Trayvon Martin Case

Send a bag of skittles to the Sanford, FL police dept. And enclosed a note letting them know your disdain for the way they are handling the Trayvon Martin case. I suggest we all do this. This is the address: 815 West 13th Street
Sanford, Fl 32771. In fact, keep a candy jar of skittles in your home as a reminder of this situation and the continued stereotyping of Black men in America.

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Family Tree’s Startling Roots

Family Trees Startling Roots

By FELICIA R. LEE

Thirty-nine lashes well laid on her bare back and an extension of her indentured servitude was Elizabeth Bankss punishment for fornication & Bastardy with a negroe slave, according to a stark June 20, 1683, court document from York County, Va. Through the alchemy of celebrity and genealogy, that record and others led to the recent discovery that Banks, a free white woman despite her servitude, was the paternal ninth great-grandmother of Wanda Sykes, the ribald comedian and actress.

More than an intriguing boldface-name connection, it is a rare find even in a genealogy-crazed era in which Internet sites likeancestry.com, with more than 14 million users, and the popular NBC program Who Do You Think You Are? play on that fascination. Because slavery meant that their black ancestors were considered property and not people, most African-Americans are able to trace their roots in this country only back to the first quarter of the 19th century.

This is an extraordinary case and the only such case that I know of in which it is possible to trace a black family rooted in freedom from the late 17th century to the present, said the historian Ira Berlin, a professor at the University of Maryland known for his work on slavery and African-American history.

Mary Banks, the biracial child born to Elizabeth Banks around 1683, inherited her mothers free status, although she too was indentured. Mary appeared to have four children. There are many other unanswered questions, but the family grew, often as free people of color married or paired off with other free people of color.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/20/arts/television/wanda-sykes-finds-ancestors-thanks-to-henry-louis-gates-jr.html

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NEW THIS MORNING

NEW THIS MORNING:

* Buried deep inside the 45-page pension reform bill are clauses that undercut the stated purpose of reforming a broken pension systemand that no one outside of Albanys back rooms had a clue about until the deed was donethe Daily News Bill Hammond says: http://nydn.us/GB4SjF

* In the sprawling Yonkers political corruption trialprosecutors charged that defendant Zehy Jereis forged emails in effort to create the appearance that a $175000 bribe for a Yonkers councilwoman was actually the result of a romantic infatuationthe New York Times reports: http://nyti.ms/GzKu7u

* The current debate over the state budget has been muted compared to last year’s marathon strugglewith some of the biggest spenders sitting largely on the sidelinesthe Times Union says: http://bit.ly/GBHJww

* Defense lawyers for ex-Sen. Pedro Espada infuriated a federal judge during his corruption trial yesterdayleading the judge to ask if the lawyers were intentionally trying to cloud his mindthe New York Post reports: http://nyp.st/GAdkij

* It could take a political Houdini act for Congresswoman Kathy Hochul to win re-election after her seat was made more staunchly Republicanthe Buffalo News reports: http://bit.ly/FQDnHD

* In a bid to clear the streets of unlicensed taxisdozens of newly hired officers at the Taxi and Limousine Commission have in recent weeks flagged downfined and seized so many cars that New York City has run out of space to keep themthe Times says: http://nyti.ms/GzGtxM

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Spring Greetings!

Spring Greetings!

The vernal equinox arrived at 1:14 A.M. (ET) this morning, marking the earliest start to spring in 116 years.

See our First Day of Spring page for facts, folklore, and fun (plus, great reader comments)!

The Sun crosses the celestial equator going northward; it rises due east and sets due west.

Wind northeast or north at noon of the vernal equinox, no fine weather before midsummer.
If westerly or southwesterly, fine weather till midsummer.

The word equinox is derived from the Latin for equal night. Day and night are each approximately 12 hours long.

Enjoy the longer days! Find the sunrise and -set times and day length where you live.

We wish all of our readers a cheerful start to spring.

Sincerely,
The Old Farmer’s Almanac

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