The Silent Parade of July 28, 1917, was unlike anything ever seen in New York City. Today it is considered New York’s (and most likely America’s) first African-American civil rights march.
“We march because we are thoroughly opposed to Jim Crow cars, segregation, disenfranchisement and the host of evils that are forced upon us. We march in memory of our butchered dead, the massacre of honest toilers who were removing the reproach of laziness and thriftlessness hurled at the entire race. They died to prove our worthiness to live. We live in spite of death shadowing us and ours.” "To the beat of muffled drums 8,000 negro men, women and children marched down Fifth Avenue yesterday in a parade of ‘silent protest against acts of discrimination and oppression’ inflicted upon them in this country, and in other parts of the world. Without a shout or a cheer they made their cause known through the many banners which they carried, calling attention to Jim Crowism, segregation, disfranchisement, and riots of Waco, Memphis and East St. Louis.” — New York Times
This extraordinary procession was organized by the burgeoning National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a group of concerned black and white activists and intellectuals which had formed less than a decade earlier in New York.
The march was organized in direct response to a horrible plague of violence against black Americans in the 1910s, culminating in the East St. Louis Riots*, a massacre involving white mobs storming black neighborhoods in sheer racial animus. Two sets of riots in May and July 1917 left almost 200 people dead. Rioters burned black neighborhoods, cutting off water hoses and watched as families fled the burning buildings — to be picked off by gunmen.
This massacre was but one of several violent incidents aimed at new black laborers, pointed attacks meant to strike fear in the hearts of black Americans.
The circumstances of World War I exacerbated an already volatile crisis. As W.E.B. DuBois would explain it,
“The Negro, attracted by higher wages in the North and repelled by the menace of lynchinig and caste in the South moves in to fill the new labor demand [caused by the war]. The common laborer in the North is caught between the tyranny of exclusive trade unions and the underbidding of blacks. The rest is murder and riot and unrest…. White Northern laborers find killing Negroes a safe, lucrative employment which commends them to the American Federation of Labor.”
In New York, at a meeting of the NAACP in Harlem, president James Weldon Johnson (at the suggestion of New York Evening Post editor Oswald Villard) proposed an unusual but effective form of protest — an army of marchers along Fifth Avenue, drawing attention to the victims of the East St. Louis riot.
And in an unprecedented decision by the organizers, it would consist only of black marchers.
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INCREASED BLACK HOMEOWNERSHIP FOCUS OF NAREB CONVENTION IN NEW ORLEANS
National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) to enlist support from Black clergy, civil rights organizations and financial services sector to grow Black wealth through homeownership.
Washington, DC – July 24, 2017 – The National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) at its 70th Anniversary Convention is issuing a call to Black real estate industry professionals, leaders of Black church denominations, financial services executives, social, and civic engagement organizations to come together to increase Black homeownership. Meeting under the banner, “Building Black Wealth through Homeownership,” July 28-August 1, 2017, at the Intercontinental Hotel, 444 St. Charles Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, NAREBexpects to draw more than 600 attendees committed to a multi-pronged action agenda designed to re-boot and support Black America’s pursuit of the American dream of homeownership.
“Homeownership is a key indicator of our nation’s economic strength and the prosperity of its people.
Black Americans occupy the lowest rung on the homeownership ladder, and therefore, the prosperity ladder. Not because we want to be there, but Black Americans never recovered from the economic devastation we experienced during, and after the nation’s 2008 economic tsunami. NAREB is committed to reversing this homeownership trend and prosperity prospects for Black Americans,” said Ron Cooper, president of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), the 70-year old minority trade group formed to ensure Democracy in Housing.
The call for collaboration comes at a time when Black homeownership hovers nationally at 42.7% compared to 71.8% for Non-Hispanic Whites. Latest available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data for New Orleans analyzed by LendingPatterns™, an online HMDA data analysis software program, indicates that of the 6,592 mortgage loans originated in 2015 where race was known, only 1,425, or 22% of those loans were granted to Black Americans; even though they represented 60% of the city’s population of 343,829. Moreover, Black Americans were denied mortgage loans at a rate of just over 36%compared to a denial rate of 13.5% for whites. In May 2017, Zillow reported, that the average loan amount in the New Orleans metro area was $293,000. “These concerning statistics are the reasons why NAREB has implemented its “2 Million New Black Homeowners in 5 Years” program and is reaching out to create a national community of concern and action to Building Black Wealth through Homeownership,” Cooper added.
Keynoting the convention’s opening session, scheduled for Sunday, July 30 at 11:00 a.m. is Marc Morial, current president of the National Urban League (NUL) and former mayor of New Orleans. Other prominentconfirmed speakers presenting at different times throughout the convention include U.S. Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA), current chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), amember of the House Financial Services Committee, Mel Watt, Director, Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the independent agency charged with oversight and regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, among other housing finance responsibilities. Reverend Dr. Jerry Young, president of the National Baptist Convention, USA is scheduled to keynote the Community, Civic and Faith-Based Leaders Luncheon as part of NAREB’s efforts to engender broader support to increase Black homeownership. All presenters are expected to give their unique perspectives on Black homeownership and the pathways forward to re-instill hope among Black Americans that homeownership is possible and desirable.
NAREB is also devoting a day to connect with New Orleans residents about the long-term benefits of homeownership. NAREB’s free Community Wealth Building Day is a consumer education event scheduled for Saturday, July 29, 9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO), Memorial Library, 6400 Press Dr., New Orleans, LA 70126. Residents can get answers about the home-buying process, learn how to purchase a home, low down payment mortgage financing, and available down payment assistance programs that make homeownership affordable and sustainable.
For Convention registration and Community Wealth Building Day information visit: www.nareb.com.
The National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) was formed in 1947 to secure the right to equal housing opportunities for all regardless of race, creed, or color. NAREB has 90 chapters located nationwide and publishes annually The State of Housing in Black America (SHIBA) Report. Visit www.nareb.com for more information. or call 301-552-9340.