June 17, 2013. U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G8 Summit at Lough Erne in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. Kevin Lamarque.
Birmingham, Alabama. 1963
African American protesters taunt a white police officer during a civil rights demonstration.
Credit: 1963 Charles Moore/Black Star
First Agent Orange cleanup to begin in Vietnam
August 8, 2012
Vo Duoc fights back tears while sharing the news that broke his heart: A few days ago he received test results confirming he and 11 family members have elevated levels of dioxin lingering in their blood.
The family lives in a two-story house near a former U.S. military base in Danang where the defoliant Agent Orange was stored during the Vietnam War, which ended nearly four decades ago. Duoc, 58, sells steel for a living and has diabetes, while his wife battles breast cancer and their daughter has remained childless after suffering repeated miscarriages. For years, Duoc thought the ailments were unrelated, but after seeing the blood tests he now suspects his family unwittingly ingested dioxin from Agent Orange-contaminated fish, vegetables and well water.
Dioxin, a persistent chemical linked to cancer, birth defects and other disabilities, has seeped into Vietnam’s soils and watersheds, creating a lasting war legacy that remains a thorny issue between the former foes. Washington has been slow to respond, but on Thursday the U.S. for the first time will begin cleaning up dioxin from Agent Orange that was stored at the former military base, now part of Danang’s airport.
“It’s better late than never that the U.S. government is cleaning up the environment for our children,” Duoc said in Danang, surrounded by family members sitting on plastic stools. “They have to do as much as possible and as quickly as possible.”
The $43 million project begins as Vietnam and the U.S. forge closer ties to boost trade and counter China’s rising influence in the disputed South China Sea.
Although the countries’ economic and military ties are blossoming, progress on addressing the dioxin legacy has been slow. Washington still disputes a claim by Hanoi that between 3 million to 4 million Vietnamese were affected by toxic chemicals sprayed by U.S. planes during the war to eliminate jungle cover for guerrilla fighters, arguing that the actual number is far lower and other environmental factors are to blame for the health issues.
That position irks Vietnamese, who say the United States maintains a double standard in acknowledging the consequences of Agent Orange.
The U.S. has given billions of dollars in disability payments to American servicemen who developed illnesses associated with dioxin after exposure to the defoliant during the Vietnam War.
In 2004, a group of Vietnamese citizens filed suit in a U.S. court against companies that produced the chemical, but the case was dismissed and the Supreme Court declined to take it up.
Until a few years ago, Washington took a defensive position whenever Agent Orange was raised because no one had determined how much dioxin remained in Vietnam’s soil and watersheds, and the U.S. worried about potential liabilities, said Susan Hammond, director of the War Legacies Project, a U.S. nonprofit organization that mainly focuses on the Agent Orange legacy from the Vietnam War.
“There was a lot of the blame game going on, and it led nowhere,” Hammond said by telephone from Vermont. “But now at least progress is being made.”
Over the past five years, Congress has appropriated about $49 million for environmental remediation and about $11 million to help people living with disabilities in Vietnam regardless of cause. Experts have identified three former U.S. air bases — in Danang in central Vietnam and the southern locations of Bien Hoa and Phu Cat — as hotspots where Agent Orange was mixed, stored and loaded onto planes.
The U.S. military dumped some 20 million gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides on about a quarter of former South Vietnam between 1962 and 1971.
The defoliant decimated about 5 million acres of forest — roughly the size of Massachusetts — and another 500,000 acres of crops.
The war ended on April 30, 1975, when northern Communist forces seized control of Saigon, the U.S.-backed former capital of South Vietnam. The country was then reunified under a one-party Communist government. Following years of poverty and isolation, Vietnam shook hands with the U.S. in 1995 and normalized diplomatic relations.
Since then, the relationship has flourished and the two countries have become important trading partners. Military ties have also strengthened, with Vietnam looking to the U.S. amid rising tensions with China in the disputed South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves and is crossed by vital shipping lanes.
Although Washington remains a vocal critic of Vietnam’s human rights record, it also views the country as a key ally in its push to re-engage militarily in the Asia-Pacific region. The U.S. says maintaining peace and freedom of navigation in the sea is in its national interest.
The Agent Orange issue has continued to blight the U.S.-Vietnam relationship because dioxin can linger in soils and at the bottom of lakes and rivers for generations, entering the food supply through the fat of fish and other animals.
Photo: Ho Thi Lang, left, combs Ngo Diep Uyen’s hair after her nap at a rehabilitation center in Danang, Vietnam, Aug. 7, 2012. The children were born with physical and mental disabilities that the center’s director said were caused by their parents’ exposure to the chemical dioxin in the defoliant Agent Orange.
1970s African American model Billie Blair.
…Billie Blair moved to New York in her twenties, and by 1974, had developed a cultlike following. Her reed like body was the perfect canvas for designer creations. Her feet were essential to her electric strut. And her hairstyle–which oscillated between shaved, mini afros, and short cuts–became her calling card. She glided on the catwalks of Halston, Oscar de La Renta, Scott Barie, Bob Mackie, and Clovis Ruffin. In a March 1974 People Magazine article, Halston said of Blair, “She is more like a starlet than a mannequin…I love her walk, her fantastic body, her dramatic delivery.”
This is a photograph from a book called ‘Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography ins America” (pub. 2004). The photo is called ‘The lynching of Frank Embree, July 22, 1899, Fayette, MO”
By all reckoning, that makes this barely 113 years old.
There are two other matching photos to the set. The one below, and the one of him hanging, which is too upsetting to post. You can see it (along with others from much later time periods here: http://chnm.gmu.edu/courses/omalley/race/four.html)
In an effort to do their share toward helping unfortunates, students of Wellesley College at Wellesley Mass. are making clothes for the unemployed of their local community.In this photo Grace Beezley of Chicago; Ill (left) and Jessie Haig of Belmont, Mass., are seen making dresses at the college.
How the Electoral College works in the modern world.
Julian Bond is civil rights activist who has worked for several government and civil liberties groups such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the NAACP), the Premier Auto Group (PAG) Diversity Council, the Georgia General Assembly, and countless others. He has served jail time for his convictions, but continues to be an avid supporter of social justice, evident in his essays, published under the title A Time to Speak, A Time to Act, and his poems that have appeared in The New York Times, American Negro Poetry, The Los Angeles Times, and several other national publications.
Bond was elected to the Georgia House of Representative in 1965, but was prevented from taking his seat twice because of his vocal opposition of the Vietnam War. He was eventually seated by a decision from the Supreme Court that they were violating his rights. During his twenty years of service on the Georgia General Assembly, he was the sponsor or co-sponsor of more than sixty bills that became law, and he organized the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, which at the time was the largest such group in the nation.
Bond is currently serving as Chairman of the Board of the NAACP, which he has been doing since 1998. He is also a distinguished scholar in residence at American University and a professor in the history department at the University of Virginia.
On May 4, 1970 National Guards fire on and kill 4 protesters at Kent State University
The Kent State shootings—also known as the May 4 massacre or the Kent State massacre—occurred at Kent State University in the U.S. city of Kent, Ohio, and involved the shooting of unarmed college students by the Ohio National Guard on Monday, May 4, 1970. The guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.
Some of the students who were shot had been protesting against the American invasion of Cambodia, which President Richard Nixon announced in a television address on April 30. Other students who were shot had been walking nearby or observing the protest from a distance.
There was a significant national response to the shootings: hundreds of universities, colleges, and high schools closed throughout the United States due to a student strike of four million students, and the event further affected the public opinion—at an already socially contentious time—over the role of the United States in the Vietnam War.
Egbert Austin “Bert” Williams (November 12, 1874 – March 4, 1922) was one of the preeminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era and one of the most popular comedians for all audiences of his time. He was best known for his blackface performances. Despite this, he became the first black American to take a lead role on the Broadway stage, and did much to push back racial barriers during his career. He was by far the best-selling black recording artist before 1920. W.C. Fields called Bert Williams “the funniest man I ever saw and the saddest.”
Japanese-Americans waiting to be shipped to an internment camp, 1942.
Although stripped of basic human rights, they bravely remained loyal to America throughout the war and proved they were true Americans, both in the camps and as members of the US Army (442nd Reg. Combat Team). My hat’s off to these families.