The Hall of Justice

For Trayvon

We enter their sanctuary
this space unsullied
by our cries and groans
of subjugation
This place pristine
and pure
of us
kneeling we kiss the hood
we tenderly embrace the blindfold
lift it from her eyes. . .
and draw back in horror
and finally
the truth that was
always there
that her hollow orbs
are filled with maggots
her breath
the sepulchral fog
of a rotting corpse
blood-stained tears
stream down our cheeks
as we beseech God
asking Him
What path?
What road?
What journey
For justice

The Story of Eve: The Sexy Twenties Part III


The Story of Eve: Sinner, Saint and Part-time Movie Star

And in the interim, the first Black screen goddess made her debut in King Vidor’s all Black musical Hallelujah (1929).

Nearing the last rows, the group burst into song, singing to the
heavens…Good, gentle folk, the Johnson’s are pictured as serene
and complicated–as long as their basic instincts are kept in check.
When these are unleashed, however, trouble’s a brewin’…In this
case, trouble proves to be…full-bosomed, spicy cabaret dancer,
Chick (Bogle, 1973; pp. 28-29).

So Hollywood hadn’t changed so much after all! Director King Vidor’s portrayal of Black folk was both racist and unrealistic. The images he conjured up were not based on people, but on his own fantasies. Thus the problems of “The Negro,” as articulated by Vidor, did not spring from living in an oppressive society but from Black folks own inadequacies. Ergo, there are no White characters in Hallelujah.

For Vidor, sexual women–especially sexual women of Color–were the embodiment of evil and the gateway that opens the door to humankind’s “baser instincts.” He would pull the same filmic stunt, years later, with Indian women in Duel In the Sun.
Chick, played by actress Nina Mae Mckinny, is trouble in paradise and she is not “real.”

She represents Vidor’s obsession with Black and Brown sexuality; his dark meat fantasy. His dark Eve. She is half-white and, split in two: a character at war with herself. Her black half symbolized her sexuality, her white half her viginal twin.

Against McKinny’s simmering sexuality, Vidor placed Hallalujah’s good girls, “Missy Rose” and “Mammy Bowser; both asexual. For love and lust Zeke turns his back on his own family and on Missy Rose. Ultimately, in a fit of jealous rage, Zeke kills Chick.

Many critics did not take kindly to Vidor’s portrayal of Black life. “One letter to the editor of a black paper charged that King Vidor’s ‘filthy hands were reeking with prejudice.’ Another writer referred to the movie’s ‘insulting niggerisms'” (Leab. 1975; p. 93).
The irony is that Vidor had tried to make a break from Hollywood’s stereotypes about Blacks–even going so far as to consult Harold Garrison, the great-grandson of abolitionist William Lloyd. But he failed miserably.

As the British critic John Garrison later remarked:”I note from a
publicity puff that Vidor freed the Negro from misunderstanding
just as Abe Lincoln freed him from slavery. Both statements are
exaggerated (Leab, 1975; 93).

References: Leish, K W, Cinema. 1974
Bogle, D. Toms, Coons, Mulattos, Mammies, and Bucks. 1973
Leab, D.J., From Sambo to Superspade, 1975

Copyright Valjeanne Jeffers 2013, Valjeanne Jeffers-Thompson, 1997 all rights reserved.

Let’s Claim This Victory!!

Jeffers —

I’m writing to you on a great day for America.

This morning, I gathered with members of Congress, my administration, and hardworking volunteers from every part of the country to sign comprehensive health care reform into law. Thanks to the immeasurable efforts of so many, the dream of reform is now a reality.

The bill I just signed puts Americans in charge of our own health care by enacting three key changes:

It establishes the toughest patient protections in history.

It guarantees all Americans affordable health insurance options, extending coverage to 32 million who are currently uninsured.

And it reduces the cost of care — cutting over 1 trillion dollars from the federal deficit over the next two decades.

To ensure a successful, stable transition, many of these changes will phase into full effect over the next several years.

But for millions of Americans, many of the benefits of reform will begin this year — some even taking effect this afternoon. Here are just a few examples:

Small businesses will receive significant tax cuts, this year, to help them afford health coverage for all their employees.

Seniors will receive a rebate to reduce drug costs not yet covered under Medicare.

Young people will be allowed coverage under their parents’ plan until the age of 26.

Early retirees will receive help to reduce premium costs.

Children will be protected against discrimination on the basis of medical history.

Uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions can join a special high-risk pool to get the coverage they need, starting in just 90 days.

Insured Americans will be protected from seeing their insurance revoked when they get sick, or facing restrictive annual limits on the care they receive.

All Americans will benefit from significant new investments to train primary care doctors, nurses, and public health professionals, and the creation of state-level consumer assistance programs to help all patients understand and defend our new rights.

As I’ve said many times, and as I know to be true, this astounding victory could not have been achieved without your tireless efforts.

So as we celebrate this great day, I want to invite you to add your name where it belongs: alongside mine as a co-signer of this historic legislation. Organizing for America will record the names of co-signers as a permanent commemoration of those who came together to make this moment possible — all of you who refused to give up until the dream of many generations for affordable, quality care for all Americans was finally fulfilled.

So, if you haven’t yet, please add your name as a proud health care reform co-signer today:

Please accept my thanks for your voice, for your courage, and for your indispensable partnership in the great work of creating change.

History, and I, are in your debt.

President Barack Obama

Anti-Choice Attacks


I know that you were really concerned about the anti-choice attacks to health-care reform, so I wanted to send you this important update.

Health-care reform is moving forward, which is great, but anti-choice Rep. Bart Stupak, Sen. Ben Nelson, and right-wing groups continue to attack women’s abortion coverage in this bill. In fact, in an interview with “Good Morning America,” Rep. Stupak said he would bring down the entire bill unless there is a complete abortion-coverage ban in the new health system.

The staff at NARAL Pro-Choice America are working closely with pro-choice leaders in Congress to fight back against these attacks. I just signed my name to NARAL’s letter to make sure that pro-choice leaders know that thousands of pro-choice Americans from across the country stand behind them to fight against Rep. Stupak’s attack in the coming days.

I hope you add your name, too. We can’t let anti-choice politicians use abortion as a bargaining chip!

Thank you.

President Obama Keeps on Keepin On

Valjeanne —

I just finished delivering my first State of the Union, and I wanted to send you a quick note.

We face big and difficult challenges. Change on the scale we seek does not come easily. But I will never accept second place for the United States of America.

That is why I called for a robust jobs bill without delay. It’s why I proposed a small businesses tax credit, new investments in infrastructure, and pushed for climate legislation to create a clean energy economy.

It’s why we’re taking on big banks, reforming Wall Street, revitalizing our education system, increasing transparency — and finishing the job on health insurance reform.

It’s why I need your help — because I am determined to fight to defend the middle class, and special interest lobbyists will go all out to fight us.

Help me show that the American people are ready to join this fight for the middle class — add your name to a letter to Congress today:

We have finished a difficult year. We have come through a difficult decade. But we don’t quit. I don’t quit.

Let’s seize this moment — to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more.

President Barack Obama