Franklin McCain, one of the “Greensboro Four” who in 1960 sat down at a whites-only lunch counter in North Carolina and launched a sit-in movement that would soon spread to cities across the nation, has died.
McCain died Thursday “after a brief illness at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro.”
McCain once told NPR, as WUNC says, about how he overcame any fear about being arrested — or having something worse happen:


"I certainly wasn’t afraid. And I wasn’t afraid because I was too angry to be afraid. If I were lucky I would be carted off to jail for a long, long time. And if I were not so lucky, then I would be going back to my campus, in a pine box."


In it remembrance of McCain, the station adds this account of the historic day in 1960:


"McCain and his classmates walked into the store, purchased some items and then walked over to the segregated counter. McCain recalls:
" ‘Fifteen seconds after I sat on that stool, I had the most wonderful feeling. I had a feeling of liberation, restored manhood; I had a natural high. And I truly felt almost invincible.’
"He hadn’t even asked for service. When McCain and the others did, they were denied. A manager told them they weren’t welcome, a police officer patted his hand with his night stick. The tension grew but it never turned violent.
"As McCain and the others continued to sit at the counter, an older white woman who had been observing the scene walked up behind him:
" ‘And she whispered in a calm voice,boys, I’m so proud of you.’
"McCain says he was stunned:
" ‘What I learned from that little incident was don’t you ever, ever stereotype anybody in this life until you at least experience them and have the opportunity to talk to them."
"Woolworth’s closed early and the four men returned to campus with empty stomachs and no idea about what they had just started. The next day another 20 students joined them and 300 came out by the end of the week. Word of the sit-ins spread by newspapers and demonstrations began in Winston-Salem, Durham, Asheville and Wilmington; within 2 months of the initial sit-in, 54 cities in nine different states had movements of their own.
"The Greensboro lunch counter desegregated six months later."



Source

Franklin McCain, one of the “Greensboro Four” who in 1960 sat down at a whites-only lunch counter in North Carolina and launched a sit-in movement that would soon spread to cities across the nation, has died.

McCain died Thursday “after a brief illness at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro.”

McCain once told NPR, as WUNC says, about how he overcame any fear about being arrested — or having something worse happen:

"I certainly wasn’t afraid. And I wasn’t afraid because I was too angry to be afraid. If I were lucky I would be carted off to jail for a long, long time. And if I were not so lucky, then I would be going back to my campus, in a pine box."

In it remembrance of McCain, the station adds this account of the historic day in 1960:

"McCain and his classmates walked into the store, purchased some items and then walked over to the segregated counter. McCain recalls:

" ‘Fifteen seconds after I sat on that stool, I had the most wonderful feeling. I had a feeling of liberation, restored manhood; I had a natural high. And I truly felt almost invincible.’

"He hadn’t even asked for service. When McCain and the others did, they were denied. A manager told them they weren’t welcome, a police officer patted his hand with his night stick. The tension grew but it never turned violent.

"As McCain and the others continued to sit at the counter, an older white woman who had been observing the scene walked up behind him:

" ‘And she whispered in a calm voice,boys, I’m so proud of you.’

"McCain says he was stunned:

" ‘What I learned from that little incident was don’t you ever, ever stereotype anybody in this life until you at least experience them and have the opportunity to talk to them."

"Woolworth’s closed early and the four men returned to campus with empty stomachs and no idea about what they had just started. The next day another 20 students joined them and 300 came out by the end of the week. Word of the sit-ins spread by newspapers and demonstrations began in Winston-Salem, Durham, Asheville and Wilmington; within 2 months of the initial sit-in, 54 cities in nine different states had movements of their own.

"The Greensboro lunch counter desegregated six months later."

Jim Crow in Palestine: Parallels between US & Israeli racism
February 23, 2013

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama does a good job of showing what blacks endured before the civil rights victories of the 1960s. I visited there last fall and was especially struck by one particular image — a 1926 map of the small and isolated patches of Birmingham where city zoning regulations allowed blacks to live.

What struck me was the similarity of this map to maps of the isolated patches of the West Bank including East Jerusalem where Palestinians are allowed to live. The map then made me think about other similarities between the oppression of blacks in the Jim Crow South and Israel’s present-day oppression of Palestinians.

The methods for keeping blacks within their enclaves in Birmingham were more direct and brutal than the redlining agreements among banks and realtors that maintained a de facto segregation in the North. Municipal zoning laws in Birmingham prevented sales to blacks outside designated areas, and if a black person somehow acquired a house outside the designated area, even if just across the street, the house would be blown up.

Similarly, the Israeli legal system keeps Palestinians within restricted areas of East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank. Palestinians living outside those areas have been evicted and their homes destroyed or occupied by Jewish settlers. Eighteen thousand Palestinian homes have been destroyed by Israel since 1967, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

The black areas and white areas of Birmingham were very different physically. The black areas often lacked municipal amenities or services such as street lighting, paved streets, sidewalks, garbage collection and sewers that the white areas had. Similarly, the Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem often lack these same basic facilities and services, and the differences between Palestinian areas and those reserved for Israeli settlers are clear to all.

Arbitrary arrests
Suppression of the human rights of blacks in the South was maintained by both “legal” and extralegal means. State and municipal Jim Crow laws restricted residence, use of public facilities, use of public transport, interracial marriage and other aspects of life in the South. White courts and police forces enforced these laws and the whole system of segregation. Arbitrary arrests under vagrancy laws yielded large numbers of black prisoners (who were often forced to do hard labor). Nonviolent civil rights marches and protests were met with police and state National Guard violence.

Similarly, Israeli control over the lives of Palestinians is maintained by a system of laws, courts, police and Israeli military that discriminates against Palestinians. Laws restrict where Palestinians can live, where they can travel, what roads they can travel on, and whether they can live with their spouse in another part of the country. Permits to travel from the West Bank to East Jerusalem for work are tightly controlled and dependent on “good” behavior.

Administrative detentions” have led to the indefinite incarceration of thousands of Palestinians without trials. The Israeli military meets unarmed protests against the separation wall and the taking of Palestinian land with violence.

Black compliance with the system of segregation in the South was ensured by extralegal as well as legal means, including economic threats, harassment of various sorts, and extreme violence. More than 5,000 lynchings were recorded between 1882 and 1959, and many beatings and killings went unrecorded. Violence against blacks increased as the civil rights movement grew in strength during the 1950s and 1960s. In one year alone 30 black homes and churches were bombed in Birmingham. The white-controlled legal system only rarely prosecuted white-on-black violence.

Daily violence
Similarly, harassment and violence against Palestinians by Israeli settlers in the West Bank including East Jerusalem occurs almost every day. The settlers try to force Palestinians off their land or to leave the region entirely. The settlers threaten or attack children on their way to school and shepherds in the fields. Palestinian land, wells and olive groves are occupied. The Israeli military protects the settlers, and the Israeli legal system only rarely prosecutes settler harassment or violence.

Blacks in the Jim Crow South had no control over the governments that oppressed them and denied them their share of common resources. The 15th Amendment of 1870 gave blacks the right to vote, but that right was progressively taken away in Southern states following the failure of reconstruction. Discriminatory registration procedures were introduced and were enforced by violence. As late as the 1960s, many counties in the South, even those with black majorities, had no registered black voters. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 finally changed that.

Similarly, the four million or so Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have no say in the government that in fact controls them. They cannot vote in the Israeli elections.

Palestinians did vote for a virtually powerless Palestinian government in 2006 in which a majority of seats in the parliament went to Hamas, a political party. The Hamas legislators were immediately arrested and jailed by Israel. Many were kept in prison for more than five years and the elected parliament has never been able to meet. Even if the parliament could meet, it would have only limited control over limited enclaves of the West Bank. Israel controls the water, electricity, borders, airspace, exports and imports of the enclaves, and the Israeli military enters the enclaves and arrests Palestinians at will.

Nonviolent methods such as marches, boycotts and direct actions are a critical tool for the success of any human rights movement, such as the American civil rights movement, that confronts a power structure with a monopoly on physical force. The civil rights movement in the United States maintained the practice of nonviolence to a heroic degree over many years, even in the face of violent repression from the Southern white power structure. Participants aroused the conscience of the rest of the nation and the world.

Tactics of resistance
Similar methods are now of central importance for the Palestinian rights movement. Protest marches against the separation wall, “Freedom Rides” on Israeli-only public transit, and “camp-ins” on land illegally expropriated for Israeli settlements are becoming common now in Palestine. Internationally, boycotts of all sorts and divestment from companies that maintain and profit from the occupation of Palestinian land are taking hold.

The blacks in the American civil rights movement made their appeal to the federal government for redress of wrongs committed at the lower levels of state and local governments. The federal government was already formally committed to the rights of blacks through the 14th and 15th amendments as well as various Supreme Court decisions. They also had authority and power over local governments.

The aroused conscience of the nation and of the world finally forced the United States federal government to act. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson could not continue to present the United States to the world as the land of freedom and democracy when its own citizens were being beaten for asserting their freedom and their right to vote.

Here too there are parallels between the civil rights movement in the American South and today’s movement for Palestinian rights. Israel cannot indefinitely present itself as a law-abiding, humane and democratic state when it denies the human rights of the four million or so Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

The federal government of the United States shares responsibility for the continuing denial of Palestinian human rights, just as for many decades it shared responsibility for the denial of human rights to blacks in the Jim Crow South by not enforcing federal law. Now, and for many decades, United States diplomatic support has allowed Israel to violate international law with impunity.

The United States has blocked United Nations sanctions against Israel for such violations of international law as the occupation of Palestinian land, the colonization of the West Bank by placing settlers on that land, and the annexation of East Jerusalem, the historic home of Christian and Muslim Palestinians.

America breaks own law
In addition, the United States federal government provides about $3 billion in military aid to Israel every year, and may be violating its own laws in doing so, as pointed out by a recent letter to Congress from 15 leaders of major American Christian churches (“Religious leaders ask Congress to condition military aid to Israel on human rights compliance,” Presbyterian Church USA, 5 October 2012).

The letter urged an “investigation into possible violations by Israel of the US Foreign Assistance Act and the US Arms Export Control Act, which respectively prohibit assistance to any country which engages in a consistent pattern of human rights violations and limit the use of US weapons to ‘internal security’ or ‘legitimate self-defense.’” The letter cited evidence for human rights violations on the part of Israel and for Israel’s use of US arms against Palestinian civilians.

The tactics for resisting segregation brought significant changes for blacks in the South. Hopefully, with commitment and perseverance, similar methods may someday accomplish the same for Palestinians.

Source

Segregation continues in urban schools (photo)July 11, 2012
Nearly 60 years have passed since the Supreme Court made its landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision, legally ending school segregation across the U.S. Today, the legacy of school segregation persists, as racial isolation remains the reality of many students nationwide.Though it is expected that the U.S. population will shift from a white-majority to a minority-majority by 2046, currently most students do not see that diversity reflected in their school experience. Nationally, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, 52 percent of black students and 58 percent of Latino students attend school where minority students make up 75 percent or more of the entire student body.
In Chicago, America’s most segregated city, it’s typical for students to go through their entire K-12 education without ever having met a classmate of another race, as “GOOD reported this week.  In a recent radio interview on a local station, a Chicago student described having thought that schools were still legally segregated, based solely on her surroundings.
Advocates for reform argue that the incentives to foster greater diversity in schools are clear: Exposing students to racially and culturally diverse environments prepares them for the world outside school doors. Recent studies have also shown that students fare better academically in schools with greater levels of socioeconomic diversity.
Throughout the past decade, public school reformers have focused largely on building schools in the 90/90/90 model — schools with populations made up of more than 90 percent low-income students, more than 90 percent ethnic minorities and more than 90 percent students who meet set academic standards — as a way to provide high-performing schools to students in their own neighborhoods.
Some argue that the model fails to address issues of segregation, as discriminatory housing practices continue to create segregated communities — a fact that is especially problematic given that housing prices have been linked to school quality.
A recent study by the Brookings Institute reports that homes located in neighborhoods with high-performing schools cost, on average, about 2.4 times as much as those located in neighborhoods with low-performing schools. Since students of color are more likely to live in low-income neighborhoods than their white peers, students of color thereby have less access to high-performing schools.
Though redlining has long been part of the desegregation conversation, reformers are increasingly focusing their attention on charter schools — a model that has radically changed the landscape of the U.S. public school system in the last 30 years.
The popularity of charter schools has continued to escalate in recent years, despite the fact that charter schools have been found to be, on average, more segregated than traditional schools.
Source

Segregation continues in urban schools (photo)
July 11, 2012

Nearly 60 years have passed since the Supreme Court made its landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision, legally ending school segregation across the U.S. Today, the legacy of school segregation persists, as racial isolation remains the reality of many students nationwide.

Though it is expected that the U.S. population will shift from a white-majority to a minority-majority by 2046, currently most students do not see that diversity reflected in their school experience. Nationally, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, 52 percent of black students and 58 percent of Latino students attend school where minority students make up 75 percent or more of the entire student body.

In Chicago, America’s most segregated city, it’s typical for students to go through their entire K-12 education without ever having met a classmate of another race, as “GOOD reported this week.  In a recent radio interview on a local station, a Chicago student described having thought that schools were still legally segregated, based solely on her surroundings.

Advocates for reform argue that the incentives to foster greater diversity in schools are clear: Exposing students to racially and culturally diverse environments prepares them for the world outside school doors. Recent studies have also shown that students fare better academically in schools with greater levels of socioeconomic diversity.

Throughout the past decade, public school reformers have focused largely on building schools in the 90/90/90 model — schools with populations made up of more than 90 percent low-income students, more than 90 percent ethnic minorities and more than 90 percent students who meet set academic standards — as a way to provide high-performing schools to students in their own neighborhoods.

Some argue that the model fails to address issues of segregation, as discriminatory housing practices continue to create segregated communities — a fact that is especially problematic given that housing prices have been linked to school quality.

recent study by the Brookings Institute reports that homes located in neighborhoods with high-performing schools cost, on average, about 2.4 times as much as those located in neighborhoods with low-performing schools. Since students of color are more likely to live in low-income neighborhoods than their white peers, students of color thereby have less access to high-performing schools.

Though redlining has long been part of the desegregation conversation, reformers are increasingly focusing their attention on charter schools — a model that has radically changed the landscape of the U.S. public school system in the last 30 years.

The popularity of charter schools has continued to escalate in recent years, despite the fact that charter schools have been found to be, on average, more segregated than traditional schools.

Source