Monday, June 18, 2007

Hey folks...

I added an events calendar to the sidebar, so if you know of any events the group should know about in Milwaukee let me know and I'll add it.

You may be able to add to the calendar yourselves too... I'm not sure... I will figure out whether or not everyone can add events, and I can activate that if it's possible.

Another Juneteenth post...

Well, reciently I've been reading Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, (a very interesting read, by the way)and I thought you may be interested in reading an excerpt from it that's related to this holiday.... sorry for the swearing, I'm copying directly from the book.

Former slaves, interviewed by the federal writer' project in the thirties, recalled the war's end.

Susie Melton:

I was a young gal, about ten years old, and we done heard that Lincoln gonna turn us niggers free. Ol' missus say there wasn't nothin' to it. Then a Yankee soldier told someone in Williamsburg that Lincoln done signed the 'mancipation. Was wintertime and mighty cold that night, but everybody commenced getting ready to leave. Didn't care nothin' about missus- was going to the Union lines. And all that night the niggers danced and sang right out in the cold. Next morning at day break we all started out with blankets and clothes and pots and pans and chickens piled on our backs, 'cause missus said we couldn't take no horses or carts. And as the sun come up over the trees, the niggers started to singing:

Sun, you be here and I'll be gone
Sun, you be here and I'll be gone
Sun, you be here and I'll be gone
Bye, bye, don't grieve after me
Won't give you my place, not for yours
Bye, bye, don't grieve after me
Cause you be here and I'll be gone.

Anna Woods:

We wasn't there in Texas long when the soldiers marched in to tell us that we were free... I remembers one woman. She jumped on a barrel and she shouted. She jumped off and she shouted. She jumped back on again and shouted some more. She kept that up for a long time, just jumping on a barrel and back off again.

Annie Mae Weathers said:

I remember hearing my pa say that when somebody came and hollered, "You niggers is free at last," say he just dropped his hoe and said in a queer voice, "Thank God for that."

The federal writers' project recorded an ex-slave named Fannie Berry:

Niggers shoutin' and clappin' hands and singin'! Chillun runnin' all over the place beatin' time and yellin'! Everybody happy. Sho' did some celebratin'. Run to the kitchen and shout in the window:
"Mammy, don't you cook no more.
You's free! You's free!"

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Black Holocaust Museum

"we're still not integrated... we've just been tolerated."
> James Cameron... founder of the Black Holocaust Museum (only known lynching survivor... wrote the book "A Time of Terror")

a group of us went to the Black Holocaust Museum on 4th and north ave on wednesday, june 12. ( ) we all learned a lot... it's a lot to take in. it is packed with information about african culture, slave trade, slave life, the Civil Rights Movement, lynchings and violence, the NAACP, African American role models, and leaders and movements that took place in milwaukee during the 60s and 70s. i'd like to go ahead and share some of the stuff that stuck out to me, and hopefully start a discussion going with comments about what other people learned as well.

slave trade

- in the 15th century, europeans began to "claim" africa. it was not until the 1950s that africa is finally ruled by africans again.
- 20 million africans were captured over a span of 300 years of slave trade
- slaves sold for about $5,000-$22,000 each in 2001 dollars
- the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Lincoln in 1863, but the last slaves did not find out they were free until 1865... two and a half years later. some states had outlawed slavery prior to the Emancipation Proclamation
- slave owners encouraged slaves to have sunday morning services, thinking that religion would make them more obedient and less likely to run away. instead, the slaves identified with the oppression of the hebrew people, emphasizing moses and the exile. this produced a liberation theology which gave them the strength to carry on and the boldness to hope in Jesus for their freedom... completely the opposite of what the owners intended. YEAH Jesus! that part made me think of God as a rock star. not to mention all of the amazing music that came out of those people during that time.

post-slavery & the civil rights movement
- 4,743 lynchings were reported between 1882-1968 (3,446 of those victims were black... i would think the rest were non-racist white people)... this number is likely much lower than what actually happened, because of the fear preventing many black people from reporting these crimes
- the ku klux klan, founded by veterans of the confederate army (big surprise), stood for: white surpremacy, anti-Semitism, racism, anti-Catholicism, homophobia, and nativism. they later added anti-Communism, and many were Nazis for a while but that quickly declined the popularity of their group (shucks.)

contemporary application
- although Barack Obama is the 5th African American in US history to serve on the Senate, he is the ONLY one right now. so 1% of our Senate is African American... in 2007... right now.
- if there is any interest, we should watch Mississippi Burning as a group. for those of you that have seen it, i saw a story at the museum that HAS to be the one the movie is based on. the Freedom Summer volunteers (registering African Americans to vote in the south) James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were murdered in Nashobah County in Mississippi, the bodies hidden and later found. it's a very hard movie to stomach, but provides a lot of insight as to the terror of African Americans living in an angry white nation in the 60s.
- anyone know anything about Vel R. Phillips? she achieved many "firsts" for women and African Americans, and marched with Father Groppi (big Catholic Milwaukee Civil Rights Movement/NAACP Youth icon) in the 60s/70s. she is still ALIVE! i am going to try to contact her if there's any interest in meeting with her and learning from her.
- june 13, 2005... the US senate issued an official apology to lynch victims through history. James Cameron (founder of this museum... recently deceased)accepted the apology since he was the only known lynching survivor. anyone else think this is cool, but also a little odd that it took until 2005 for it to happen?

questions i have
on the map showing where the captured africans were sent, many were sent to europe and south and central america. what was the enslavement of africans like in other countries? what consequences are they suffering in their social structure today? i feel like i have not heard anything about this.

Malcolm X was the front man for the Nation of Islam. our group was not quite sure what that was... vanessa, i heard you are a Malcolm X buff. can you tell us more about him and that religion?

has anyone heard anything about the Halyards? it appears they were very involved in the milwaukee NAACP but i have not heard of them before

can anyone enlighten us about sharecropping, the practice that kept many ex-slaves essentially in a legal form of near-slavery in the south?

does anyone know anything about the black woman who stabbed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the chest with a letter opener during a book signing? the museum mentioned that very nonchalantly, giving no explanation. i'd love to know what that was all about.

what is nativism?

anyone seen the 1915 film "The Birth of a Nation"? apparently it popularized the KKK. we should try to find it.

so how does this relate to this group?

acknowledging the segregation in milwaukee is ESSENTIAL to understanding our city. racial prejudice and explanations for the cultural and economic differences between different racial groups can only be understood in light of our country's not-so-long-ago history. praise God that we were not born into a generation practicing the cruelty of slavery... praise Him that we have access to education and understanding about our history... and let's ask Him together to reveal to us the ways that the effects of this oppression continue, and how we might be instruments of liberation theology for Him today.

if anyone still wants to set up another time to go, go ahead and post on here and we can send another group. admission is $5 or $3 with student ID, and it's open monday-saturday from 9-5. it's very worth your time, and we are lucky to have it in milwaukee.

discuss away!

Friday, June 15, 2007

juneteenth day

celebrate African American Emancipation Day!

this is the 140th year of the biggest holiday celebrating African American freedom in the united states.

on june 19, 1865, two and a half years after president Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, Union troops landed in texas and let the last slaves know that they were free.
click here to learn more about the history of juneteenth

juneteenth day is ENORMOUS for the African American community... taking off work, celebrating in the streets, etc. if you're like me growing up in brookfield schools, i had never even heard of it, even though our neighbors in milwaukee were rejoicing just miles away.

juneteenth day is this TUESDAY, june 19th. come join our brothers and sisters and celebrate! the street will be shut down on martin luther king dr. between center st. and burleigh in milwaukee. i think festivities will start around noon, and last until later in the night. get a group together and take a walk, enjoy some food or music, and just see the celebrating... i have never been and am currently on vacation with the fam, so i'd love to hear all about what it's like.

happy juneteenth... our brothers and sisters are FREE! praise Jesus as He continues to heal the oppression we have overcome in the past, and continue to inflict upon one another in different forms today. we're all home in Him.

link to shepherd express article, courtesy of meg:

Monday, June 4, 2007

mission statement

our mission is to explore the city in which we live, in order to
discover what Jesus is already doing here in milwaukee.

we want to step out of the world we have built up around ourselves and understand the lives of our neighbors through the eyes of Christ, exploring what it really means to love them by taking the time first to learn about them (and ourselves).

we will do this by visiting existing organizations, businesses,
churches, schools, etc. in order to learn from the people there.
we will also be reading, watching documentaries, holding conversation, and praying, so that we can constantly be learning more and more.

for those year-round-ave-goers interested in the urban awareness group lead by servantship leaders in the fall, this group will serve as a way for us to learn more about where we live and possible ways that God may call us to serve in milwaukee during the school year. for those here just for the summer, you are welcome to come along and explore with us too! word.