Preparing for Our Next All-Society Platform Part II
I hope you will join us on Zoom on Sunday, January 30, 2022 at 11:00 am Eastern Time for our All-Society Platform, “W.E.B. Du Bois: Will the Truth Set You Free?”
As we researched the connections between W.E.B. Du Bois and the Ethical Movement we found more instances of his interactions with the New York Society for Ethical Culture. For example, Dr. Du Bois first spoke at NYSEC on February 17, 1907 when the Society was meeting at Carnegie Hall. Here’s an excerpt from the address he gave:
But, above all, the thing the black man needs most is sympathy. I do not mean maudlin sympathy; not the goody-goody talk which supposes I am sorry I am a black and ashamed of being a negro, and they want to express as delicately as they can my shame in their words, forgetting that my shame lies not in my face, but in theirs, and that the complaint I have voiced is not that God made me black, but that He has made you blind. We want the sympathy which realizes our difficult task and tries to make the road we have to travel as smooth as possible.
What makes the words so poignant for me was how 41 years later after that speech, how little of the history Dr. Du Bois spoke about had made it into the mainstream and how the lack of respect and appreciation toward Black people in the United States had manifested in violence and oppression. While his message of the importance of having allies in the fight against racism was not shared as widely as it should’ve been, it was not ignored. In 1948, the AEU Assembly passed a resolution addressing the efforts by the Truman administration to better protect the civil rights of Black Americans.
President Harry Truman convened the President’s Committee on Civil Rights through Executive Order to “inquire into and to determine whether and in what respect current law-enforcement measures and the authority and means possessed by Federal, State, and local governments may be strengthened and improved to safeguard the civil rights of the people.”
Truman’s order was in response to the many violent attacks on African-American veterans upon their return from the Second World War and the concerted efforts to subdue Black people who showed any expectation of having their civil rights respected. Sadly, this is yet another example of history repeating itself. Black soldiers were crucial for the victory of the Union over the Confederacy, in the success of the Allied forces in World War I, and in the triumph of The Grand Alliance in World War II. When Black soldiers returned from their instrumental role the victories of these wars, they were attacked instead of being celebrated, and oppression was widespread.
It’s almost 73 years since Dr. Du Bois’ 1949 address. What can we say progress made in undoing systemic racism during that span? And what do we imagine will be said about our time 73 years from now?
New Workshop offering from Jone Johnson Lewis:
Have you felt frustrated when trying to engage in productive conversations about race with friends, family, and coworkers whose racial views you find problematic? This workshop is aimed especially at white anti-racists who want to improve their skills and abilities to have such conversations with other white people as well as foster change in your circle of influence.
This series will take place over a span of six Monday evenings, February 7 & 21, March 7 & 21, April 4 & 18, at 7:45 pm ET / 6:45 CT / 5:45 MT / 4:45 PT. Sessions will be on Zoom, 90 minutes each session, with reading and some practice between times.
To Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/becoming-a-more-effective-anti-racist-2022-tickets-2321991328577
Join Zoom Meeting by computer, tablet or smartphone: https://bit.ly/All-SocietyPlatform
Join by phone use Meeting ID: 891 9333 5697
AND DON’T FORGET:
1619 Project Community Listening & Dialogue with Louise Jett
The New York Times Sunday Magazine’s “1619 Project” edition in 2019 prompted a lot of interest in the history of the Black experience in the United States as well as some criticism. Created by Nikole Hannah-Jones, The 1619 Project is ongoing and a number of additional resources now available. The Pullitzer Center has published a 1619 Project Curriculum, the New York Times has published a book version, and there is a podcast series, too.
Louise Jett, a Leader-in-training with the AEU and the Social Media Manager for the Ethical Society of St. Louis, is offering a Community Listening and Dialogue series that will give people an opportunity to explore the 1619 Project podcasts. These sessions are open to all at no charge on Tuesday evenings 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, on Zoom.
To participate, listen to the podcast episode at your convenience then join the dialogue on Zoom. You don’t need to restrict yourself to listening to the podcasts and you can find the interactive version of NYT Magazine edition here: 1619 Project.
Here are the dates for the series:
Jan 4th, Episode 1: The Fight for a True Democracy
Jan 11th, Episode 2: The Economy That Slavery Built
Jan 18th, Episode 3: The Birth of American Music
Jan 25th, Episode 4: How the Bad Blood Started
Feb 1st, Episode 5: The Land of Our Fathers, Parts One and Two
While everyone is encouraged to listen to the thought-provoking podcast episode before the session, you do not need to have listened to it before attending the community conversations.
If you need help listening to the podcast or exploring any of the other 1619 materials, please contact Louise Jett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join by computer, tablet or smartphone: https://bit.ly/1619CommunityListening
Join by phone: Meeting ID 881 6672 9429
This post originally appeared at AEU.org.