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Black Agenda Radio – 03.18.19

Welcome to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective. I’m Glen Ford, along with my co-host Nellie Bailey. Coming up: Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has gone heads up with the Israel lobby, but what kind of dirty tricks do supporters of the apartheid state have in store for her;  We’ll tell the story of the rise and demise of a reform school for Black girls in the Jim Crow-era South; and, a Black social worker and activist explains her plans to Ramp Up the struggle for Black disabled people’s rights.

The arrest of seven heavily armed mercenaries outside the Central Bank in the capital of Haiti, during civil unrest in that country last month, has raised questions about the stability of the U.S.-backed regime. The soldiers-for-hire were quickly plucked from confinement by the U.S embassy and flown out of the country, and then released when they landed back in the United States. Haitians of all political stripes have a whole range of theories about what the mercenaries were up to. Jake Johnston, of the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research, traveled to Haiti to investigate the case, and filed an extensive report.

A recent congressional resolution aimed at freshman Representative Ilhan Omar, one of only two Muslims in the U.S. House, has focused national attention on Israel’s unrivaled influence on American government policies. Omar declared that members of Congress should not be compelled to pledge loyalty to a foreign government. She had earlier said that the Israel lobby’s power was “all about the Benjamins” – meaning, the vast amounts of money at its disposal. We spoke with Chris Hedges, the political analyst and former New York Times foreign correspondent.

There was a time, no so long ago, when young Black girls Down South were locked away if they didn’t conform to white people’s wishes, or the codes of behavior favored by upper class Blacks. Lauren Henley is a doctoral student in history at the University of Texas, at Austin. She’s doing a study of Black female criminality in the U.S. south from the Reconstruction Era to World War Two. Henley found an illuminating case study in the poignant history of the founding and demise of a reformatory for Black girls in Jim Crow-era North Carolina. It was called the North Carolina Industrial School for Negro Girls, also referred to as the Efland Home.

When folks say Black Lives Matter, Villisa Thompson wants to make sure they mean Black disabled people’s lives matter, too. Thompson is an activist social worker and writer, and a recognized leader in the struggle for rights of the Black disabled community. She’s the creator of Ramp Your Voice and the hashtag “DisabilityTooWhite.” We asked Thompson how her politics impacts her profession.

 

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