is a veteran of wars against criminality on two fronts. Highly decorated
for his leadership in America’s war on drugs, Marshal Fogg has also
successfully fought the U.S. Department of Justice in the courts. In
1998 a federal jury found Attorney General Janet Reno and the entire
U.S. Marshal Service (USMS) guilty of discrimination in Fogg’s career.
The jury awarded him a landmark $4 million, found the entire USMS to
be a racially hostile environment for all African American deputy marshals
and promoted him to the rank of chief deputy.
Fogg is currently
guiding employees of the US Army and
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA) Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC),
in their struggle against discrimination and blacklisting at Redstone
Arsenal, in Huntsville, Alabama. He is also executive Director of CARCLE,
Congress Against Racism & Corruption In Law Enforcement.
I’m proud of to
be a U.S. Marshal. I’m even more proud that I have fought racism in
the U.S. Marshals Service every step of the way for the past 17 years,
resulting in a $4 million judgment. Since federal law limits such awards
to $300,000—equal to the sum already paid to the lawyers who helped
me prove my case of racial discrimination and reprisals—I won’t get
rich any time soon. (Compensation with back pay, however, is expected
to accumulate beyond a $1 million.) Nevertheless, the 1998 Fogg v.
Reno decision was both a personal victory and a blow struck for all
the brave men and women of color in government service.
When I say “brave,”
I’m not just talking about sisters and brothers in federal law enforcement.
Minorities of all job descriptions are subjected to daily assaults against
their dignity and livelihoods in workplaces throughout the U.S. government.
Ultimately, it has been my faith in GOD who has blessed me with a double
portion of intestinal fortitude to stay the course in this never-ending
war within the most powerful institution on the planet. We don’t pick
racial fights, but we’re not backing down either. That goes for all
GS pay grades, from the janitor sweeping the halls at the U.S. Treasury
Department in Washington, D.C., to the African American Ph.D. designing
weapons systems at Redstone Arsenal, in Huntsville, Alabama.
When I was first
asked to look into complaints of discrimination at the U.S. Army’s Redstone
installation, I thought I was going to assist one employee. Instead,
I found myself on a base rife with cruel, pervasive racism. Direct
evidence indicated that minorities are systematically held back from
promotion, threatened with dismissal, ‘blacklisted’ when they file lawful
grievances, treated as pariahs in the workplace and subjected to vile
verbal abuse. My immediate advice was, get organized.
Two years later,
the 200-strong Redstone Area Minority Employees
Association (RAM), is preparing a class action suit against Redstone’s
various U.S. Army commands and NASA. RAM has compiled evidence of massive
illegality, including falsification of documents, biased clearance revocations,
obstruction of justice, and perjury by federal managers—including many
who are still employed. I serve as RAM’s executive director and also
officially represent many of these employees in the agencies’ equal
employment opportunity administrative processes.
For me, a defining
moment of culture bias reality came when Al Sullivan, the former Commanding
General over Redstone facility operations, finally stopped playing the
innocence game. At a press conference last year, in response to RAM
allegations, Sullivan said, “Does discrimination exist? Yes it does.
It exists in any organization.”
Ironically, I owe
my excellent training in the arena of investigations protocol to the
U.S. government. What the U.S. Marshals Service didn’t teach me, I
learned on my own in the course of suing the Department of Justice.
However, my personal experiences did not fully prepare me for the appalling
scope of institutionalized bigotry at Redstone Arsenal. Certainly,
no civilized person could have predicted the sudden resurrection of
the epithet, “Tar Baby,” the new slur of choice among some civilian
and military supervisors. It is a phrase commonly used in Ku Klux Klan web pages that portray
black Americans as sub-human. (See Tar Baby: Outrage at Redstone, in
this issue of BC.)
In response to
RAM’s repeated protests against all forms of discrimination, including
a demand for a congressional investigation into conditions at Redstone,
the government commissioned a $185,000, three-month study by Booze-Allen
& Hamilton, of McLean, Virginia. The company surveyed almost 2,000
Redstone employees. Although the company whitewashed a number of RAM’s
key complaints, its survey discovered shocking levels of dissatisfaction
with the promotions and appeals process on the base. An astonishing
“79.5% of non-managers and 53.5% of managers believe that selection
decisions across [Redstone] are based on relationships and favoritism,”
concluded Booze- Allen. “In addition, citing fears of reprisal, some
participants claim that challenging a decision could be detrimental
to an employee’s career.”
Had the confidential
survey been limited to minority employees, the verdict against management
would have been near-unanimous, and the term “favoritism” would be replaced
by a more accurate description of Redstone’s employment practices: racist.
Ultimately, RAM’s class action suit will prove the rightness of our
The prospects for
victory in the courts are excellent. Just last month, NASA's Goddard
Space Flight Center in suburban Washington, D.C. agreed to a $3.75 million
settlement of a suit by 120 Black scientists and engineers. The plaintiffs
will also get the promotions they had been unfairly denied under NASA’s
discriminatory personnel policies.
I believe bias
practices at Huntsville’s Marshall Space Flight Center are even more
pervasive than at Goddard.
minority employees can also look forward to their day in court, with
confidence that they will prevail at the end of the process. However,
until only a few weeks ago, a key weapon was missing from the civil
rights arsenal; no mechanism existed that would make discriminating
agencies accountable for their crimes.
No matter how high
the monetary award, the offending agencies have never been held accountable
for the bill. Taxpayers, not perpetrators, paid the price, while the
agencies that committed or permitted crimes against their minority employees
lost not a dollar in funding. Agency executives kept right on stepping
up the career ladder, losing judgments but retaining their budgets.
First Civil Rights Bill of the 21st Century
On May 15, we scored
a righteous victory, with a lot of help from our friends in the civil
rights community and in Congress. President George W. Bush signed into
law the Notification and
Federal Anti-Discrimination and Retaliation Act, or No FEAR,
backed most notably by African American Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
and House Judiciary Committee chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WS).
It was a day that
whistleblowers like myself will long remember. Hopefully, passage of
the No FEAR Act will become an event that racists, who are strategically
placed throughout the federal bureaucracy, will not soon forget.
Under the old rules,
agencies that were found guilty of discrimination walk away from the
courtroom without a scratch. Damage awards were paid out of a general
U.S. Treasury fund covering the entire federal government, rather than
by the agency that broke the law.
In other words,
racists responsible for harming citizens at tremendous cost to the taxpayer
were allowed to carry on with business-as-usual, totally unaccountable
for their crimes. We may finally be rid of the old system of official
The new rules require
that settlements and judgment money come out of the offending agency’s
budget, and that each agency make a yearly report to Congress on the
number of discrimination and whistleblower cases pending against it.
They will also be forced to report on whether employees have been disciplined
NAACP board member
Leroy Warren summed up the issue best. ”This legislation,” he told the
Associated Press, “should stop some of the managers whose actions are
like some international outlaw, where they can do what they want to,
when they want to and how bad they want to, without anyone taking control
said the bill “could not have been passed without the pain and the sheer
agony of so many employees who came forward to mention that their lives
were made almost in the form of a nightmare because they chose to stand
I am intimately
familiar with that kind of pain. So is my soul mate in the struggle
against racial crime, Marsha Coleman-Adebayo. Her $600,000 award against
the Environmental Protection Agency in 2000 was, like mine, reduced
to $300,000, in line with the federal cap. Her case against EPA was
credited as the impetus for the No Fear Act.
I was also honored to be among those who submitted testimony
before the Congress in support of NO FEAR, on May 9, 2001.
representation in these matters encourages support of the provisions
of No FEAR that are essential to government oversight and accountability.
I had the opportunity to hear a GS-15 civilian management official
for the US Army's Aviation and Missile Command testify under oath
on three separate occasions that a black female engineer with a Ph.D.
degree in Systems Engineering could not get promoted or transferred
because she had been "blacklisted".
I was shocked at the boldness of his statement and the obvious lack
of concern for any consequences from his superiors. He even described
it as an actual list similar to what banks use to avoid certain areas
of town. In talking to other employees and the local AFGE union president
in that area, it appears the term blacklisting is a common language
and an accepted practice for reprisal in the Redstone area federal
workplace. This is a clear example that federal management officials
realize, they are not being held to the same accountability standards
that are enforced on private industry.
I drew upon my
own experience with the Department of Justice, which is still spending
millions of taxpayer dollars fighting me in court.
we observe an outrageous process where the DOJ simply challenges each
dissatisfied outcome and extends an already long litigious process
because, they know legally that monetary payments in Title VII will
be extracted from a special US Treasury fund not accountable to the
real violators of our great Constitution. No FEAR is fair because
current laws permit our government to personally charge plaintiffs
who do not prevail in Title VII claims with court cost and litigation
fees. Therefore, in like manner No FEAR will levy real damages against
discriminating agencies and their officials who do not prevail in
Title VII claims, and capture a record that will always expose a pattern
of all illegal activity involving Title VII….
There are so
many federal agencies now operating counter productive to our great
Constitution and it’s discrimination laws. ‘NO FEAR’ will at least
make the agency heads who are found guilty, give an account for the
money they must spend on these violations; and that means, the US
Army and NASA budgets in Huntsville.
Fear has many faces.
In Black Alabama, there is the historical fear of murderous white men
with guns, torches and bombs. At present-day Redstone Arsenal, the
cultural heirs of nightriders use fear to oppress, humiliate and marginalize
African American employees. Fear of loss of livelihood is their favorite
weapon to silence whistleblowers and intimidate workers deserving of
promotion. Fear, not competence, keeps racists in charge.
Fear is a powerful
emotion. Its synonyms include: dread, fright, alarm, panic, trepidation,
terror. Through organization, and by utilizing all the legal means
at our disposal, minorities and whistleblowers can teach the discriminators
the meaning of fear.
If we unite in
large numbers, racists will dread the mere mention of our organizations’
vigilance and careful documentation, we can turn the legal tables on
supervisors who sacrifice their agencies’ missions on the alters of
prejudice. For the first time, bigots will be frightened for
We can spread alarm
in the ranks of racists, so that they will at least pretend to be decent
If we pull together
to unmask those who draw up the blacklists, panic will spread
among the perpetrators of reprisals, who will find their own employment
Let them shake
with trepidation that even one of their racist colleagues might
be so foolish as to utter the words, Tar Baby.
of all, we should all be terrified at the military consequences
of racism at Redstone Arsenal and wherever else bigotry cripples our
The entire nation
has been summoned to confront foreign terror. Black Americans like
myself have always answered the call for help against any enemy of our
My mother and father
were great godly mentors for a family of nine siblings raised in the
shadows of the Lincoln Memorial and our nation’s capital. Three of my
brothers served in the Vietnam conflict and unfortunately, for a brief
period they were all in the battle zone at the same time. But by God’s
mercy all three returned home with only one carrying the US Army ‘Purple
My identical twin
served and protected the great state of Maryland as a State Trooper
until his career was ended by discrimination.
And last year we
laid dad to rest at 100 years of age. He lived in an era when the Wright
brothers flew the first flight and he saw the start and finish of two
world wars. He was here when former Alabama governor George Wallace
proclaimed “segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever”.
But dad has raised-up
a son that understands his historic grief. That son shall stand on the
promise of God that all men are created equal. And using the words that
Dr. King once said: “This is our hope. This is the faith that I go
back to the South (Huntsville) with. We shall hew out of a mountain
of despair (at Redstone), a stone of hope.” So in closing, I ask the
question that David asked when the biblically famed Goliath became a
threat to the mighty kingdom of Israel. What right does this uncircumcised
demon (racism) have to come before the GOD of Israel (America)? God
will deliver us!
Area Minority Employees Association
Congress Against Racism & Corruption In Law Enforcement
– Gen Sullivan admits to discrimination at Redstone
Klux Klan site