Conspiracy to Whiten New Orleans
New Orleans, Smaller May Mean Whiter
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& Soul of America Are at Stake -- Which Way Now?
Editorial by Rudolph Lewis
Though Mayor Nagin has become a national joke
in conservative circles, what is being decided in backrooms in
regard to the welfare of the majority of the black former
residents of New Orleans (nearly 70 percent African American
before Hurricane Katrina) is monumental and will speak volumes
and a dire warning for most of us who are black in America and
live in our federally abandoned cities. The tragedy of New
Orleans, though they try, cannot be swept under the rug.
estimates, 300,000 people were displaced by the flood,
and it is widely believed that a large majority of them
were black. . Though the floodwaters destroyed white
neighborhoods, they were particularly devastating to the
historically black areas of New Orleans East and the
Ninth Ward, former swampland known collectively as
‘the bowl’ . . . New Orleans' black population has
been extraordinarily rooted in the city, with many
people tracing their ties to before the Civil War.
Before Katrina, 88 percent of blacks in New Orleans were
born in Louisiana. By comparison, just 57 percent of
blacks in Atlanta were born in Georgia.”
January 22, 2006).
If we allow this callous attitude toward this
forced black dispersal (into over 40 states) to stand, this
meanness of spirit and lack of regard for suffering humanity,
like a cancer, will spread into other parts of the national
body. That is to say, this is not a local or a regional problem,
but rather a national crisis, indeed, of biblical proportions.
a legitimate fear on the part of some African-Americans
that it [depoulation] is happening," said Elliott
Stonecipher, a political pollster and demographer from
Shreveport, La., referring to a permanent black
depopulation of New Orleans. "I don't know of a
place where this kind of demographic shift has ever
occurred. It is a huge, huge shift. (NYTimes,
January 22, 2006
Of course, Bush and the national government
have tried to characterize it otherwise. Instead of the national
government seizing the bull by the horn by guaranteeing
and putting into place a means for all citizens to return to
their homes (to New Orleans), they have set whites against
blacks, the rich against the poor—by withholding or pretending
that the necessary funds for such a task is unavailable or
impossible to dispense. This is a matter of national will and
sympathy. This situation as it now develops does not bode well
for our national health—physically,
spiritually, or politically.
If these American citizens because of their
color and their poverty are dispersed and displaced, who among
us then will be next? Will we or you be dealt with in the same
callous way on the flimsiest excuses of knowing what is
best for the country, in a manner similar to that which our
government dealt with Native Americans in the 19th century?
These are real and substantial fears.
I tell you, honestly and openly, if this
whitening of New Orleans stands, none of us will be safe from
here on out. If we allow this conspiracy to gain further
traction, we do it to the nation's peril.
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Study Says 80% of New
Orleans Blacks May Not Return
WASHINGTON – New Orleans could lose as much
as 80 percent of its black population if its most damaged
neighborhoods are not rebuilt and if there is not significant
government assistance to help poor people return, a detailed
analysis by Brown University has concluded.
Combining data from the 2000 census with federal damage
assessment maps, the study provides a new level of specificity
about Hurricane Katrina's effect on the city's worst-flooded
areas, which were heavily populated by low-income black people.
Of the 354,000 people who lived in New Orleans neighborhoods
where the subsequent damage was moderate to severe, 75 percent
were black, 29 percent lived below the poverty line, more than
10 percent were unemployed, and more than half were renters, the
The report's author, John R. Logan, concluded that as much as 80
percent of the city's black population might not return for
several reasons: their neighborhoods would not be rebuilt, they
would be unable to afford the relocation costs, or they would
put down roots in other cities.
For similar reasons, as much as half of the city's white
population might not return, Dr. Logan concluded. . . .
If the projections are realized, the New Orleans population will
shrink to about 140,000 from its prehurricane level of 484,000,
and the city, nearly 70 percent black before the storm, will
become majority white.
The study, financed by a grant from the National Science
Foundation, was released Thursday, 10 days after the mayor of
New Orleans, C. Ray Nagin, who is black, told an audience that
"this city will be a majority African-American city; it's
the way God wants it to be."
The study coincides with growing uncertainty about what
government assistance will be available for property owners and
renters. Louisiana will receive $6.2 billion in federal block
grants under an aid package approved by Congress in December,
part of which will be used to help homeowners. But that will not
be enough money to help all property owners in storm-damaged
areas, Louisiana officials say. . . .
"Administration officials do not understand the suffering
of the people of Louisiana," Ms. Blanco said in a
statement. . . .
Elliott B. Stonecipher, a political consultant and demographer
from Shreveport, La., said that unless New Orleans built housing
in flood-protected areas for low-income residents, and also
provided support for poor people to relocate, chances were good
that many low-income blacks would not return.
posted 23 January 2006
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A Huey P. Newton Story 2001 /
What We Want, What We Believe The Black Panther Party Library
The Spook Who Sat By the Door /
Passin' It On; The Black Panthers' Search for Justice /
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My Story, My Song (Featuring blues guitarist Walter Wolfman Washington)
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The Katrina Papers is not your
average memoir. It is a fusion of many kinds of
writing, including intellectual autobiography,
personal narrative, political/cultural analysis,
spiritual journal, literary history, and poetry.
Though it is the record of one man's experience of
Hurricane Katrina, it is a record that is fully a
part of his life and work as a scholar, political
activist, and professor.
The Katrina Papers provides space not only for the traumatic events but
also for ruminations on authors such as Richard
Wright and theorists like Deleuze and Guattarri. The
result is a complex though thoroughly accessible
book. The struggle with form—the search for a
medium proper to the complex social, personal, and
political ramifications of an event unprecedented in
this scholar's life and in American social history—lies at the very heart of
The Katrina Papers . It
depicts an enigmatic and multi-stranded world view
which takes the local as its nexus for understanding
the global. It resists the temptation to simplify
or clarify when simplification and clarification are
not possible. Ward's narrative is, at times, very
direct, but he always refuses to simplify the
complex emotional and spiritual volatility of the
process and the historical moment that he is
witnessing. The end result is an honesty that is
both pedagogical and inspiring.—Hank Lazer
The Richard Wright Encyclopedia (2008)
is a marvelous resource! It's not like any
encyclopedia I've seen before. Already, I have spent hours reading
through the various entries. So much is there: people, themes,
issues, events, bibliographies, etc., related to Wright. Yours is a
monumental contribution! The more I read Wright (and about him), the
more I am amazed at the depth and breadth of his work and its impact
on the worlds of literature, philosophy, politics, sociology,
history, psychology, etc. He was formidable!
Floyd W. Hayes
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update 7 July 2008