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This day in Black American Women’s Herstory …
Originally charged with the 1974 murder of a white jailer, Joan Little was ultimately acquitted on Aug. 15, 1975. Her defense claimed that Little, who was in prison at the time, had stabbed the jailer with an ice pick in defense when he assaulted her sexually.
Little became the first woman in the United States, regardless of race, to be acquitted using the defense that she used deadly force to prevent sexual assault.
Focusing attention on a women’s right to defend herself from rape, capital punishment and racial inequalities in the criminal justice system, Little’s trial aroused campaigning amongst the civil rights, feminist and anti-death penalty movements.
“Those of us — women and men — who are black or people of color must understand the connection between racism and sexism that is so strikingly manifested in [Joan Little’s] case,” wrote activist Angela Davis in a 1975 Ms. magazine article.
“Those of us who are white and women must grasp the issue of male supremacy in relationship to the racism and class bias which complicate and exacerbate it,” Davis continued.
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Patricia Roberts Harris: Patricia Roberts Harris (1924-1985) served as the secretary of housing and urban development from 1977-1979 and was the first African American woman to be a member of a presidential cabinet. Harris was also the first African American woman appointed to a U.S. ambassadorship. (Photo Credit: Corbis)
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I’m no activist but I’d like to dedicate this piece to Trayvon Martin, RIP. I’m not even sure if this falls under the category of “unapproachableblackchick” but I know some people get annoyed at our overzealous involvement in social issues.
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The common assertion is that Parks’ moment in history began in December 1955 when she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery, Ala. But we must confront this assertion, because each time we confine her memory to that moment we erase part of her admirable character, strategic intellect and indomitable spirit.
To be clear, Rosa Parks left us a deliberate legacy of activism, not an accidental activist moment. Furthermore, she, like many other Black women, should not be remembered in the shadows of Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. or any other Black male civil rights activist, but rather right alongside of them. We must realize and teach that when Rosa Parks was helping lay the foundation for the civil rights movement, Dr. King was still in high school.
At the intersection of sexism and racism, it is not surprising that we remember Rosa Parks as demure and delicate, since the image of her sitting quietly with her hands folded politely in her lap is commonplace. However, if we get beyond our stereotypical expectations of who a Black woman can be, we bear witness to her steely grace and steadfast commitment to defending human dignity. She had been doing so for years before she ever got on that bus.
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Azie Taylor Morton, 67, a former United States treasurer and the only black to serve in that post.
Morton was appointed the nation’s 37th treasurer by President Jimmy Carter, and served from 1977 to 1981.
The treasurer reports to the secretary of the Treasury, the principal economic advisor to the president. Both officials’ signatures are featured on paper money.
So you know it’s real …
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I rambled for like 45 secs but then my spoken word piece starts on the issue of “Dark Skin versus Light Skin.” I just wanted to add my two cents into the mix.
Another submission … please keep them coming folk!
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