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History According to Simon Rutledge: Master Historian Teaches on NYC Streets

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Street Historian Simon Rutledge (left) speaks to passersby on the streets of New York City at the corner of 96th and Broadway.
On any given day, businessman, Simon Rutledge can be seen addressing a crowd on the streets of New York City. At the corner of 96th and Broadway, he pours out fountains of information – from politics to slavery to the African pyramids, Rutledge offers his knowledge in the informal setting. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city, while selling his wares he engages everyday people in conversations that challenge their thinking – in the form of verbal history according to Simon Rutledge. Before he knew it he had a following.
“I’ve had diplomats and people from Wall Street say, they never understood certain concepts until I put it in just the right framework,” explained Rutledge from his home in New York with wife, Shirley of 52 years.
By connecting these historical dots, Rutledge at the age of 73, helps people understand that the demonizing and mistreatment of black people began with the Papal Bull, a public decree issued by the pope of the Roman Catholic Church. According to Rutledge, the pope decreed people of color as second-class citizens centuries ago. “When you dehumanized a person, you can justify any type of treatment toward that person. This has carried on to the modern day attitude that African American’s face today. “If you can justify that a person is less than, you can justify any mistreatment or indifference toward them. “The police department feels since we are outside the human race they have a right to kill us. That’s the reason why historically at every cross burning, house burning, lynching, law enforcement was always there.”
He also discussed the frenzy behind the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, a group of bills that helped quiet early calls for Southern secession—and a new law that forcibly compelled citizens to assist in the capture of runaway slaves. “Abolitionists nicked nicknamed it the “Bloodhound Law” for the dogs that were used to track down runaway slaves.”
Rutledge also cited the Dred Scott decision, in which the U.S. Supreme Court in 1857, ruled that a slave, Dred Scott, who had resided in a free state and territory (where slavery was prohibited) was not thereby entitled to his freedom. “This ruled that African Americans were not and could never be citizens of the United States; It basically said a Black man has no right that a white man has to respect. Nothing has changed it just evolved.”
Born in 1944, Rutledge says his interest in history was sparked as a young boy growing up in the small coastal town of Georgetown, South Carolina, a city where “the First Lady Michelle Obama’s ancestors are from, a town that exported rice, and people did not live very long.”
“I witnessed people working in the rice fields all day and night. They were worked to death and I wanted to understand to them. How did this arrangement come about where one group of people hardly worked and had everything, while others worked themselves to death and had nothing?”
By reading, Rutledge says it took him all over the world causing him to question every thing; like how areas of the Caribbean and Africa become nation states under countries as small as Belgium. “How do people who had nothing now control 87% of the earth including countries as vast and rich as the Congo?”

Simon Rutledge meets Post News Group publishers Paul and Gay Cobb on the streets of New York City.

Rutledge says even the cell phone industry relies on Africa.  “The Katanga Mining Corporation in Congo’s Katanga Province, produces refined copper and cobalt which are raw materials used to make components of the cell phone. Much of the world is operating off the Congo’s wealth and natural resources. The banks off the Nile River can feed all of Africa because it’s the longest

running river in world, 4000 miles long.”
Some of Rutledge’s findings are quite shocking, but put systemic racism into perspective. “It’s never discussed that the skin of Black people was used to make lamp shades and pocket books. Even the first erected skeleton was of a black man who was murdered and boiled. The Jews never discuss that prior to Hitler killing the Jews, he killed the Africans first, because Germany had a large black population also.”
From the IQ Test to the Emancipation Proclamation, Rutledge is filled with historical facts accumulated through years of research. “The very first IQ test came out of Germany in a Hitler Camp. They were trying to decide who to kill (exterminate).  This is what prefaced the SAT and testing for special education. Also, after the Emancipation Proclamation 500,000 mixed people were born. It was black women having white men’s babies.”
While Rutledge never went to college or business school but  learned the diesel engine industry. On Wall Street he owned a parking lot, a trucking firm and a grocery store. “I learned that nobody is going to take care of you and I now encourage young men to go to a trade school. They don’t need to go to a 4- year school and accumulate $200,000 in student loans. A true education is a farmer who teaches kids to farm and make a living.  Then he can send them to college to bring up their intellect, speak well and read well and problem solve.”
Rutledge says Trump, just like some president’s post-slavery is here to push back all the laws and protections to undermine “our progress.” “In the preamble of the constitution it says that slavery will be abolished in the private sector but will always be a part of the penal system.”
With over 2 million Black men in the penal system that is now very privatized and prison labor is producing products for Fortune 500 companies, Rutledge advises Black people to recognize their worth.
“Everybody knows our worth except for us. Your critical thinking is key. Any man that invades your country, changes your name, strips you of your culture and kills millions and transfers millions around the world, have them work for hundreds of years and give them no land – what makes you think these people will be fair to you now?”

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Ex-Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin, 45, Found Guilty on All 3 Counts of Murder in George Floyd’s Death

Post News Group Publisher Paul Cobb said of the verdict: “Darnella Frazier’s video action should be imitated and celebrated by all youth and adults nationwide.  We should defend (Oakland Police Chief) LeRonne Armstrong’s new policies to stop minor traffic stops around licenses, lights and so-called suspicious appearances. (I) hope this justice action causes a national voting movement of every Black, Brown and Asian citizen.  Demand our (future) Attorney General Bonta to take the same action that Minnesota Attorney General Ellison did. 

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George Floyd

Former policeman Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday of all three counts of murder brought against him in the death of George Floyd, whose cruel death was caught on video in Minneapolis, Minn., on Memorial Day weekend last year.

Floyd, 46, was killed May 25, 2020, in front of Cup Foods, a neighborhood grocery store where the police had been called because Floyd had allegedly used a counterfeit bill to make a purchase.

After deliberating for about 10 hours over two days, the jury returned a verdict of guilty for second-degree involuntary murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin faces a maximum of 40 years in prison.

Floyd’s 41-year-old brother Philonise was in the Minneapolis courthouse at the time of the verdict, brought by six white, four Black and two multiracial jurors.

Post News Group Publisher Paul Cobb said of the verdict: “Darnella Frazier’s video action should be imitated and celebrated by all youth and adults nationwide.  We should defend (Oakland Police Chief) LeRonne Armstrong’s new policies to stop minor traffic stops around licenses, lights and so-called suspicious appearances. (I) hope this justice action causes a national voting movement of every Black, Brown and Asian citizen.  Demand our (future) Attorney General Bonta to take the same action that Minnesota Attorney General Ellison did.

It is time for President Biden and Vice-President Harris to push through the George Floyd Justice bill.  We, as bystanders, should also bear witness.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf told the Post: “today’s verdict is a just one, and it’s also an indictment.  The deep structural racism that pervades our country—and leads to the state-sponsored murder of Black men like George Floyd and too many others—must end.  Juries shouldn’t have to tell us this.”

Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan quoted Martin Luther King, Jr., when she talked to the Post about the verdict.  “’Let justice roll on like a river, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream,” she said.

“Though we understand that this is a victory for the people, we also understand that this system of policing will continue to cause violence and death until it is dismantled” said James Burch, policy director for the Anti-Police Terror Project.

The Oakland Police Department issued this statement:

We all must recognize that this moment is about accountability, justice, and reform. We must be compassionate, empathic, and forgiving.

All sides must unite as one community to effectively communicate. Together we will work towards rethinking policing in America.

In unity, we will move towards finding solutions for the safety of all people, notwithstanding your age, race, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.

We stand as one community grieving and healing as we move towards finding real solutions to effect change as we seek to strengthen police and community relations.

We extend our deepest condolences to George Floyd’s family and all communities.

Sentencing is scheduled in eight weeks.  His bail revoked, Chauvin was handcuffed and remanded into custody immediately.

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Barbara Lee

Why Barbara Lee Wore Tennis Shoes on January 6

Lee said she was thankful for the NAACP and the civil rights lawyers for bringing the lawsuit forward with members of Congress as plaintiffs.

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Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee joined a federal lawsuit on April 7 filed by the NAACP and Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson accusing Donald J. Trump, Rudy Giuliani, the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers of conspiring to incite a violent riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, with the goal of preventing Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election.

The lawsuit, initially filed in February, alleges that by preventing Congress from carrying out its official duties, Trump, Giuliani and the hate groups directly violated the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act.

NAACP president, Derrick Johnson says of Trump that he “ . . . meticulously organized [a] coup . . . that place[d] members of Congress and the integrity of our democracy in peril.”

A federal statute was passed after the Civil war to  “combat violence from the Ku Klux Klan.”  The law allows civil actions to be brought against people who use “force, intimidation, or threat” to prevent anyone from upholding the duties of their office” according to a CNN report,

Nine other members of Congress joined the suit: Karen Bass (D-CA); Steve Cohen (D-TN); Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ); Veronica Escobar (D-TX); Hank Johnson, Jr. (D-GA); Marcy Kaptur (D-OH);  Jerrold Nadler (D-NY); Pramila Jayapal (D-WA); and Maxine Waters (D-CA).

Lee spoke to the Post on April 14 via phone from D.C., as she was headed to see HR 40, the Reparations bill, pass committee.

Lee said she was thankful for the NAACP and the civil rights lawyers for bringing the lawsuit forward with members of Congress as plaintiffs.

She spoke of the 401-year history of violence against Blacks in this country and the importance of the lawsuit to hold people accountable for the coup d’état.

Lee was on the floor of Congress when the riots took place.  “We have to ensure that this never happens again, to protect our democracy, to protect people from dealing with violence, it’s something we are moving forward through the judiciary.”

Lee said that there were four parts of the relief sought in the civil lawsuit:  “accountability, punitive damages, redress, and injunctive relief to prevent from happening in the future.”

The lawsuit is not about Lee and others personally, it is about the attack on the democratic process, she said.

Lee has been through many near misses and close calls (she was evacuated from the House on 9/11, barely missed being blown up by a cluster bomb in the Middle East, to name just a couple) so she knew intuitively something was going to happen on January 6.  So, she wore tennis shoes to work.  “You just put two and two together, you connect the dots and you know something is going to hit the fan.  So be prepared, right?”

She applauds the Capitol police for protecting her, other members of Congress and the  country’ democracy.  “These people came in not only to stop us from doing our jobs, but they were calling the Capitol police the N word, they were fighting with them, they were trying to kill them.  It was like a war; it went on for hours.  Domestic terrorism is the highest National threat, we need to sound the alarm.  We have to fight to end the country of these insurrectionist, these traitors.”

“On Jan. 6, Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani trampled our democracy, inciting a violent mob of white supremacists to overturn a free and fair election. Though he failed in his ultimate goal, the very foundation of our democracy was shaken. We cannot just let this shameful moment in our history pass because next time, the consequences will be even graver. I am proud to stand with my colleagues and hold Donald Trump accountable for his attempt to destroy the fabric of this nation,” said Congresswoman Lee.

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Kim Godwin, Promoted to President of ABC News, First Black Woman to Run a Broadcast Television News Division

“This historic announcement shows what we at NABJ have always know:  there are Black executives more than capable of taking the reins of a network operation.  We hope this move sends a clear signal to other networks,” said Ken Lemon, NABJ Vice President-Broadcast, in a statement.  “Her appointment opens the door for diversity and inclusion at a higher level.  The glass ceiling is broken and must be shattered.”

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Kim Godwin, photo courtesy Twitter

Kim Godwin, 57, currently works at CBS News as executive vice president of news, and joins ABC News as president in May, replacing James Goldston who left ABC in March.

Godwin becomes the first Black woman to run a broadcast news division.

ABC’s parent company is Walt Disney Co.

Godwin started at CBS News in 2007 as senior producer for the evening news anchored by Katie Couric.

She was also the executive director for development and diversity at CBS and received the Ida B. Wells Award last November from The National Association of Black Journalists “for her work to create a diverse newsroom, and her focus on identifying—and advocating for—young journalists throughout their careers.”

Before her tenure at CBS News Godwin worked at various outlets as producer, news director, and other management roles since 1991.

Godwin also worked as a journalism educator.

Godwin is a graduate of Florida A & M University and is married and lives in New York City and the Poconos, Pa.

“This historic announcement shows what we at NABJ have always know:  there are Black executives more than capable of taking the reins of a network operation.  We hope this move sends a clear signal to other networks,” said Ken Lemon, NABJ Vice President-Broadcast, in a statement.  “Her appointment opens the door for diversity and inclusion at a higher level.  The glass ceiling is broken and must be shattered.”

In February, Rashida Jones, 39.  became president of MSNBC, and was the first Black woman to run a cable news network.

Variety, ABC News, CBS News, and The Washington Post were sources for this report.

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