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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Ice Weasel: "Swiftboating History....Again"

bob perry, the scum behind the swift boat liars works to eradicate

thanks to Ice Weasel for finding this sad article - THANKS ICEE!

A few excerpts from this article...

Texas district built by freed slaves fades away

By Jeff Franks

HOUSTON - One of the last surviving communities built by freed slaves
after the U.S. Civil War is on the verge of disappearing, despite
long efforts to save it.

The old buildings of Freedmen's Town in Houston are being bulldozed
to make way for new homes in a transformation that preservationists
say is wiping out an important piece of history.

The U.S. South was once scattered with such communities, but most
have faded away or been swallowed up by suburban growth.

The loss of Freedmen's Town is particularly significant because
historians believe it was the largest of the freed slave settlements
that was still intact architecturally and to some degree culturally.

Its long rows of narrow wooden houses, interspersed every block or
two by churches, stood as a monument to the will of its founders to
thrive despite bitter racism that forced them into isolation.

Freedmen's Town was listed on the National Register of Historic
Places in 1985, with more than 530 buildings in a 40-block area in
the shadow of downtown Houston.

Today, only about 30 of those buildings remain and their fate is

A few groups are scrambling to save what is left because they say it
is important that society not forget the dark era in U.S. history
that produced the freed slave settlements.


"People need to know that even though slavery ended, there was still
a long time of disenfranchisement. Just like the Holocaust museums,
this can remind us of what should never happen again," said Catherine
Roberts, founder of the Rutherford B.H. Yates Museum, one of the
remaining homes preserved in the neighborhood.



The Depression dealt a harsh blow to Freedmen's Town, and from then
on it declined economically, becoming steadily poorer and less stable.

Politicians, with support from developers who coveted the prime
location, began promoting the idea of urban renewal for the
neighborhood in the 1970s.

Black leaders resisted for years, insisting that Freedmen's Town be
preserved, but by the 1990s political and economic pressure to
redevelop had won out.

What began as a trickle of change in the old quarter has become a
flood the past few years.

Developers such as Bob Perry, better known nationally as the chief
funder of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacks against

John Kerry in the 2004 presidential campaign, have torn wide swaths
through the old housing stock and replaced it with condos and


Even though Freedmen's Town was on the National Register of Historic
Places, weak local preservation statutes allowed the wholesale
demolition of the old homes.

But in the end, said Lenwood Johnson, who grew up in Freedmen's Town
and led a long fight to protect it, one thing did in his old
neighborhood -- money.

The desire to make a buck by putting up new homes trumped the
interest in preserving history.

"The people with money wanted it and got it. This system is so
controlled by corporate dollars," Johnson said.

"Now a people's history and culture is being destroyed. If you
destroy their culture, you eventually destroy the people."

- posted by Ice Weasel

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