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Research Reveals That Black Children were Fed to Hogs and Used as Alligator Bait in the Early 1900s

THE WESTSIDE GAZETTE — August 2019 will mark 400 years of the first documented arrival of Africans brought to America as indentured servants. Children suffered and continue to suffer cruelties such as sex slaves, forced child labor, physical abuse, and in some cases, human cannibalism in United States. These cruelties are a big part of human trafficking where body organs and other body parts are sold to wealthy people. These atrocities, abuse, and modern-day slavery will plague America like an incurable cancer until we address this ugly past.

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By The Westside Gazette

NEW ORLEANS, LA — August 2019 will mark 400 years of the first documented arrival of Africans brought to America as indentured servants. Children suffered and continue to suffer cruelties such as sex slaves, forced child labor, physical abuse, and in some cases, human cannibalism in United States. These cruelties are a big part of human trafficking where body organs and other body parts are sold to wealthy people. These atrocities, abuse, and modern-day slavery will plague America like an incurable cancer until we address this ugly past.

When Dr. Antoinette Harrell thought that she had heard the worst of the worst, there was even more to discover. Harrell heard four stories that were so evil that most people didn’t want to talk about what they experienced or repeat the painful experiences told to them by their family members. No one wants to visit things that hurt them. Having these hurtful injustices to resurface can take them back to that time, place, and period in their lives that they do not want to remember.

Many unfortunate events happened to children during Slavery, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow that continues to this very day. The story that Johnny Lee Gaddy shared with peonage researcher, Dr. Antoinette Harrell, will upset your stomach. Johnny witnessed a child’s hand in the hog pen at the infamous Arthur G. Dozier Reform School in the Florida Panhandle. Gaddy told Harrell during a radio interview that he saw the severed hand of a child in the fire pit while taking the trash to be burned. Gaddy knew it was the body part of one of the boys. After discussing what he saw with one of the boys, he was told never to tell anyone what he saw if he wanted to stay alive.

Gaddy alleges they were cooking the boys and feeding them to the hogs.

Gaddy told Harrell that he worked like a slave cutting lumber, raising livestock, and farming the land. He worked in the swamp with large alligators and snakes. Boys younger than Gaddy also had to work hard at Dozier. Gaddy said his life was a living hell at the state-operated school. The reform school was in operation from January 1, 1900 to June 30, 2011 by the state of Florida in the panhandle town of Marianna.

This was not a surprise to Harrell. She had previously met a family who was held in the system of peonage in Gillsburg, Mississippi in the 1960s. Cain Wall, Sr., who was 107 years old at the time, told Harrell his family’s story. He recalled a time when a man rode a horse throughout the area and picked up Black babies, cut them up and use them for fish bait. Wall said, “I saw the blood dripping from his sack on the side of his horse. Everybody would grab their children when they heard that he was coming. He was a mean and evil man,” said Walls.

Some people in the South claim white men used Black babies as alligator bait in the swamps of Louisiana and Florida. They used the babies to lure large alligators with human flesh and blood during the era of slavery. They kidnapped the babies, skin them alive, and drop them into the swamp waters. In 1923, a publication in Times Magazine reported from Chipley, Florida that Black babies were being used as alligator bait. On June 3, 1908, the Washington Times reported that a zookeeper at the New York Zoological Garden baited alligators with pickaninnies. Pictures, postcards, and other trinkets were sold to commemorate this evil, dark practice.

Deangelo and Kirk Manuel, intern researchers with Harrell, recently traveled to Shubuta, Mississippi to investigate six lynchings. The Manuels read how the four young black people were lynched at the Hanging Bridge in 1918. Those lynched were brothers, Major, 20, and Andrew Clark, 16, and sisters; Alma, 16 and Maggie Howze, 20. Maggie was six months pregnant and Alma was due in two weeks. Both young women were pregnant by the dentist who employed them. Major signed up for the draft in WWI on September 9, 1918 and was lynched in December of 1918. Ernest Greene and Charles Lang were lynched in 1942 in the same town in Mississippi. “There life was cut short, it’s no telling what the future held for those two young boys. We will never know the effects they could have had on this world,” said Deangelo.

It was alleged that Andrew and Major murdered Dr. Everette Lavega Johnston, a married white dentist where the four young people worked. Major and Andrew were working on the farm to pay a debt for their father, Eddie Clark, Sr. Major and Andrew were two of eight children born to Eddie and Charity Clarke. All four were brutally tortured. Maggie was smashed in the face with a wrench and they all were thrown from the bridge. When the victims were buried the next day, some people reported that the unborn baby could be seen moving in Alma’s womb.

Harrell and her interns are also investigating a case concerning missing boys in Smith and Simpson County in Mississippi in 1900. Near what was known at Sullivan’s Hollow, lived a man by the name of W.T. Ware, along with his sons and son-in-law, Turner. It was reported that the Wares had been stealing little Black boys and selling them to the Mississippi Delta. One of the Wares was a doctor and was responsible for disposing of the boys in the Delta. The Wares were arrested and tried for kidnapping and hiding a boy at the home of Turner in Simpson County until they could transport him to the Delta. A report was filed with the Attorney General in 1900.

Another report filed in Montgomery, Alabama, stated a young Black boy named Young Trammell was taken from the Alabama line and carried into Georgia where he was forced to work off a debt. The boy’s father informed the reporter that he could not get his son back until he paid the amount that Benford claimed was owed plus the alleged costs of the court proceedings.

Many have never heard these stories because they are not taught in schools. Monteral Harrell, educator and Grambling State University alumna, knows the reality of this truth. “A limited amount of information is presented to students in the public-school system about what actually happened during slavery and the Civil Rights Era. The same information on black history is given to the students year after year. Although the Historically Black Colleges and Universities excel in Black history education, there needs to be more courses offered that teach students how to properly research their history,” Harrell said.

Johnny Lee Gaddy is one of many stories that needs continued research. Johnny Lee Gaddy was taken from his mother in Clearwater, Florida in 1957 and driven to the Arthur G. Dozier Reform School in Marianna, Florida without due process from the courts or legal representation. He served his time and was eventually released to his mother. Harrell’s team consists of photographers, videographers, and screenwriters, who are dedicated in assisting Harrell with bringing these stories to the forefront.

Learn more about Dr. Antoinette Harrell at http://peonagedetective.com/ or follow her on Facebook at @harrellantoinette

This article originally appeared in The Westside Gazette

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COMMENTARY: Telling Our Family Stories Keeps Black History Alive

We grew up hearing family stories about life in the Carolinas from our parents and grandparents. My sister, Gwen Fortune-Blakely, has written her first children’s book, Rex and the Band, inspired by one of our favorite stories our grandma used to tell about my dad, Dr. Rex Fortune, who is now a retired public school superintendent.

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Dr. Margaret Fortune, Fortune School, University of Southern California (USC), football, USC marching band, marching bands, drumline, public charter school, Rex and Margaret Fortune Early College High School, family stories, life in the Carolinas, parents, grandparents, Gwen Fortune-Blakely, children’s book, Rex and the Band, grandma, Dr. Rex Fortune, retired public school superintendent, little Rex, spirited young boy, high-energy marching band, North Carolina A&T football games, sister’s beautifully illustrated book, Telling our family stories, African Americans, history, Griots, storytellers, grandparents, ancestors, passed on, Black press, clearinghouse, many stories, Black community, Ebony Jr., elementary school student, high school, Sacramento Observer newspaper, Cocoa Kids Books, engaging, authentic, uplifting, inspiring
Dr. Margaret Fortune is the president/CEO of Fortune School, a system of nine, K-12 public charter schools with over 2,300 students focused on closing the Black achievement gap by preparing students for college.

Let’s Talk Black Education

By Dr. Margaret Fortune, President/CEO Fortune School

When we were kids, my dad would take us to football games at the University of Southern California (USC). I didn’t care much for football, but I loved it when we’d stay after the game to hear the USC marching band play. His love for marching bands is why we have a drumline at the public charter school I founded and named after my parents — Rex and Margaret Fortune Early College High School.

We grew up hearing family stories about life in the Carolinas from our parents and grandparents. My sister, Gwen Fortune-Blakely, has written her first children’s book, Rex and the Band, inspired by one of ourfavorite stories our grandma used to tell about my dad, Dr. Rex Fortune, who is now a retired public school superintendent.

As the story goes, one day back in 1947, my grandma sent little Rex to the corner store to get some eggs so she could bake a cake. My dad bought the eggs and put them in his pockets. On the walk home, he encountered a marching band high-steppin’ down the dusty road to his mother’s house. Little Rex got so excited that he followed the band, beating on his legs like drums all the way home and, yes, breaking all the eggs.

“Rex and the Band” explores a day in the life of Rex, a spirited young boy who dreams of one day playing in a high-energy marching band like the ones he enjoys watching with his father during North Carolina A&T football games.

Reading my sister’s beautifully illustrated book, I cried tears of joy. Telling our family stories is such an important way for African Americans to keep our history alive. Griots, or storytellers, are the reason why we know the truths that we do know about our family history and ancestors.

I believe all of us can think back to when our grandparents would tell us stories about our ancestors who may have passed on before we were born. It was their way of making sure our stories were not only told but preserved.

The Black press has been the clearinghouse for many stories that have impacted the Black community over time. My sister published her first poem in Ebony Jr. as an elementary school student and then in high school she interned at the Sacramento Observer newspaper.

Gwen founded Cocoa Kids Books to publish books like “Rex and the Band” that encourage Black children to dream, aspire for more, and soar because they see themselves reflected in stories that are engaging, authentic, uplifting, and inspiring. I’m so proud of my big sis! You can buy Gwen’s book at https://store.bookbaby.com/book/rex-and-the-band.

Dr. Margaret Fortune is the president/CEO of Fortune School, a system of nine, K-12 public charter schools with over 2,300 students focused on closing the Black achievement gap by preparing students for college.

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American Cancer Society and Four Historically Black Colleges and Universities Announce Groundbreaking Diversity in Cancer Research Program to Improve Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The awards provided through the DICR program are unique in cancer research. They provide a large amount of salary support for the four colleges to select clinical faculty who need more dedicated time for their cancer research and scholarly activities. They also fund other student and postdoctoral programs and underpin the awards with career development funds and mentorship by established American Cancer Society Professors.

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These grants are designed to build capacity and enhance the competitiveness of faculty at MSIs when applying for nationally competitive grant support and aid in faculty development and retention. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

The American Cancer Society (ACS), along with four historically black medical schools including Charles Drew Medical School, Howard University, Meharry Medical College, and Morehouse School of Medicine, today announced a groundbreaking Diversity in Cancer Research (DICR) Program to help improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the cancer research field.

The inaugural initiatives of the overarching program include DICR Institutional Development Grants. The four HBCUs have received DICR grants in a pilot program for 2021-2022.

The awards provided through the DICR program are unique in cancer research.

They provide a large amount of salary support for the four colleges to select clinical faculty who need more dedicated time for their cancer research and scholarly activities.

They also fund other student and postdoctoral programs and underpin the awards with career development funds and mentorship by established American Cancer Society Professors.

The grants will build sustainability for both clinical and scientific cancer-focused careers, launching or sustaining the careers of 104 individuals by 2025.

The impactful program will create a more inclusive research environment to address health disparities more effectively and could lead to targeted recruitment efforts focused on bringing people of color into clinical research protocols.

Establishing a research community that is made up of a diverse group of people is vital to ensuring scientific excellence.

“The American Cancer Society is committed to launching the brightest minds into cancer research and to reducing health disparities,” said Dr. William Cance, American Cancer Society Chief Medical and Scientific Officer.

“To accomplish this, we believe it is essential to invest in the minority workforce and their dedicated efforts to solve disparities and establish equity in cancer care.”

“There are many reasons the Black community continues to experience disparities in cancer care outcomes. But one of the most critical factors behind the imbalance, and one of the most promising paths to closing the gap, is diversity in cancer care research. We must improve diversity and representation in our laboratories if we expect different outcomes in our hospitals,” said Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, president of Howard University.

“As a cancer surgeon and as the president of an HBCU, I believe the Diversity in Cancer Research Program will prove to be pivotal in altering the field of cancer care research and improving cancer care outcomes for Black Americans. I am deeply appreciative of the American Cancer Society’s efforts behind this initiative.”

Data show that African Americans and Black people, Hispanics and Latinos, indigenous people and native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are underrepresented in grant funding.

Fewer than 2% of applicants for the National Institute of Health’s principal grant program come from Black/African Americans, and fewer than 4% from Hispanic/Latino populations.

“We are incredibly excited about this new program with the American Cancer Society,” said Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, Ph.D., MD, President and CEO of Meharry Medical College.

“There is a significant imbalance in the representation of minority populations in clinical research which has led to poorer outcomes for specific racial and ethnic minority groups. To eradicate the varying health disparities that affect these populations, we must prioritize diversifying clinical trials and those who conduct trials to ensure treatment is safe and effective.”

This is a fantastic step to ensuring minority populations receive effective treatment and provides great opportunities for our students and faculty to engage in cancer research,” Dr. Hildreth stated.

“The development of diverse, highly competitive, and independent research faculty has been a goal at CDU since its inception 55 years ago,” shared Dr. David M. Carlisle, President and CEO of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, located in South Los Angeles.

“This generous grant from the American Cancer Society will directly support a range of programs towards that goal, including the Center to Eliminate Cancer Health Disparities as well as our Clinical Research and Career Development Program, which provides training and mentoring in health disparities and community-partnered participatory research to minority scholars and junior faculty at CDU. This funding will undeniably help CDU in forming a solid foundation in social justice for future cancer research leaders.”

With the DICR program, ACS has committed to a $12 million investment to support four HBCU medical schools with DICR institutional development grants to fund a four-year program that aims to increase the pool of minority cancer researchers by identifying talented students and faculty from HBCUs.

This program will inform efforts to develop a national program to boost cancer research and career development at minority-serving institutions (MSIs).

These grants are designed to build capacity and enhance the competitiveness of faculty at MSIs when applying for nationally competitive grant support and aid in faculty development and retention.

“Here in Georgia, cancer health disparities exist by age, gender, race, income, education, and access to care, among other factors, with Georgia residents in rural communities experiencing worse cancer health outcomes than their urban counterparts,” said Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD, president and CEO at Morehouse School of Medicine.

“The DICR program will be a much-needed and welcome contribution to our work at the Morehouse School of Medicine Cancer Health Equity Institute, forever changing the field of cancer research. The program will not only ensure diversity and inclusion in research, but address health disparities in diverse communities, and assist in our mission in leading the creation and advancement of health equity.”

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OP-ED: Welcome Back, NLRB – America’s Workers Missed You!

NNPA NEWSWIRE — All indications show that Jennifer Abruzzo, the President’s new general counsel, is helping to lead the charge and losing no time. She has put together a list of Trump-era decisions for reconsideration and is pushing to get important cases before the board quickly. She also indicated that she is in favor of the PRO Act, the most sweeping piece of labor legislation in 50 years and re-establishing the long practice of ordering companies to bargain with unions based on signed cards of support, rather than secret ballot elections. This is a game changer for union organizing and for workers who want a voice in their workplace.

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Right now, 68% of Americans approve of labor unions. That number is at a more than 50 year high.
Right now, 68% of Americans approve of labor unions. That number is at a more than 50 year high.

By Ray Curry, President, UAW

Before I get into just what the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) means — and has
meant — to the working men and women of this nation, I want to start by citing a couple of pieces of data because I think they tell a real story.

Right now, 68% of Americans approve of labor unions. That number is at a more than 50 year high. So, what does it mean? As a union man myself, I would say it means that America’s workers are hurting, and they know they need a voice in the workplace. And they’re right. My second piece of data: According to a recent AFL-CIO analysis, the average CEO of an S&P 500 company made 299 times what the median worker made in 2020. In other sectors — like retail where Amazon lives — this number is much higher.

But this blog is not about numbers, it’s about people. Working people. And unions, the one force that has the power to close that shameful gap in earnings. The NLRB is a key player in making it possible for workers to organize and improve their lot. So I want to talk a little bit about where we’ve been and where we are going under labor friendly President Joe Biden.

Let me start with a little background on the NLRB. The president appoints this federal board, which has done so much to shape American labor practices since its inception 85 years ago. However, the board that President Biden inherited isn’t exactly what was intended.

In fact, it’s nowhere close.

Dark days

This story begins in the early ‘80s with President Ronald Reagan coming to presidential power and the shift from worker’s rights to corporate profits that his NLRB put into motion. I’ll spare you the decade of gory headlines and cut to the chase. A retrospective 1988 Washington Post article highlighting what the anti-labor, pro-management Ronald Reagan administration created put it perfectly, “It’s one of the great ironies of the day: The National Labor Relations Act, which is supposed to guarantee U.S. workers the right of unionization, is being used to deny them that vital right.”

Under Reagan’s two terms, the Board reversed previous NLRB policy in more than two dozen major cases, almost totally changing the direction the board had followed since its inception under President Franklin D. Roosevelt to pro-management positions.

Instead of taking up worker complaints, Reagan’s NLRB backlog of unresolved complaints against employers rose to at least three times what it was before he took office. Delays of up to two years become common. Even more stymying to the labor force, his board took just as long to act on worker petitions to hold union representation elections and to certify fair union wins.

Fast forward almost 30 years to 2017 and President Donald Trump’s first year in office where we find his labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, cheerfully announcing that Ronald Reagan, who did so very much to weaken organized labor, was voted into the Labor Hall of Fame.

There are truly no words adequate to express labor’s outrage at this. President Ronald Reagan joining the ranks of towering labor leaders like George Meany and the UAW’s own Walter Reuther! How cynical and what a harbinger of what was to come under President Trump for America’s workers.

Sadly though, he was just warming up. One could easily argue that President Trump’s NLRB went the furthest in systematically rolling back the right to form a union and engage in collective bargaining, efforts that struck a further blow to America’s wage inequality and directly harmed workers, their communities, and the economy. This board also went on to diminish worker protections under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA/Act) with the administration’s NLRB general counsel (GC), putting into play policies that leave fewer workers protected by the NLRB while working toward changes in the law that directly roll back workers’ rights.

In short, the whole thing was a siege on the American worker.

A new dawn for labor

And then in 2020, the working men and women of this nation had enough and made their voices heard loud and clear at the polls. The 2020 election saw a record number of Americans voting. And what did they say? Enough of the corporate, anti-labor agenda.

This record turnout sent President Joe Biden to Washington and he got to work on the first day. On Inauguration Day, within a few hours of being sworn in, the new president acted boldly and decisively by firing Peter Robb, President Trump’s appointed NLRB GC. Lynn Rhinehart, a senior fellow at the Economic Policy Institute and former general counsel of the AFL-CIO, characterized Robb’s anti-union activities this way: “A report by the nonpartisan U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that Robb was dismantling the agency from the inside. He reduced staff size, destroyed employee morale, and failed to spend the money appropriated by Congress. This all occurred while Robb was pursuing an anti-worker, pro-corporate agenda.”

Biden then turned to Deputy General Counsel Alice Stock, who became Acting General Counsel with Robb’s ouster and asked her to resign as well. She also refused. Two days later, she too was shown the door.

Gutsy moves. In fact, it is the first time in more than 70 years that a president has exercised that power. Thanks to President Biden’s swift actions in January, as of August 28, Democrats are now in control of the federal labor board for the first time in four years and pursuing aggressive measures to regain for unions the ground lost during the Trump administration and even looking to go beyond the limits pushed by President Barack Obama’s NLRB.

And all indications show that Jennifer Abruzzo, the President’s new general counsel, is helping to lead the charge and losing no time. She has put together a list of Trump-era decisions for reconsideration and is pushing to get important cases before the board quickly. She also indicated that she is in favor of the PRO Act, the most sweeping piece of labor legislation in 50 years, and re-establishing the long practice of ordering companies to bargain with unions based on signed cards of support, rather than secret ballot elections. This is a game changer for union organizing and for workers who want a voice in their workplace.

We’ve already seen this new NLRB in action. During the month of August alone, the board ruled that Amazon illegally discouraged union organization in Bessemer, Alabama, which may lead to a new vote; heard a case against Google for firing multiple employees for circulating a petition calling on the company to stop doing business with ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement); and filed a complaint against Home Depot for penalizing an employee for wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt. These are just a few examples of Biden’s new NLRB.

This new NLRB is an agency returning to its original purpose in a time when America’s workers need it most. Change for the rights and wellbeing of workers is on the way and I expect some of those numbers I cited at the beginning of this discussion are going to improve for my brothers and sisters.

We, as a nation and as a labor movement, are building back!

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