NAACP Culpeper #7058

Also Serving Madison and Rappahannock Counties

Category: News (Page 1 of 6)

The Fourteenth Amendment

Today is the anniversary of the day in 1868 that Americans changed the U.S. Constitution for the fourteenth time, giving the federal government power to guarantee that state governments could not pass laws that treated some people worse than others.

The background to this constitutional amendment was that in the wake of the Civil War, former Confederates in the southern states had done their best to force their Black neighbors back into subservience. Through a series of laws known collectively as the “Black Codes,” state legislators in summer 1865 regulated how Black Americans worked, lived, worshiped, and conducted themselves, without any recourse to the law for protection when they were robbed, assaulted, raped, and killed.

The Black Codes, sometimes called Black Laws, were laws governing the conduct of African Americans (free and freed blacks). In 1832, James Kent wrote that “in most of the United States, there is a distinction in respect to political privileges, between free white persons and free colored persons of African blood; and in no part of the country do the latter, in point of fact, participate equally with the whites, in the exercise of civil and political rights.”[1] Although Black Codes existed before the Civil War and many Northern states had them, it was the Southern U.S. states that codified such laws in everyday practice. The best known of them were passed in 1865 and 1866 by Southern states, after the American Civil War, in order to restrict African Americans’ freedom, and to compel them to work for low or no wages.

But there was no way northern members of Congress were going to permit southern lawmakers, who only months before had been shooting at U.S. soldiers, to discriminate against the very men who had fought to save the United States.

Their solution was the Fourteenth Amendment.

The amendment overturned the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision that, in addition to declaring that Black men were not citizens and did not have the rights of citizens, declared that democracy was created at the state level by those people in a state who were allowed to vote. In 1857, this meant white men, almost exclusively. If those people voted to do something widely unpopular—like adopting human enslavement, for example—they had the right to do so. People like Abraham Lincoln pointed out that such state power would eventually mean that an unpopular minority could take over the national government, forcing their ideas on everyone else, but defenders of states’ rights stood firm.

And so, the Fourteenth Amendment gave the federal government the power to protect individuals even if their state legislatures had passed discriminatory laws. “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” it said. And then it went on to say that “Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”

But the amendment had to be ratified. In the midterm elections of 1866, the driving issue was the election of state legislators who would either pass or reject the Fourteenth Amendment. President Andrew Johnson, who had stepped into the presidency when an actor had murdered President Abraham Lincoln the year before, stood against the amendment and backed throwing power to the state legislatures. His support gave southern terrorists the confidence to attack formerly enslaved people not only in private, but also in deadly public riots that killed as many as 1000 people before the election.

For their part, the Republicans who wanted federal protection of equal rights also turned to the people but appealed to voters’ commitment to the principle of equality before the law. Senator James G. Blaine, Republican of Maine, later recalled, “The one…point…echoed and re-echoed by every speaker…was the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment. It was evidently the unalterable determination of the Republicans to make that the leading feature of the campaign…to urge it though the press, to present it on the stump, to proclaim it through every authorized exponent of public opinion.”

Voters sided with the Republicans and the Fourteenth Amendment by a landslide against Johnson and the Black Codes. The Republicans won 143 representatives to Congress to the Democrats’ 49. The Republicans maintained similar control over the state houses.

“The importance…of the political struggle of 1866 cannot be overestimated,” Blaine recalled. “If the contest had ended [differently] the history of the subsequent years would…have been radically different. There would have been no further amendment to the Constitution,” and southern legislators would “sustain all the State laws already passed for the practical re-enslavement” of Black Americans, “with such additional enactments as would have made them cruelly effective…. [T]he result must have been a deplorable degradation of the National character and an ignoble surrender to the enemies of the Union,” who would then direct the government.

The state legislatures ratified the Fourteenth Amendment and added it to the Constitution in 1868, and in 1870 the federal government set out to enforce national equality before the law with the creation of the Department of Justice, whose first job was to bring down the Ku Klux Klan terrorists in the South who were assaulting and murdering their Black neighbors.

In the post–World War II era, the federal government again used the Fourteenth Amendment to protect citizens against discrimination at the state level when the Supreme Court began to use the equal protection clause and the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment aggressively to apply the protections in the Bill of Rights to the states. The civil rights decisions of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, including the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision that outlawed segregation in public schools and the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, come from this doctrine. Under it, the federal government took up the mantle of protecting the rights of individual Americans in the states from the whims of state legislatures.

Opponents of these new civil rights protections quickly began to object that such decisions were “legislating from the bench,” rather than permitting state legislatures to make their own laws. They began to call for “originalism,” the idea that the Constitution should be interpreted only as the Framers had intended when they wrote it, an argument that focused on the creation of law at the state level. That theory is now dominant in the Supreme Court. Two weeks ago, on June 24, 2022, it rejected the federal government’s power to protect civil rights in the states, and more than a dozen state legislatures have rushed to outlaw abortion procedures.

Yesterday, Biden reached for the power embodied by the Fourteenth Amendment for the federal government to overrule state laws discriminating against citizens within their borders. But he also echoed the electoral fight to put that amendment in place when he told Americans: “We need two additional pro-choice senators and a pro-choice House to codify Roe as federal law. Your vote can make that a reality. I know it’s frustrating, and it made a lot of people very angry. But the truth is this…. [The] women of America can determine the outcome of this issue.”

Source: July 8, 2022 – by Heather Cox Richardson (substack.com)

NAACP Statement on the Madison County, Virginia School Board

 

 

NAACP Statement on the Madison County, Virginia, School Board

Media Inquiries: secretary@naacpculpeper.org

 

(7.6.22) The NAACP Culpeper Branch #7058, also representing Madison and Rappahannock counties in Virginia, has long prioritized education in our mission to achieve equality and eliminate race-based prejudice. We regularly partner with local schools to provide scholarships and educational resources for students and teachers.

Since February, when the Madison County School Board held its 2022 annual retreat, we have become increasingly concerned with statements and actions by members of the school board. In particular, we note:

  • Recent analysis shows that Black students in Madison County have consistently performed at lower levels than their white peers in reading, writing, and math; and graduated at a lower rate.¹ There have also been numerous incidences of students using racist language and engaging in racially motivated incidents on school buses, in classrooms, and on sports fields. However, at the April school board meeting, board member Charlie Sheads blamed parents for achievement disparities and erroneously stated that “the mission of Black Lives Matter is to destroy the nuclear family.” Members of the school board have repeatedly demonstrated a willful ignorance of history that has deprived many Black Americans of equal opportunities and contributed to disparities in education, including practices and cultural biases that persist to this day.
  • At the February 5th school board retreat, board member Christopher Wingate stated his concern about the school system’s goal of hiring a more diverse workforce, including African American teachers. Appallingly, he expressed caution that this should not hinder the system’s “pursuit of excellence.” Mr. Wingate also stated at the school board retreat that “with equity, there’s a focus on race, and of course we shouldn’t focus on race.”
  • The school board recently proposed extremist policy revisions designed to prevent students in need of affirmation and support, including LGBTQ students and those with abusive or dysfunctional family situations, from receiving counseling and resources. This would potentially endanger students and eliminate the “safety net” and privacy protections that many of our students desperately need. The policies demonstrate a clear mistrust of our educational and counseling workforce.
  • In June, despite protests from educators, parents, and community members, the school board voted to ban several texts from the high school curriculum, including a speech on the Vietnam War by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and an acclaimed letter written by James Baldwin. Board member Christopher Wingate stated that the works did not reflect a “love of country” and patriotism. We would like to address this specifically by quoting Dr. King in 1967:

“Let me say finally that I oppose the war in Vietnam because I love America. I speak out against this war, not in anger, but with anxiety and sorrow in my heart, and, above all, with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as the moral example of the world. I speak out against this war because I am disappointed with America. There can be no great disappointment where there is no great love.”

The NAACP Culpeper Branch calls upon the Madison County School Board to become more educated about racial and LGBTQ intolerance in our community, our schools, and our nation’s history and to support the efforts of the MCPS administration by:

  • Focusing on creating a safe environment for all students where racism and bigotry are not tolerated, rather than creating undue and unwarranted restrictions on our professional educators and limiting resources for our students.
  • Upholding the language and the true spirit of the board’s 2020 Equity Statement and continuing the work of the Equity Task Force.
  • Committing to closing the school system’s achievement gap and addressing disparities in school discipline, and to teaching accurate and complete history including diverse and competing perspectives that will encourage critical thinking and empower students to succeed.

“No one should have to prove to you that racism exists. If you don’t see it, it’s because you choose not to. And that’s cruel and tragic.”

– Bernice King, CEO, Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

 

¹ Virginia Department of Education

 

 

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Uzziah Harris
President
NAACP Culpeper Branch #7058

NAACP Scholarship Application

The Culpeper Branch of the NAACP will award a $500 scholarship to a graduating high school senior who lives in Culpeper, Madison, or Rappahannock counties. Scholarships are available for applicants who will attend accredited trade, vocational, and technical schools; community colleges; or four-year colleges and universities. To be eligible for this scholarship, you must have a minimum 2.5 grade average.

Applications must be received no later than April 1, 2022. Please submit to your guidance office or mail (postmarked by April 1) to: NAACP Culpeper, P.O. Box 687, Culpeper, VA, 22701.

Download (DOCX)

NAACP Essay Contest

Winners will be recognized in local media and at the March NAACP meeting, receive gift certificates up to $200, and be invited to attend a special field trip to the NMAAHC in Washington DC.

Email submissions by February 28, 2022, to education@naacpculpeper.org

NAACP Essay Contest

This is Culpeper, and we deserve better. We can do better.

If you spend more time on SWAT training than in de-escalation training, then the results will match that investment. If you spend more money on special combat assault rifles than funding positions and partnerships for mental health, then the results will match your investment.

In short, you get what you pay for; only, we’re all paying for it—with both our taxes and our lives.

COMMENTARY: Culpeper shootings demand a cultural shift

We are a nation of plurality; our diversity is our strength. I would hope that despite where you fall on the political spectrum, you’ll hear my heart and help find solutions to the problems we face right here in Culpeper.

NAACP Culpeper Presents Captains of Community Awards

Reaves, Sledge, and Hunter Recognized for Commitment to Justice

 Culpeper, Virginia February 18, 2021 – The Rev. Dr. Uzziah A. Harris, president of the NAACP Culpeper Branch, also representing Madison and Rappahannock counties, recently recognized three local advocates for equity and justice as “Captains of Community.” The awards were presented at the branch’s annual celebration event honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in January.

Brianna Simone Reaves, a student at the University of Mary Washington, was recognized as a community leader and activist for racial justice. Reaves is president of the NAACP’s University of Mary Washington Branch and vice president of the NAACP Virginia State Conference Youth and College Division. “Brianna has a voice that cannot be quieted,” Dr. Harris stated. “She was a co-organizer of the 2020 march in Culpeper protesting police brutality across the nation, a peaceful event that drew more than 800 people. She is a Dean’s List student and an exceptional advocate for the cause of racial justice.”

Dr. Harris also recognized Pastor Adrian Sledge as a Captain of Community. Sledge, a longtime community leader, founded the MOVE Ministry (Maximizing Opportunities and Gaining Victory Through Excellence) with his wife, Ronica. “Pastor Sledge has been an outstanding proponent for justice and change,” Dr. Harris stated. Sledge served as the keynote speaker for the NAACP Culpeper 2021 Martin Luther King, Jr., observance event.

The third Captain of Community award was presented to Amy M. Hunter of Culpeper. “The mother of three boys, Amy has served her family and her community with distinction,” Dr. Harris stated. “She created the petition and led the effort to remove the Confederate flag at Lenn Park. We thank her for her willingness and courage to speak up and take action in the fight for justice.”

The Culpeper Branch of the NAACP meets on the third Thursday evening of the month at 7 pm and is currently meeting via Zoom. The tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which originally aired on January 18 and features a number of speakers including Pastor Sledge, can be viewed on the NAACP Culpeper website or at https://naacpculpeper.org/mlk-2021-celebration/. For more information on meetings, events, and membership, visit www.naacpculpeper.org or contact secretary@naacpculpeper.org.

 

# # #

 

 

Support SJ272 to eliminate voting restrictions against felons and the intellectually disabled

This morning, the Senate Privileges & Elections Committee voted in a bipartisan fashion to advance SJR272, the constitutional voting rights amendment. This is a major Virginia NAACP VICTORY!

Laws that were passed in the early 1900s that put unreasonable restrictions can still be felt today. This amendment not only lifts restrictions on qualifications to vote for those who have been convicted of a felony or adjudicated to be mentally incompetent, but it ensures that restrictive, unethical, and racially biased laws cannot be enacted or enforced.

As you know, passing Senator Mamie Locke’s Constitutional Amendment is our #1 legislative priority for this session. Therefore, we are asking for your support over the next 24 hours to help apply pressure to Senators before it heads to the full Senate.

Add your name!

 

Virginia NAACP Applauds Committee Passage of Voting Rights Constitutional Amendment and Demands Swift Passage By Full Senate – Virginia NAACP

RICHMOND (February 4, 2021) -Virginia State Conference NAACP President Robert N. Barnette, Jr. issued the following statement today following the passage of

Crisis Magazine

The Crisis

Dear NAACP member,

Thank you for your continued commitment to social justice and civil rights.

In 2020, we celebrated the 110th Anniversary of The Crisis magazine. When W.E.B. Du Bois created The Crisis in 1910, he noted that it would be “a record of the darker races” and it became the official publication of the NAACP.

We know that The Crisis is a benefit of your NAACP membership and was recently made aware that some members did not receive the digital editions of The Crisis magazine that were produced in 2020. We apologize for this oversight.

We published four issues of The Crisis in 2020 — one hard copy and three digital issues. After 110 years, we continue to be “a record of the darker races.” The Crisis digital issues are packed with stories that document the journey and experience of African Americans during a year of social unrest, a pandemic, and the election of Kamala Harris as the nation’s first African American, first South Asian, and first woman Vice President of the United States.

Please check out the links to the digital issues below.

If you are interested in receiving hard copies of the digital issues, please send your contact information (name and mailing address) to membership (membership@naacpnet.org) or Ms. India Artis (iartis@naacpnet.org). We will mail you hard copies of the last three issues that were published in 2020.

Thank you again for your membership in the NAACP. Together we will continue to fight for a society in which all persons have equal rights.

The Crisis Digital Issues

If your loved one is hesitant to get the Covid-19 vaccine, share this

(CNN)Your loved ones are right to have questions about the Covid-19 vaccine — the American public hasn’t watched vaccine development this closely since Dr. Jonas Salk discovered how to immunize kids from polio in the ’50s.

But vaccine hesitancy could put a dangerous damper on the country’s Covid-19 response. Pockets of some populations most at risk of severe sickness from Covid-19, including young nurses and Black Americans, are still dubious of the vaccine — because of the speed at which it was developed, its contents, and potential side effects.

To answer questions your family and friends may have about the Covid-19 vaccine, we consulted with two experts:

  • Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
  • Dr. Ruth Karron, a leading vaccine expert and professor of international health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Medical experts, successful clinical trials, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have repeatedly assured us of the safety and effectiveness of the two Covid-19 vaccines available now, from Moderna and Pfizer.
But health experts take your concerns seriously, too, said, Schaffner.
“We have to regard everybody’s hesitation and skepticism seriously,” he said. “This is a new virus in the human population, new vaccines using new technologies, so you understand that people are somewhat hesitant.”

If your loved one is hesitant to get the Covid-19 vaccine, share this

To answer questions you or your loved ones may have about the Covid-19 vaccine, we consulted with two experts. The evidence supports the safety and efficacy of the two Covid-19 vaccines currently authorized.

Special Election in Culpeper on March 30

In-person early voting starts Feb 12 at the office of the Registrar 151, N Main St., Suite 301, Culpeper VA. Election day is March 30th. Absentee by mail ballots can be requested by calling the Registrar 540-825-0652. Business hours are 8:30 a to 4:30 p weekdays. Closed on President’s Day Feb 15.

COMMENTARY: Culpeper clerk of court tasked with many responsibilities

Culpeper County will hold a special election on March 30. As of this writing, at least two individuals have announced their candidacy for the position. Since a large percentage of the county’s eligible voters are expected to take part, I share what I have learned about the importance of the position and summarize the duties of the office.

« Older posts

© 2022 NAACP Culpeper #7058

Design and Hosting by ren@localcause.netUp ↑