P4P Conversation with David Daley, author of RATF**KED

rat fauked

On Sunday, June 4th, the Politics for the People book club spent an hour in conversation with David Daley, the author of RATF**KED: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy.  The book outlines the Republican Party campaign begun after the 2008 Presidential election, called REDMAP, to (rather inexpensively) win a sufficient number of state legislatures to control the redistricting process after the 2010 census (the redrawing of district lines is done state by state every 10 years, following each census).  It is a modern day whodunnit, and examines one of the myriad ways in which our political process is currently run by the political parties at the expense of the American people.

You can listen to the full recording of our conversation at the end of this post, or take a look at the highlights below.

Our first audio clip is my introduction of David Daley and includes an overview of the book and how the Republican Party took the dark art of gerrymandering to a whole new level.  He calls is the “…biggest heist in American electoral political history”.  I ask David if gerrymandering is fundamentally a controversy and fight about which party is going to win over the other.  If so, why should independents be concerned about leveling the playing field between Republicans and Democrats?  It is a rich exchange. Have a listen.

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Politics for the People book club members then joined the conversation with their questions. Tiani Coleman, the President of New Hampshire Independent Voters shared that in reading the book, “…we were able to see how gerrymandered safe districts have created a very partisan, polarized House, where many voters don’t have a real voice because their vote makes no difference, and where the outcome is not reflective of the majority will of the voters.  Do you agree with Larry Lessig that “equality” or lack thereof, is the flaw?  And do you think creating more competitive districts will fully provide that equality to all voters?”  Give a listen to their conversation where David shares his thoughts on open primaries and the importance of competition:

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PJ Steiner, a leader with the Utah League of Independent Voters, talked about efforts he is involved with to reform redistricting.  They discuss the issue of independent commissions.  You can hear their exchange here:

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Dr. Jessie Fields and David talk about how redistricting and gerrymandering impact the African American community, talking about the recent Supreme Court decision in NC.  Jessie expresses concern about the way the African American community is taken for granted by the Democratic Party.  She asks how can we give more power and weight to the voter?  Is the 14th Amendment relative to redistricting reform?  You can listen to their conversation here:

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Phil Leech, a member of Voters Not Politicians in Michigan talked about how fortunate he feels that they have the right to citizen initiative and referendum in Michigan where they are actively pursuing redistricting reform.  He asked David to speak about the prospects for fair redistricting on the national level given that so many states do not have an initiative process.  David shares that there is no easy answer even though “…voters of all stripes and parties” support reform.  Listen here:

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Julie Leek and David talked about Julie’s experience at a civics forum at her home church in NC and the hesitancy of a state Supreme Court Judge to address the issue.  You can hear their exchange here:

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Our final question came from Independent Voting’s general counsel, Harry Kresky.  Harry raised concerns with the Supreme Court’s ruling n the North Carolina case.  It seemed the court was evaluating whether the lines drawn went further than necessary to get the “desired outcome”.  At what point does the judiciary itself become implicated in gerrymandering if outcome is the standard?  Listen to Harry and David’s fascinating exchange here:

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You can listen to the entire Politics for the People book club conversation with David Daley:

 

Stay Tuned

we will announcing our next

Politics for the People

Book Club Selection Soon

 

 

 

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An Independent Reviews RATF**KED

The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy

By Dr. Jessie Fields 

Jessie Fields

Dr. Jessie Fields at the 2107 National Conference of Independents

 

David Daley does a fine job of exploring the politics of redistricting and the current escalation of gerrymandering, a very old corrupt standard practice of elected officials determining the electoral districts from which they are elected, drawing the lines of state legislative and congressional districts. The author examines in detail the resulting high level of voter disenfranchisement at the state and national level, the effective takeover of our political process by party operatives who determine the outcome of elections by packing Democratic leaning minority voters into dense urban districts and spreading so called Republican leaning voters over more districts which Republican legislators can be assured to win though by smaller margins. Throughout the book Daley touches on the racial and economic divisions this practice perpetuates.

The book pivots through the years of the Obama presidency and examines the 2010 Republican Party escalation of partisan gerrymandering that targeted districts in key states to successfully control the state redistricting process which resulted in unprecedented victories for the Republican Party and their domination of a majority of state legislatures and of Congress.  The author also points out the complacency of the Democratic Party, its focus on presidential elections and the Democratic Party’s reliance on demographics to win elections.

A solution to gerrymandering is unlikely to come from either of the two parties. The Republicans may have perfected it in 2010, but both sides have had a long, successful history of manipulating redistricting for their own advantage. A political party is built to win elections, after all – as well as to raise money and employ consultants and operatives. Their leaders always believe they can win the next one, and that reformers will stop howling once their side regains power. Too often, sadly, that’s true.”

Independent voters have been and remain committed to nonpartisan political reform including redistricting reform. The source for reform has come primarily from voter ballot initiatives and the book highlights the fights to maintain such initiatives in states like Arizona, where the case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme court and the voter initiative was upheld by a 5-4 vote of the court.

Other examples of the passage of redistricting reforms by popular vote are Florida’s “nonpartisan Fair Districts Now coalition” which in 2010 passed two reform initiatives with 62 percent support. In 2015 Ohio voters by 71% passed a ballot initiative that, though limited, established a less partisan plan for drawing state legislative districts.

However California, in my estimate the state that has led the country in electoral reform victories with its redistricting commission and nonpartisan top two elections initiatives, passed by the voters in 2010, is not mentioned except in a quote in the chapter, “Democrats” from Martin Frost, a former Texas Congressman who was gerrymandered out of office.  

“When Democrats controlled the House for the four decades before the 1994 Gingrich revolution, redistricting worked with a wink, he said; it was an incumbent protection racket on both sides. .. “That’s why prior to the referendum in California – prior to the commission – everyone got reelected.” “The numbers back that up.”

The overarching theme of the book is in the subtitle, “The True Story Behind The Secret Plan To Steal America’s Democracy”.  It expresses the stealth aspect of the reality of what is happening to American democracy. A centerpiece of the theft and destruction of democracy is partisan gerrymandering in conjunction with closed partisan primaries. If the primaries locally and nationally were open and every voter, no matter party affiliation or non-affiliation, including independent voters could vote the threat of being “primaried” by a far right wing Republican would not exist.

The relationship of opening the primaries to all voters along with redistricting reform is underestimated, both are needed. Partisan gerrymandering hinges on the district being dominated by identification with one political party, so that whoever wins that party primary wins the general election. If the primary is open to all voters the candidates who are successful are more likely those that appeal to a cross section of voters. This phenomenon has been demonstrated in states with nonpartisan open primaries. A massive continuous infusion of systemic democracy reforms and initiatives that take power from the parties and put it in the hands of the voters are needed to save our democracy. I could not agree more with Daley that “.., it will require creative state and local solutions, inventive uses of the referendum and initiative process, and new alliances of frustrated citizens which defy party boundaries, rooted in the belief that fair elections which reflect an honest majority are as important as which side wins. It will take people to stand up and say that our democratic values matter too deeply to ratfuck.”

The book was completed before the end of the 2016 presidential election, and in it Rob Richie, executive director of FairVote, postulates alternative scenarios if the election was won by Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or “a Republican” given that gerrymandering has given the Republican Party a congressional majority for the rest of this decade. Donald Trump is now president. He was elected because large segments of the American people are in revolt against the establishment and are looking for ways to change politics. This popular revolt was also expressed in the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders.

The gerrymander is yet another example of a political barrier that must be overcome. Voters are becoming more independent and less easily sorted by party identification. Independents say strongly “do not put me in that box”, 43% of Americans now identify as independents, they are the hoped for bridge to a new and more inclusive American democracy.

~Dr. Jessie Fields is a physician practising in Harlem, a leader in the New York City Independence Clubs, and a board member of the All Stars Project and Open Primaries.

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Conference Call with David Daley

Author of RATF**KED

Sunday, June 4th at 7 pm EST

Call: 641-715-3605
Pass code: 767775#

A Poem by Dr. Fields

Today’s poem was written by Dr. Jessie Fields:

This is a poem I wrote in 2013 and was inspired to dedicate to a friend, Mary Fridley, who had just led a workshop on Love and Creativity.”

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Mary Fridley and Dr. Jessie Fields

Love and Friendship

Top notes sing, lift high and upright the fallen star

Of love and friendship wide, no meek prelude to hot embrace.

Romance praise of rhyme over rhyme far

Forever unceasing has not and never slackened the pace

Of violence, war and hate everywhere unwound.

Begin again, give what human life requires

To thrive in soul, health and beauty together bound

Workers, a community of people re-creating, a new becoming inspires.

Take down the old books, here is a muse to make

A new world. High history and love in the mad descending hours

Search and create all the ways a hard hand to shake

A cold eye to shine. Teach this love, it is ours.

Jump we humans quick to hate and no peace find

We forget our real preference is kind.

 

For Mary Fridley

July 13, 2013

 

~Dr. Jessie Fields is a physician practising in Harlem, a leader in the New York City Independence Clubs, and a board member of the All Stars Project and Open Primaries.

 

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National Poetry Month 

At Politics for the People

Continues

Do you have a favorite political poem that you would like to share? Is there an original poem you’ve written?  Please email me at cathy.stewart5@gmail.com with your suggestions for consideration.

Reflections on Reflections on The Notion Of Family

 

By Omar H. Ali, Ph.D.

I first saw images of Latoya Ruby Frazier’s riveting book of photographs, The Notion Of Family, in an NPR article about six months ago entitled “A Rust Belt Story Retold…” I wasn’t sure what to make of the images, as they felt a little distant at the time, despite my being familiar–as a historian of black labor and politics–with some of the history of those communities living “in the shadow” of Carnegie steel mills.

And then, this week, after receiving and reading through Latoya’s book, I read the reviews and commentaries by Michelle McCleary and Dr. Jessie Fields, among others, on P4P.

I’m not sure which impacted me more–the book or the commentaries. This is not to detract from Latoya’s truly extraordinary book (few artists capture, which such honest detail, poor people’s lives by poor and working people themselves–making their stories their own). But reading through the snippets of Michelle and Jessie’s lives as part of their reflections made the images in the book feel closer.

You see, I know Michelle and Jessie. They are two of my long-time political colleagues–extraordinary women–who have spent many years building an independent political movement in the United States to empower ordinary people, poor people, the outsiders, the forgotten, the survivors. I don’t know Latoya. But Michelle and Jessie are helping me to better understand her work.

While each of their experiences are different from the other’s, there are similarities in their experiences and the roles that women played in each of their lives–their mom’s, grandmothers, aunts, or great aunts–in helping each of them thrive.

Michelle writes, “I had come to realize that the feelings of pain and shame that I and millions of people experienced were manufactured and NOT in our heads nor were our fault.  Those manufactured feelings were designed to keep us in our place.”

I then see one of Latoya’s photographs …

The Notion Of Family by LaToya Ruby Frazier Pg 131, Aunt Midgie and Grandma Ruby, 2007

The Notion Of Family by LaToya Ruby Frazier Pg 131, Aunt Midgie and Grandma Ruby, 2007

And I hear (read) Jessie’s words “Ordinary people, though poor and abused are leading and fighting.” Part of that leading is giving expression to the plight of the voiceless, nameless, and unseen–here voiced, named, and seen through new performances.

Thank you, LaToya, for your book of photographs; thank you Michelle and Jessie, for your beautiful, painful, and moving words; thank you, Cathy, for giving us P4P and a space to reflect and support those who “stand in the rubble and fight,” as Jessie poetically writes, as Michelle explains, and as Latoya photographs.

Omar H. Ali, Ph.D., selected as the 2016 Carnegie Foundation Professor of the Year in North Carolina, is a historian and community organizer who teaches black labor and political history at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. E-mail: ohali@uncg.edu 
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Politics for the People Conference Call

With LaToya Ruby Frazier

Sunday, December 6th at 7 pm EST

 C ALL IN NUMBER

641 715-3605

Code 767775#

Reader’s Forum

Margaret Fuller: Writer and Activist.

By: Dr. Jessie Fields

With the excitement of embarking on a new book that I would explore as part of the Politics for the People Book Club I the opened the biography, Margaret Fuller, A New American Life by Megan Marshall. Thus began a journey of learning about and from a woman who lived for forty years in the first part of the nineteenth century and was a pioneer as a writer, journalist, intellectual and activist.

Dr. Jessie Fields (holding the Open Our Democracy Sign) with independent leaders and activists at the West Indian Day Parade. Photo by Allen Cox

Margaret Fuller lived from 1810 to 1850. She lived mainly in Boston and Cambridge, New England, then in New York City and later she traveled through Europe and Italy. She was a prolific writer and wrote for and edited the Transcendentalist Journal the Dial. She wrote the proto feminist Woman of the Nineteenth Century, calling for equality for women.

She wrote editorials arguing in favor of voting rights for black New Yorkers in “What Fits a Man to Be a Voter?” and against capital punishment in “Darkness Visible”. She expressed her protean interests in writings on literary texts and works of art such as in her essay “Papers on Literature and Art”. Fuller’s writing is resonant with insight and vision for the future.

For 18 months she wrote a front page column for Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune, followed by a European tour as foreign correspondent, supporter and witness to the revolutions across Europe in 1848 and the 1848-1849 Roman revolution, which she served as a military nurse on the streets of Rome.

Megan Marshall sets out as she states in the prologue to write of Margaret Fuller’s life  “the full story—operatic in its emotional pitch, global in its dimensions.” Marshall succeeds and with power and intimacy conveys the history of a leader who broke through the barriers of her time.

Jessie Fields is a physician in Harlem and a founder of the NYC Independence Party. She serves on boards of Open Primaries and the All Stars Project.

 

Politics for the People Conference Call

With Megan Marshall

Sunday, September 20th at 7 pm EST

NOTE NEW CALL IN NUMBER

641 715-3605, Code 767775#

Tapping the Past

The current book selection of the Cathy L. Stewart Politics for the People Book Club is Eric Foner’s Gateway to Freedom, The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad. The book is a fascinating look at the antislavery movement in New York City from the colonial era to the eve of the Civil War.

Sunday night as I made calls to let people know about the book and our April 19th conference call with the author I was really inspired that almost everyone I spoke to from Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio and Pennsylvania proudly told me of a stop on the Underground Railroad in their state or nearby town. To quote Foner “At a time of renewed national attention to the history of slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction, subjects that remain in many ways contentious, the underground railroad represents a moment in our history when black and white Americans worked together in a just cause.” (Page 15)

Dr. Jessie Fields at “Partnerships for Independent Power” March 2015

The book includes information from a newly discovered historical document: the detailed records of the abolitionist editor Sydney Howard Gay who helped fugitive slaves reach freedom in New England and Canada.  Gay’s Record of Fugitives, which he kept in 1855 and 1856, was discovered by an undergraduate history major, Madeline Lewis, as she was looking through Gay’s papers held at Columbia University. The discovery of Gay’s notebook has opened up the previously unknown history of the work of the Underground Railroad in New York City.

One of the most important movements that helped to undermine slavery, of which many powerful examples are given in the book, was that of slaves who were determined to be free and ran away. The renditions (recapture) of fugitive slaves in the North (which many violently opposed) raised serious questions about the extent to which the laws of slave states “extended” into the North and the relationship of the Constitution and the Federal Government to slavery.

“But the actions of fugitive slaves exemplified the political importance of slave resistance as a whole and raised questions central to antebellum politics, understood not simply as electoral campaigns but as the contest over slavery in the broad public sphere.” (Page 22)

The existence of the Underground Railroad and the escape of more and more slaves, which was more possible from the southern states immediately bordering the North, exacerbated growing sectional tensions that increased with the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850 and eventually led to the Civil War.

“…Gay’s record makes clear that by the 1850s New York had become a key site in a well-organized system whereby escaping slaves who reached Philadelphia from Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia were forwarded to Gay’s office and then dispatched to underground railroad operatives in Albany, Boston, and Canada.” (Page 10)

The long battle against slavery and the participation of ordinary people is fundamental to how our democracy was build. The struggle for full voting rights in America is steeped in the history of the fight for freedom in America. Gateway to Freedom is a wonderful immersion into this history.

–Dr. Jessie Fields

Jessie Fields is a physician in Harlem and a founder of the NYC Independence Party. She serves on boards of Open Primaries and the All Stars Project.

 

Politics for the People Conference Call

with Eric Foner

Sunday, April 19th at 7 pm EST

 

 

 

 

Readers’ Forum-Where the Lines Blur

Dr. Jessie Fields

    The novel I Am Abraham by Jerome Charyn adds to the literature and historical record of Lincoln’s life, layers of compassion, intimate detail, beauty and depth. 

I was particularly moved by Charyn’s exploration of Lincoln’s relationship wwith  his wife Mary Todd, with the soldiers who fought in the war and with African Americans.

The novel carries us into the deep sorrow of Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln at the death of their son Willie and the enormous suffering, pain and death that occurred during the Civil War. Lincoln, shortly after Willie’s death, walks out of the White House for relief and gets a carriage ride to the Patent Office by a group of intoxicated Union soldiers who almost run him over. The Patent Office, like so many buildings in Washington at the time, had been transformed into a military hospital.  Walt Whitman worked as a nurse during the Civil War and served in the wards at the Patent Office, he wrote of the “curious scene” there. Here is Lincoln describing it in I Am Abraham.
So we went out upon these curious wards, which consisted of a narrow passage between two mountainous glass cases packed with miniature models of inventions patented at the Patent Office.   (Page 269)
 
Then a murmur broke through the silence of the ward-not the tick of a telegraph, or the flutter of wings, but that peculiar honey of the human voice when it didn’t rise up in anger. And I realized where all the lady nurses had gone; they hadn’t abandoned the hospital clinic. They stood at the end of the ward in their gray and green garb, with hymn books in their hands; accompanying them was another nurse with an accordion, and a little choral of convalescent soldiers who’d climbed out of their sick beds to sing with the nurses.”  (page 271)
Tears already filled my eyes as I glanced below at the hymn:
“It came upon the midnight clear
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold…
And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
O rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing!”
             

In the novel we learn about Elizabeth Keckly, a former slave who had worked for the wife of Jefferson Davis before Keckly came to the Lincoln White House and became the “confident and couturiere” of Mary Lincoln. Elizabeth Keckly is very close to the Lincoln family and especially to Mary and their son Tad who had a speech impediment and called her “Yip”. In a telling interaction with the President about the death of her son in the war Keckly says, “It wasn’t a sacrifice, Mr. President. If I had been younger I would have disguised myself as a man and joined his regiment. I wouldn’t have fallen in his place. That would have rubbed out the dignity of his death. He had the honor of fighting for his country, Mr. Lincoln, even if that country couldn’t recognize the worth of who he was…”. (page 214)

That steadfast determination to be full and equal participants in our nation’s democracy continues with us today.

Jessie Fields is a physician in Harlem and a founder of the NYC Independence Party. She serves on boards of Open Primaries and the All Stars Project.

 

Reminder

P4P Conference Call

With Jerome Charyn

 Sunday, February 15th, 7 pm EST

Call In Number: 805 399-1200 

Access Code 767775#

Learning to Read Fiction

By Dr. Jessie Fields

I Am Abraham, are the first written words (he wrote them in the sand) of Abraham Lincoln, who would go on to write some of the most  historically resonant speeches and documents of American democracy up to and during the Civil War. For Lincoln, as the son of a poor farmer who had very little formal education, the very act of learning to read and write signified aspiration beyond the circumstances into which he was born.

Dr. Jessie Fields Harlem on Primary Day 2014

I have always been intrigued by the role that learning to read and write has played historically. Slaves were forbidden to learn to read or write.

Frederick Douglass, born a slave, as a child did manage to learn to read and write by giving pieces of bread to poor white children in exchange for their teaching him words. He like Lincoln would go on to become a brilliant writer.

Reading has played a big role in my own life. As a child my mother, who grew up very poor and was not able to finish high school, instructed me never to read fiction. I had to read only what was “true”. As a result in grade school I read biographies of great American presidents such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, which were in the school library. I did also joyfully find a book about Harriet Tubman. So I grew up with a tendency to read nonfiction almost exclusively. Even today I rarely read novels.

At first reading the novel I Am Abraham by Jerome Charyn, our current selection for the Cathy L. Stewart Politics for the People Book Club, was difficult for me. I am a big fan of Abraham Lincoln, having long admired his writing and his commitment to stand firm on the Emancipation Proclamation. In the novel Jerome Charyn touches this American icon.  Following the urging of Cathy Stewart who advised me to relax and “let go” in reading the novel, I am actually enjoying the book. It is in fact very much about the love affair of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln. I also appreciate the effort to convey personal and intimate details of some very momentous events in our shared American story. Enjoy your reading of Jerome Charyn’s I Am Abraham.

Jessie Fields is a physician in Harlem and a founder of the NYC Independence Party. She serves on boards of Open Primaries and the All Stars Project.

P4P Conference Call

with Jerome Charyn

 Sunday, February 15th at 7 pm EST

Can the Declaration Develop

Compromise vs. Principle: Can the Declaration Develop?

Some thoughts by Dr. Jessie Fields

Studying the development and formation of the early documents of our country as Dr. Danielle Allen does in her exceptionally revealing and accessible book, Our Declaration, for me exposes the roots of what is a very deep and long term historical flaw in our democracy: factional compromise by political leaders that leaves no room for ordinary people to come together and develop new approaches.

We know that both the founding documents of America: the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution compromised on the question of slavery. The compromise of “the pursuit of happiness” rather than “property” in the Declaration was a victory for the anti-slavery faction. The removal of Thomas Jefferson’s strongly worded condemnation of slavery from the final version of the Declaration was a victory for the pro-slavery forces in the country.

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Dr. Jessie Fields

During the abolitionist movement African American leaders such as Frederick Douglass argued that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were anti-slavery documents, others such as William Lloyd Garrison argued that these documents were pro-slavery. A very heated and consequential debate took place over this question and led to many abolitionists participating in the formation of independent anti-slavery parties such as the Liberty Party. Diverse independent parties of small farmers, abolitionists, free soilers, “Know Nothing Party” members, and free Blacks eventually became wholly subsumed under the Republican Party and the Democratic Party dominated the slave holding states.

The tug of war of divided factions pulling for their respective interests has become calcified in the structure of the two major parties. Partisan interests and winning at all costs have become the dominant features of American politics in a stagnant top down system that cannot address the social and economic crisis we face.

The independent political movement is growing to take on the task of transforming our political process so that we the people can develop our democracy and create new ways of coming together.

We might discuss with Dr. Allen what she thinks about the question of whether those compromises on slavery weakened the integrity of the Declaration as a document that is fundamentally based on linking equality and freedom.

 

 

Reminder  Tomorrow is our 

Book Club Conference Call with Danielle Allen

Sunday, October 19th at 7 pm EST

Call in number 805 399-1200

Access code 767775#

A Visit to Frederick Douglas Boulevard

Last week, at the invitation of Dr. Jessie Fields, I paid a visit to her medical practise, the St. Luke’s Medical Group on Frederick Douglas Boulevard and 147th Street in Harlem.  I came to take some photos and meet several of her patients who participated in the Great Migration.

Wilmont McFadden, Fletcher Baldwin, Dr. Jessie Fields, Wilhemina Middleton, and Annette Middleton

se Wilmont McFadden, Fletcher Baldwin, Dr. Jessie Fields, Wilhemina Middleton, and Annette Middleton

Jessie has been having conversations with several of her patients who came north during the Great Migration.  I was honored to meet this group of Americans who left the devastating racism of the deep south, and took the risk to move to Harlem. Wilmont McFadden (far L) came to Harlem when he was 20.  He came by bus from Florence, SC.  His family were sharecroppers.  Fletcher Baldwin was born in 1936. His mother was a housekeeper and he grew up picking cotton, which he hated.  He came to Harlem when he was fifteen after stops in DC and PA.  He has never been back. Wilhemina Middleton can to NYC on a Greyhound bus when she was 16. She also grew up in rural South Carolina and learned to pick cotton, which she enjoyed. She has deep ties to SC, her mother remained there until her death five years ago. We celebrated Wilhemina Middleton’s 71st birthday with a little cake.  Wilhemina Middleton turns 71   Wilhemina and Fletcher talked some about growing up in SC, picking cotton, the slowness of life and the move North.  Wilhemina’s daughter, Annette talked about how she did not think she would have been able to survive what her mother and Mr. Bladwin went through.  Wilhemina said in her quiet voice, “oh, you would have been alright.”

A visit with Dr. Fields

Fletcher Baldwin, Dr. Jessie Fields, Wilhemina Middleton, and Annette Middleton

It was a pleasure to spend some time with Dr. Fields, Mr. Baldwin, Ms. Middleton, Mr. McFadden and Annette Middleton. We talked a bit about the book, Dr. Fields gave everyone a copy.  It was also wonderful to see how much they appreciate and care for their doctor, Jessie Fields. Dr. Fields now keeps copies of The Warmth of Other Suns in her office to share with her patients, who have been delighted to learn about the book.  The book opens many new conversations about their experiences.  I hope they will be able to join our conversation with Isabel Wilkerson just one week from today. Our conference call with Isabel Wilkerson is on Sunday, July 13th at 7 pm.  The call in number is (805) 399-1200 and the passcode is 767775#.

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