Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality Book Review

No social movement that aims to create a better world is without its internal struggle. While the men are at the forefront, it is often the women who do the work. But few are given the spotlight and the respect they deserve.

The late Constance Baker Motley was one of these women. Her story is told in the new biography Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality. Written by Tomiko Brown-Nagin, it was published in January. Born to immigrants from the Caribbean in 1921, she came of age in an era in which both her gender and her skin color created barriers. Instead of just submitting to these barriers, she broke them. After graduating from law school, she was the only female on staff working for the legal team of the NAACP under the leadership of the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Balancing work, marriage, and motherhood, Baker Motley smashed both Jim Crow to bits and created a large crack in the glass ceiling. Her career contained a lot of the firsts: the first African-American woman who was a state Senator in NY and the federal judiciary, and the first woman elected as Manhattan Borough President.

As a product of the American education system, I am utterly dismayed that she is not a household name. She was not just a groundbreaker, but a rule breaker. These days, it is perfectly normal for a woman to have the figurative balls of her job, her marriage, and her children in the air at the same time. But not back then. In fighting for the rights of both women and Black Americans, she paved the way for equality that has become the norm and unfortunately, still has to be fought for.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality is available wherever books are sold.

A League of Their Own Character Review: Marla Hooch

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*I apologize for not posting last week. Life got in the way.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movieĀ A League of Their Own. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

Movie makeovers are not uncommon narratives. What makes one stereotypical and another unique is how the writer(s) approach the makeover. In A League of Their Own, Marla Hooch (Megan Cavanaugh) is not your average woman. Raised by her widower father, Marla was brought up as a boy. She can play baseball like no one’s business but was never taught the female graces of the era.

Brought to tryouts with sisters Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and Kit Keller (Lori Petty), she makes the team. Before they can get on the ballfield, they must go through etiquette lessons and a beauty expert. The response to Marla’s appearance is not unexpected.

Ironically, it is Marla who lives the traditional life. She meets her husband at a jukebox joint. After being given a lot of liquor and a tight dress, she gets on stage and starts to sing. Though she lacks the voice, the standard image of a beautiful woman, and the confidence without the liquid courage, she gets the guy. Marrying halfway through the season, Marla returns the next season to play with the Peaches.

To sum it up: Marla’s glow-up is more than a physical makeover. True beauty, as cliche as it sounds, comes from within. It is her belief in herself that not only gets her on to the team, but also provides the romantic life that might not have had otherwise.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

Florida Republican Fuckery: Banning Math Books and Cutting Tax Ties With Disney

As I see it, the only way for the government to function is for those in power to at least, be able to listen to someone else, whether it is another politician who has different beliefs or a business owner.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appears to feel otherwise. In addition to his Don’t Say Gay law, his state is upping the ante on book banning within schools. Following on the heels of the so-called “CRT (aka Critical Race Theory)” bullshit, 54 math books have been rejected because some claim that CRT is included in the material.

First of all, CRT has nothing to do with math. It has everything to do with the denial of the truth of American history and the fact that racism, in all forms (especially against people of color) is still alive and well in this country. Second, this concept is not even taught in the K-12 classroom. It is only taught at the university level or higher. That means that the student is not exposed to it until they are at least 17.

Third of all, math, in all of its forms, is one of the core concepts of learning. It starts when we are very young and being taught to count by our parents. Even if we choose a career that has nothing to do with numbers, it has everything to do with our daily lives. Whether it’s maintaining a budget or calculating miles, it is absolutely essential. In going down this path, DeSantis and his ilk are limiting the education of his state’s children and their future opportunities.

While this has been happening, he has been tangling with Disney in regards to their response to the Don’t Say Gay legislation. As of yesterday, the company has been stripped of its tax status and independence that has been in existence since the late 1960s. For decades, Disney has had tax breaks and has paid its own way in regard to municipal services such as law enforcement, the fire department, etc. This means that the funds will come from the taxpayer. Nothing gets politicians out of office and voters to the voting booth faster than a tax hike. If he wants another 4 years in office, I would re-think his decision.

I don’t agree with everything that the company puts out, nor am I an economist. While we have to recognize that Disney did not do anything until its employees walked off the job, I admire that they are standing their ground. Given its popularity and the number of IPs that it owns, I don’t think that this is a wise decision. If I were to make a guess, I would say that the tax dollars that come in from the park’s visitors add a pretty penny to state coffers.

When one takes political office, they are serving all of their constituents, not just the ones who agree with them. It would behoove Governor DeSantis and other Republicans to remember this. I guess the only way they will learn this lesson is when we boot them all out of office come November (hopefully).

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