Connect with us

#NNPA BlackPress

Photographer explores impact of redlining; BMA to host panel talk Oct. 15  

BIRMINGHAM TIMES — In the 1930s, the Federal Housing Administration began to systematically deny mortgages to black, Latinx and Jewish residents. This process became known as redlining because banks and government officials drew red lines on housing maps to single out African American and Latinx neighborhoods deemed as unworthy of investment.

Published

on

Photographer Celestia Morgan (Photo by: birminghamtimes.com)

By Javacia Harris Bowser

In the 1930s, the Federal Housing Administration began to systematically deny mortgages to black, Latinx and Jewish residents. This process became known as redlining because banks and government officials drew red lines on housing maps to single out African American and Latinx neighborhoods deemed as unworthy of investment.

Though redlining officially ended in 1968 with the passage of the Fair Housing Act, Birmingham photographer Celestia Morgan sees traces of these policies and practices drawn all over the neighborhoods of the city she calls home.

Morgan’s exhibition REDLINE is now on display at the Birmingham Museum of Art through Feb. 16 in the Pizitz Gallery. It explores the impact that housing discrimination of the past continues to have on communities of color today.

 “We are more diverse here in Birmingham than we have ever been and I’m glad to see downtown is booming,” Morgan said. “But we still have communities that are falling apart and they feel that they are being forgotten.”

The exhibition includes photographs of homes in Norwood, North Birmingham, Southtown and Ensley.

On Oct.15 at 6 p.m. the Birmingham Museum of Art will host a panel discussion on the historic, systematic practice of racial housing discrimination featured in REDLINE. Confirmed panelists include Morgan, local activists Odessa Woolfolk and T. Marie King, and attorney and community organizer Richard Rice. 

Morgan, 38, who grew up in the Central Park area of Ensley, hopes her work will help shed light on a number of issues facing some of Birmingham’s predominantly black neighborhoods including gentrification and pollution.

“They pay taxes just like everybody else,” Morgan said. “Can we get assistance to them?”

Furthermore, Morgan is troubled by the vast number of title loan businesses and fast food restaurants in these communities.

“Is that what we’re offering and providing for these families?” she asked.

Hallie Ringle, the Birmingham Museum of Art’s Hugh Kaul Curator of Contemporary Art, was instrumental in bringing REDLINE to the museum.

“I’ve been wanting to work with Celestia for a while,” said Ringle, who came to the museum in 2018. “She is an incredible artist and her work is really visionary. She is from Birmingham and is making work about Birmingham and the museum has been really focused on finding topics that are important to the city as a whole.”

The Path Before Us

Part of Morgan’s exhibit focuses on Interstate 20/59. The interstate, built in the early 1970s, bisected black neighborhoods and separated them from the city center and predominantly white neighborhoods. The interstate’s placement displaced many residents in its path and caused property values to drop.

Currently, the interstate is being rebuilt at a higher elevation to ease traffic flow to and from downtown, which Ringle believes makes Morgan’s REDLINE even more timely.

“Every neighborhood in Birmingham was affected by redlining, but I think that maybe not everybody knows why 20/59 cuts through Birmingham the way it does,” Ringle said. “It was very intentionally planned to prevent access, to make property values plummet for black neighborhoods in Birmingham. So, it seemed like the right time to engage this conversation when this construction is happening right in the museum’s backyard.”

In this construction, Morgan finds a metaphor.

“It’s in the same spot. We’re repeating the same thing. We’re modernizing it a little bit, but we’re actually doing the same thing,” Morgan said.  “We no longer use the map anymore, however, we’re still moving and operating in this path that has been laid out for us.”

Speaking From Within

Morgan believes she inherited her love for photography from her father, who died in 2005. 

“When my father passed, we were looking for images of him and we realized that he was the guy behind the camera,” Morgan said. “He would give me one of his old cameras and I would go around and start to photograph.”

As a student in junior ROTC at Jackson-Olin High School Morgan would use a 35mm camera to take pictures at events like Birmingham’s Veteran’s Day Parade. She’d also take portraits of the kids at the day care center her mother owned for their parents.

Morgan went to college at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) to study elementary education. But after one photography elective she realized this was more than a high school hobby.

“I fell in love and I changed my major,” Morgan said. She would go on to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

“The pictures that I take are me speaking from within,” Morgan said. “That is my voice. That’s how I communicate to not only my family, but to the community and to the world.”

Morgan’s work has been featured at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans and is a part of the permanent collection at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas, which was founded by philanthropist and arts patron Alice Walton, daughter of Helen Walton and Walmart founder Sam Walton.

When Morgan began taking photographs of Birmingham’s neighborhoods, she didn’t set out to make a political statement. It was personal.

“The first intent was not to create art about redlining,” she explained. “It was for me, exploring why my family only lived in a certain part of Birmingham. And I wanted to capture memories for my family, take pictures of houses that my grandmother lived in or my aunts and uncles lived in.”

But as Morgan saw both dignity and dilapidation in the neighborhoods she photographed, she started to think bigger.

“How can my story help somebody else?” she began to ask herself. “How can I connect it to something greater than what I am?”

The Sky Is The Limit 

Morgan’s exhibit also features pieces meant to represent hope.

“As I started to dig into the history of redlining, I started to think we’re still almost living in the same pattern or system that was established a long time ago,” Morgan said. “But there’s still hope for these communities if we put our resources towards these communities instead of forgetting about them, pushing them aside or only fixing the communities that are closer to the downtown areas.”

For one part of the REDLINE series, Morgan places the outlines of Birmingham neighborhoods redlined in the 1933 Home Owners’ Loan Corporation map against photographs of blue skies.

“My mother would tell me the sky is the limit,” Morgan said, adding that her mother would also say, “You can be whatever you want to be in life.”

Morgan wants people of all neighborhoods to have this type of optimism for the future.

She wants them to look at her photographs and think, “The same sky is blue in Mountain Brook like it is in Woodlawn and that means I have the potential to do good as well. So, don’t forget about me.”

This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

#NNPA BlackPress

Congressional Black Caucus officially endorses Biden

NNPA NEWSWIRE — President Joe Biden has successfully chartered the support of high-ranking Congress members with an endorsement from the Congressional Black Caucus. The group met with the leader virtually on Monday eager to learn more about a campaign comeback plan after turmoil sparked by the June 27 presidential debate.
The post Congressional Black Caucus officially endorses Biden first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

Published

on

By Ashleigh Fields

President Joe Biden has successfully chartered the support of high-ranking Congress members with an endorsement from the Congressional Black Caucus. The group met with the leader virtually on Monday eager to learn more about a campaign comeback plan after turmoil sparked by the June 27 presidential debate. Biden pleaded with members reportedly telling them, “’I need you. I want you to be fully engaged.” Later he added, “You’ve had my back and I’ve got yours.”

Biden took questions from the lawmakers who represent 120 million Americans combined reaffirming his zeal for a second term. “I will continue to stand with the president and the people who elected him to be our nominee. “He is the best candidate to be in this race,” Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12) told the NNPA after the call describing his current term as “extraordinary.” The North Carolina representative’s support will be crucial to Biden as he continues to visit the battleground state. Many are looking to see if his performance in Raleigh after the debate and frequent visits to Wilmington will seal the deal for voters who formerly sided with Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

The call with CBC members also served as a chance for the president to firm up his support in states like Nevada where he won by a slight margin in the last cycle. Horsford says his constituents are looking for the nation’s next leader to make decisions that are cost-effective and financially fruitful. “The voters in Nevada care about a thriving and equitable economy, taking on big corporations to lower costs and protecting the hard-bought freedoms, rights, and opportunities we’ve Earned,” Horsford posted on X the day after the meeting. “They’re focused on moving forward and reject the divisive politics of those who would like to take us back.”

The Biden-Harris ticket has boasted about reform that could uplift minority communities including tax credits for first-time home buyers and plans to remove medical debt from credit scores. Both proposals aim to ease the financial burden and stress that often prevents families from climbing the ladder of social/economic mobility. Throughout Vice President Kamala Harris’ economic freedom tour and publicized speeches from Biden the goal has always been to, “build from the middle out and the bottom up.” However, Trump has raked in support from a wide array of people because of his strong stance on immigration policy, promising to facilitate the largest deportation in American history if elected president. He believes illegal immigrants are dominating good-paying American jobs for lower wages driving the economy into distress.

“The fact is that his [Biden’s] big kill on the Black people is the millions of people that he’s allowed to come in through the border. They’re taking Black jobs now,” Trump said during the debate. “They’re taking Black jobs and they’re taking Hispanic jobs.” Despite these claims, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus which boasts 38 members officially endorsed Biden on July 9. Chair Nanette Barragan (D-CA-44) and Deputy Chair Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13) subsequently released a statement to explain their reasoning. “President Biden and his Administration have worked closely with House Democrats to make historic investments to positively impact communities across the country, including Latinos, such as investments to combat climate change, lower healthcare costs, expand access to healthcare for our veterans, and create jobs with the infrastructure bill,” the two shared.

Although Biden has received the affirmation of many over the past few days, Reps. Mark Takano (D-CA-39), Adam Smith (D-WA-9), and Joe Morelle (D-NY-25) have been publicly adamant about Biden dropping out of the race. Others like former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-11) have remained moderate and encouraged others to hold out fate until after Biden’s performance at NATO this week. “I want him to do whatever he decides to do. And that’s the way it is. Whatever he decides we go with,” Pelosi said on Morning Joe. “Let’s just hold off. Whatever you’re thinking, either tell somebody privately, but you don’t have to put that out on the table until we see how we go this week.”

The post Congressional Black Caucus officially endorses Biden first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

Drug Used to Treat Diabetes Now a Weight Loss Miracle but Difficult to Obtain in Black and Brown Communities

NNPA NEWSWIRE — In early 2022, Ozempic rose to fame when celebrities who do not suffer from diabetes began publicizing the drugs’ ability to assist in fast acting weight loss. It quickly went from a lifesaving medication for diabetics to the celebrity go to for shedding unwanted pounds. In 2021, in the US alone, prescriptions of the drug quadrupled landing the miracle drug on the worldwide shortage list creating rippling effects through many communities.
The post Drug Used to Treat Diabetes Now a Weight Loss Miracle but Difficult to Obtain in Black and Brown Communities first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

Published

on

By

Small pharmacies find difficulty in prescribing the drug due to Big Pharma restrictions

By Andre ‘M. Johnson

According to a recent study published in Lucent, the number of people living with diabetes worldwide is on pace to more than double in the next three decades. This increase will bring the total of worldwide diabetic patients to a staggering 1.3 billion by 2025, making diabetes one of the top 10 leading causes of death and disability, in the world.

On December 5th of 2017, a little-known drug hit the market to help millions of people suffering with diabetes. The drug was called Ozempic. Ozempic was created to lower blood sugar by stimulating the pancreas to produce more insulin and has shown continual success in patients with lowering their A1-C. The introduction of medications such as Ozempic and Wegovy has changed the game for millions of people worldwide who have been struggling with diabetes. It was a once weekly auto injector that would allow patients to maintain their sugar levels and create a healthier way of life. One of its known side effects, however, was dramatic weight loss.

In early 2022, Ozempic rose to fame when celebrities who do not suffer from diabetes began publicizing the drugs’ ability to assist in fast acting weight loss. It quickly went from a lifesaving medication for diabetics to the celebrity go to for shedding unwanted pounds. In 2021, in the U.S. alone, prescriptions of the drug quadrupled landing the miracle drug on the worldwide shortage list creating rippling effects through many communities.

Valentine Paterson of Brooklyn, New York thought he had found a solution to his endless battle with obesity and diabetes when he was prescribed Ozempic. The effects were almost immediate and life altering. “I weighed more than 365 pounds and after being hospitalized for heart failure, my doctor recommended I take Ozempic,” said Paterson a 52-year-old Uber driver. “Within four months of taking the drug, I lost 65 pounds, and my doctor reduced my other medications from nine to four. It changed my life. But then I could not get my prescription filled. I looked for months; it was a nightmare. All the work and progress I was making was slipping away, all because I was unable to pay out of pocket.”

The reason Mr. Paterson could not get his prescription filled is because Mr. Paterson’s local pharmacy, like many others nationwide, was no longer able to obtain the blockbuster medication. The craze of Ozempic and Wegovy created a nationwide shortage of medication by those willing to pay the exorbitant out-of-pocket costs getting first cracks at the available supply. So, while pharmacies in lower income neighborhoods could not stock their shelves, pharmacies on Manhattan’s Upper Eastside had a twelve-month supply of the miracle drug readily available to those able to pay $1,400.00 per prescription. Given this void, the question was raised as to whether anyone or anything could help.

Enter the compounding pharmacy. According to the FDA, compounding pharmacies are authorized to produce exact drugs in times of a national shortage. But what exactly is a compounding pharmacy? A compounding pharmacy makes and sells prescription medicines based on the specific formula provided to it by the FDA. When a medicine makes its way to the national shortage list, compounding pharmacies are authorized to make generic versions of those medications to assist all those in need. When a medicine is not on the national shortage list, compounding pharmacies are only authorized to make alternate forms of the prescribed drug. Ozempic has been on both the worldwide and US shortage list since April of 2022. However, what happens when Big Pharma doesn’t want to let compounding pharmacies earn money they feel belongs to them even during a shortage?

“Lifeline Pharmacy” is a small compounding pharmacy run by Dr. Aisha Johnson in the heart of south Los Angeles. For years, this pharmacy has served as a beacon of hope, providing personalized care and essential medications to the predominantly Black and Latino residents. Among the most critical medications Dr. Johnson compounds is semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, Black adults are nearly twice as likely as white adults to develop type 2 diabetes. This racial disparity has been rising over the last 30 years creating a disproportionate need for these life altering medications in communities of color. Despite the FDA’s approval for compounding pharmacies to produce semaglutide, Novo Nordisk has targeted these providers in order to protect their profits and eliminate the competition.

In the Ward 8 area of Washington, D.C., a heavily populated community of Black and Latino residents, the drug remains in high demand with little to no supply. “There is definitely a monopoly on it by Big Pharma,” said Dr. Damon Ricks, Pharmacy Manager at SIP. “Small Compounding Pharmacies are definitely within their rights and scope to create these drugs when the FDA declares a shortage.”

The impact of Big Pharma’s campaign is being felt in communities from Brooklyn, NY to Los Angeles, CA. The misinformation spread by Novo Nordisk, stating that compounded versions of semagludies are unsafe and potentially life threating has created fear and uncertainty in those using compounded versions of the popular medication. Intensifying the problem, legislative proposals influenced by pharmaceutical lobbyists threatened to impose restrictions that would make it nearly impossible for small pharmacies to continue compounding semaglutide. For communities of color, this means losing a critical source of affordable and accessible medication.

“Big Pharma should not have a hold on these drugs. There needs to be a leveling of the playing field. I think having access to these drugs all across the board is needed. If a patient needs it for diabetes, then it should be made available to them. Prioritizing weight loss over diabetic patients is an injustice to our health care system,” said Ricks.

But Big Pharma continues to push for stricter regulations, claiming the need for patient safety. However, insufficient evidence exists to back up any of the claims made by Big Pharma. Compounding pharmacies must comply with existing rigorous standards to make any medication. They follow these standards in order to serve lower economic depressed communities of color. The popularity of these drugs has made it difficult for average Americans to afford or find these medications. These are not just weight loss medications; they are tools for survival for many diabetic patients. Due to Big Pharma’s bullying campaign, many patients have been forced to accept lower doses of these drugs to maintain any benefits even though most experience little to no progress with the reduced dosage. Yet those that truly need these lifesaving medications continue to suffer.

For communities of color, the ability of local compounding pharmacies to provide semaglutide and other essential medications is about more than access to treatment. They serve as a testament to the power of community and the relentless pursuit of a more just and equitable healthcare system.

The post Drug Used to Treat Diabetes Now a Weight Loss Miracle but Difficult to Obtain in Black and Brown Communities first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

About Those ‘Black Jobs’: Biden Administration Shows Better Record of Black Cabinet Leaders Than Trump

PHILADELPHIA TRIBUNE — “The characterization of Black jobs by Donald Trump, who only had one Black person in his Cabinet, is not only demeaning to the African American community but a concerning issue from the perspective of the NAACP,” said NAACP Philadelphia Branch President Cathy Hicks in a statement Friday. “It is important to recognize that African Americans hold positions in every job industry and contribute significantly to the American workforce. Stereotyping and generalizing job roles based on race is not only inaccurate but also perpetuates harmful biases towards the African American community…”
The post About Those ‘Black Jobs’: Biden Administration Shows Better Record of Black Cabinet Leaders Than Trump first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

Published

on

By

By Marco Cerino | Philadelphia Tribune Staff Writer

As former president and presumptive Republican candidate Donald Trump attempts to court Black voters who feel disillusioned by President Joe Biden’s administration, it should be noted that Trump’s idea of “Black jobs” does not include high-ranking positions in his administration.

An analysis of the two main presidential candidates on the 2024 ballot shows a stark contrast in the makeup of their administrations.

The appointment of Gen. Charles Q. Brown to head the Joint Chiefs of Staff made him the ninth Black person in a high-ranking position under Biden, including Cabinet secretaries and those in Cabinet-level roles like United Nations ambassador, director of national intelligence and trade adviser.

Despite having 62 different names in appointed or acting roles, Trump only included one Black person in his administration at that level — Dr. Ben Carson served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD.

“The characterization of Black jobs by Donald Trump, who only had one Black person in his Cabinet, is not only demeaning to the African American community but a concerning issue from the perspective of the NAACP,” said NAACP Philadelphia Branch President Cathy Hicks in a statement Friday. “It is important to recognize that African Americans hold positions in every job industry and contribute significantly to the American workforce. Stereotyping and generalizing job roles based on race is not only inaccurate but also perpetuates harmful biases towards the African American community. It is essential to promote equality and fair treatment in the workplace, ensuring that all individuals have equal opportunities to succeed and thrive in their chosen careers. Trump cannot say he is the best for the Black community and Black vote, if he can only see us in marginalized positions.”

Biden appointed the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff last year when Brown assumed the role for a four-year term. The decision seems to reflect the prioritizing of diversity in the Biden administration among Cabinet members and senior staff, one of his many significant departures from his predecessor.

Nyron Crawford, an assistant professor of political science at Temple University, believes the “Black jobs” comments were mainly a political maneuver, aimed to create a wedge issue around immigrants.

The lone Black appointee, he said, does serve as a reminder of Trump’s combative history with the Black community, including his demands that the Central Park Five be sentenced harshly, concerns over a Black contestant winning season one of “The Apprentice,” and other callous comments and stances.

“Donald Trump has no real regard for African Americans,” Crawford told The Tribune in an interview Monday about Trump’s record. “It doesn’t really serve a purpose. It’s not backed by any policy. Biden has done well on [appointing Blacks to high-level positions], compared to predecessors.”

Historically, it has been a challenge to get Black faces and voices into Cabinet roles.

President Lyndon Johnson was the first to appoint a Black person to his Cabinet, naming Robert Weaver to lead HUD in 1966. Of the 25-total appointed in history, 18 have been under Democratic presidents, while seven have been selected by Republicans, including four under President George W. Bush.

The Clinton administration had the most African American Cabinet secretaries with seven overall, including four appointed when taking office in January 1993. The Obama administration had four Black Cabinet members at once, the most in history. Vice President Kamala Harris is the highest-ranking Black Cabinet member ever.

Historical firsts for Blacks in high-profile government roles usually come during Democratic administrations. Biden broke through another glass ceiling with his nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson, who joined the Supreme Court in September 2022 as the first Black female justice. Trump added three white justices to the bench, who have voted to support conservative decisions like the weakening of affirmative action, the overturning of Roe v. Wade and, most recently, granting immunity for “official acts” of a president.

“The temperament and tone of a presidential administration is set by its people,” political commentator Jay McCalla said in an interview Monday. “Trump’s Cabinet members were largely sycophants. Trump has been conspicuously against Black folks. Trump’s coalition wanted a certified mouthpiece for their right-wing blather, so they chose Ben Carson.”

Multiple calls for comments were made to Philadelphia Republican leaders and have gone unreturned at time of print.

mcerino@phillytrib.com 215-893-5700

The post About Those ‘Black Jobs’: Biden Administration Shows Better Record of Black Cabinet Leaders Than Trump first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending

Copyright ©2021 Post News Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.