Time for Less Prison

Photo courtesy of Sophie Elbaz/Sygma/Corbis.

Photo courtesy of Sophie Elbaz/Sygma/Corbis.

To this day, I have a distinct memory of my mother locking the car doors when we pulled up to a specific corner in the downtown section of Michigan’s second largest city. It’s an intersection I’ve gone through many times in life – one of two necessary to get downtown. Also to this day, it has not been an intersection I’ve ever experienced any problems at. The only other noticeable attribute of this intersection and its surrounding neighborhood was that the people present walking in and out of nearby stores are almost exclusively Black. Not once did anyone ever try to open the car door or knock on the windows, so there wasn’t any plausible reason to think that someone might actually attempt something. Nonetheless, the unspoken corollary was, “There are lots of Black people downtown, and therefore when you are downtown, the doors must be locked.”

This kind of social stigma has only ever been reinforced by clues from popular culture that regularly place people of color in roles of thieves, violent criminals, and drug dealers. This pattern of racial criminalization and its consequences were summarized in a New York Times op-ed by Khalil Gibran Muhammad – Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture – as,

…stigmatizing black people as dangerous, legitimizing or excusing white-on-black violence, conflating crime and poverty with blackness, and perpetuating punitive notions of “justice” — vigilante violence, stop-and-frisk racial profiling and mass incarceration — as the only legitimate responses.


The Manning Marable Memorial Conference

The Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University (IRAAS) and the Ford Foundation Presents “A New Vision of Black Freedom: the Manning Marable Memorial Conference,” an academic and community-focused event scheduled for April 26-29, 2012 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Columbia University and Riverside Church in New York City.


Black History “The House Down”

Robin explains that yes, Black History Month is more than a month. But February is a great opportunity to support grassroots organizations and local institutions. She encourages you to enjoy yourself and Black History “The House Down”.  For more information on Carter G. Woodson and the legacy of Black History Month, check out the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

by Robin Hayes

Black History Metropolis

Jet Magazine, February 10th, 1986 pg. 14

Black History Month is in full swing and we have been enjoying all that New York City has to offer.  If you haven’t had the chance to check out some BHM events around the city, it’s not too late.  Here are some of the events we recommend (whole calendar after the jump). All events are free unless otherwise noted. If you know of any events to add, send us an e-mail at progressivepupil@beautifulmes.com.