A bitch is feeling a wee bit under the weather. My ass is fighting something and it had best not be Ebola…a.k.a. the flu.
2 cups of coffee, double splash of Horizon Organic 1% milk (yum to the second power) followed by Splenda, 2 pseudo-Sudafed, 2 Excedrin and a Claritin…
Let’s jump right into it, shall we?
The death of an independent…
On Wednesday August 24 1955 Emmett Till went into a country store in Money Mississippi to buy some candy. On August 28 Emmett Till was kidnapped, beaten and shot for an alleged affront to a white woman in that store. Emmett Till was 14 years old. His body was weighted down and thrown into the Tallahatchie River. After a search, his body was dragged from the river, bloated and distorted from the brutal beating and exposure to the elements.
In Chicago Mamie Till, Emmett’s mother, was told that her son was murdered. With a bravery that still staggers this bitch, Mamie greeted her child’s coffin in Chicago. Emmett was taken to AA Rayner & Son’s funeral home in Chicago, where the casket was opened and his mother was confronted by the sight of Emmett’s ravaged body. In an act of courageous defiance, Mamie demanded that Emmett’s casket be open for the viewing and the funeral. Pictures were taken. She wanted to world to see what black people faced in 1950’s Mississippi. Mamie wanted to world to see what had been done to her 14 year old son.
John Johnson, the publisher of Jet and Ebony, made it possible for Mamie Till’s act of courage to impact the world. John Johnson’s Jet Magazine published pictures of Emmett before and after Mississippi, and the world was confronted with the harsh reality behind the rumors of torture and oppression in Mississippi.
John Johnson embraced his blessed reward yesterday, when he died at the age of 87. Johnson took a $500 loan (he used his mother’s furniture for collateral) and turned it into a publishing empire. But we need to remember that John Johnson was so much more than a publishing mogul.
John Johnson was the independent press.
Through Jet and Ebony, blacks were given reality rather than stereotypes. Yeah, he tossed in some bullshit, but there was also some cold hard reality. John Johnson should be remembered as the man who gave black people a voice and surprised us with the depth and variety of our culture. John Johnson should be remembered as a publisher who answered to no one, who didn’t have to get “approval” before running the Emmett Till story and who was able to report reality instead of fiction because he was an independent.
So, while we acknowledge the passing of a legend do we not also mourn the death of the independent black press? So many publications closed down. So many others gobbled up by The Man.
Who will be our independent voice? Who will write the stories no one wants written? Who will cover the events those in power want to deny? Who will publish the photos no one wants seen?
Never doubt the power of the independent press. Don’t let some bullshit artist convince you that there is no need for an independent voice! Remember John Johnson, Jet and Emmett Till.
We are talking about one picture, in one article, in one publication. That, more than his millions and his historic listing on the Forbes big-bank-Hank club, is the legacy of John Johnson.
This AngryBlackBitch intends to write until my black ass can’t write anymore…in memory of those who had no voice…loud, independent, defiant, feminist, and militant as a motherfucker!
Where has the independent press gone?