Day: August 1, 2008

ObamaNation Politics Race Matters

Obama Shuts Down Protestors In Florida

As Barack Obama spoke during a townhall meeting in St. Petersburg, Florida Friday he was interrupted by the shouts of a handful of protesters accusing him of neglecting the African American community.

Three young men stood up during Obama’s speech and shouted, “What about the black community, Obama?” Supporters of the presidential hopeful attempted to drown out the men by chanting Obama’s slogan, “Yes We Can.”

Obama coolly addressed one of the protesters, “Excuse me, young man, this is going to be a question and answer session. You’ll have a chance to ask your questions, but you don’t want to disrupt the whole meeting.”

When the protesters had their turn during the Q&A session, they asked, “Why is it that you have not had the ability to not one time speak to the interests and even speak on behalf of the oppressed and exploited African-American community, or black community in this country?”

“I think you’re misinformed…every issue that you’ve spoken about, I actually did speak out on,” Obama responded, pointing out that he had condemned the predatory mortgage practices that have hurt blacks. “I was a civil rights lawyer. I passed the first racial profiling legislation in Illinois. I passed some of the toughest death penalty reform legislation in Illinois, so these are issues I’ve worked on for decades.”

Obama also admitted to not being able to please everyone and offered up a solution to his critics: “Now that doesn’t mean that I’m going to always satisfy the way you guys want these issues framed…which gives you the option of voting for somebody else. It gives you the option to run for office yourself.”

The Illinois senator also proposed measures to help the average worker with rising energy costs which included an immediate $1,000 tax rebate for low and middle income families that would be paid for with a 5-year profits tax on oil companies.

PHOTO: AP

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Art Race Matters

Black Hands, Blue Seas Exhibit Reveals African American’s Nautical History

An exhibit exploring African American contributions to the nation’s maritime history opens at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. “Black Hands, Blue Seas: The Untold Maritime Stories of African Americans” features art, artifacts and documents, chronicling the origins of black maritime tradition which begins with boat-building traditions in Africa.

The exhibit sheds light on the often overlooked roles that African Americans played as fishermen, stevedores, merchant mariners, Coast Guard lifesavers, sailors and captains.

A few interesting facts learned at the exhibit: the abolitionist and author Frederick Douglass escaped slavery disguised as a sailor; wealthy captain and ship owner Paul Cuffee sponsored voyages taking freed slaves back to Africa; and escaped slave William B. Gould served in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War.

The exhibit originated in Connecticut’s Mystic Harbor and will be in Philadelphia for a year before traveling to the next port.

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