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Rancher Cliven Bundy and ‘The Negro’

lee daniels_600As is typical of blowhards, Cliven Bundy, the conservative movement's most recently defrocked hero/criminal, opened his mouth once too often. In doing so, the Nevada rancher revealed who he really is behind all the Stars-and-Stripes flag-waving and man-of-the-West rhetoric. The man who has grazed his cattle on federal land for more than two decades but has refused to pay the minimal grazing fees the government charges all ranchers (Bundy now owes about $1 million) is an arch-racist as well as a chiseler.

On Saturday, April 19, Bundy, speaking to a small group of his supporters – and, fortunately for the rest of us, a New York Times reporter and photographer – went off-message to hold forth on a number of topics, including race.

According to the Times, Bundy said: "I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro," as he recalled driving past a Las Vegas public housing project, "and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids – and there is always at least a half dozen people sitting on the porch – they didn't have nothing to do. They didn't have nothing for their kids to do. They didn't have nothing for their young girls to do."

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‘Pageants, Parlors & Pretty Women: Race and Beauty in the 20th Century South’

bookreview 600America has a long, ugly legacy of promoting diametrically opposed images of black and white females. This can be traced all the way back to Founding Fathers like Thomas Jefferson, an adulterer who had a white wife, but fathered a half-dozen children with Sally Hemmings, one of his hundreds of slaves.

Yet, in his only book, "Notes on the State of Virginia," the hypocritical third President of the U.S. frowned upon race-mixing while denouncing black women as unattractive on account of their hair texture and skin color. He actually went so far as to pronounce sisters so promiscuous that they would just as soon mate with an ape as a human.

Sadly, such racist notions continued to shape popular attitudes about African-American femininity after Emancipation, especially in the South with its strictly-enforced color line. In the wake of the Civil War, Caucasian women "were transformed into symbols of white supremacy and, eventually, massive resistance," to integration and equal rights.

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This Weekend in Memphis!


* In-Synk's May Leadership Lunch and Learn - "Thinking, Fast and Slow" | 11:45am-1:00pm | Triumph Bank Board Room

* Beale Street Music Festival | All Day | Tom Lee Park

Race - Are We So Different? Exhibition | All Day | Pink Palace Museum

* Grace – A Play by Craig Wright | 8:00pm | The Circuit Playhouse

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Inseparable: education, healthcare and economic development

NOBCO 600The 30th annual Economic Development Conference of the National Organization of Black County Officials was woven with a thread that accented the inextricable tie between education, healthcare and economic development.

During the five-day conference (April 23rd-29th) held in Memphis and Tunica County, Mississippi, that link brought Soulsville Academy students in contact with White House officials and representatives of the Obama administration. The essential connection also was amplified by the presence of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, and Dr. Eric Whitaker, a doctor-turned-financial consultant who is used to calling the President and nation's first lady by their first names.

Dr. Whitaker, physician investor and business development consultant for Grosvenor Capital Management, was the keynote speaker during a luncheon at the Rendezvous. Known as a Chicago friend and basketball/golf buddy of the President, Whitaker said he thinks of healthcare holistically, meaning the interplay of health, education and economic development.

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Early-voting pulse faint but detectable

politics2014 600Early voters in the Whitehaven area outpaced those in the rest of the city's satellite voting locations by a wide margin as May 1st – the final day for early voting – approached.

Casting their ballots at Abundant Grace Fellowship Church at 1574 East Shelby Drive, 1,059 people voted, according to the Shelby County Election Commission. Next was the polling spot at Riverside Baptist Church (3560 S. Third) with 926 voters, and Bethel Church (5586 Stage Rd.) with 762.

The highest total was the downtown Shelby County Office Building with 1437 votes.

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