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Black Life Texas

The High Rate of Colon Cancer in the Black Community



By Gabriel Wheatley

Black and African American people have higher rates of getting cancer and have the highest death rate for cancer overall, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Sadly, Black people have a lower five-year cancer survival rate than white people. Also, African Americans are more likely than white people to be diagnosed with female breast, lung, and colorectal cancers at a late stage. Cancer is harder to treat after it spreads from where it started to other body parts. 

Moreover, colon cancer is of particular concern, which is one of the most common cancers that can be avoided. The large intestine, made up of the colon and rectum, stores solid waste until it is eliminated from the body and takes in water and some nutrients from food that has been digested. Regular screenings can easily detect and prevent colon cancer in its early stages if you are older than 45 or suffer from other conditions that make you more likely to get it. When there are no symptoms of the disease, a colon cancer screening looks for polyps (a small growth protruding from a mucous membrane) and other cancerous growths on the inner wall of the colon and rectum. A polyp is a growth that is not cancerous but can be. In the future, some polyps might develop into cancer and lead to death within five years. Colorectal polyps and malignant tumors can be detected and removed early, preventing complications and death from colon cancer. 

The Black population is disproportionately affected by colorectal or colon cancer. They have the highest colon cancer rate of any ethnic group in the United States. Compared to other ethnic groups, African-Americans have a 40% higher risk of dying from colorectal cancer and a 20% higher risk of developing it. In addition to genetics, colon cancer risk factors include excess weight, inactivity (no or little exercise), smoking for a long time (including marijuana and barbecue smoke), eating a lot of red or processed meat (rare steaks), not getting enough calcium, vitamins C and E, drinking moderately to a lot of alcohol (including a lot of alcohol on weekends), not eating enough fruits and vegetables, and not getting enough fiber. One must remember that any kind of smoke entering your lungs is not natural and is harmful. Do not believe the weed-head hype that marijuana smoke is harmless. It might be good for pain, but any smoke is dangerous if it goes into your body. Lack of good clean vegetables and organic meats are often on the high end or scarce in supermarkets in communities of color. The medical community is also discovering new links to colon cancer. Interestingly, lower amounts of sunlight may be a contributing factor. One obvious result of this difference is that African Americans have considerably lower vitamin D levels than white people, particularly in the northern regions of the United States. Get familiar with foods high in vitamin D, and get out in the sun, especially if you plan on living in the cold North. 

Due to the higher disease and death rate, most experts advise that Black men and women begin routine colorectal cancer screenings at 45. All adults with an average risk, regardless of race (ethnicity is more accurate as “race” is an invented term), should start getting screened at 45. 

However, we already know that accessing health insurance and cancer screenings can be a challenge in marginalized communities. Along with access to healthcare, better data and analysis on African Americans and colon cancer rates are needed. What has been hopeful is the advancements in screening. 

According to some studies, stool-based testing, as an alternative to a colonoscopy, appears to increase screening rates among African Americans. Because they are invasive, many men of all races dislike colonoscopies. Many men will probably choose a “Colon Guard Test” that can be sent in by mail. If a stool-based test is positive, a mandatory colonoscopy should be performed as a follow-up, and annual testing should be performed again if negative. However, according to some research, the Cologuard at-home test can only detect 42% of large polyps, while a colonoscopy can see 95% of large polyps. Rectal exams and endoscopic procedures are seen as invasive by both Black and white men, and research shows that this is sometimes due to cultural notions of masculinity and homophobia. More research is needed to address these perceptions.

According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM), “Researchers emphasize that Blacks may be more responsive to programs that promote stool testing; however, this preference may vary between communities and how patients are invited for screening. An environment with resources for colonoscopy and a relatively receptive Black community may succeed with this modality. A community with scarce colonoscopy resources . . . may be more appropriate for a stool-card screening program. Overall, the message from gastroenterology associations for all patients is that ‘the best test is the one that gets done.’ A good program should accurately assess its resources and population and simultaneously develop a campaign to address barriers of fear, lack of education, and physician mistrust.”

Black Life Texas

The Real History of Thanksgiving




The history of Thanksgiving cannot be discussed without recognizing the reality of genocide committed against Native Indigenous people. Free land was the enticement for European settlers to come to the Americas. The Native populations on these lands would have to be removed or conquered to accomplish their goals.

Many foreigners were already slave owners who wanted to plant cash crops using Black slave labor. The history of the United States cannot be fully understood unless one examines “settler colonialism.” Settler colonialism was founded on the ideology of land theft, genocide, and slavery. Those who have written American history with an eraser of bias have found it easy to perpetuate the Thanksgiving myth of Europeans sitting down with Native Americans and enjoying a food feast together—nothing could be further from the truth.

What came before this so-called “Thanksgiving” was murder, genocide, and slavery of Native people before and after the mythical thank you dinner. Puritan settlers came up with the idea of the “Doctrine of Discovery,” a racist law enacted by the Pope of that time and brought to America by the less-than-honorable Christopher Columbus. This is the part of the American origin myth that professors and teachers still ignore to be accepted in the world of historical falsehoods. Settler colonialism is a genocidal policy of murder and land theft to satisfy a false religious belief in racial destiny (also called Manifest Destiny). Settlers required violence to realize their dreams of wealth. No community will willingly give up their land, children, resources, and dignity without a fight, and Indigenous people did not go down without a fight against these ideals that were rooted in a colonial agenda that had a religious spin on it. When European settlers were crossing the ocean and illegally crossing borders, it was something supposedly legal and sanctioned by God.

America was not a virgin land or wilderness filled with wild animals but a land tame to Native people. It was a network of native communities that linked people through roads and trails they carved themselves, which they built long before Europeans arrived. Native people cultivated farmland and crops to survive the harsh winters in the northern parts of America. The Native people knew where the oyster beds were, the water routes, and what plants had medicinal value. Settlers came to America with a culture of conquest and killing that they experienced in hundreds of years of religious savagery between Catholics and Protestants, especially the killing and exploitation of the Irish by the English and Scottish. White supremacy can be traced to the Christian Crusades against Muslims and not to capitalism, though capitalism exploited the idea to the fullest later.

These Europeans did not tame the wilderness. They invaded and murdered the original inhabitants. There are many fake origin stories from one country to the next, as apartheid South Africa once claimed and is now claimed by Israel using similar tactics for decades in a systematic way to force Palestinians from their homes, according to Amnesty International.

The fake Captain John Smith story never mentions his threat to kill all Native women and children if the Native people would not help feed and clothe the settlers from England and provide free labor for the English settlement. When Native people refused, the settlers burned their crops in an attempt to starve out the so-called “Indians.” This would result in the Pequot War, in which settlers would slaughter the Pequot tribe in the 1600s. Unknown to many, this was the first “Thanksgiving,” according to research by historians, in which settlers had a celebration thanking God for their murderous exploits. Scalp hunting was brought to America’s shores by the Scottish Protestants, who also invented the term “Redskin” to describe the bleeding head of one of their victims. Mutilated bloody corpses, which Puritans scalped, were the origin of the term “Redskin.” It was not developed as an indication of “race.” Later in history, the practice of scalping and gutting pregnant Native women would be carried out by the Scotsman Andrew Jackson, whom many now call the “Hitler of America.”

The Thanksgiving Myth is that of smiling “Indians” welcoming the European explorers to America, showing them how to reside in this ‘wilderness,” and sitting down to dinner with them. They supposedly hand their lands off to “frontiersmen,” so these invaders can create an incredible country committed to freedom, opportunity, and Christianity until the end of the world. That is the story — it’s about Native People yielding to settler colonialism. The myth is bloodless and, in numerous ways, an argument for the racist idea of Manifest Racial Destiny. Thus, the Thanksgiving myth was created to present a false history to deny the horrors of American origins and later to invent a fake ideology coined “American Exceptionalism.” American Exceptionalism was derived from these false ideas, created by criminal or ignorant historians, which claim that America is an “Innocent Nation” while other nations may have blood on their hands. Nothing could be further from the real history of America and the truth about Thanksgiving. Today, many of us celebrate family and friends and want nothing to do with the invented narrative. We can always choose to provide our own meanings and, at the same time, educate our community about the lies.

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Downtown SA Lights Up for the Holidays



Downtown San Antonio will sparkle this holiday season with an array of lights and holiday events. 

Set against the backdrop of one of the city’s most historic and charming walkways, five blocks of Houston Street will buzz with twinkling lights, decorations, entertainers, and vendors from Nov. 24 and runs through January 2. 

 Additionally, on Nov. 24, kick off the holiday festivities with the Annual H-E-B Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Travis Park. Festivities begin at 4 p.m. and include live entertainment, food trucks, letters to Santa, giveaways, holiday crafts, a special visit from Santa, and a movie screening of “The Grinch.” The tree-lighting ceremony begins at 6 p.m., followed by the movie at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. 

Get front-row seats to the 42nd Annual Ford Holiday River Parade, which offers a spectacular one-hour parade along the San Antonio River Walk starting at 6 pm at the Tobin Center. This year’s theme, “Holiday Stories,” will kick off the San Antonio tradition. Always held the day after Thanksgiving, the parade and river lighting ceremony will feature 28 illuminated floats and over 100,000 lights (2,250 strands) illuminating the River Walk. The lights turn on from sundown to sunrise every day until the weekend following New Year’s Day. Seating ranges from $15 to $40. It is broadcast live at 7 p.m. at the Arneson River Theatre.

The Rotary Ice Rink, presented by Valero, will also return this fall at Travis Park in downtown San Antonio. Since 2019, nearly 200,000 people have enjoyed the rink and surrounding festivities. For more information, including hours of operation, pricing, and specials, visit (

For more events, go to (

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Black Life Texas

Black Soldiers’ Convictions Overturned – A Century Later!



More than 100 years later, the U.S. Army recently overturned the convictions of the 110 Black soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment (also known as the Buffalo Soldiers), who were falsely found guilty following the World War I-era Houston Riots. 

The records of these soldiers will be corrected, to the extent possible, to characterize their military service as honorable. Seventeen of these men are buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio. In 2022, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs unveiled a sign telling the story of these men to educate visitors about what happened. 

Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth said, “After a thorough review, the Board has found that these soldiers were wrongly treated because of their race and were not given fair trials. By setting aside their convictions and granting honorable discharges, the Army is acknowledging past mistakes and setting the record straight.”

The Houston Riots took place on Aug. 23, 1917, following months of racial provocations against members of the 24th — including the violent arrest and assault of two Black soldiers. Following the assaults and amid rumors of additional threats to soldiers, a group of more than 100 Black soldiers seized weapons and marched into the city, where clashes erupted. The violence left 19 people dead.

In the months that followed, the Army convicted 110 soldiers in a process that was, according to historians, characterized by numerous irregularities. Ultimately, 19 men were executed in the largest mass execution of American soldiers by the U.S. Army. The first set of executions occurred in secrecy and within a day of sentencing, leading the Army to implement an immediate regulatory change that prohibited future executions without review by the War Department and the President.

In 2020 and 2021, the South Texas College of Law petitioned the Army to review the convictions. Shortly after, the Army received petitions from retired general officers requesting clemency for all 110 soldiers.

“As a Texas native, I was grateful to participate in this process early in my tenure at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, and I am proud that the Army has now formally restored honor to soldiers of the 3-24 and their families,” said Under Secretary of the Army Gabe Camarillo. “We cannot change the past; however, this decision provides the Army and the American people an opportunity to learn from this difficult moment in our history.”

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been deeply involved as this case has unfolded and is prepared to assist any family members upon receipt of the corrected records. Relatives of the soldiers may be entitled to benefits. Family members or other interested parties may request a copy of the corrected records from the National Archives and Records Administration, in accordance with NARA Archival Records Request procedures found at (

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