Friday, August 31, 2007
Clearly one of the towering figures on the Riverton cultural landscape, Constance Baker Motley was a "lawyers lawyer". As a child in the scouts at PS 197, I remember seeing her with my counterpart Joel at our cub meetings. I knew, even then, that she was someone special, although I didn't know how or why. A dozen years earlier, as a fresh faced lawyer working as a clerk for the NAACP legal defense fund under the leadership of future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Motley crafted hundreds of documents which were to become the basis of the ground breaking "Brown v Bd. Of Education" litigation which would eventually change face of educational opportunity in this country. She would later become the first Black Female to serve as a Federal Judge, and was eventually elected to the Borough Presidency of Manhattan.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
When PittyPat first raised the subject of Robert C. Weaver to me, I had little idea of the extent of his legacy in the area of Housing reform. Then as now, black folk were facing a crisis of accomodation in New York. The critical nature of the conflict became most clear to New Yorkers in the Dorsey v Stuvesanttown case which reached its conclusion, after 5 years in the summer/fall of 1947. The verdict, which came down against the 3 African American plaintiffs left Stuvesanttown free to set its own discriminatory policies. This decision galvanized the forces of opposition, and that fall Weaver, the lead authority on northern housing discrimination, allied himself with Charles Abrams of the ACLU , Will Maslow and Hortense Gabel to form The New York Committee on Discrimination in Housing......they in turn lobbied successfully for the groundbreaking Brown-Isaacs bill(passed in 1951) that made it illegal to discriminate in housing developments assisted by the government. Weaver's research for "The Negro Ghetto" would provide much of the scholarly underpinning for the movement.
Years later he would become the first black nominated to a cabinet level position, during the Johnson administration when he was made head of the newly formed HUD agency.
Check out wikipedia story http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_C._Weaverh
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Whats up folks! Just testing out the mechanics of the blog, at the moment there are only a few subscribers, but hopefully soon it will be available for open posting.This seems to be a very capable blog interface which will hopefully allow direct upload from youtube.Sign up and give it a try.
Hats off to Yvonne Delany for a beautifully written article in the "Amsterdam".
On a sad note, Kenny Medley is hospitalized, having suffered a stroke...keep him in your prayers.