Mail In Your Vote and Honor Wesley A. Williams

The image (above) from The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is of Wesley A. Williams, a Black mail carrier/driver from 1915. Wesley was photographed under the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, a notoriously racist American President who re:segregated the Post Office (from Vox – https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2015/11/20/9766896/woodrow-wilson-racist):

Easily the worst part of Wilson’s record as president was his overseeing of the resegregation of multiple agencies of the federal government, which had been surprisingly integrated as a result of Reconstruction decades earlier. At an April 11, 1913, Cabinet meeting, Postmaster General Albert Burleson argued for segregating the Railway Mail Service. He took exception to the fact that workers shared glasses, towels, and washrooms. Wilson offered no objection to Burleson’s plan for segregation, saying that he “wished the matter adjusted in a way to make the least friction.”

Both Burleson and Treasury Secretary William McAdoo took Wilson’s comments as authorization to segregate. The Department of Treasury and Post Office Department both introduced screened-off workspaces, separate lunchrooms, and separate bathrooms. In a 1913 open letter to Wilson, W.E.B. DuBois — who had supported Wilson in the 1912 election before being disenchanted by his segregation policies — wrote of “one colored clerk who could not actually be segregated on account of the nature of his work [and who] consequently had a cage built around him to separate him from his white companions of many years.” That’s right: Black people who couldn’t, logistically, be segregated were put in literal cages.

I, of course, don’t know what Wesley’s take would be on our current president and his efforts to sabotage the US Postal Service in order to give him an electoral advantage, but I hope that in Wesley’s spirit (if you are going to vote by mail) that you vote as early as possible, and as carefully as possible, in order to insure that your vote counts in 2020.

This image is a part of Photoville – this year an outdoor exhibition of photography throughout the 5 boroughs. See: https://photoville.nyc/exhibitions/ for more information.

The photo of Welsey is featured in St. Nicholas Park.

Billy Eckstine

Photoville’s exhibit on 145th Street at Bradhurst features a number of wonderful images of mid-century Black America. Billy Eckstine was ‘a neighbor’, living at the corner of 5th Avenue and 126th Street:

25th Precinct Officers and Community Council Clothing Giveaway

19th Century Views of East Harlem

Some of the images of East Harlem’s shanty towns that were soon swallowed by the grid and development, are remarkably striking. This one is from 1870:

And is looking at the intersection of 5th Avenue and 117th Street.

This photo (above) is not located, but dated 1894 and called East Harlem Shanty town.

Debate Watch Party

A number of HNBA members had a great time in June of 2019 when we joined the first night of the Presidential Primary Debates in Harlem, NYC. Now it’s time to prepare for the Election 2020 debates!

New York for Biden+Harris has been asked to coordinate an official statewide Debate Watch Party for Tuesday, September 29th at 8pm!

Please share the image and link below far and wide.
Instagram: @newyorkforbiden2020 / Facebook: @newyorkforbiden / Twitter: @newyorkforbiden
https://www.mobilize.us/joebiden/event/331934/

We have to move quickly as our democracy, humanity, and sanity are on the ballot this November.

Let’s show the world who we are! #NewYorkStrong #ItsUpToUs

Your Sister in this Movement,
NY WHITAKER

NYS Lead,

New York for Biden+Harris

Leo Goldstein

The Bronx Documentary Center has a great online exhibit of the photography of Leo Goldstein. Goldstein photographed East Harlem in the 50’s and captured, in black and white, the gritty world that awaited many Puerto Ricans who moved to New York in the post-war era.

Goldstein belonged to The Photo League which was targeted by the FBI in the postwar witch hunt period as a subversive organization and forced to disband in 1951. However, Leo and a number of former members continued to meet at each other’s homes on a round-robin basis to show and critique their work.

For more of Goldstein’s work, see: https://www.laffbdc.org/leo-goldstein