Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The FBI's War on Black-Owned Bookstores

Black History Month | Independent Bookstores | African-American Heritage

At the height of the Black Power movement, the Bureau focused on the unlikeliest of public enemies: black independent booksellers.

by Joshua Clark Davis | Feb 19, 2018


A Harlem bookstore in 1964, where a registration for the Back-to-Africa movement was held


 



In the spring of 1968, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover announced to his agents that COINTELPRO, the counter-intelligence program established in 1956 to combat communists, should focus on preventing the rise of a “Black ‘messiah’” who sought to “unify and electrify the militant black nationalist movement.” The program, Hoover insisted, should target figures as ideologically diverse as the Black Power activist Stokely Carmichael (later Kwame Ture), Martin Luther King Jr., and Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad.

Just a few months later, in October 1968, Hoover penned another memo warning of the urgent menace of a growing Black Power movement, but this time the director focused on the unlikeliest of public enemies: black independent booksellers.

In a one-page directive, Hoover noted with alarm a recent “increase in the establishment of black extremist bookstores which represent propaganda outlets for revolutionary and hate publications and culture centers for extremism.” The director ordered each Bureau office to “locate and identify black extremist and/or African-type bookstores in its territory and open separate discreet investigations on each to determine if it is extremist in nature.” Each investigation was to “determine the identities of the owners; whether it is a front for any group or foreign interest; whether individuals affiliated with the store engage in extremist activities; the number, type, and source of books and material on sale; the store’s financial condition; its clientele; and whether it is used as a headquarters or meeting place.”
 
Perhaps most disturbing, Hoover wanted the Bureau to convince African American citizens (presumably with pay or through extortion) to spy on these stores by posing as sympathetic customers or activists. Read more...

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

You’re a Researcher Without a Library: What Do You Do? | Medium

Research | Access | Libraries | Open Access

by Jake Orlowitz  | Nov 15, 2017

Investigating solutions for frustrated scholars, nonprofits, independent learners, and the rest of us.

Wikimedia Commons

 

 The world of publishing is evolving frantically, while it remains frustratingly fragmented and prohibitively expensive for many. If you’re a student who just left your academic library behind only to discover you are now locked out of the stacks; a startup researching water usage in Africa and keep hitting paywalls; a local nonprofit that studies social change activism, but all the latest papers cost $30 per read… This article is for you.

Local Library

Citizens, taxpayers, cities, states, and nations pay a lot of money to provide free services. Use them! Public libraries often subscribe to costly databases; the annual investments for these licenses are only worth it if they are of use to the libraries’ constituency. The good news is that most people have a library nearby, many of the resources are fully available online (especially the databases), and a library card is often free or inexpensive. Also, libraries have librarians, who are pros at finding what you want (or something even better).

Bad news is that your local library may not be that local, and you may need to jump through some hoops to get your library card. Not all local libraries can afford masses of scholarly journals either, although many have at least some access. Read more...

The unexpected role librarians are playing in Sacramento’s homeless crisis

Homelessness | Public libraries | Mental health training

by Cynthia Hubert  | January 29, 2018 (updated January 30, 2018)

A homeless man waits for the downtown library doors to open on Jan. 26, 2017. Librarians and other staff members are receiving training to help them understand and deal with mental illness, which affects many more homeless people than others according to studies. Randy Pench rpench@sacbee.com

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article197270849.html#storylink=cpy
For many of Sacramento’s homeless men and women, the public library is a haven from harsh weather, a primary source for bathroom facilities, a place to rest from the stress of the streets.

Sacramento library director Rivkah Sass welcomes them all, she said, as long as their behavior is not disruptive to staff members and other patrons.

But as the homeless crisis deepens in the capital city and around the country, libraries increasingly are seeing people with untreated mental illnesses that cause them to act oddly, or put themselves or others in danger.

“Clearly, there just are not enough services for people who need to address their mental issues, and they end up with us because we are the last free, public open space available to them,” Sass said.
Read more...

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article197270849.html#storylink=cpy

Rosa Parks Was My Aunt. Here's What You Don't Know About Her.

Civil Rights | Black Heistory Month | Women's History

by Urana McCauley as told to Liz Dwyer | February 2, 2018

Urana McCauley  
After that NAACP event, that’s when I started asking her questions about what she witnessed, what she endured, and what life was like for black people back then. That led to her telling me a lot of stories. She’d tell me what her life was like when she was a little girl growing up in Alabama. One of the things that people don’t understand about my aunt is that she was an activist her whole life and she started questioning things at a young age. I think part of it was her upbringing with her grandfather, Sylvester Edwards. He would sit up at night with a shotgun — in case the KKK might come by and try to kill them — and talk to her about black resistance and the key figures in it: Crispus Attucks, Harriet Tubman, Marcus Garvey. That laid the foundation for my aunt to feel like, "This isn’t right. I should be doing something and becoming an activist." Her whole life became dedicated to change.

When she was 10, a white boy pushed Auntie Rosa, and she pushed him back. Auntie Rosa’s grandmother told her, "You need to be quiet, you need to stop being so vocal." She was told, as black people, we’re not allowed to do those things to whites. Her grandmother was concerned that she’d get hurt, that she could even get lynched. But Auntie Rosa told her grandmother, "Let them try to lynch me." She was that bold, even when she was young. Read article...