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  • Writer's pictureKaren Brittingham-Edmond

The Relaunched Echo Orator's Soapbox Edition

July 1, 2023

Dear readers,

I hope all is well. The relaunched Echo will introduce a new category called "The Echo's Soapbox Edition." Said platform will be provided so readers, if inspired, can clearly, passionately, and truthfully express their stories or perspective on topics ranging from various systematic racist tactics used against them and their ancestors for years here in N.J.

Pent-up trauma or anger contributes to some cancers. So one way to release that particular stressor is by speaking the truth, facing your fears, and having people hear your opinion clearly and concisely. This will be especially advantageous to Black readers and soapbox orators because your story can be told without the influence or narrative of outside special interest groups' agendas. Plus, you can do this by being anonymous. Because it can be very intimidating to confront truths when indoctrinated fellow Black citizens or family members find it difficult to accept the truth.

Why Talking About Black Trauma In New Jersey Is Important

Per an article contributed by Mental Health America Inc, a nonprofit that advocates for the prevention of discrimination shares: "Racial trauma, or race-based traumatic stress (R.B.T.S.), refers to the mental and emotional injury caused by:

  • Encounters with racial bias

  • Ethnic discrimination,

  • Racism, and

  • Hate crimes "

Any individual that has experienced an emotionally painful, sudden, and uncontrollable racist encounter is at risk of suffering from a race-based traumatic stress injury. In the U.S., Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) who are citizens are most vulnerable due to living under a system of white supremacy, which is treason.

Experiences of race-based discrimination can have detrimental psychological impacts on individuals and their wider communities. In some individuals, prolonged incidents of racism can lead to symptoms like those experienced with post-traumatic stress disorder (P.T.S.D.). This can look like depression, anger, recurring thoughts of the event, physical reactions (e.g., headaches, chest pains, insomnia), hypervigilance, low self-esteem, and mental distancing from the traumatic events. An additional issue that Black citizens wrestle with is denialism.

In the psychology of human behavior, denialism is a person's choice to deny reality to avoid a psychologically uncomfortable truth or truths. Denialism is an irrational action that withholds the validation of a historical experience or event when a person refuses to accept an empirically verifiable reality. All these symptoms may be present in someone with R.B.T.S. (Race-Based Traumatic Stress Syndrome.) In R.B.T.S., symptoms can look different across different cultural groups. It is important to note that, unlike P.T.S.D., R.B.T.S. is not considered a mental health disorder. R.B.T.S. (Race-Based Traumatic Stress Syndrome) is a mental injury resulting from living within a racist system or experiencing events of racism repeatedly for years.

Pictured above are Baptist preacher Rev Earl Little and his beloved wife, Louise Little. Parents of Malcolm X.

History of Soapbox Orators

SoapBox Orators were an integral part of early twentieth-century Black American city life. For example, "Soapbox" or "Street Corner Speakers" was a feature of everyday life in Harlem from World War One to the 1960s." The fundamental goal of this outdoor impromptu speaking platform, nicknamed Soapbox Orators, came from said public speakers providing makeshift platforms that orators constructed from wooden crates in which soap (a cleansing mechanism) was delivered to stores. As well as curbs, ladders, stairways, and even the back of trucks, said speakers used to address a crowd.

The soapbox's public discourse tactic sought a place where orators could clearly and constructively share their gripes. And why said gripe needed to be addressed because the said incident, policy, or other treasonous tactics utilized by N.Y. and New Jersey's White Supremacist influenced political parties - (both Republican and Democratic) needed to be called out and addressed because everyone knows that closed mouths don't get fed. And unheard truth cannot be heard.

Pictured above Rev Adam Clayton Powell Sr. Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York

Per African American history of addressing the wrongs done to Black citizens, one would discover that civil discourse discussing and pointing out Jim Crow ideology, methodology, plus tactics were being utilized by states where Black American citizens resided. Some notable soapbox orators would be:

  • Reverend Earl Little, a Baptist Minister and father of the great Malcolm X. Rev Little and his beloved wife Louise were active members of Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association. (U.N.I.A.) Rev Earl Little worked as an organizer for the movement during the 1920s and, at one time, served as the president of the Omaha, Nebraska, U.N.I.A. division. Louise Little served as division secretary, writing reports documenting local U.N.I.A. activities and division meetings for The Negro World Newspaper.

  • Reverend Adam Clayton-Powell Sr. was a Black American pastor whose mother, Malinda Dunn, was a direct descendent of Roanoke natives from Virginia; he developed the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York, as the largest Protestant congregation in the country, with 10,000 members. He was an African American community activist, author, and the father of Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Rev Clayton-Powell Sr was a founder of the National Urban League (N.U.L. est 1910), an organization that my Brittingham family, who served as ministers in the A.M.E. Church, worked with for many years, assisting with relocation efforts that saved the lives of many Black families 47 years after the emancipation proclamation period until 1968. Rev Powell Sr. was active in the N.A.A.C.P. and several fraternal organizations and was a trustee of several historically black colleges and schools concerned with advancing Black citizens.

Above to the(L) Rev Earl Little Baptist preacher son, the Honorable Malcolm X, and the (R) Rev Adam Clayton Powell Sr son Congressman/ Chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor Rev Adam Clayton Powell Jr. (Above this is the man that made sure that Black college students had equal access to education grants.)

Great Grandfather William Elijah Rock, founder of The Echo Saturday Evening Newspaper between the early 1900s to the late 1940s, where his son Arnold Rock continued serving the African American public until he died in the mid-70s. Was a strong supporter of Black citizens exercising their First Amendment authority. On a side note, as citizens, Black Americans are protected by the First Amendment, which provides citizens the concrete protection that Congress makes no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise. As well as protection under the First Amendment for the right to speak the truth per freedom of speech, the press, assembly, and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The Philadelphia Pennsylvania Abolitionist Society 1775

The historic Echo, New Jersey's oldest Black-owned newspaper est 1904, provided a platform for various informed but Black leaders, White advocates, plus North American indigenous people to state their cases and expose fallacies within the N.J. legal system. Some were local preachers, such as the Rev Dangerfield; Others were descendants of Pennsylvania Quakers or Union Army descendants who resided in N.J.; others who shared their perspectives on The Echo were Lenni Lenape, Mohawk, Blackfoot, and Cherokee people still abiding in N.J. and N.Y., although the Indian Removal Act was still active for certain native tribes mentioned above' who hold land located in New Jersey and New York in the early and mid-1900s.

Other larger institutions that spoke out in the historic Echo were, such as

  • African American church leaders of the A.M.E., A.M.E.Z. Churches

  • Sea Coast Missionary Baptist Church Association est. 1903

  • H.B.C.U. Professors and their students,

  • Historic Black political leaders plus authors

  • Black institutions such as the N.A.A.C.P.,

  • Pro-Black Entertainers and legends

  • National Urban League,

  • Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons & The Knights of Pythias (On a side note, Pythias Knights are recognized and supported by the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE.)

Discourse traditionally followed the framework inspired by The Pennsylvania Abolition Society of 1775, abolitionist Frederick Douglas and Dr. Porter Hood A.M.E. Bishop, United States Minister to Liberia from 1921 to 1926. The orators, as mentioned above, advocates, and Black politicians utilized basic truth-telling Christian principles to address the fallacies of White supremacy and the crime of chattel slavery and all who supported said ungodly institution. Which historically reveals Catholics, Muslims, and Jewish persons in partnership with Spain.

Our first relaunched Echo Soapbox Discussion will be titled: WHY DO BLACK CITIZENS HAVE TO GIVE UP THEIR SEAT ON THE BUS OF THE AMERICAN DREAM SO THAT OTHERS CAN PROSPER? WHERE DOES THIS METHODOLOGY COME FROM? This discussion will share talking points on how racist N.J. cradle-to-prison pipeline cycles, over-policing of Black citizens, mass incarceration on crimes that don't match the prison time, plus policies such as Jim Crow Housing policies which include credit checks for federally funded subsidized housing, voucher system, plus projects. Jim Crow credit checks primarily disenfranchise a large block of Black citizens and their families from accessing life-saving resources such as having a quality, affordable place to live in N.J. Thanks to H.U.D., the divisive actions of dismantling the Black family for the last 23 years have been horrendous. And detrimental as well as done on purpose to strategically block Black citizens primarily from the housing paid for by their taxes and ancestors' taxes as citizens, plus to manipulate their voting block power. So that non-documented and insourced workers, also known as "Bloomberg's New American Economy," could occupy the space where Black citizens once raised families and held businesses here in New Jersey. As well as to reduce the power of the long-term traditional Black voter by illegally replacing them with another demographic.

It's gonna be a stone gas, honey! And it is an honor to provide this freeing space where your concerns can be honestly heard and debated for future generations.

Please enjoy Steely Dan's "Peg"!


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