During this week of the commemoration of 9/11, I also want to let people know of Ms. Cee Cee Lyles. She was one of the flight attendants on United Airlines Flight #93. The aircraft involved in the hijacking was a Boeing 757-222.  The airplane had a capacity of 182 passengers. The September 11 flight carried 37 passengers and seven crew. The seven crew members were Captain Jason Dahl, First Officer LeRoy Homer, Jr.,  and flight attendants Lorraine Bay, Sandra Bradshaw, Deborah Welsh, Wanda Green, and CeeCee Lyles.

Very few people know of Ms. Lyles. I first heard of her when I decided to do some research of my own when the tragedy of 9/11 occurred. That is when I began to find information across the Internet on Ms. Lyles. Often the victims of 9/11 are shown are White; even on recent major news broadcast programs, the interviewed children of the deceased  were all non-Black. Flight attendant Cee Cee Lyles deserves just as much recognition for her bravery along with those who all perished on Flight 93.

The hijacking on Flight 93 began at 09:28. By this time, United Airlines Flights 11 and 175 had already crashed into the World Trade Center and American Airlines Flight 77 was within minutes of striking the Pentagon.

At 9:39 air traffic controllers overheard Ziah  Jarrah (one of the hijackers) say, “Hi, this is the captain. I would like you all to remain seated. There is a bomb on board and are going back to the airport, and to have our demands [inaudible]. Please remain quiet.”

Flight attendants and passengers then swung into action, making phone calls to family members and officials. It was from loved ones that they learned of the attack on the World Trade Center, and they made the decision to fight back against the hijackers.

Jeremy Glick called his wife at 09:37:41 from row 27 and told her the flight was hijacked by three dark-skinned men that looked “Iranian”, wearing red bandanas and wielding knives. Mark Bingham called his mother at 09:37:03 from row 25. He reported that the plane had been hijacked by three men who claimed to have a bomb. Todd Beamer attempted to call his wife from row 32 at 09:43:48, but was routed to GTE phone operator Lisa D. Jefferson. He said one of the hijackers had a red belt with what looked to be a bomb attached to his waist.

Flight attendant CeeCee Lyles called her husband at 09:47:57 and left him a message saying the plane had been hijacked.

Click here for audio.

By 09:57, the passengers took a vote amongst themselves and they decided to act. The passenger revolt had begun. Rushing the cockpit doors, they were determined to take control of the cockpit from the four hijackers (Ziad Jarrah, Ahmed al-Nami, Ahmed al-Hazawi, and  Saeed al-Ghamdi ). Jarrah, who was flying the plane, pitched and rolled it to unbalance the passengers, but they continued their resistance.

Flight Attendant Lyles called her husband once more from a cell phone and told him the passengers were forcing their way into the cockpit. From there the well-known statement of passenger Todd Beamer “Let’s roll!” was heard.

The hijackers fought to keep the passengers from entering the cockpit, forcing themselves against the cockpit door. Jarrah told another hijacker in the cockpit at 9:58:57, “They want to get in here. Hold, hold from the inside. Hold from the inside. Hold.”

Jarrah stopped the pitching maneuvers at 10:01:00 and began to recite the Takbir (Takbeer). He then asked another hijacker, “Is that it? I mean, shall we put it down?” The other hijacker responded, “Yes, put it in it, and pull it down.”  The passengers continued their assault and at 10:02:23, a hijacker said, “Pull it down! Pull it down!”

At 10:03:11, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the plane crashed into a reclaimed coal strip mine in Stonycreek Township in Somerset County. The National Transportation Safety Board reported that the flight impacted at 563 miles per hour at a 40-degree nose-down. The impact left a crater eight to ten feet deep and 30 to 50 feet wide. All 44 people on board–cockpit crew, flight attendants, passengers (as well as the hijackers)— died.

Recovery of one of the engines from the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93.
Photograph of an airplane part found at the scene in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 crashed.  Moussaoui trial exhibit #P200062

The intended target of United Airlines Flight 93 was never determined.


Flight crew: CeeCee Lyles

Sunday, October 28, 2001

Smart, strong and street-savvy, CeeCee Lyles had a golden future ahead of her as a cop.

Ceecee Lyles
dot.gifUnited Airlines flight attendant. Former police officer, 33, Fort Myers, Fla. (Family photo)
Husband, Lorne; sons, Jerome Smith, 16, Jevon Castrillo, 6, Justin Lyles, 11, Jordan Lyles, 9.
She was working in the rear section of Flight 93

In six years with the Fort Pierce, Fla., Police Department, she’d worked her way from patrol officer to detective and was respected for her willingness to tackle fleeing criminals. Slated for promotion to sergeant, Lyles augmented her income by moonlighting at a hospital and power plant, providing a comfortable life for her sons, Jerome Smith and Jevon Castrillo.

After coaxing soft-spoken, handsome police dispatcher Lorne Lyles to join the force in 1997, she married him three years later and made his sons, Justin and Jordan, her own. But last fall, after Lorne spotted an ad for job openings on a United Airlines web site, CeeCee walked away from police work and, on Oct. 11, 2000, fulfilled a lifelong goal.

“She’d always wanted to be a flight attendant so she could travel,” said Lorne Lyles, 31, now a police officer in Fort Myers, Fla. “After years of police work, her kind heart got tired of seeing the sad part of the job.”

CeeCee grew up in Fort Pierce and raised her sons on her own until she married Lorne in May 2000 and later moved to Fort Myers. Emulating her mother and aunts, she never took welfare, instead working two or three jobs while volunteering at Restoration House, a Christian women’s shelter that two of her aunts founded in Fort Pierce.

“CeeCee was a role model, showing women they could make their own way without leeching off the system,” said her aunt, Mareya Schneider. “In the last few years, she really dedicated herself to the Lord and she would use Scripture to explain that if you don’t work, you don’t eat.”

Easygoing and athletic, with a trademark warm grin, CeeCee spent free time tending to her blended family, playing softball and baseball and helping with police programs for children.

Moments before Flight 93 went down, CeeCee dialed home twice on a cell phone to tell Lorne of the hijacking and of her love for him and their boys. Calmly, she prayed to see her husband’s face again, then beseeched God to forgive and welcome her home — along with everyone else on the plane.

“My wife was a strong God-fearing woman who loved her family. She meant the world to me,” Lorne Lyles said. “It’s hard to figure out what to do next without her.”


On February 17,  2009, Flight Attendant Cee Cee Lyles was honored by her hometown of Fort. Pierce, Florida. In a ceremony attended by her family members, leaders of the city, fellow flight attendantsof the AFA, and Se. Mel Martinez (R-FL), a post office was dedicated to her memory. In 2003, a bronze statue in Liberty Garden, IN Fort Pierece in Veteran’s Memorial Park to memorialize the United flight attendant and Fort Pierce native.

Many people look at those who lost their lives on Flight 93 as vicitms.

I prefer to see them as heroines and heroes who gave their lives that others may live.

I thank them for their courage under fire.

I honor and salute you, Cee Cee Lyles, for your bravery and resolute strength.



SUMMARY OF FLIGHT 93: UNITED STATES vs. ZACARIAS MOUSSAOUI  (This download opens in a ZIP file.)






Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized



Quick Facts

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Democracy is observed on September 15 each year.

Local names

Name Language
International Day of Democracy English
Día Internacional de la Democracia Spanish

International Day of Democracy 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

International Day of Democracy 2012

Saturday, September 15, 2012
List of dates for other years

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Democracy is annually held on September 15 to raise public awareness about democracy. Various activities and events are held around the world to promote democracy on this date.
Definition of democracy typed on a typewriter.
The International Day of Democracy aims to raise public awareness about democracy – its meaning and importance. ©iStockphoto.com/Richard Goerg

What do people do?

Many people and organizations worldwide, including government agencies and non-government organizations, hold various initiatives to promote democracy on the International Day of Democracy. Events and activities include discussions, conferences and press conferences involving keynote speakers, often those who are leaders or educators heavily involved in supporting and endorsing democratic governments and communities.

Leaflets, posters and flyers are placed in universities, public buildings, and places where people can learn more about how democracy is linked with factors such as freedom of expression and a tolerant culture. Organizations, such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), organize activities such as public opinion surveys about democracy and political tolerance.

There has been a campaign, known as the Global Democracy Day Initiative, which involves a petition being made to the UN and heads of states to officially adopt October 18 as Global Democracy Day to support International Day of Democracy.

Public life

The International Day of Democracy is a UN observance day but it is not a public holiday.


The UN strives to achieve its goals of peace, human rights and development. It believes that human rights and the rule of law are best protected in democratic societies. The UN also recognizes a fundamental truth about democracy everywhere – that democracy is the product of a strong, active and vocal civil society.

The UN general assembly decided on November 8, 2007, to make September 15 as the annual date to observe the International Day of Democracy. The assembly invited people and organizations, both government and non-government, to commemorate the International Day of Democracy. It also called for all governments to strengthen their national programs devoted to promoting and consolidating democracy. The assembly encouraged regional and other intergovernmental organizations to share their experiences in promoting democracy.

The International Day of Democracy was first celebrated in 2008. The UN general assembly recognized that the year 2008 marked the 20th anniversary of the first International Conference of New or Restored Democracies, which gave people a chance to focus on promoting and consolidating democracy worldwide.


The UN logo is often associated with marketing and promotional material for this event. It features a projection of a world map (less Antarctica) centered on the North Pole, enclosed by olive branches. The olive branches symbolize peace and the world map represents all the people of the world. It has been featured in black against a white background.

International Day of Democracy Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Mon Sep 15 2008 International Day of Democracy United Nation day  
Tue Sep 15 2009 International Day of Democracy United Nation day  
Wed Sep 15 2010 International Day of Democracy United Nation day  
Thu Sep 15 2011 International Day of Democracy United Nation day  
Sat Sep 15 2012 International Day of Democracy United Nation day  
Sun Sep 15 2013 International Day of Democracy United Nation day  
Mon Sep 15 2014 International Day of Democracy United Nation day  
Tue Sep 15 2015 International Day of Democracy United Nation day  


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized


When 9/11 occurred, many first responders took their lives into their hands to save those buried under building rubble, from fires, from suffocation, and from certain death, as the famous Twin Towers of the World Trade Center fell.

Many people, due to disregard from the mainstream media and also due to racist and sexist perceptions, picture White men as firefighters and police when this tragedy occurred. But, there were heroes and heroines who saved lives, men–and women–who are unknown and unsung to the rest of America.

One such hero is Jason Thomas.

I first heard of his story from fellow blogger Rachel of rachelstavern.com Her article, “Erasing Black Heroes By Making Them White”  written August 16, 2008 is still relevant of how mainstream media, and Hollywood, whitewash those who put their lives on the line during America’s most trying time.

Missing from the stories of that day are the stories of women, especially women of color. Another story unknown to many is that of Regina Wilson. Ms. Wilson, a Black woman firefighter, the only woman of her unit Engine 219, is one of the 11,000 women firefighters across America. She raced to the scene, put on a mask, fought blazes and pulled trapped people out from the rubble with her comrades of Engine 219.  She, among many, were quick on the scene to save lives, and she deserves for her story to be told so that she may no longer be ignored or forgotten.

Ms. Wilson still serves as a firefighter for Engine 219.

As we remember the tragedy of 9/11 and the many first responders who lost their lives that others may live, let’s not forget the women, especially those of color, who gave the ultimate sacrifice that others may live.


“9/11 Was the Time to Let You Know Whether or Not This Was The Job for You”

New York City Firefighter Regina Wilson reflects on September 11, when she thought her life was going to end.

By Danielle Wright
Posted: 09/11/2011 07:30 AM EDT

Many survivors of September 11, 2001 tell the story of running away from the fire, smoke and debris of the World Trade Center’s twin towers, but it’s not every day that you hear the story of those who ran toward it, especially not the story of 9/11’s women firefighters.

Regina Wilson was one of many women first responders who risked their lives in an effort to save others.

“We got dispatched out to go to the Trade Center, so we went down there via the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel,” she reflects. “When we first got dispatched out, nobody kind of understood, or knew what was going on.”

Wilson had just been relieved of her night shift duties at the Engine 219 fire station in Brooklyn, New York when she was told that she had been hired for overtime that morning. Little did she know that the overtime shift would become the biggest test of her endurance as a firefighter.

In preparation for the day shift, Wilson sat down to have breakfast in the firehouse kitchen. As a colleague flipped through the television channels, they witnessed the first plane crash into the World Trade Center. Almost immediately she was dispatched to report to the towers.

In disbelief, she and the firefighters rushed to their fire truck and headed toward Manhattan. As they drove through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel the structure forcefully shook. The North Tower, 1 World Trade Center, fell to the ground but not knowing what happened, Wilson and her entourage thought the tunnel had collapsed.

“We thought we were going to have to dig our way out of the tunnel and we started to take all of our equipment off of the fire truck, extra oxygen and the emergency medical bags because we weren’t sure what we were going to get ourselves into,” she says.

As they walked toward the end of the tunnel, they managed to see glimmers of light, but the light was soon darkened by the chaos that surrounded them.

Incapable of transporting anyone, Wilson and her team directed victims toward the tunnel where there were no people, no cars, and no activity — the “eeriest thing” she says that she has ever experienced.

Still not knowing what happened, they proceeded.

“It was crazy for me because I’m so used to: If I see the building on fire, I have to run to the building and put the fire out, but it was so much fire everywhere. It was just not one place where you could … focus your attention,” she says.

They noticed fire trucks, but the rigs were abandoned and some destroyed. Then, a large boom sounded. “We’re under attack! We’re under attack!” Wilson says someone yelled. Then the second tower collapsed.

“Keep going. Run. Run. Run,” her boss instructed her and the other firefighters. The group ran back to their fire engine parked only five blocks away from the towers, and as they quickly put on their oxygen masks Wilson looked back only to see “black smoke, with flames in the smoke.”

It wasn’t long before the black smoke encompassed them, too.

“It got completely black and we were sitting there for what felt like forever. At that point, I just got content with dying because I didn’t know if the buildings were going to fall on me. I didn’t know if people on the ground were going to be shooting at me,” she says.

Thankfully, Wilson’s life did not end that day. She headed back out and she and her team started to look for those who needed help.

“… Knees were sticking up out of the ground, but the rest of the body was covered up. You’d see a partial head and a hand. Not finding anybody alive, that was the most frustrating thing to me,” she says.

The rescue and recovery missions had begun and almost everyone was dead.

“I think that day gave me a true, clear understanding of my obligation and what it really, really means to be able to have to sacrifice. My job means giving it all and not hesitating about it because if you are hesitant about it, or you weren’t really sure if that was your calling, 9/11 was the time to let you know whether or not this was the job for you,” she says.

As Wilson reflects on the day she lost seven colleagues from her Engine 219 firehouse where she still works today, she hopes that 10 years later, this September 11, all those who sacrificed their lives will be remembered.

Over the years she says that men, and particularly white men, have only been the face of rescue, recovery and search efforts on September 11, but that’s not true.

“I think one of the biggest things that I hope for is not even so much as an African-American woman, but as a woman, period, that people will be able to see our own personal sacrifices, and that history will show that men were not the only protectors of the city, but there were women there, too,” she says. “We were here trying to serve our country. We were there trying to protect our neighbors and our neighborhoods. I think that I don’t want history to exclude that in the things that have been done with Ground Zero.”

Out of slightly over 11,000 female firefighters nationwide, Wilson serves as the only one in her firehouse. In her now 12 years of being a firefighter, at age 42, she says that September 11 gave her a true understanding of altruism and understanding of why she does what she does.

“It showed me how selfless you have to be, how much you put other people before yourself. A lot of these first responders put strangers before their families and it just gave me the true essence of what it means to really love people. I think that was like the deepest, to me, moment of clarity during 9/11,” she says.

To contact or share story ideas with Danielle Wright, follow and tweet her at @DaniWrightTV.

(Photo: Courtesy Regina Wilson)

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized


I usually do not watch so-called beauty pageants. As a matter of fact, I cannot remember the last time I saw an airing of the Miss Universe or Miss America pageants. Probably a few decades ago, as I did not miss seeing them, and I felt there was no loss if I never laid eyes on another pageant in my life.

But, today at work, I over heard a co-worker speaking of the Miss Universe pageant, and she stated that Miss Angola won the competition.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic.

The 60TH Annual Miss Universe Pageant, broadcast Monday from Sao Paula, Brazil, gave the world its latest queen of beauty in all the galaxy, Miss Leila Lopes of Angola who walked off with the crown.

2011 Miss Universe winner Leila Lopes is crowned by Ximena Navarrete, Miss Universe 2010

Miss Angola, business student Leila Lopes, and she plans to work on HIV advocacy worldwide, in addition to helping her own country.

“As Miss Angola I’ve already done a lot to help my people,” Lopes, 25, said Tuesday morning after taking home the crown. “I’ve worked with various social causes. I work with poor kids, I work in the fight against HIV. I work to protect the elderly and I have to do everything that my country needs.

“I think now as Miss Universe I will be able to do much more.”


And her response that helped her to win the competition:

“I’m very satisfied with the way God created me and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Leila Lopes, Miss Universe 2011. (Yasuyoshi Chiba/ AFP/ Getty Images)

A flawless beauty with an inner beauty to boot.

Way to go, Miss Lopes.

Congratulations, and Salutare.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized


This Thursday, September 15, 2011, will mark the 48th Anniversary of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church of Birmingham, Alabama.

It was on a Sunday morning that four little girls arrived at the church for their Sunday School lessons:   Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley whose lives were destroyed due to white racist hate. The segregationists, the racist terrorists known as the  Ku Klux Klan, Police Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Conner ( who drove a tank painted white while he enforced the codes of segregation),  the venomous demagoguery of then Gov. George Corley Wallace all conspired to murder these innocents who were at the church to hear the word of God. Gov. Wallace, a week before the bombing, told the New York Times that in order to crush integration, the state of Alabama “needed a few first-class funerals“.

The 16TH Street Baptist Church was a meeting-place for the civil rights activists Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Black civil rights organizations, Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) were registering Blacks to vote, and anger and rage of racist Whites at this endeavor caused racial hostilities to escalate against Black citizens fighting the grip of Jane Crow segregation.


On September 15, 1963, a witness stated having seen a White man get out of a turquoise and white Chevrolet car and place a box under the steps of the church. At approximately 10:22 a.m. the bomb exploded taking the lives of Denise (11), Addie Mae (14), Carole (14) and Cynthia (14). Their deaths came only a few days after schools in Birmingham were desegregated.

Also killed in the wake of the bombing were Virgil Ware (13) and Johnnie Robinson (16). Twenty-two other people were seriously hurt as well, one of whom was Addie Mae Collins’ younger sister, Sarah.

Robert Chambliss, a member of the KKK was identified by a witness as the murderer who placed the bomb under the church steps. Chambliss was arrested, charged with murder and for the possession of  120 sticks of dynamite without a permit. Less than a month later, on October 8, 1963, Chambliss was found not guilty of murder.  He received a $100 fine and a six-month jail sentence for the possession of the dynamite.

With the election of Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley, the case was re-opened. He requested the files of information on the case from the FBI and he discovered reams of evidence that the FBI allowed to languish–evidence that pointed towards the guilt of Chambliss–evidence that had never seen the light of day in Chambliss’ trial. Then again, the FBI, under the direction of J. Edgar Hoover, was as much the enemy of Black citizens as was the KKK.

In November, 1977, Chambliss was again tried for the bombing. At the age of 73, Chambliss was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. He died in prison on October 29, 1985.

On May 17, 2000, the FBI divulged that Chambliss, along with Thomas Blanton, Bobby Cherry and Herman Cash, was part of the Cahaba Boys, a splinter group of the KKK. The FBI claimed that the four were guilty of the bombing. Cash was dead, and escaped justice. Blanton and Cherry were arrested.

Thomas Blanton, Jr., was found guilty of first degree murder for killing the little girls. He received four counts of life imprisonment.

At the age of 71, Bobby Frank Cherry was convicted on May, 23, 2002 for the murder of Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley.

He was sentenced to life in prison.

Cherry had been a demolitions expert in the Marines.

The heartless cold-blooded contempt for the lives of murdered children showed the lack of compassion and the disrespect towards the humanity of the Black citizens of Birmingham, “the most segregated city in the South”. So prevalent were bombings in the city that it earned the moniker “Bombingham, Alabama”.

File:Interior view of the basement exhibition at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.jpg
Interior view of the basement exhibition at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, with pictures of the events of the Civil Rights movement and the 1963 bombing of the church. (1993).  SOURCE

The murders of the little girls and the two boys hardly garnered a page in the news. For many in America, life went on as usual, for many in the South and for many in Birmingham, Alabama, it was the callous and cavalier disregard for the loss of such young and innocent lives–but, for four little girls, the lives of promise, hope, and contributions ended when a bomb blast that Sunday morning took their lives.

“In early 1983, I was in Alabama, being driven the 130 miles from Birmingham to Tuskegee by the father of one of the four girls who had been killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing of 1963. Chris McNair is a gregarious and charismatic man who, at the time, was running for political office; he was scheduled to make a speech at the famous all-black college, Tuskegee Institute. That morning, as he was driving through the Alabama countryside, he took the opportunity to quiz me about my life and nascent career as a writer. He asked me if I had published any books yet, and I said no. But I quickly corrected myself and sheepishly admitted that my first play had just been published. When I told him the title he turned and stared at me, then he looked back to the road. “So what do you know about lynching?” I swallowed deeply and looked through the car windshield as the southern trees flashed by. I knew full well that “Strange Fruit” meant something very different in the US; in fact, something disturbingly specific in the south, particularly to African Americans. A pleasant, free-flowing conversation with my host now appeared to be shipwrecked on the rocks of cultural appropriation.

I had always assumed that Billie Holiday composed the music and lyrics to “Strange Fruit”. She did not. The song began life as a poem written by Abel Meeropol, a schoolteacher who was living in the Bronx and teaching English at the De Witt Clinton High School, where his students would have included the Academy award-winning screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky, the playwright Neil Simon, and the novelist and essayist James Baldwin. Meeropol was a trade union activist and a closet member of the Communist Party; his poem was first published in January 1937 as “Bitter Fruit”, in a union magazine called the New York School Teacher. In common with many Jewish people in the US during this period, Meeropol was worried (with reason) about anti-semitism and chose to publish his poem under the pseudonym “Lewis Allan”, the first names of his two stillborn children….

On that hot southern morning, as Chris McNair drove us through the Alabama countryside, I knew little about the background to the Billie Holiday song, and I had never heard of Lillian Smith. After a few minutes of silence, McNair began to talk to me about the history of violence against African-American people in the southern states, particularly during the era of segregation. This was a painful conversation for a man who had lost his daughter to a Ku Klux Klan bomb. I had, by then, confessed to him that my play had nothing to do with the US, with African Americans, with racial violence, or even with Billie Holiday. And, being a generous man, he had nodded patiently, and then addressed himself to my education on these matters. However, I did have some knowledge of the realities of the south – not only from my reading, but from an incident a week earlier. While I was staying at a hotel in Atlanta, a young waiter had warned me against venturing out after dark because the Klan would be rallying on Stone Mountain that evening, and after their gathering they often came downtown for some “fun”. However, as the Alabama countryside continued to flash by, I understood that this was not the time to do anything other than listen to McNair.

That afternoon, in a packed hall in Tuskegee Institute, McNair began what sounded to me like a typical campaign speech. He was preaching to the converted, and a light shower of applause began to punctuate his words as he hit his oratorical stride. But then he stopped abruptly, and he announced that today, for the first time, he was going to talk about his daughter. “I don’t know why, because I’ve never done this before. But Denise is on my mind.” He studiously avoided making eye contact with me, but, seated in the front row, I felt uneasily guilty. A hush fell over the audience. “You all know who my daughter is. Denise McNair. Today she would have been 31 years old.’ “

SOURCE:  Caryl Phillips, The Guardian (August 18, 2007)


 Addie Mae Collins  Denise McNair
 Carole Robertson  Cynthia Wesley


Filed under Uncategorized


Bill Day, Memphis, Tennessee, caglecartoons.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized


Cherokees expel descendants of slaves from tribe

By JUSTIN JUOZAPAVICIUS – Associated Press | AP – Fri, Sep 9, 2011


TULSA, Okla. (AP) — One of the nation’s largest American Indian tribes has sent letters to about 2,800 descendants of slaves once owned by its members, revoking their citizenship and cutting their medical care, food stipends, low-income homeowners’ assistance and other services.

The Cherokee Nation acted this week after its Supreme Court upheld the results of a 2007 special vote to amend the Cherokee constitution and remove the slaves’ descendants and other non-Indians from tribal rolls. The 300,000-member tribe is the biggest in Oklahoma, although many of its members live elsewhere.

Olive Anderson, 70, of Kansas City, Mo., called the letter she received “a slap in the face.”

“It tears me up to think they can attack my ancestors,” Anderson said.

The tribe never owned black slaves, but some individual members did. They were freed after the Civil War, in which the tribe allied with the Confederacy. An 1866 treaty between the tribe and the federal government gave the freedmen and their descendants “all the rights of native Cherokees.”

But more than 76 percent of Cherokee voters approved the amendment stripping the descendants of their citizenship. Tribal leaders who backed the amendment, including then-Principal Chief Chad Smith, said the vote was about the fundamental right of every government to determine its citizens, not about racial exclusion.

The freedmen’s descendants disagree.

“It’s a red man, black man issue just like it’s a white man, black man issue,” said Raymond Nash, 64, of Nowata. “It’s embarrassing, really. It should have been over a long time ago.”

Along with losing services, Nash and other descendants of freedmen won’t be able to vote in the hotly contested Sept. 24 election for principal chief that pits Smith against longtime tribal councilman Bill John Baker. The election is being held after the tribe’s Supreme Court tossed out the results of a June election, saying it could not determine with a mathematical certainty who won. The results had flip-flopped between the two during weeks of counts and recounts. Baker had twice been declared winner, but so had Smith.

“This definitely is a setback for our freedmen people because we were all eager to vote in the upcoming election,” said Marilyn Vann, president of the Descendants of Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes. “The attitude is more like, ‘We can’t put them in chains, so we’ll do anything we can to take away their rights.’ It’s a matter of racism and politics.”

Smith has supported the results of the 2007 voter-approved amendment.

“I’ve consistently supported the Cherokee Nation’s right to determine their own national identity,” he said Friday. “Cherokees say this: We don’t care what you look like, as long as you’ve got Cherokee blood. It’s about identity and self-governance.”

Baker hasn’t explicitly said he supports the amendment and the expulsion of the freedmen, but he issued a statement saying, “I respect the decision of the Cherokee people and believe fully in our right to self-govern.”

After Cherokee Supreme Court upheld the 2007 vote on Aug. 22, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development temporarily froze $33 million in funds while it studies the issue. Federal lawmakers who believe the amendment violated the freedmen’s civil rights had lobbied federal agencies to cut funding to the tribe.

Joe Crittenden, who is serving as acting principal chief until the new election is held, said the tribe, which has a $600 million budget, has enough money to carry it for “a few months” without cutting HUD-related services or jobs.

Crittenden said Cherokee leaders have been having weekly conversations with the local and regional HUD offices.

“We are confident that future federal funding will continue once the issues are resolved,” he said.

HUD referred questions to its local office, which did not respond to messages left by The Associated Press.



“The tribe never owned black slaves, but some individual members did. They were freed after the Civil War, in which the tribe allied with the Confederacy. An 1866 treaty between the tribe and the federal government gave the freedmen and their descendants “all the rights of native Cherokees.”

Neither did many people in America own slaves, but, the Cherokee Nation’s Constitution, sanctioned and legally condoned race-based slavery, and the racism that ensued against all Black people in the CN, enslave or free:

Article III, Sec. 4 — No person shall be eligible to a seat in the General Council, but a free Cherokee male citizen, who shall have attained to the age of twenty-five years. The descendants of Cherokee men by all free women, except the African race, whose parents may have been living together as man and wife, according to the customs and laws of this Nation, shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges of this Nation, as well as the posterity of Cherokee women by all free men. No person who is of negro or mulatto parentage, either by the father or mother side, shall be eligible to hold any office of profit, honor or trust under this Government.

An Act prohibiting the Teaching of Negroes to Read and Write.

Be it enacted by the National Council, That from and after the passage of this act, it shall not be lawful for any person or persons whatever, to teach any free negro or negroes not of Cherokee blood, or any slave belonging to any citizen or citizens of the Nation, to read or write.


On August 23, 1839, the Cherokee Nation amended their constitution giving citizenship and 160 acres of land to every former Freedmen/Women.

The Treaty of 1866 gave the rights of citizenship and land to the former enslaves of the Cherokee Nation. Then, 100 years later, the Cherokee Nation declared that to be a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, one must have  a certificate of degree of Indian blood  (CDIB).  This declaration stripped the Freedmen/Women of their citizenship. Then in 2006, the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court struck this down as unconstitutional. In 2007, Chief Principal Chad Smith, and arch nemesis of the Freedmen/Women, set into motion a referendum to the constitution  again basing Cherokee citizenship on “Cherokee blood”, once again taking the Freedmen/Women’s citizenship from them. The recent referendum that occurred in August, 2011, was upheld by the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court. Waiting in the wings, was a very close election for principal chief that would have been tipped the voting results if the Freedmen/Women were still citizens to vote in the election.

As for this:

“But more than 76 percent of Cherokee voters approved the amendment stripping the descendants of their citizenship. Tribal leaders who backed the amendment, including then-Principal Chief Chad Smith, said the vote was about the fundamental right of every government to determine its citizens, not about racial exclusion.”

“The fundamental right of every government to determine its citizens” was along the same order as Nazi Germany and Hitler’s Final Solution, as well as the United States’s race-based slavery, Black Codes of the South and Northwest, Jane Crow segregation, redlining, gerrymandering, and many other acts of racist hate and exclusion.

Taking the Freedmen/Women’s citizenship from them before the September 24 elections speaks loud and clear that for over 100 years the desire to expel the Freedmen/Women has been an issue with the Cherokee Nation after the Treaty of 1866. The racist views of their ex-enslaves and hateful outlook towards their ex-enslaves was just as pronounced then as it is now.

The United States is not the only nation that has broken treaties.

Racism, politics, and greed.

The Cherokee Nation has spoken.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized