ourselves and have something to spare … We want to be placed on land until we are able to buy it and make it our own." And when asked next where the freed slaves "would rather live -- whether scattered among the whites or in colonies by themselves," without missing a beat, Brother Frazier (as the transcript calls him) replied that "I would prefer to live by ourselves, for there is a prejudice against us in the South that will take years to get over … " When polled individually around the table, all but one -- James Lynch, 26, the man who had moved south from Baltimore -- said that they agreed with Frazier. Four days later, Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 15, after President Lincoln approved it.

Special Field Order No. 15 

The order explicitly called for the settlement of black families on confiscated land, encouraged freedmen to join the Union army to help sustain their newly won liberty, and designated a general officer to act as inspector of settlements. Inspector General Rufus Saxton would police the land and work to ensure legal title of the property for the black settlers. In a later order, Sherman also authorized the army to loan mules to the newly settled farmers.
 400,000 acres was set aside by the order in the mostly abandoned rice growing areas along the Atlantic Coast of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina including the Georgia Sea Islands dividing them by 40 acres provided room for 18,000 Black Settlers
The Root

Section two specifies that these new communities, moreover, would be governed entirely by black people themselves: " … on the islands, and in the settlements hereafter to be established, no white person whatever, unless military officers and soldiers detailed for duty, will be permitted to reside; and the sole and exclusive management of affairs will be left to the freed people themselves … By the laws of war, and orders of the President of the United States, the negro [sic] is free and must be dealt with as such." 

 The response from the newly freed populace of Black people in the south was electric.

When the transcript of the meeting was reprinted in the black publication Christian Recorder, an editorial note intoned that "From this it will be seen that the colored people down South are not so dumb as many suppose them to be," reflecting North-South, slave-free black class tensions that continued well into the modern civil rights movement. The effect throughout the South was electric: As Eric Foner explains, "the freedmen hastened to take advantage of the Order." Baptist minister Ulysses L. Houston, one of the group that had met with Sherman, led 1,000 blacks to Skidaway Island, Ga., where they established a self-governing community with Houston as the "black governor." And by June, 

 Where’s my 40 Acres?  Where’s my mule?

Sherman’s Special Field Order No. 15 lasted only as long as Abraham Lincoln did.  It was never national policy it was a military order.  Sherman was asked if the order was supposed to be permanent or a temporary thing, he said temporary, and Andrew Johnson Lincoln’s Democratic successor and Vice President was far more interested in reconstructing White power in the south than providing Black people with rights and land, so the order was revoked the same year it was issued.

Namaste Friends

Saturday, February 16, 2013

African American LAPD Officers Come Out To Echo Dorner’s Claims of Departmental Racism

Christopher Dorner is no longer with us.  He no doubt died a death filled with fear and pain, so those who had hoped for resolution and some sort of vengeance for the crimes he committed should feel satisfied.  There is a mountain of conspiracy theory surrounding how he met his final end, but I’m not interested in any of that, because I read the manifesto and Christopher Dorner got exactly what he wanted.  In my belief system he is somewhere that his name surely got judged, and in my opinion he’s not enjoying the verdict.

We have a nasty habit in Southern California.  We can experience incident after incident of police abuse that would make any 3rd world dictator tip his hat bow and say we’re not worthy.  Federal judge steps in we get a consent decree, a Christopher Commission, a new Police Chief to introduce an alphabet initiative that sounds good on TV and does nothing and the LAPD continues to keep its culture.   

Now that Dorner is gone I’d like to share the stories of other African American LAPD officers who stepped forward.  They wanted him to stop.  They are crime fighters in their heart, but they also wanted to step forward in order to insure the racist tension and pain that caused Dorner to snap into an anti social monster is brought to light.

It’s a Women’s Issue

"Cheryl Dorsey, 54, retired from the Los Angeles Police Department on August 26, 2000, exactly one day after her 20th anniversary with the department. When asked about Christopher Dorner, she says, 'I am not surprised that it happened.  I am surprised it took this long and I’m convinced that it will happen again if the department doesn’t start to treat their employees better,'" said EURweb. "The mother of four says that when she was going through her own Board of Rights (BOR) hearing that involved the same charge as Dorner— giving false and misleading statements to an Internal Affairs investigator — when she seriously contemplated just jumping off the third floor of the Bradbury Building."
 "Married to another LAPD officer at the time, Dorsey says she was a victim of domestic violence and after details of incidents at her home found their way into the department, she was charged with six counts of unnecessarily causing the response of an outside agency for the six calls she made to the sheriff’s department from her home in Altadena.  The charge of giving false and misleading statements was tacked on when questioned by Internal Affairs," said EURweb. "She says that chairman over the BOR at the time was Deputy Chief Martin Pomeroy, a Mormon who was known throughout the department as being racist towards Blacks. Dorsey says that Pomeroy didn’t believe that she’d been the victim of domestic violence and told her as much.  In the end she was suspended for five days instead of being terminated."
 It was this woman’s interview that caused me to write this.  To hear her cry as she tells her story and not feel her pain probably means you need a soul transplant.

Link to ABC News account

"I don't condone what he's done. It's appalling. But, it could have been me," she said. "It could have been many other officers that's in the situation he's in as we speak, and I just want him to know that there are officers out there that feel his pain."
Crystal said she too had a grievance with the LAPD and was treated unfairly. She also said a number of officers feel the same as Dorner did.
"There is some truth. I can relate to a lot of what he stated in his manifesto," she said. "I have no knowledge of what he personally went through; I can relate by what I went through. Speaking with other officers they can relate. I'm not saying I condone what he's doing by any means, but I can see how he fell of the cliff. I can totally see it. Totally."
She also said a number of different officers could have snapped like Dorner did, including herself, a thought she finds disturbing.
"I'm a female and to even think that that even could...It's just frightening," she said, breaking down in tears.

She also wrote a very moving letter hoping to entice Dorner's surrender

When I read your manifesto, my heart just dropped and continues to be very heavy. I have shed many tears while reading of your experience with the department and the measures you've taken these past seven days, to be heard and to clear your good name. As I continue to shed tears and pray for you and all of us involved, you most know by now that you have been heard loud and clear. Reading of your experience and witnessing your present behavior has opened many wounds for myself as well as fellow officers, who have experienced similar situations. 
It’s a men’s issue 

Joe Jones

Link to Joe's story

I feel your pains!...But you are going about thisthe wrong way. To take innocent lives could never be the answer to anything. I say this as a Man who experienced the same pain, betrayal, anger, suffering, litigation and agony that you did in many ways, Only I didn't get Fired. I just choose to go a different route. My heart still suffered that same shock, I wasstill left to try and put the pieces back together. The disbelief that people could conspire and cause you to loose something you loved so dearly was still there. I lost my Career, I lost my Family, I lost my Dignity, I lost my Trust...But I am here now to hopefully one day see change...Bro, Don't kill anymore Innocent people. Your point has been made. Clearly. They know you mean business, The whole world knows. Refrain from any further wrong doing and do what you must to salvage your Soul. Whatever that means to you. Just remember that God is a forgiving God.

Please read what he has to say in total

Wayne Guillary 

Link to Wayne's story

Sgt. Wayne K. Guillary posted a "personal appeal" on the website of Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable president Earl Ofari Hutchinson overnight. In it the sergeant says he still has ongoing concerns about racism in the department but that Chief Charlie Beck is a rare top cop "trying to make LAPD a better organization:"
... There's still much work to be done ... Some may say that nothing has changed with the leadership in the LAPD. ... Trust me I have been in the fight with the organization regarding social and racial injustice within the LAPD. Currently, I am the only out spoken African American within the organization that possesses the moral courage to confront and ask questions unflinchingly about race, racism and discrimination in the 
The article goes on to say that this doesn't appear to be an endorsement of Chief Beck's insistence on the great strides the LAPD has made I must agree.

Not only do I believe it I lived it

Brian Bentley, 49, doesn’t agree with what Christopher Dorner — the ex-cop at center of a massive manhunt for the killings of three people—has done, but he certainly understands it.
As a former LAPD officer, Bentley, who is now an author, says that a Dorner-like situation was just a matter of time.
“It took longer than I thought it would for something like this to happen.”
 In fact, Bentley says that when he was a police officer, there were frequent postings of “look out” bulletins on the walls at police stations featuring officers who’d been terminated and who were believed to have vendettas.
“When the Department terminated you, they intentionally tried to ruin your life,” Bentley explains.  “That’s how they discredited you.  Dorner isn’t the first ex-police officer to have a manifesto or some sort of hit list.”

Rodney King, Rampart, 39th and Dalton OPERATION HAMMER! Heard of it?, May Day Mexican Mashing, we can stop the broken record.

Namaste Friends

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Christopher Jordan Dorner Psycho Killer Qu'est-ce que c'est

I've lived in So. Cal a long time and actually been subject to the police freaking out over one thing or another, but Christopher Jordan Dorner has put them off the chain and running down the street.  They are scared and stating straight out on television they are, there is one Captain that hasn't left his home and that's not a good look in my opinion for law enforcement.

I'm 6 2 and 220 pounds, I look nothing at all like Chris Dorner and I was joking with Sweetie that I was going to get my son in law  to drive me around, but they are shooting at little white guys too!

I first got wind of Dorner as kind of an oh shit.  You know when you hear tell of a gruesome murder now a days, but they are ticking out with such regularity you feel the pain of the event but you’re just numb.  On February 3rd two people got murdered in Irvine.  That was kind of a trip.  Irvine is a private town.  It was the brain child of one man and it is a cookie cutter planned town very homogeneous and extremely safe.  Irvine is as safe as any place in America can be.

Yet there was a young couple Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence gunned down on the roof of the parking structure of their condo complex.LA Times link  They had just gotten engaged, and the first things I thought were some bastard must have had issues with their relationship, crime of passion and put it in the list of other crimes I’d check out when there was some sort of resolution.

The next couple of days hit with information that made it sure this incident was not going to be some back burner event.  They think this person is a cop?  He’s dropping pieces of information all over the Southland trying to hijack boats etc, wait a minute he’s black?  Folks at that time I actually thought it was a love thing when I found out concurrently Keith Lawrence was also Black and in law enforcement.  They let it be known then there was a manifesto and I thought it was going to be a love letter an if I can’t have her he can’t either.  The media was describing it universally as “rambling” so I didn't even bother to read it.

Then all heck breaks loose in So. Cal.

Dorner's Manifesto is apparently not an if I can’t have her it’s a declaration of war on the LAPD.  During the night Dorner moves on targets he had outlined shoots one LAPD officer and wounds him in Corona then moves down the road to Riverside and ambushes two Riverside police officers sitting at a red light killing one and severely wounding the other.

During that dark night of the police in terror officers riddle the truck of a pair of ladies who were delivering newspapers to a neighborhood that contained one of Dorner’s targets.  According to their attorney the police didn’t even provide the courtesy of identifying themselves or attempting to make a felony stop.   The Los Angeles Police just opened fire at the Torrance Corral wounding both women one seriously.  Very soon after a young man trying to get some surfing in before work was stopped in a truck that fit the description of Dorner’s only in that it was also a truck and told he could go about his business, moments later he was T-boned by police and his truck shot he thankfully was not hit.

 photo torrance_zpsac42b97f.jpg

It was then that I personally decided to crack open the manifesto and then that the initial oh shit I uttered at the death of the couple got capitalized to OH SHIT.  His first words after the obligatory I’m not a bad guy and those who know me are going to sure be shocked.

Unfortunately, this is a necessary evil that I do not enjoy but must partake and complete for substantial change to occur within the LAPD and reclaim my name. The department has not changed since the Rampart and Rodney King days. It has gotten worse. The consent decree should never have been lifted. The only thing that has evolved from the consent decree is those officers involved in the Rampart scandal and Rodney King incidents have since promoted to supervisor, commanders, and command staff, and executive positions.

I’ve written about my experience surrounding king’s verdict before Thinking of London and Remembering When My City Burned but never about Rampart.  To try and unpack all that was behind that is way too difficult in this offering.  Let’s just say the LAPD conspired to frame, rob, brutalize, lie, drug deal, I’m running out of detestable things the people charged with protecting our city did to the citizens of our city.

The southland it’s people of color and probably the rest of the world began to read the manifesto, and the first impression I got is he’s not insane in that he doesn’t know what he’s doing.  He’s perfectly sane in that respect but the goal he has is that of a madman.  It tells the story that way too many people in our country bobbed their heads in understanding with.  A police force that is brutal violent and racist a man who tried to work within the system to fight such abuses and was instead punished for it.

You could see the familiar divisions with the right wing horrified anyone could sympathize with a murderer and whatever other message he might have to be ignored, the other side horrified that our police forces might behave in such a manner as Dorner alleges, and here we are.

There is currently a 1 million dollar bounty on Chris Dorner’s head.  Average reward on the death of regular citizens is 50K in So. Cal.  It’s for capture and conviction thank God or I’d be more afraid to step out of my door than I currently am.  Our law enforcement agencies are catching 600 there is Dorner tips a day, and every brother who looks remotely like LL Cool J, or the father from That’s so Raven is hunkering down or investing in T-shirts that say “I’m Not Chris Dorner Don’t Shoot Me Bro!”.

Difficult questions are floating around with serious implications.  Is taking Dorner’s accusations seriously and investigating negotiating with a terrorist?  They’re calling him a domestic terrorist.  Can a flood of racism make otherwise “Law Abiding “Black” Citizens” snap?  What manner of incompetence has lead flying at citizens who are not Black men.  Doesn't the Constitution say you're innocent until proven guilty?  Since when did police decide that on the street and toss in executioner on their job description? Heck I even see numerous tweets calling him Rambro like he's a hero or something for having stood up to the man, like killing innocent couples and ambushing people is heroic.  Yeah Chris Dorner is going to leave a mark.