For Refinery29’s celebration of Black History Month we put together a list of Black men and women you ought to know. Their legacy in civil rights, feminism, and LGBTQ equality lives on today.
Bayard Rustin — A leading Black figure in the civil rights movement and advisor to Martin Luther King, he was the architect of the 1963 March on Washington and was heavily involved in the first Freedom Rides. He was also gay and a registered communist who went to jail for his sexual orientation. Although widely heralded, he was attacked even by fellow activists for his faith in nonviolence, unapologetic queerness, and attention to income equality. President Obama honored Rustin posthumously with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.
Combaheee River Collective — A seminal Black lesbian feminist group active from 1974-1980. Although officially short lived, its influence has been major. The group is best known for writing the Combaheee River Collective Statement, an important document in promoting the idea that social change must be intersectional — and that Black women’s needs were not being met by mainstream white feminism and therefore must strike out on their own. Members of the collective included Audre Lorde and…Chirlane McCray, now First Lady of New York City and author of the landmark essay “I Am a Lesbian,” published in Essence in 1979.
John Carlos, Tommie Smith, and Peter Norman — The winners of the 1968 Mexico City Olympics 200 Meter Sprint. In one of the proudest and most political moments of sports history, John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their leather-gloved fists in the Black Power salute. They wore black socks without shoes to represent black poverty and a scarf and necklace to symbolize “those individuals that were lynched, or killed and that no-one said a prayer for, that were hung and tarred. It was for those thrown off the side of the boats in the middle passage.”
We also include in our list Peter Norman, the white Australian silver medalist from that ceremony, to commemorate his solidarity with the two Black athletes. White people are more than indebted to black history, and Norman is an excellent example of a white ally. Although he didn’t perform the black power salute, he publicly supported the duo without regard to personal safety or retribution. Norman was penalized for his alliance with Carlos and Smith and was never again allowed to compete in any Olympics despite repeatedly qualifying. Largely forgotten and barred from major sporting events, he became a gym teacher and worked at a butcher shop. At his funeral in 2006, John Carlos and Tommie Smith were his pallbearers.
The Friendship Nine — This group of nine Black students from Friendship Junior College willingly went to jail without bail in 1961 after staging a sit-in at McCrory’s lunch counter in Rock Hill, South Carolina. They pioneered the civil rights strategy “Jail, No Bail,” which placed the financial burden for racist incarceration back on the state. They’re appreciated today for their bravery and strategic ingenuity. In 2015 their conviction was finally overturned and prosecutor Kevin Brackett personally apologized to the eight living members of the group.
Barbara Jordan — A lawyer and politician, Barbara Jordan was the first Black woman elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction, the first southern Black woman to be elected as a US Senator, and the first Black woman to deliver a keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention. Her keynote address is widely considered the greatest of all time, aided by her charismatic and eloquent public speaking skills. She is also remembered as one of the leaders of the impeachment of Richard Nixon. We chose the above quote to illustrate her unique punchy sense of humor.
Pauli Murray — This civil rights activist, feminist, and poet was a hugely successful lawyer who is also recognized as the first Black female Episcopal priest. Like many figures on this list, Murray was acutely aware of the complex relationship between race and gender, and referred to sexism as “Jane Crow,” comparing midcentury treatment of women to that of African Americans in the South. Although she graduated from Howard University first in her class, she was barred from enrolling as a postgraduate at Harvard because she was a woman. Instead, in 1965 she became the first African American to receive a JSD from Yale Law. Once armed with a law degree she became a formidable force in advancing feminist and civil rights. She is a cofounder of the National Organization for Women (NOW). She also identified as having an “inverted sex instinct,” which she used instead of “homosexual” to describe her complicated gender identity and lifelong attraction to women.
Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn are set to co-star in a movie about police brutality.
Titled Dragged Across Concrete, the film will see the two stars playing “cops who are suspended when a video of their strong-arm tactics gets wide attention,” according to Variety. Then they decide to take revenge among criminals.
The two noted Hollywood conservatives feel like odd choices for a nuanced take on police brutality, to say the least.
During this heated political moment, where more and more investigations reveal systemic abuse within police departments, do we really need these men to offer their takes? Read more
I think the fatal flaw in most of the characters on the
tapes is that they are selfish. So, so, selfish. They are teenagers, so this
comes as no surprise. Even Hannah. Justin wanted to keep his gf and bff, so he ignored what happened, Marcus wanted to keep his social standing, Courtney wasn’t ready for people to know she’s a lesbian, Alex used Hannah to get back and Jess and then didn’t refute it (in the locker room) because it made him look better, Ryan wanted his zine to be popular, Sheri wasn’t willing to face the consequences of her actions, Bryce took whatever he wanted (and can go and fucking die) etc.
But one character on the tapes that was not selfish was
Clay. When he first met Hannah, he was awkward and nervous but polite. At that
moment in time, I think the most he hoped for was being friends with Hannah. As
the show progressed, so did their friendship and it flowered into an
At that moment in Hannah’s life, even though she wanted to
be happy, even though she wanted to be with Clay, she couldn’t. She couldn’t
wash away what had happened to her in the past even though she knew that Clay
wouldn’t hurt her like the others did. She knew he was kind and decent and so
unselfish. But in the case of Clay, this unselfishness may have been his
See, he wanted Hannah. So much. But he never pushed and
always did what she asked. This made the audience love him, and also Hannah.
But Hannah had been friends with him for what, a year? She would know that he
is timid and shy, especially when it comes to girls. She knew that when she told him to leave, he would leave. It was
completely selfish and mean of her to tell Clay on the tapes that she wished he
didn’t go. Did she not think that that
would tear him apart?
Anyways, back to Clay. If Clay had been a little more
selfish in that scene, like we saw when he said what he wished he had said,
that could have made all the difference. If Hannah had known that just one
person was on her side, I don’t think she would have killed herself. I really
don’t. If Clay had been selfish for just a moment and had said, “No, I’m not
going to leave until you tell me what’s going on,” like he wished he did, I
truly believe Hannah would still be alive.
Jordan Edwards is the latest name to be added to a long list of black people who’ve been killed by police. Edwards was only 15. His death sparked familiar outrage and calls to action.
But there’s also been a push by black feminists to call out the use of the hashtag #SayHisName in place of #SayHerName on social media — a hashtag that became popular specifically to call attention to the media erasure of black women who are also victims of police violence.
The #SayHerName hashtag went viral in the aftermath of Sandra Bland’s 2015 death in a Texas jail cell. Its meaning was simple:
In a political moment in which extrajudicial violence against black communities was becoming front page news, it was important to tell the stories of black women, whose deaths were often overlooked by media and the social movements they covered.
On Twitter, Chihiro Ogino made the case against using #SayHisName, noting that while it’s important to respect black men who die at the hands of police, that specific hashtag isn’t the way to do it. Read more (5/2/17)
I really don’t understand why everyone is so upset about this season so far. I’ve shared my thoughts on the Isak/Sana conversation but even the stuff from today’s clip has started a whole new flood of “skam is cancelled”, “Julie sucks” and “the writing is terrible” comments.
The thing is, everyone knows that episode 8 is a bad one- it’s a heartbreaking one that will really catalyse the progression and development of the plot and main character. I’m looking forward to how all of this unnecessary drama with shape who Sana does or doesn’t become.
Also, this idea that Sana is a background character in her own season? Like… that’s so inaccurate. The seasons are designed to show us aspects of the character without being obvious, for example how Isak seemed to always be sitting left out of his friendship group. To complain and say that Sana doing the same means she is ignored her in her own season is like saying season 3 ignored Isak.
Now, this idea that Sana isn’t being portrayed as strong and powerful and badass…. urgh.
Have you ever considered that Julie wants to shed that and show everyone that the badass, bitchy Muslim girl is human and vulnerable too?
Ever consider that the political climate at the moment paints Muslims as dark, evil people and Julie is trying to show how in the previous seasons Sana has appeared dark from other people’s biased POVs but from her own perspective she’s a completely normal, kindhearted person?
Ever consider that Sana making normal teenage mistakes is Julie’s way of trying to normalise and humanise Muslim teens and show how they are exactly like the average white Norwegian teen except they believe in Allah? That teenagers make mistakes regardless of religion or race?
Ever consider that the whole “girls keeps ignoring Sana” is supposed to mirror the virtual ban on Muslims in media and the absence of representation?
Ever consider that the whole idea behind this season is to create a conversation and is full of controversial ideas and arguments because it is trying to encourage you to speak up about the injustices imposed on Muslims?
Reminder to those enraged and engaged in this fight: Activism cannot be your singular focus; you can burn out, you will burn out, and you will burn out F A S T. Don’t feel guilty if you start to feel overwhelmed. Don’t feel guilty if you need to turn off the news, get off social media, or stop talking about the current political climate. It’s exhausting. Take a little time every day to decompress! Do something fun, make sure you have a hobby. Read tarot cards, knit or crochet things to donate, work out, read read read, make art (god, please, make some art, that’s gonna be one of the first things to go). It’s exhausting, fighting for your rights and liberties. It’s not going to stop being exhausting. But if we quit because we can’t keep up, we’re tired, we’re overwhelmed, then they win. And we can’t let them win, because this is just the start. So take a break. A little bit, every day. Treat yourself well and then get right back into the fray. Take care of yourself while fighting for your neighbor who might not be able to.
“I’m an over-thinker with a fighter’s spirit. I hope my legacy is that sometimes that level of thought is an asset, especially now in this political moment, because this political moment is very anti-intellectual, anti-information, and anti-historical. Clearly, I love queer history, learning, thinking about things really hard, and having these discussions about them… I hope that’s my legacy: this serious person with a tough veneer is about all these things, about what queer culture has been and should be, because we need that in order to combat from this political era. We need a historical, political kind of drag.”
“Gorillaz returns after six years with the apocalyptic “Hallelujah Money” video, the first taste of their new record which is coming later this year. The band has issued this song on the eve of the Inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump to serve as commentary on a politically-charged, historical moment.”
Like any timeless comic, Dave Chappelle offers up a mirror into which America can look and witness its own absurdities. It shows truth to power. In today’s case, the “power” — i.e., the Trump’s administration — has proven especially sensitive to criticism. When Melissa McCarthy brilliantly portrayed a petulant White House spokesman Sean Spicer, Trump — always aware and controlling of public perception — was reportedly rankled in a way that far outweighed the criticism he’s gotten from Democrats so far. Chappelle’s humor has similar bite.
Comedy is one of culture’s fiercest and most effective tools in moments of political strife. It allows viewers to make sense of their realities. It brings levity in times of chaos and fear. And, most importantly and at its best, it shows us that the world we live in was made that way by people who make very concrete choices about power, about policy, about everyday interactions and who suffers from them.
Nobody does this better than Dave Chappelle. Read more (Opinion)
Talk to your deity of choice often, it would be rude to just show up only when you need something from them.
Just take a moment, politely invite them to spend some time with you, give an offering from time to time.
“The AR-15 is not an “automatic weapon.” As we’ll see shortly, the range of firearms that fall (to one degree or another) into the category of “AR-15” is staggeringly diverse, but one thing they all have in common is that they all fire only one round with each pull of the trigger. In contrast, the AR-15’s military sibling, the M16, is capable of fully automatic fire, which means that the gun will keep spitting out bullets as long as the trigger is pressed and the magazine is loaded…
“…My point in bringing up the lever action rifle is that civilians have been buying “weapons of war” for a very long time, since the black powder musket days. This is partly because soldiers who come home from wars to enter civilian life often want to buy a version of the weapon they were trained on and trusted their life to. And it’s also because “military grade” is widely (if sometimes mistakenly) understood to mean “this technology has been tested in the real world, the kinks have been worked out, and its reliability and effectiveness have been proven in the field by an entity with the resources of an entire nation at its disposal.” Thus it is that since the dawn of the gunpowder age, gun buyers have snapped up military hardware, because that is often the very best hardware they can get their hands on. In this respect, today’s AR-15 buyers are no different than yesteryear’s lever action rifle buyers….
“…The AR-15 is less a model of rifle than it is an open-source, modular weapons platform that can be customized for a whole range of applications, from varmint control to taking out 500-pound feral hogs to urban combat. Everything about an individual AR-15 can be changed with aftermarket parts — the caliber of ammunition, recoil, range, weight, length, hold and grip, and on and on. In the pre-AR-15 era, if you wanted a gun for shooting little groundhogs, a gun for shooting giant feral hogs, and a gun for home defense, you’d buy three different guns in three different calibers and configurations. With the AR platform, a person with absolutely no gunsmithing expertise can buy one gun and a bunch of accessories, and optimize that gun for the application at hand. You can even make an AR-15 into a pistol….
“…So the “defensive rifle” (as opposed to the “assault rifle”) is a nonsense idea that exists only in the minds of people who know nothing about guns. This being the case, you can’t fault gun owners for not buying or building such a weapon, because that is not a real thing and never will be. An assault rifle is a defense rifle, and a defense rifle is an assault rifle; these two concepts are identical — such is the very nature of armed combat, in which one person is trying to prevent himself from being killed by killing the other guy first. Anyone who “needs” a defense rifle “needs” an assault rifle, because they are the same…
… “You may reject all of the rationales offered above, which is fine. It’s totally respectable for you to admit that you don’t believe the rationales for AR ownership outlined above are legitimate, and therefore we should outlaw civilian ownership of a very large category of weapons. But what isn’t respectable is to argue this way, and then to turn around and claim that “nobody is coming for your guns!” That’s insulting, and we both know it isn’t true. Stop doing that. If you’re serious about banning guns, you can talk about banning all semiautomatic guns, or about restricting guns to a list of approved models or actions. This is may not be politically realistic at the moment, but at least it’s consistent and rational. But talk of banning just the “AR-15” — as if that’s a specific model of gun that you can just up and ban — is technologically infeasible and ultimately counterproductive.