Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hidden History of Texas--1865-1876--Part 2

(This article was originally posted on The Rag Blog on Dec. 28, 2011)

According to Alwyn Barr’s Black Texans, after the Civil War “the vast majority of ex-slaves” in Texas “settled down to become sharecroppers or tenant farmers" by 1870, and only “a few had saved enough to buy their own farms.” Yet by 1870 a significant proportion of the residents in urban Texas cities like Galveston, San Antonio, Houston, and Austin were also now African-American.

Between 1860 and 1870, the percentage of Galveston residents who were of African descent increased from 16 to 22 percent, while the percentage of San Antonio's African-American population increased from 7 to 16 percent. In addition, the percentage of African-Americans in Houston also increased from 22 to 39 percent between 1860 and 1870.

And, as David Humphrey’s Austin: An Illustrated History observed, “while the number of whites in Austin increased by only 12 percent during the 1860s, the number of blacks grew more than 60 percent as hundreds of former slaves migrated to town in search of opportunity;” and by 1870 “three out of eight Austinites were black.”

According to Black Texans, by 1870 in San Antonio, “63 percent of the black males worked as unskilled laborers, porters, and servants,” 10 percent worked as “teamsters, hack drivers, cart drivers, and hostlers,” 23 percent worked as “skilled artisans,” only 4 percent worked as professionals, and “only 14 percent of the black males in San Antonio owned property.”

The same book also noted that in San Antonio in 1870, 90 percent of Mexican-American males earned their living as either unskilled, semi-skilled, or skilled workers, while only 68 percent of the male immigrants from Europe who lived there were unskilled, semi-skilled, or skilled workers. Although 96 percent of the male workers of African-American descent in 1870 San Antonio were either unskilled, semi-skilled, or skilled workers, only 56 percent of the non-immigrant native white Anglo workers who then lived in Texas were unskilled, semi-skilled, or skilled workers.

According to F.Ray Marshall’s Labor in the South, “the first Texas longshoremen’s union was formed in 1866 and received a state charter of incorporation as the Galveston Screwman’s Benevolent Association [GSBA].” Its membership was “about one-third German, one-third Irish, and one-third native whites...” “It had 60 members shortly after its formation,” and by 1875, “the organization was strong enough to enforce the closed shop” on the docks.

But, “in 1869 the organization adopted a resolution not to work for anyone `who shall employ to work on shipboard persons of color.'” In response to the racism of the GSBA (which excluded black longshoremen), in 1870 the African-American longshoremen organized themselves into the Negro Longshoremen’s Benevolent Association, which “restricted its activities to the docks, while the GSBA worked aboard ship,” according to the same book.

A few months before, in December 1869, according to Black Texans, African-American workers in Texas had also sent delegates to the National Labor Convention of Colored Men, and in 1871, the National Labor Union (Colored) established a branch in Houston.

Although “the Laborers Union Association of the State of Texas invited white and black workers to its meeting at Houston in June 1871,” according to Black Texans, “only a few integrated or black unions could be counted among the limited number of weak unions which existed in Texas during Reconstruction.”

The same book also recalled that “as a result of Freedmen’s Bureau schools of the late 1860’s and the public school system instituted by the Republicans in the early 1870s” in Texas, the percentage of former slaves over 10 years of age who were illiterate decreased from 95 to 75 percent between 1865 and 1880. And, “to allow themselves greater control of local political, economic and social life away from constant white domination,” African-Americans in Texas during the late 1860s and the 1870s also began to create “at least 39 separate communities in 15 Texas counties at different times.”

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hidden History of Texas--1865-1876--part 1

(This article was originally posted on The Rag Blog on Nov. 29, 2011)

Just before the end of the U.S. Civil War in 1865, “the Confederate troops in Texas got out of hand and began rebelling and looting [in] towns like Houston [which] were burned,” according to W.E.B. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction.

But by mid-June 1865, General Gordon Granger entered Texas and on June 19, 1865, an Emancipation Proclamation was announced by General Granger that freed most of the 250,000 African-Americans who then lived in Texas from being legally defined as the property and slaves of their mostly white Anglo masters.

Yet despite the presence of Union troops in Texas, “between 1865 and 1868, 468 freedmen met violent deaths -- 90 percent at the hands of white men” in Texas (while “only about 1 percent of the 509 whites killed” during the same period in Texas were killed by black men), according to Alwyn Barr’s Black Texans.

According to Randolph Campbell’s Gone To Texas, “from 1865 to 1867 Presidential Reconstruction in Texas created state and local governments [in Texas] controlled by a conservative combination of prewar Unionists and former secessionists, with the latter holding the upper hand.”

So, not surprisingly, a Black Code was enacted during this period which “forbade inter-marriage, voting, holding public office, serving on juries, or testifying in cases where Negroes were not concerned” by Texas’s African-American residents, according to Black Reconstruction.

Federal troops entered Austin on July 25, 1865, and between 100 and 200 U.S. government troops remained stationed in Austin until Republican President Grant ordered their withdrawal in March 1870.

But following the February 1868 election of 90 delegates to the reconstructed State Constitutional Convention (which included nine progressive African-American delegates and a white progressive majority of delegates -- as well as a white reactionary minority of 12 delegates) Texas’s new 1869 state constitution officially abolished slavery, established free public schools, and “decreed that the receipts from public lands should go to the school fund, besides other revenues,” according to Black Reconstruction.

The same book also noted that after another election in 1869 (in which local eligible Anglo, Mexican-American, and African-American male voters participated) to choose representatives to Texas’s new state legislature, “E.J. Davis... marshaled the Negro vote [and] was elected Governor by a small plurality,” and “in the ensuing legislature, the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments [of the U.S. Constitution, which legally prohibited the abridgement of African-American citizenship rights and voting rights in former Confederate states like Texas] were adopted almost without opposition, and [on] Mar. 30, 1870, the representatives of Texas were admitted to Congress.”

In addition, between the late 1860s and the fraudulent election of 1873 (in which African-American supporters of Texas Governor E.J. Davis were “in many communities ordered to keep away from the polling places” by the white supremacist Democrats who had previously supported the Confederacy, “while white men under age... voted”), many African-Americans in Texas held public office and “there were Negroes in the state militias and the various police forces” in Texas, according to Black Reconstruction.

After Texas Governor Davis was defeated in the fraudulent 1873 election, however, the same type of rich white Anglo landowning Democrats who controlled the Texas state legislature in Austin before the Civil War regained control of the state government, and a new state constitution was drawn up by an 1875 Texas Constitutional Convention, which went into effect on April 18, 1876, that allowed institutionalized racism to develop in Texas again.

In addition, factually incorrect versions of what actually happened politically inside Texas between 1865 and 1874 were promoted by some U.S. academic historians until the second half of the 20th century. As Gone To Texas, recalled:

“The traditional interpretation of Reconstruction is replete with factual errors. For example, claims that Carpetbaggers ran Reconstruction in Texas and that the era ruined the fortunes of a great many whites are completely unfounded. Carpetbaggers held fewer than one-quarter of the...major offices in state and county government between 1867 and 1874.

“Instead, a majority of the men who led Texas during Congressional Reconstruction were...natives of the South who supported the Republican Party... It is clear that most of the wealthy did not have to relinquish their position in society between 1865 and 1876. They lost their slaves…but they did not lose their lands or other forms of property.”


Monday, November 26, 2012

Hidden History of Texas--1860-1865

(This article was originally posted on The Rag Blog on Oct. 26, 2011)

In 1861, the slave-owning Anglo political leaders of Texas decided that the state should secede from the United States and join the Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War.

According to Alwyn Barr's Black Texans, “as their declaration of causes repeatedly proclaimed, white Texans seceded in 1861, primarily to defend `the servitude of the African to the white race.’” And “as Union armies pushed into Arkansas and Louisiana,” the “slaveholders from each state became refugees to Texas” and “they brought their slaves,” according to Barr's “Black Texans During the Civil War," an essay that appeared in Donald Willett and Stephen Curley’s Invisible Texans.

As a result, “by 1864, the slave population” in Texas “probably grew to 250,000.” And in 1862, in Texas’s Smith County, authorities “arrested over 40 slaves and hanged one after hearing rumors of a plot to revolt,” according to the same essay.

White opponents of Texas seceding from the United States to join the Confederacy who lived in Texas were also repressed between 1861 and 1865. As Randolph Campbell’s Gone To Texas recalled, “some of the more vocal Unionists had to leave Texas” and “James P. Newcomb, editor of the San Antonio Alamo-Express, fled to New Mexico after a mob attacked his press.”

Although most white Texans “continued throughout the war to support the Confederacy as they had supported secession in the first place,” according to Gone To Texas, some organized support for the U.S. government’s Lincoln Administration and the cause of the Union Army did develop inside Texas during the Civil War. As the same book recalled:

"Small groups of Unionists living in regions that voted against secession organized internal opposition to the Confederacy... Germans in the Hill County northwest of San Antonio formed a Union Loyal League with its own military companies... In the Spring of 1862 Confederate officials sent Texas troops into the region to disband the military companies and enforce the conscription law, whereupon 61 of the Unionists, mostly Germans led by Frederick `Fritz' Tegener, decided to go to Mexico and from there join the United States Army.

“They… were overtaken by a detachment of 91 Texas Partisan Rangers... while camped on the Nueces River. Attacking before dawn on Aug. 10, 1862, the Confederates killed 19 of the Germans and captured nine who were badly wounded. The remaining Unionists escaped... After the battle, state troops executed the nine wounded Germans, and nine of those who escaped were caught and killed before they reached Mexico...”

  Armed Anglo supporters of the Confederacy in Texas also repressed supporters of the North and the Union in Cooke County between 1861 and 1865. As Gone To Texas notes:

“In Cooke County... the passage of conscription led to the formation of a secret Peace Party that opposed the draft and supported the Union. Rumors that the Peace Party planned to... foment a general uprising led to the arrest on October [1862] of more than 150 suspected insurrectionists by state troops...

“An extralegal `Citizen’s Court'… found seven leading Unionists guilty of treason and sentenced them to death. At this point, a mob... lynched 14 more of the prisoners and killed two who tried to escape...When unknown assassins killed Col. Young [of the Eleventh Texas Cavalry]…the jury then sentenced another 19 men to hang, bringing the total number of victims to 42. Texas authorities condoned this `Great Hanging at Gainesville’...”

  The military conscription law that provoked more organized internal opposition in Hill County and Cooke County, Texas, to the South’s Confederate Government had been passed in April 1862 by the Confederate Congress. As a result, all white males in Texas who were between 13 and 46 in 1860 -- except for any white males whose work involved them in supervising 20 or more slaves -- were now in danger of being drafted into the Confederate Army for as long as the U.S. Civil War continued.

So, not surprisingly, “nearly 5,000 Texans deserted from Confederate and state service, and an unknown number avoided conscription” by hiding “in isolated areas throughout the state -- for example, the Big Thicket in Hardin County and the swamp bottoms of northeast Texas” or “in the northwestern frontier counties,” according to Gone To Texas. And, according to David Humphrey’s Austin: An Illustrated History, “draft-dodging was especially common among Austin’s unionists.”

But slightly more than 50 percent of the white males in Texas who were subject to the Confederate government’s draft during the Civil War were unable to avoid being drafted, and between 1861 and 1865 between 60,000 to 70,000 white men in Texas served in either the Confederate Army or in Texas state military units. And thousands of these military conscripts from Texas died during the U.S. Civil War. As Gone To Texas observes:

“Approximately 20 to 25 percent of Texas soldiers died while in the army. More than half of these deaths resulted from a variety of illnesses... Deaths in battle and Union prisoner-of-war camps accounted for the other lives lost. The final death toll can be estimated at between 12,000 and 15,000 men, most of them in their twenties and thirties.”

  According to Austin: An Illustrated History, Texas’s “loss `in bone and blood’” during the Civil War was “proportionately higher than that of any northern state.”

While between 12,000 and 15,000 people in Texas lost their lives as a result of the Civil War, some other Texans apparently made good money between 1861 and 1865. As W.E.B. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction 1860-1880 recalls:

"Texas was one of the Southern states that had considerable prosperity during the war. She was outside the area of conflict; excellent crops were raised and slave labor was plentiful. Many slaves were deported to Texas for protection... so that Texas could furnish food and raw material for the Confederate States; and on the other hand, when the blockade was strengthened, Texas became the highway for sending cotton and other goods to Europe by way of Mexico.”

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hidden History of Texas--1846-1860

(This article was originally posted on The Rag Blog on Oct. 5, 2011)

Within a few months after Texas became part of the United States, U.S. troops under General Zachary Taylor’s command were already establishing the disputed Rio Grande boundary line as the new southern border between Texas and Mexico; and some U.S. troops were being sent across the Rio Grande, even further south into Mexican territory, by late March 1846.

After a Mexican cavalry unit ambushed some of the U.S. troops that apparently had crossed the Rio Grande in a provocative way on April 25, 1846 (killing 11 U.S. troops, wounding six, and taking 63 more as prisoners), U.S. President Polk used the incident as a pretext to get the U.S. Congress to declare war on Mexico on May 13, 1846.

And after U.S. military troops occupied Mexico City on Sept. 14, 1847 (during a war in which 13,283 U.S. troops died and 4,152 were wounded), the Mexican government was eventually forced to agree to sign the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on February 2, 1848. As a result of this treaty, “Mexico gave up all claims to Texas," "agreed to a new frontier with the United States," and "lost two-fifths of her territory,” according to Robert R. Miller’s book, Mexico: A History.

In 1847, a year after Texas became a state within the USA, around 142,000 people -- not counting its remaining Native Americans -- were living in Texas. Of the 142,000 non-indigenous residents of Texas in 1847, nearly 39,000 were African-American slaves. Although around 3,000 slaves escaped into Mexico from Texas between 1836 and 1851 (and 1,000 more African-American slaves also escaped into Mexico from Texas between 1851 and 1855), the overall number of enslaved African-Americans who lived in Texas dramatically increased between 1847 and 1860. As Professor Alwyn Barr noted in his essay, “Black Texans During the Civil War”:

“Further immigration of slaveholding settlers from the United States and the development of a slave trade by land and water from the southern states brought the slave population in Texas to 182,566 by 1860, along with a small group of free Blacks who numbered less than a thousand... African Americans formed 30 percent of the Texas population on the eve of the Civil War in the Anglo-dominated region that extended a little west of Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio...

“At least 25 percent of Anglo families owned slaves in Texas. Over 2,000 Texans held 20 or more bondsmen... 60 families owned 100 or more slaves. By 1860 David and Robert Mills stood at the pinnacle of the planter class with 344 bondsmen. Slaves formed majorities of the population in 13 counties... The life span for slaves averaged about 50 years, some five years less than for whites...”

  Around 95 percent of Texas’s black slaves in 1860 worked without pay on either Texas farms or Texas plantations. According to Alwyn Barr’s Black Texans, “the vast majority of slaves in Texas lived in rural areas.” But “over a thousand” black slaves also “resided in both Galveston and Houston by 1860,” and African-American slaves who were owned mainly by white businessmen and upper-middleclass professionals also lived “in Austin, San Antonio, and other large towns,” according to the same book.

In Austin, for example, according to David Humphrey’s Austin: An Illustrated History:

“Slavery was an integral part of the life of the town. Of Austin’s 3,500 inhabitants in 1860, about 1,000 were slaves. While free blacks numbered less than a dozen, enslaved blacks formed almost 30 percent of the population, a greater percentage than in such Texas cities as Houston and Galveston.

“More than a third of Austin’s Anglo families owned slaves. Among the town’s prosperous lawyers, merchants, doctors, ministers, and high-government officials, slave-owning was the rule rather than the exception. A handful, such as Episcopal Bishop Alexander Gregg, postmaster William Rust, and physician John Alexander, owned more than 20 slaves...”

  Since most Spanish-speaking residents of Austin had been expelled by a vigilante committee of Anglo residents of Austin in October 1854, only a few Mexican-Americans still lived in Austin in 1860.

Between 1846 and 1860, the total number of people living in Texas -- not counting the remaining Native American residents -- increased by around 325 percent, to 604,215. Around 75 percent of the people who lived in Texas in 1860 were farmers; and about 75 percent of the 420,891 white people who lived in Texas in 1860 were headed by settlers from the Southern states.

But among the white residents who weren’t from the Southern states, about 20,000 were German-born, some of whom -- like Adolph Douai -- were political refugees from the suppressed 1848 revolutionary movement in Germany. Coincidentally, the politically radical Douai was one of the first known Marxists to live in Texas.

According to Herbert Aptheker’s 1989 book, Abolitionism: A Revolutionary Movement, in the early 1850s Douai began publishing the San Antonio Zeiutung -- “which described itself as a social-democratic newspaper.” But “within one year of its existence, the Austin State Times (19 May 1854) was suggesting: `The contiguity of the San Antonio River to the Zeitung, we think suggests the suppression of that paper; pitch in.’" And “a year later, the paper closed and Douai fled for his life to Philadelphia,” according to Aptheker’s book.

With a population of 8,235, San Antonio was the largest city in Texas in 1860. The second-largest was Galveston, whose population was 7,307. Only 4,800 people lived in Houston, 3,500 in Austin, and 500 in Dallas.

Nothing much was manufactured inside Texas in 1860, but Texas was the 5th-largest cotton-producing state in the United States; and 90 percent of the cotton grown in Texas was produced by Texas farmers or Texas plantation owners who owned slaves.

About 75 percent of the African-American slaves in Texas then were owned by the wealthiest 15 percent of the people, while the poor whites of Texas -- who composed about 25 percent of its white Anglo population by 1860 -- only owned 1 percent of the property. So by 1860, not surprisingly, around 67 percent of all state and local political offices in Texas were occupied by Texas property owners who owned slaves.

But according to W.E.B. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880, “the division of the planters and poor whites was less distinct” in Texas “than in many other Southern states” in 1860, and “there was plenty of rich land” where “the poorest white men could get a start.”

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Did Hollywood's Steven Spielberg Falsify U.S. History In His `Lincoln' Movie?

Besides ignoring the historical role that African-American abolitionist activists like Frederick Douglass played in pressuring the Republican Lincoln Administration and the U.S. Congress to finally prohibit legalized slavery in the United States in 1865, the version of U.S. Civil War history presented in Hollywood Director Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” movie seems to ignore some of the historical information about Abraham Lincoln's political views, the 13th Amendment and U.S. Cvil War history that readers can find in books like W.E. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880. For example, according to Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction book:

“In January, 1865, [Confederate] General [Robert E.] Lee sent his celebrated statement to Andrew Hunter:

“`We should not expect slaves to fight for prospective freedom when they can secure it at once by going to the enemy, in whose service they will incur no greater risk than in ours. The reasons that induce me to recommend the employment of Negro troops at all render the effect of the measures I have suggested upon slavery immaterial, and in my opinion the best means of securing the efficiency and fidelity of this auxiliary force would be to accompany the measure with a well-digested plan of gradual and general emancipation. As that will be the result of the continuance of the war, and will certainly occur if the enemy succeeds, it seems to me most advisable to do it at once, and thereby obtain all the benefits that will accrue to our cause.’…

“As late as April, 1865, President Lincoln said to General Butler:

“`But what shall we do with the Negroes after they are free?...I can hardly believe that the South and North can live in peace unless we get rid of the Negroes. Certainly they cannot, if we don’t get rid of the Negroes whom we have armed and disciplined and who have fought with us, to the amount, I believe, of some 150,000 men. I believe that it would be better to export them all to some fertile country with a good climate, which they could have to themselves. You have been a staunch friend of the race from the time you first advised me to enlist them at New Orleans. You have had a great deal of experience in moving bodies of men by water—your movement up the James was a magnificent one. Now we shall have no use for our very large navy. What then are our difficulties in sending the blacks away?.. I wish you would examine the question and give me your views upon it and go into the figures as you did before in some degree so as to show whether the Negroes can be exported.’ …

“…December 14, 1863, Ashley of Ohio had introduced into the House an amendment prohibiting slavery, and Wilson of Iowa introduced a similar amendment. Both were referred, but not discussed until five months after their introduction. Four other similar amendments were introduced in the House during the season.

“In the Senate, January 11, 1864, Henderson of Missouri introduced an amendment to abolish slavery, which was referred. A few days later, Charles Sumner submitted a joint resolution against slavery. The committee preferred Henderson’s resolution. The Border State men were especially opposed and Garrett Davis of Kentucky made long and fiery speeches and offered eight amendments. Senator Powell of Kentucky also offered various amendments.

“A proposed Thirteenth Amendment finally passed the Senate on April 8…by a vote of 36-6. It was considered in the House the last day of May. On June 15, it was approved by a vote of 95-66, but this was less than the necessary two-thirds majority.

“Meantime, Lincoln had been reelected…Maryland had abolished slavery, and there was a movement for abolition throughout the Border States. At the second session of the 38th Congress, the President urged the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. On January 31, 1865, Ashley called the proposed Thirteenth Amendment for reconsideration. Eleven Democrats deserted their leader and enabled the resolution to pass, on January 31, 1865.

“Blaine said: `When the announcement was made, the Speaker became powerless to preserve order. The members upon the Republican side sprang upon their seats cheering, shouting, and waving hands, hats, and canes, while the spectators upon the floor and in the galleries joined heartily in the demonstrations. Upon the restoration of order, Mr. Ingersoll of Illinois rose and said, “Mr. Speaker, in honor of this immortal and sublime event, I move that this House do now adjourn.” This amendment was signed by the President and submitted to the states. On December 18, 1865, it was declared adopted by the Secretary of State…”

  And according to Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States book:

“…It was only as the war grew more bitter, the casualties mounted, desperation to win heightened, and the criticism of the abolitionists threatened to unravel the tattered coalition behind Lincoln that he began to act against slavery…Emancipation petitions poured into Congress in 1861 and 1862…By the summer of 1864, 400,000 signatures asking legislation to end slavery had been gathered and sent to Congress, something unprecedented in the history of the country. That April, the Senate had adopted the Thirteenth Amendment, declaring an end to slavery and in January 1865, the House of Representatives followed…

“The Confederacy was desperate in the latter part of the war, and some of its leaders suggested the slaves, more and more an obstacle to their cause, be enlisted, used, and freed…By early 1865, the pressure had mounted, and in March President Davis of the Confederacy signed a `Negro Soldier Law’ authorizing the enlistment of slaves as soldiers, to be freed by consent of their owners and their state governments. But before it had any significant effect, the war was over…”

  In his Legends, Lies: Cherished Myths of American History book, Richard Shenkman also asserted that “Just a month before the collapse of his government Jefferson Davis authorized one of his diplomats in Europe to inform Britain and France that the Confederacy was willing to emancipate the South’s slaves in exchange for official recognition as an independent country.”

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Hidden History of Texas--1836-1845

(This article was originally posted on The Rag Blog on Sept. 21, 2011)

At the time it became an Anglo settler/colonist-dominated independent republic in 1836, Texas’s population included approximately 30,000 Anglo residents, 14,500 Native American residents, 3,470 Spanish-speaking Latino or Hispanic residents, 5,000 enslaved African-American residents and a small number of free African-Americans.

According to Alwyn Barr’s Black Texans: A History of African Americans in Texas, 1528-1995, “several free blacks and a few slaves served in the Texas Revolution;” and, ironically, some free African-Americans like “Robert Thompson and the Ashworths provided funds and supplies to the Texas cause.”

Yet the new white supremacist Republic of Texas government treated neither free blacks nor enslaved blacks as equals between 1836 and 1845. As black Texans recalled, for example, “under republic laws, free persons of one-eighth Negro blood could not vote, own property, testify in court against whites, or intermarry with them;” and in 1840 the Houston City Council even “denied free Negroes and slaves the right to hold dances without the permission of the mayor” of Houston.

In addition, between 1836 and 1845, no “free person of color” was allowed to live in the Republic of Texas without the permission of Texas’s legislative body.

Given the increased special oppression faced by African-Americans after the Republic of Texas was established, it’s not surprising that “escaped slaves fought with the Cherokees against the Texas army which drove that tribe from East Texas in 1838” (before most Cherokees were soon forced to move out of the Republic of Texas in July 1839 after the Battle of the Neches), according to Black Texans.

Because there were no longer any restrictions placed on the importation of slaves into Texas from the United States after the independent Republic of Texas was established, between 1836 and 1840 the number of African-American slaves residing in Texas increased from 5,000 to 11,323.

According to Black Texans, “about 40 percent of Texas slaves lived along the coast and in the East Texas river valleys where they labored in groups -- of from 20 up to 313 primarily field hands -- on plantations to produce cotton, corn and a limited amount of sugar in coastal countries below Houston.” And “by 1840 there were 145 slaves among the 850 or so inhabitants” of Austin, Texas, according to David Humphrey’s 1985 book, Austin: An Illustrated History.

The same book also recalled that the Republic of Texas’s “first permanent capitol” in Austin “was constructed in significant part by slaves who were signed on for the job” and “the hiring system provided income for [white Texas] masters who owned more slaves than they had work for.” But as early as the late 1830s, “some of the African-American slaves in Austin resisted their bondage by running away” and “headed for Mexico and the freedom to be gained by crossing the Rio Grande,” according to Austin: An Illustrated History.

It was also in the late 1830s that the first attempt to organize Texas workers into a labor union happened. As F. Ray Marshall’s 1967 book, Labor in the South recalled, “probably the first union organized in Texas was the Texas Typographical Society formed at Houston in 1838.”

In March 1842, Mexican government troops also marched into Texas again, and on Sept. 11, 1842 the Mexican Army actually reestablished Mexican control of San Antonio for a week -- until the Republic of Texas’s predominantly Anglo defenders recaptured San Antonio on Sept. 18, 1842.
Two years later a politician named James Polk was elected U.S. President in 1844, after running on a platform which called for the U.S. government to acquire the Republic of Texas. And after Congress invited the Republic of Texas to join the United States as another state, Polk ordered U.S. General Zachary Taylor to lead U.S. troops into position near Texas’s disputed Rio Grande border in June 1845.

The Texas Admission Act was then signed by Polk on Dec. 24, 1845, Mexico’s former territory of Texas officially became part of the United States, and the independent Republic of Texas now ceased to exist.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hidden History of Texas--1835-1836

(This article was originally posted on The Rag Blog on Sept. 7, 2011)

After Mexican President and General Santa Anna ordered his brother-in-law -- Mexican General Martin Perfecto de Cos -- to move more than 700 government troops into Texas in September 1835, the predominantly Anglo rebels opened fire on some of these Mexican Army troops in October 1835 in Gonzales, Texas.

And “by early November 1835, the rebellion had defeated Mexican forces everywhere except in San Antonio,” according to Randolph Campbell’s Gone To Texas. The following month, on Dec. 5, 1835, the armed Texas rebels also defeated Mexican General Cos’s troops in San Antonio and thus gained control of that city.

In early 1836 Santa Anna gathered an army of 6,000 Mexican troops and ordered 3,000 of these troops to march toward San Antonio in late February 1836. In response, the Anglo rebel leaders ordered San Antonio evacuated -- except for the armed men under William Travis’s command (later joined by additional volunteers) that included at least eight armed men with Spanish surnames and a few non-combatant civilian family members and African-American slaves.

The armed men and additional volunteers under Travis's command -- and the noncombatant civilians who were not evacuated -- stayed behind in an abandoned Franciscan mission, The Alamo, that had been converted into a fort.

Some facts about what occurred at the Alamo remain in dispute, but the following appears to be accurate. For 10 days, Santa Anna’s troops besieged the Alamo and demanded that the armed men inside, most of whom were Anglo rebels, surrender unconditionally. But when Travis and his armed group refused to surrender, Mexican President Santa Anna ordered his troops to attack the Alamo on March 6, 1836.

As a result, 600 Mexican troops were killed and all of the estimated 189 armed combatants who remained in the Alamo at that time were killed by the Mexican troops. A few noncombatant civilians inside the Alamo survived the battle, as did the few men under Travis's command who had left the Alamo as couriers between late February and March 6, 1836.

After the battle at the Alamo Texas rebel groups began to take up the battle cry, “Remember the Alamo!” in their subsequent armed clashes with Mexican federal government troops. Meanwhile, a convention of rebels at Washington-on-the-Brazos had, on March 2, 1836, declared Texas to be the independent “Republic of Texas," with David G. Burnet, a land speculator with the Galveston Bay & Texas Land Company, as its first president.

Coincidentally, both the commander of the white Anglo rebel troops in the Alamo, William Travis, and one of the most famous defenders of the Alamo, Jim Bowie, were apparently either involved in the slave trade or at least owned slaves (as did former Tennessee Governor Sam Houston, one of the leaders of the Anglo settler revolt of 1835-1836 that led to the creation of the independent Republic of Texas).

As Alwyn Barr wrote in an essay, titled “Black Texans During the Civil War,” that appeared in a 2003 book called Invisible Texans: Women and Minorities in Texas edited by Donald Willett and Stephen Curley:

“Anglo-American immigrants from the United States brought with them Black slaves, whose numbers had risen to about 5,000 when Texans revolted against Mexico in 1836... James Bowie and James Fannin had smuggled slaves into Texas, while Sam Houston and William B. Travis both owned bondsmen. Slaves represented at least 15 percent of the population in the new Republic of Texas.”

  So, not surprisingly, the March 1836 Constitution of the new independent Republic of Texas was a pro-slavery document that legalized slavery in Texas and reversed the legal ban on the importation of slaves into Texas which the Mexican Congress had enacted in 1830. As Gone To Texas observed:

“Section 9 of the General Provisions... guaranteed that people held as slaves in Texas would remain in servitude and that future emigrants to the republic could bring slaves with them. Furthermore, no free black could live in Texas without the approval of [the Republic of Texas’s] congress, and any slave freed without the approval of congress had to leave the republic. Most of the leaders of the Texas Revolution were southerners and the new republic would protect their `Peculiar Institution’...”

  After the fall of the Alamo, the armed conflict between the separatist Texas rebels and the Mexican government’s troops only lasted another six weeks. In late March 1836, a unit of 365 Texas rebels (under James Fannin’s command) was surrounded by a much larger number of Mexican Army cavalry troops (under Mexican General Jose de Urrea) near Goliad, Texas. Then, in accordance with Mexico’s recently-passed “piracy” law, Santa Anna ordered all 365 Texas rebels executed on March 27, 1836, following the surrender of Fannin and his unit to General Urrea’s cavalry.
But on April 21, 1836, 800 armed Texas rebels, under former Tennessee Governor Sam Houston’s command, attacked 1,400 troops of Santa Anna’s Mexican Army near the San Jacinto River, killing 630 of Santa Anna’s troops and capturing another 733. And the following day Houston’s Texas separatist troops captured Mexican President Santa Anna, himself.

While he was held as a prisoner by Texas rebel troops, Santa Anna was forced to sign the Treaty of Velasco on May 14, 1836, in which he agreed to withdraw all Mexican troops to the other side of the Rio Grande. In addition, the Rio Grande was made the independent Republic of Texas’s new southern boundary -- although when it was part of the Mexican state of Coahuila y Texas, the southern boundary of Texas was actually considered further north on the Nueces River.

Not surprisingly, the Treaty of Velasco that Santa Anna was forced to sign while imprisoned was subsequently repudiated by the Mexican government and by Santa Anna (after he was finally released nine months later and sent back to Veracruz, Mexico on a U.S. warship by U.S. President Andrew Jackson). And the Mexican government refused to recognize the independence of Texas and the separatist Republic of Texas or to agree that Texas’s land was no longer a part of Mexico’s territory until 1848.

Following the signing of the Treaty of Velasco in May 1836 and the withdrawal of Mexican troops, the Anglo settler-colonist leaders of the 1835-36 separatist “Texas Revolution” almost immediately tried to persuade the U.S. government to annex their newly independent “Republic of Texas.” So, not surprisingly, Northern opponents of slavery, like Benjamin Lundy and U.S. Congressional Representative John Quincy Adams, insisted that the Texas “revolution had resulted from a conspiracy to add more slave territory to the Union,” according to Gone To Texas.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hidden History of Texas--1827-1836

(This article was originally posted on The Rag Blog on Aug. 24, 2011)

By 1830 legalized slavery was prohibited in most states of Mexico and in some northern states in the United States. Yet legalized slavery in Texas was not permanently abolished until the middle of the 1860s.

Between 1827 and 1829, both state and federal government authorities in Mexico continued their efforts to end the enslavement of African-Americans in Mexico many years before the enslavement of African-Americans was finally ended in either the United States or Texas, following the U.S. Civil War of the early 1860s.

Article 15 of the Coahuila y Tejas State Constitution of 1827 stated that “No one shall be born a slave, and after six months the introduction of slaves under any pretext” in Texas “shall not be permitted.” And on Sept. 15, 1829, Mexican President Vicente Guerrero issued a decree that emancipated all slaves within the Republic of Mexico.

On Dec. 2, 1829, however, the Anglo settlers who lived in the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas and owned more than 1,000 African-American slaves, were then legally allowed to ignore Mexican President Guerrero’s Sept. 15, 1829 emancipation decree and to continue to redefine their imported slaves as “indentured servants,” in order to evade the 1824 Mexican law that prohibited the further importation of slaves into Mexico.

But on April 6, 1830 Mexico’s Congress passed another law which more strictly prohibited importation of more slaves into Texas under any guise by the Anglo settlers.

In 1830 the number of Spanish-speaking Mexicans who lived in Texas (and mostly earned their living as ranchers and small farmers) numbered 4,000, while the number of English-speaking Anglo settlers who lived in Texas (usually as either slave-owning cotton plantation owners or non-slave-owning white farmers) numbered 10,000.

So the Mexican government decided it would no longer allow more Anglo settler-colonists -- who were mostly into establishing an economic system in Texas based on slave labor and exporting cotton -- to immigrate to Mexico. As a result, the Mexican Congress’s Law of April 6, 1830 also prohibited any further immigration into Mexico’s Coahuila y Tejas state by settlers from U.S. territory. In addition, this law also imposed new customs duties on imports and exports from Mexico that financially hurt the Anglo settlers who were involved in exporting cotton from Texas and importing other goods to Texas.

Since the border between the United States and the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas was too long for the Mexican Army to guard completely and secure effectively, Anglo settlers continued to enter Mexico in the early 1830s, as “illegal aliens,” and by 1834, the number of white Anglo settlers in Texas had jumped to 20,700, while the number of Spanish-speaking “Tejano” residents within the Texas region of Coahuila y Tejas was still only 4,000.

After some of the Anglo settlers in Coahuila y Tejas held a convention in 1833 -- which asked for both repeal of the Mexican Congress’s Law of April 6, 1830 (that prohibited further immigration of settlers from the United States) and for Texas to become a separate Mexican state and no longer just a region of the predominantly Spanish-speaking state of Coahuila y Tejas -- the 1830 law was repealed by the Mexican government in late 1834.

In addition, the Mexican government then “offered considerable self-government at the local level” to the Anglo settlers in Coahuila y Tejas, and “during the early 1830s Anglos in Texas received important concessions such as trial by jury and use of the English language” from the Mexican federal government, according to Randolph Campbell’s Gone To Texas.

Yet when the demand for a separate, predominantly white Anglo state of Texas within the federal republic of Mexico was rejected by the Mexican government after Stephen F. Austin presented it in Mexico City, Austin apparently then wrote an inflammatory letter in which he advised the Anglo settlers in Texas to form a separate state “even though the general government” of Mexico “refuses to consent.” This inflammatory letter, however, was intercepted by Mexican government authorities; and Austin was then imprisoned by the Mexican authorities for a year.

According to Gone To Texas, among the reasons the predominantly white Anglo settlers in Coahuila y Tejas wanted a separate state for themselves within Mexico was that “most Anglos definitely thought themselves inherently superior to Mexicans” and “most Anglos at least accepted slavery, whereas Mexican officials threatened to destroy the institution.”

In his 1996 book Black Texans: A History of African Americans in Texas, Texas Tech University Professor of History Alwyn Barr also observed:

“Mexicans generally accepted black people, especially mulattos, more readily than did the... Anglo population... Because of the favorable legal and social conditions, Benjamin Lundy, a white abolitionist, and Nicholas Drouett, a mulatto who had retired as an officer in the Mexican army, sought permission to establish a colony of free blacks from the United States during the 1830s. The Mexican government reacted favorably, but most whites in the United States and Texas opposed the project as an impediment to their westward movement...

“White Texans, overwhelmingly southern in background, brought with them favorable views of slavery and unfavorable views of black people... Mexican opposition to the importation of slaves did slow Anglo immigration and act as a major source of discontent prior to the Texas Revolution in 1836..."

  So in 1835 the predominantly white Anglo settlers armed themselves and began organizing for an armed rebellion against Mexican government rule in Texas. But a number of Spanish-speaking Mexican settlers in Texas (like a land speculator with the Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company named Lorenzo de Zavala) also supported the armed rebel Anglos.

And, according to the Texas State Historical Association’s Texas Almanac website, an East Texas merchant of Jewish background (and a friend of former Tennessee Governor Sam Houston) named Adolphus Sterne “became a principal source of financial backing for the Texas Revolution” of 1835-1836.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hidden History of Texas--1821-1826

(This article was originally posted on The Rag Blog on Aug. 16, 2011)

White English-speaking Texans of wealth have exercised a special influence over the direction of Texas history for many years. Yet it wasn’t until Dec. 21, 1821, that the first white Anglo, Mary James Long, was born on Texas soil.

And long before any white Anglos from the United States had settled in Texas in the early 19th-century, Spanish-speaking Texans had already, in the 18th century, developed the cattle ranching techniques such as the round-up, branding, roping, and herding from horseback, for which Texas later became well-known throughout the world as a result of Hollywood movies during the 20th century.

White Anglos only began crossing the border from Louisiana and into New Spain territory in Texas around 1815. So, not surprisingly, in the early 1820s the number of Native Americans who (as members of tribal nations like the Cherokees, Delaware, Shawnees, etc.) lived in Texas -- 20,000 -- was still greater than the number of white Anglo settlers who lived in Texas.

But in November 1820, a white Anglo named Moses Austin (accompanied by his African-American slave, Richmond) went to San Antonio and met with local authorities to talk about setting up an Anglo settler colony in not yet densely-populated Texas. And following Moses Austin’s death in June 1821, his son -- Stephen Fuller Austin -- established a settler-colony in Texas in December 1821, on land granted by Texas’s then-governing authorities.

Since thousands of acres of Texas’ best farmland were being offered by Stephen F. Austin to prospective Anglo settlers at a much cheaper price (10 cents per acre) than what land was then selling for in the United States -- and on credit -- the number of Anglo settler-colonists in Austin’s Texas colony quickly increased during the 1820s.

Under the Empire of Mexico’s Colonization Law of January 1823, each Anglo family who settled in Austin’s colony was given 4,423 acres of land in Texas if they planned to raise cattle stock and 177 acres of land in Texas if they planned to just be farmers. In addition, the Anglo settler-colonists were required to be only of Catholic background and were also required to free all the African-American slave children they owned when the slave children reached the age of 14.

Although the Empire of Mexico’s Colonization Law was voided by Mexico’s new federal republican government by March 1823, the land grant to Austin’s colony in Texas continued to be recognized as valid by the new Mexican federal republican government. But under the March 28, 1825 Colonization Act passed by the state government of Coahuila in Mexico (of which Texas was now a part), Anglo settlers in Austin’s colony had to agree to become both Mexican citizens and Catholics -- in exchange for being given land in Texas (for less than $100 in fees) by Mexico’s governing authorities.

There were only seven African-American slaves in Texas -- living around San Antonio -- according to an 1819 census, and the same 1823 Empire of Mexico law that required slave children to be freed at the age of 14 also prohibited the sale or purchase of African-American slaves by the Anglo settlers in Austin’s colony.

But the newly-arrived white Anglo settlers soon began to create an economy based on the enslavement of African-Americans within Texas, and by 1825, Austin’s Anglo colony included 69 white slaveholders -- mostly settlers from the southern United States region -- who owned 443 slaves of African-American descent.

A white settler from Georgia, Jared E. Groce, for example, brought 90 slaves with him when he settled in Texas, establishing a plantation there in 1822, and apparently became one of the wealthiest settler-colonists. And around 25 percent of the 1,800 people who lived in Austin’s colony in Texas by 1825 were African-American slaves.

In his Gone To Texas, professor Randolph Campbell indicated the economic motive and the ideological reason for the white Anglos who settled in Austin’s colony deciding to set up a slave labor-based economic system in Texas during the 1820s, when he wrote:

“A trend toward cash-crop agriculture developed almost immediately... Cotton production depended on slavery, which in turn provided the strongest link between Texas and the American South... Anglo-Americans made slavery an institution of significance in Texas beginning in the 1820s because they saw it as economic necessity... Free labor could not be hired where land was so inexpensive... Most Texas immigrants... held racist views that allowed them to see nothing wrong with the practice of whites owning blacks in order to profit from their labor...”

  So, not surprisingly, a few years after the Republic of Mexico legally prohibited the further importation of slaves of African-American descent into Mexico in 1824, a minority of the Anglo settlers in eastern Texas, led by Haden Edwards, declared their independence from Mexico on Dec. 21, 1826 and attempted to establish an independent "Republic of Fredonia."

But the independent Republic of Fredonia did not gain the support of either Stephen F. Austin or most of the other Anglo settlers in Texas in 1826 -- and once Mexican government troops arrived in the Republic of Fredonia on Jan. 4, 1827, the Republic of Fredonia quickly ceased to exist

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hidden History of Texas--Pre-1821 Years

(This article was originally posted on The Rag Blog on 8/10/11)

Since 1965 at least three high-profile Texas politicians -- former U.S. Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, former U.S. Rep. George H. W. Bush and former Texas Gov. George W. Bush -- have used their decision-making power in the White House as U.S. presidents to involve the United States in major morally disastrous and economically wasteful military interventions overseas.

The general populace knows a lot about Texas politics and history, yet most people in the United States who didn’t grow up in Texas and who never have lived in Texas probably know very little about the hidden history of Texas.

Prior to 1821, for example, people of Jewish religious background who wanted to openly practice Judaism were, at least in theory, not allowed to become residents of Texas because the Spanish authorities in Texas required people who lived in Texas to worship openly only as Catholics.

And, even today, only about 131,000 of the over 25.1 million people who live in Texas appear to be of Jewish background, although the land area of Texas is a lot larger than the land area of Manhattan Island -- where about 243,000 of the 1.6 million residents are of Jewish background.

But long before white Europeans of Christian religious background arrived and explored Texas in the 1500s, Native American people had been living in the South Plains in what is now Texas for over 10,000 years.

The first permanent settlement of white Europeans in Texas didn’t happen until 1682, when Spanish-speaking people established a settlement a few miles east of what is now El Paso. And over 80 years later, in the 1760s, there were still only 1,000 Spanish-speaking settlers in San Antonio and only 500 Spanish-speaking settlers in East Texas.

Even in the late 1770s, fewer than 4,000 Spanish-speaking settlers of European descent actually lived in what is now Texas.

Of the over 3,000 people who lived in these settlements in 1777, around 50 percent were born in Spain, 25 percent were either mestizo or mulatto, and 25 percent were Native American. But, at the same time, about 20,000 Native Americans still lived in Texas in areas outside the Spanish-speaking settlements at the end of the 1770s. In addition, 20 known slaves of African-American descent also lived in Texas in the 1770s.

As late as 1792, Texas still had only about 3,169 Spanish-speaking residents, including 34 blacks and 414 mulattos of African-American descent. So, not surprisingly, the majority of people who lived throughout all areas of Texas in 1799 were still Native American.

When Texas was part of the New Spain colony in North America under Spanish rule during the late 18th century, the legal status of women who owned property in Texas was actually better than it had been when the 13 U.S. colonies on North America’s East Coast were ruled by the UK prior to 1776.

According to the Spanish laws that governed Texas in the 1770s, for example, unmarried women in Texas who owned property retained title to their own property after marriage; and they also shared equally in the ownership of any property they and their husbands acquired after marrying. In addition, the husband of a woman in Texas in the 1770s could not, under Spanish law, sell the married couple’s community property without the consent of his wife.

In August 1813, an attempt was made by some of the fewer than 4,000 Spanish-speaking residents of Texas to establish a Texas republic that would no longer be either ruled by a royalist viceroy who represented the monarchical Spanish government or be part of New Spain.

But after a leader of the Spanish-speaking rebels named Gutierrez declared Texas independent from Spain on Aug. 6, 1813, the new Texas Republic’s Army of North Mexico (which numbered 1,400 men), led by Jose Alverez de Toledo, was defeated at the Battle of Medina (in what is now the area around San Antonio) on Aug. 18, 1813, by a Spanish royalist force of 2,000, led by Joaquin de Arrendo.

Some 1,000 of the combatants involved in the Battle of Medina were killed during the battle; and the royalist troops of Arrendo then “executed 327 soldiers from the republican army who surrendered or were captured after the battle,” according to University of North Texas Professor of History Randoph Campbell’s 2003 book Gone To Texas: A History of the Lone Star State.

In addition, “in San Antonio 40 men suspected of supporting Gutierrez and/or Toledo paid with their lives,” “eight women and children from their families died of suffocation while packed into prison compounds,” and a detachment of Arrendo’s Spanish royalist army “advanced towards Nacogdoches, executing 71 more accused rebels along the way,” according to the same book.

Six years later, in the summer of 1819, Texas was invaded by an army of about 300 Anglo-American men, led by an Anglo-American merchant named James Long -- who also tried to set up an independent Texas republic that would no longer be ruled by Spain or be part of New Spain.

But by the fall of 1819, royalist Spanish troops had driven Long’s army of Anglo-American invaders back across the East Texas border and back into U.S. territory; and after Long led a second unsuccessful invasion of Texas by armed Anglo men two years later, he was imprisoned and then killed by local Spanish-speaking Texas authorities, after the armed Anglo invaders were again defeated by Spanish-speaking troops in the late summer of 1821.

Shortly before Long’s second invasion of Texas was beaten back, an alliance between the white Creole elite landowners in New Spain (who had been born in New Spain and, thus -- under Spanish rule -- did not enjoy the same political and economic rights as Spanish-born residents of New Spain), New Spain’s clerical leaders and Spanish royalist army general Agustin de Iturbide was successful in pressuring the royalist viceroy to sign the Aug. 24, 1821 Treaty of Cordoba.

Under the terms of the Treaty of Cordoba, New Spain ceased to exist as a political entity and the independent Empire of Mexico was established (although the Spanish government in Madrid later declared the Treaty of Cordoba null and void in February 1822, unsuccessfully attempted to reconquer its former Mexican colony in 1829, and did not formally recognize the independence of Mexico until 1839).

So after Aug. 24, 1821, Texas would become part of the newly independent Empire of Mexico. And after the white Creole military commander of Vera Cruz, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, led a white Creole landowning elite-supported Mexican Army revolt in December 1822 which set up a federal republican form of government in Mexico in 1823, Texas now became a part of the Republic of Mexico’s state of Coahuila y Texas in 1824.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Institutional Racism and the Democratic Obama Administration

Between 2009 and 2012, not much change in the level of institutional racism and, economic racism within the United States or in U.S. foreign policy was produced by the Democratic Obama Administration. And in October 2012, the official unemployment rate for African-American workers in the United States still exceeded 14 percent.

One reason might be because the Democratic Obama Administration, itself, apparently may have been staffed and operated in an institutionally racist way since 2009. As Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter noted in his 2010 book The Promise: President Obama, Year One:

“…High-ranking African-Americans on the White House staff like [Patrick] Gaspard, Mona Sutphen [deputy White House chief of staff], Melody Barnes (chair of the Domestic Policy Council), didn’t seem to have influence commensurate with their positions. And the National Security Council staff of 240 was almost entirely white…The car companies and AIG and other recipients of bailout billions weren’t being pressured…to hire more African-American executives and move beyond tokenism on their boards…With a black man as president the pressure was off. The number of high-ranking African-Americans in corporate America were actually shrinking…Almost no Blacks held senior management positions in hedge funds or venture capital firms…Obama…hardly ignored fund-raising…In the second half of his first year he hosted 2 or 3 fund-raisers a month, held mostly on the road…”

  So don’t be surprised if neither the level of institutional and economic racism in the United States, the militarism of the U.S. government’s bi-partisan foreign policy nor the official jobless rate for African-American workers changes too much during the second term of a re-elected Democratic Obama Administration (or during the first term of a newly-elected right-wing, neo-conservative Republican Romney Administration, if the 2012 Democratic presidential candidate loses the election, despite being backed by most of the Big Media conglomerates) between 2013 and 2017.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Black Worker Unemployment Rate Jumps To 14.3 Percent In October 2012

The official “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all Black workers in the United States jumped from 13.4 to 14.3 percent between September and October 2012; while the total number of unemployed Black workers increased by 200,000 (from 2,464,000 to 2,684,000) during the same period, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

The official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Black female workers over 20 years-of-age jumped from 10.9 to 12.4 percent between September and October 2012; while the number of unemployed Black female workers over 20 years-of-age increased by 186,000 (from 1,018,000 to 1,204,000) during the same period.

The official “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Black youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age also jumped from 36.7 to 40.5 percent between September and October 2012; while the number of unemployed Black youths increased by 28,000 (from 279,000 to 307,000) during the same period. In addition, the “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Black male workers over 20 years-of-age was still 14.1 percent in October 2012; while the number of unemployed Black male workers over 20 years-of-age increased by 6,000 (from 1,167,000 to 1,173,000) between September and October 2012.

The official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for white youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age was still 20.6 percent in October 2012; while the official unemployment rate for white male workers over 20 years-of-age was still 6.6 percent during that same month.

For white female workers over 20 years-of age, the official jobless rate was still 6.3 percent in October 2012; while the number of white female workers over 20 years-of-age in the U.S. labor force dropped by 100,000 (from 54,531,000 to 54,431,000) between September and October 2012. In addition, between September and October 2012 the number of white female workers over 20 years-of-age who had jobs in the United States dropped by 78,000 (from 51,105,00 to 51,022,000); and the official “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all white workers in the United States (male, female and youth) was still 7 percent in October 2012.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Latino youth between 16 and 19 years-of-age increased from 27.8 to 28.9 percent between September and October 2012; while the number of Latino youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age with jobs decreased by 56,000 (from 811,000 to 755,000) during the same period, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data.

According to the “seasonally adjusted” data, the official jobless rate for all Latino workers in the United States (male, female and youth) increased from 9.9 to 10 percent between September and October 2012; while the total number of unemployed Latino workers in the United States (male, female and youth) increased by 42,000 (from 2,427,000 to 2,469,000) during the same period.

According to the “not seasonally adjusted” data, the unemployment rate for Latino male workers over 20 years-of-age increased from 7.6 to 8.3 percent between September and October 2012; while the number of unemployed Latino male workers over 20 years-of-age increased by 120,000 (from 1,017,000 to 1,137,000) during the same period. And in October 2012 the “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Latina female workers over 20 years-of-age was still 9.5 percent.

Between September and October 2012, the number of Asian-American workers who had jobs decreased by 57,000 (from 7,810,000 to 7,753,000), according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data; while the number of Asian-American workers in the U.S. labor force dropped by 55,000 (from 8,204,000 to 8,149,000) during the same period. The “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Asian-American workers increased from 4.8 to 4.9 percent between September and October 2012; while, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data, the number of unemployed Asian-American workers increased by 2,000 (from 394,000 to 396,000) during the same period.

The official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all female workers in the United States over 16 years-of-age increased from 7.5 to 7.7 percent between September and October 2012; while the total number of unemployed female workers over 16 years-of-age increased by 160,000 (from 5,456,000 to 5,616,000) during same period. And the official unemployment rate for all youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age was still 23.7 percent in October 2012; while the jobless rate for all male workers in the United States over 16 years-of-age was still 8 percent during that same month.

Between September and October 2012, the official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all U.S. workers increased from 7.8 to 7.9 percent; and the total number of officially unemployed U.S. workers increased from 12,088,000 to 12,258,000—an increase of 170,000--during the same period.

According to the November 2, 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics press release:

“…Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Blacks increased to 14.3 percent in October…In October, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 5.0 million. These individuals accounted for 40.6 percent of the unemployed…The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) fell by 269,000 to 8.3 million in October…These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job…

“In October, 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force…These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey…Among the marginally attached, there were 813,000 discouraged workers in October…Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them…

“Temporary help employment changed little in October and has shown little net change over the past 3 months…Manufacturing employment changed little in October. On net, manufacturing employment has shown little change since April.

“Mining lost 9,000 jobs in October, with most of the decline occurring in support activities for mining. Since May of this year, employment in mining has decreased by 17,000…In October, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees edged down by 1 cent to $19.79…"


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Obama's Murdoch and Mass Media Conglomerate Connections

“…All the major media companies, driven largely by their Hollywood film and television businesses, have made larger contributions to President Obama than to his rival, former Gov. Mitt Romney...Even companies whose news outlets are often perceived as having a conservative bias have given significantly more money to Mr. Obama. Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, for example, has contributed $58,825 to Mr. Obama's campaign, compared with $2,750 to Mr. RomneyMr. Murdoch has not been shy about expressing his criticism of Mr. Romney...In 2008, News Corporation contributed $380,558 to Mr. Obama's campaign, compared with $32,740 to the Republican nominee John McCain.

Other media companies have contributed more significantly to Mr. Obama, including Time Warner, owner of CNN and the magazine publishing house Time Inc. The company, which is based in New York and also owns Warner Brothers and HBO, has contributed $191,834 to Mr. Obama in the 2012 election cycle, compared with $10,750 to Mr. Romney. The Walt Disney Company, owner of ABC and ESPN, donated $125,856 to Mr. Obama and $9,950 to Mr. Romney.
“Philadelphia-based Comcast Corporation, owner of NBCUniversal and one of the biggest spenders in lobbying money in Washington, has given $206,056 to Mr. Obama and $20,500 to Mr. Romney…”

--from the August 22, 2012 issue of the New York Times

Obama’s Murdoch and Mass Media Conglomerate Connections

Most people in the United States are against the U.S. government allowing a small number of billionaire global media barons (often from foreign countries like Australia) to monopolize the ownership of most U.S. radio studios and networks, U.S. television studios and networks, U.S. movie studios, U.S. magazines and U.S. newspapers and internet news sites.
Yet between 2009 and 2012, no radical democratic reform of the U.S. media world that would have shifted mass media control of the public airwaves away from the U.S. mass media conglomerates and towards more democratic control of the U.S. mass media studios, networks, newspapers and internet news sites by the people of the United States was enacted by the Democratic Obama administration.

One reason for the apparent lack of support for the radical democratic reform of the U.S. mass media industry and the democratization of U.S. mass media ownership by the Democratic Obama administration between 2009 and 2012 might be because the U.S. mass media conglomerates have generally allowed the Obama White House to apparently use the U.S. mass media as a self-promotional political tool between 2009 and 2012. As the 2010 book The Promise: President Obama, Year One by Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter observed:

“…After wrapping up the nomination in June 2008, Obama met secretly with Fox brass at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York with the intention of making peace. He chatted amiably with owner Rupert Murdoch, who openly admired Obama…Murdoch…extravagantly complimented the candidate, and the meeting ended with an informal agreement by Obama to resume relations with Fox. He granted a long interview to Bill O’Reilly, as well as one to the Murdoch-owned Wall Street JournalObama placed courtesy call to Murdoch during the transition [between the November 2008 election and the January 2009 inauguration] but wrote Fox off…[In 2009] Rahm quietly called Murdoch three times to tell him he welcomed his ideas, a peace offering that Murdoch appreciated. The point was to maintain decent relations between the White House and the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal…

“The most common media criticism of Obama (even from supporters like Colin Powell) was that he was overexposed…Obama…believed he needed to be omnipresent or the vacuum would be filled by adversaries…The White House could now flood niche media markets with content via blogs, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, and Flicker photo streams…The White House sent messages to reporters several times a day. Obama’s media strategy was to follow bad news with more news…

“…[In 2009] Obama appeared on Jay Leno’s show on NBC and in several 60 Minutes interviews with Steve Kroft on CBS. He opened the White House for a day to NBC News, held a town meeting…with Diane Sawyer on ABC, and sat for dozens of one-on-one interviews with cable outlets and talk radio hosts…When he appeared on five Sunday shows on September 14 [2009]—a first for a president—critics claimed that it was overkill…

“…Obama was overexposed to those who regularly watched Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, PBS, Comedy Central, or CNBC or listened to NPR…It amounted to…around 10 percent of the electorate who voted in general elections…The White House sent him into the anchor booth in St. Louis during the [2009] All-Star Game and ghosted article on parenthood under his byline for Parade magazine…He stopped holding full-dress news conferences in the second half of 2009…Instead his format of choice was the one-on-one interview. He sat for 152 interviews in 2009, for more than any of his predecessors…”