[Blackstudies-l] Fwd: How One of America’s Whitest Cities Became the Center of B.L.M. Protests and Meet the Black Women Who Fought for the Vote

Maria Lima lima at geneseo.edu
Sat Jul 25 09:45:51 EDT 2020


Maria Helena Lima
Professor
Department of English
Comparative Literature Director
James and Julia Lockhart Professor, 2014-2017




---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Maria Lima <lima at geneseo.edu>
Date: Sat, Jul 25, 2020 at 9:42 AM
Subject: How One of America’s Whitest Cities Became the Center of B.L.M.
Protests and Meet the Black Women Who Fought for the Vote
To: <faculty-l at geneseo.edu>



Unrest in Portland, the brave women of color who fought to vote and
remembering John Lewis.
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July 25, 2020
Teal Lindseth after tear gas was fired on protesters in Portland early
Tuesday morning.Mason Trinca for The New York Times

By Thomas Fuller
One of America’s Whitest Cities Is at the Center of B.L.M. Protests

PORTLAND, Ore. — Seyi Fasoranti, a chemist who moved to Oregon from the
East Coast six months ago, has watched the Black Lives Matter protests in
Portland with fascination. A sea of white faces in one of the whitest major
American cities has cried out for racial justice every night for nearly two
months.
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“It’s something I joke about with my friends,” Mr. Fasoranti, who is Black,
said over the din of protest chants this week. “There are more Black Lives
Matter signs in Portland than Black people.”

Loud advocacy has been a hallmark of Portland life for decades, but unlike
past protests over environmental policies or foreign wars, racism is a more
complicated topic in Oregon, one that is intertwined with demographics and
the state’s legacy of some of the most brutal anti-Black laws
<https://nl.nytimes.com/f/newsletter/IrBHabRnzpQTvIIjKRUgPw~~/AAAAAQA~/RgRg_pXJP0TnaHR0cHM6Ly93d3cubnl0aW1lcy5jb20vMjAxNy8wNi8wNC91cy9wb3J0bGFuZC1raWxsaW5ncy1yYWNpc3QtbGF3cy1vcmVnb24uaHRtbD9jYW1wYWlnbl9pZD0zNyZlbWM9ZWRpdF9ycl8yMDIwMDcyNSZpbnN0YW5jZV9pZD0yMDYxMiZubD1yYWNlJTJGcmVsYXRlZCZyZWdpX2lkPTQyNzQwODk3JnNlZ21lbnRfaWQ9MzQzNDkmdGU9MSZ1c2VyX2lkPTM5MzhmMTdkODE4MmEyMmZkZTE0NjdmZjlkMGJiNWM1VwNueXRCCgA5yRAcXzU67whSEGxpbWFAZ2VuZXNlby5lZHVYBAAAAAA~>
in the nation.

During 56 straight nights of protests here, throngs of largely white
protesters have raised their fists in the air and chanted, “This is not a
riot, it’s a revolution.” They have thrown water bottles at the federal
courthouse, tried to pry off the plywood that protects the entrance and
engaged in running battles with police officers through clouds of tear gas.
In recent nights, the number of protesters has swollen into the thousands.

Damany Igwé, 43, a bath products salesman who is Black and has taken part
in dozens of the protests, says white crowds have shielded him from the
police, all the while yelling “Black power!”
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“I feel the most protected that I ever have in my city,” Mr. Igwé said
during a Wednesday night protest that lasted well into Thursday morning.
“White people can’t understand what we’ve been through completely, but they
are trying to empathize. That’s a beginning.”

Of the 35 cities in the United States with populations larger than 500,000,
Portland is the whitest, according to census data, with 71 percent of
residents categorized as non-Latino whites.

Oregon’s relative homogeneity — the state is three-quarters white compared
with neighboring California, where white people make up 37 percent of the
population — was not accidental. The state was founded on principles of
white supremacy. A 19th-century lash law called for whipping any Black
person found in the state. In the early part of the 20th century Oregon’s
Legislature was dominated by members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Today the average income level for Black families in Portland is nearly
half that of white residents, and police shootings of Black residents are
disproportionate to their 6 percent share of the population. Three years
ago, two good Samaritans were fatally stabbed
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while trying to stop a man from shouting slurs at two African-American
women on a commuter train, one of whom was wearing Muslim dress.
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“Really there are two Portlands that exist,” said Walidah Imarisha, a
scholar of Black history in Oregon. “There’s white Portland and Portland of
color.”

[Read more about Portland, the protests and the state’s brutal racist
history.
<https://nl.nytimes.com/f/newsletter/k-ZegH44sLzJK8MC5nbJ2Q~~/AAAAAQA~/RgRg_pXJP4QWAWh0dHBzOi8vd3d3Lm55dGltZXMuY29tLzIwMjAvMDcvMjQvdXMvcG9ydGxhbmQtb3JlZ29uLXByb3Rlc3RzLXdoaXRlLXJhY2UuaHRtbD9hY3Rpb249Y2xpY2smY2FtcGFpZ25faWQ9MzcmZW1jPWVkaXRfcnJfMjAyMDA3MjUmaW5zdGFuY2VfaWQ9MjA2MTImbW9kdWxlPVRvcCtTdG9yaWVzJm5sPXJhY2UlMkZyZWxhdGVkJnBndHlwZT1Ib21lcGFnZSZyZWdpX2lkPTQyNzQwODk3JnNlZ21lbnRfaWQ9MzQzNDkmdGU9MSZ1c2VyX2lkPTM5MzhmMTdkODE4MmEyMmZkZTE0NjdmZjlkMGJiNWM1VwNueXRCCgA5yRAcXzU67whSEGxpbWFAZ2VuZXNlby5lZHVYBAAAAAA~>
]
The cover art for “Finish the Fight!” published by HMH/Versify.Illustration
by Steffi Walthall


Meet the Brave Women of Color Who Fought for the Vote

“Finish the Fight!
<https://nl.nytimes.com/f/a/1skYwKfn4l6yT7h4fAVcqw~~/AAAAAQA~/RgRg_pXJP4Q5AWh0dHBzOi8vd3d3Lm55dGNvLmNvbS9wcmVzcy9obWgtYm9va3MtbWVkaWEtYW5kLXRoZS1uZXcteW9yay10aW1lcy1jb2xsYWJvcmF0ZS1vbi1ub25maWN0aW9uLXByb2plY3QtaGlnaGxpZ2h0aW5nLXRoZS1kaXZlcnNlLXdvbWVuLXdoby1mb3VnaHQtZm9yLXZvdGluZy1yaWdodHMvP2NhbXBhaWduX2lkPTM3JmVtYz1lZGl0X3JyXzIwMjAwNzI1Jmluc3RhbmNlX2lkPTIwNjEyJm5sPXJhY2UlMkZyZWxhdGVkJnJlZ2lfaWQ9NDI3NDA4OTcmc2VnbWVudF9pZD0zNDM0OSZ0ZT0xJnVzZXJfaWQ9MzkzOGYxN2Q4MTgyYTIyZmRlMTQ2N2ZmOWQwYmI1YzVXA255dEIKADnJEBxfNTrvCFIQbGltYUBnZW5lc2VvLmVkdVgEAAAAAA~~>”
is a history of the American suffrage movement for middle-grade readers
written by Veronica Chambers
<https://nl.nytimes.com/f/a/Y11Zq4DWM7pd3E0uYUjCoA~~/AAAAAQA~/RgRg_pXJP0TEaHR0cHM6Ly93d3cubnl0aW1lcy5jb20vYnkvdmVyb25pY2EtY2hhbWJlcnM_Y2FtcGFpZ25faWQ9MzcmZW1jPWVkaXRfcnJfMjAyMDA3MjUmaW5zdGFuY2VfaWQ9MjA2MTImbmw9cmFjZSUyRnJlbGF0ZWQmcmVnaV9pZD00Mjc0MDg5NyZzZWdtZW50X2lkPTM0MzQ5JnRlPTEmdXNlcl9pZD0zOTM4ZjE3ZDgxODJhMjJmZGUxNDY3ZmY5ZDBiYjVjNVcDbnl0QgoAOckQHF81Ou8IUhBsaW1hQGdlbmVzZW8uZWR1WAQAAAAA>
and
the staff of The New York Times. The following excerpts have been edited
and condensed.

It took the better part of a century to pass a law saying American women
had the right to vote. Three generations of women, and their male allies,
worked tirelessly to make the 19th Amendment — which decreed that states
could not discriminate at the polls on the basis of sex — a reality. We
call the right to vote “suffrage,” but for a long time, that word was a
kind of shorthand for women’s rights. Without the vote, suffragists argued,
women had little say over their lives and their futures and certainly much
less when it came to the larger political questions that shaped the nation.

The 19th Amendment is a cornerstone of gender equality in our country, yet
many of us know very little about the way the right to vote was won. For a
long time, the history of the suffrage movement has been told mainly as the
story of a few famous white women, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan
B. Anthony. It’s true they were among the most important leaders of the
movement in the 19th century.

But there were tons more women who helped make suffrage a reality:
African-American women such as the writer and orator Frances Ellen Watkins
Harper, the community organizer Juno Frankie Pierce and the journalists
Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, Elizabeth Piper Ensley and Ida B.
Wells-Barnett, who championed both suffrage and civil rights; Native
American women such as Susette La Flesche Tibbles and Zitkala-Sa; queer
women like the poet Angelina Weld Grimké and the educator Mary Burrill;
Latina women like Jovita Idár, who protected her family’s newspaper and the
rights of Mexican-Americans; and Asian-American women like Mabel Ping-Hua
Lee, who led thousands of marchers in a 1912 suffrage parade in New York.
They all fought for the vote as part of a broader struggle for equality,
but their stories aren’t nearly as well known as they should be.

Shirley Chisholm, who, in a tribute to the suffragists, wore white on the
day in 1968 when she became the first African-American woman elected to
Congress, reportedly said, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table,
bring a folding chair.”

[Read more about some of the women.
<https://nl.nytimes.com/f/newsletter/ybNPlnoq6HSu3EkZ6JcDAA~~/AAAAAQA~/RgRg_pXJP0TeaHR0cHM6Ly93d3cubnl0aW1lcy5jb20vMjAyMC8wNy8yNC9ib29rcy9maW5pc2gtdGhlLWZpZ2h0LWV4Y2VycHQuaHRtbD9jYW1wYWlnbl9pZD0zNyZlbWM9ZWRpdF9ycl8yMDIwMDcyNSZpbnN0YW5jZV9pZD0yMDYxMiZubD1yYWNlJTJGcmVsYXRlZCZyZWdpX2lkPTQyNzQwODk3JnNlZ21lbnRfaWQ9MzQzNDkmdGU9MSZ1c2VyX2lkPTM5MzhmMTdkODE4MmEyMmZkZTE0NjdmZjlkMGJiNWM1VwNueXRCCgA5yRAcXzU67whSEGxpbWFAZ2VuZXNlby5lZHVYBAAAAAA~>
]
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