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Meet Professor Sonja Williams, biographer of pioneering radio journalist ‘word warrior’ Richard Durham, Saturday in Oakland

March 9, 2017

Though pioneering journalist Richard Durham (1917-1984) made Chicago his home, Professor Sonja D. Williams’s “Word Warrior: Richard Durham, Radio and Freedom” (2015) offers a portrait of a man who was not contained by geography – spatial or otherwise. Williams will be in town this weekend to share the Durham story at the African American Museum and Library, 659 14th St., Oakland, Saturday, March 11, 2-4 p.m.

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Wanda’s Picks for March 2017

March 3, 2017

At the Women’s March on Washington, Sen. Kamala Harris told constituents, she “had our backs,” and since she has been in office Sen. Harris has certainly been a vocal and active participant in standing up for the constitutional rights for her constituents in California against presidential legislation which undermines core human rights and values. Her track record in providing a safety net for the most vulnerable in our community is unparalleled.

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What does menthol have to do with it? Everything! Tobacco and Social Injustice Community Forum

March 2, 2017

The African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC), a nonprofit consortium of organizations dedicated to research, community collaboration and public engagement, is working to stop the preventable deaths of African Americans due to the consumption of menthol-flavored cigarettes engineered by the tobacco companies to addict Black people and others including Asian, Latino and LGBTQ populations.

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Help me find Aunt Barbara and bring her home

March 1, 2017

I am asking for the public’s help in finding my Aunt Barbara Jean Hoskins. My family has been desperately searching for her for many years, last knowing her whereabouts to be in the Oakland area. My aunt has been missing for over 20 years. My family had received word that my aunt was living as a homeless person on the streets of Oakland. She has family that loves and misses her so very much.

On death row, art is a way to win hearts and minds

February 28, 2017

From expressing spirituality and identity to creating a meditative focus, art takes on a heightened value inside prison. In the U.S., art has become a new weapon in the battle for hearts and minds over the justness of the death penalty – an increasingly heated and polarizing issue touching on not just the ethics and morality of state-sponsored killing but prison reform, class and the inequities of the justice system.

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Preston Bradford: Rest up, King

February 27, 2017

Preston Bradford, like many other young African American men whose dismaying tragedy took them from their families too soon, is described in this Igbo proverb: “A bird that flies off the earth and lands on an anthill is still on the ground.” On Feb. 15, 2017, Preston departed from the Aquarius Bash and met his fate at Van Ness and Eddy. He was robbed and gunned down. There is an alleged suspect in custody. Preston will be missed tremendously by the communities he impacted. He will leave behind his family’s great memories.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett, ‘Iola,’ princess of the press and feminist crusader for equality and justice

February 27, 2017

On March 25, 1931, at the age of 69, Ida B. Wells-Barnett joined the ancestors, leaving an incredible legacy of courage, sacrifice, dedication and activism. Given the harsh, dangerous conditions of the post-Civil War context in which she struggled, her accomplishments were truly amazing. She was surely one of the 20th century’s most remarkable women. Long live the spirit of Ida B. Wells-Barnett.

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Debbie Africa invites you to The MOVE Organization Conference May 5-7

February 25, 2017

Everybody thinks they’re an expert on MOVE, but they’re not. So MOVE organized this opportunity for MOVE to tell people who MOVE is. On Friday, May 5, we’ll start with MOVE’s Belief, who John Africa is and why this system wants to exterminate us. On Saturday and Sunday, May 6 and 7, we’ll go into our history in detail, from the emergence of MOVE ‘til the present, covering years of police brutality, the trial of The MOVE 9 and the illegal 900-year sentence of The MOVE 9.

Honoring Sister Makinya Sibeko-Kouate, Queen Mother of Kwanzaa, who brought Black Studies to the East Bay

February 22, 2017

Sister Makinya Sibeko-Kouate (July 1, 1926-Feb. 4, 2017), named Queen Mother of Kwanzaa in 2015, hosted one of the first Bay Area Kwanzaas in her home, then took it across the world to 36 American states and 13 African nations, plus Europe and Mexico. She taught every grade from pre-school to post-graduate, wrote for the California Voice, hosted a show on KPFA for a decade, and performed as a pianist and dancer. A small ceremony will be held Thursday, Feb. 23, 1 p.m., in the Evergreen Mortuary chapel, 6450 Camden St. in Oakland.

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‘Accidental Courtesy’ is the story of a Black bluesman who befriends Klansmen

February 17, 2017

In the film “Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race and America,” the activist quietly befriends the philosophical offspring of the white supremacists who made Dr. King’s job so hard from Bombingham to Selma. Daryl Davis, Black man, holds the unique distinction of being an expert on the Ku Klux Klan. We get to travel across the country with Davis as he introduces us to his people – white supremacists and racists. The question he poses, “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?”

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‘They Call Us Monsters’ review

February 15, 2017

Though the story of incarceration is always hard, it is more sobering when those affected are children. What if those youth convicted had an opportunity to reimagine their lives and interrupt and rewind the script? What would the scenario look like? Who would star in the feature? Ben Lear’s “They Call Us Monsters” 82 mins. (2017) is an invitation into such a story. There we meet Jarad, arrested at 16, Juan, arrested at 16, and Antonio, arrested one month after his 14th birthday. All the young men are facing minimally 90 years to life, Jarad 200 years.

Shola Adisa-Farrar brings her new CD home Feb. 15-16

February 14, 2017

Shola Adisa-Farrar is coming home to debut her new CD, “Lost Myself,” on Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 15-16, in Oakland and San Francisco. Perhaps you remember her from The Ultimate Hustler reality television show she starred in Oct. 4-Dec. 13, 2005, while she was in New York? Maybe you recall how much fun you had with Shola as guide in the Walking in the Spirit: Black Paris and Beyond tours while there? No?

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Wanda’s Picks for February 2017

February 10, 2017

Happy Black History Month. Knowledge is power, something Black people from Frederick Douglass to Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks to Kamala Harris have never taken for granted. If white people would kill a Black person for teaching someone to read, not to mention knowing how to read – enough said! The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s organization, has chosen the theme: “Crisis in Education” for 2017.

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Saying no to power: Who was Bill Mandel and why should we care?

February 4, 2017

“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” – Frederick Douglass. These words of Frederick Douglass embody the very essence and life’s passion of the late William Marx “Bill” Mandel. The best way to remember and honor Bill Mandel is to emulate him!

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Black History Matters  

February 3, 2017

by Raymond Nat Turner Abracadabra Open sesame Om Presto Poof! Twisting useless, endless parades of powdered wigs, wars, battles, bills, laws, names, dates, great men, generals, captains of industry, presidents Bore us to tears … We must be real Historians  – Ju-ju workers with Way Back Machines Alchemists mixing molten metals – Sorcerers with wise […]

‘Gimmie Mines Reparations,’ Fleetwood’s new documentary film

February 2, 2017

“It’s a poison that contaminates and has wounded America for centuries, it’s called racism and the healing process will never begin until the U.S. government does right by the descendants of slaves brought here from Africa,” says Robert “Fleetwood” Bowden, director of the powerful new documentary film “Gimmie Mines Reparations.” He’ll be screening it at the Bayview Library, 5075 3rd St., at 6:30pm on Wednesday, Feb. 22, for a Black History Celebration. You’re invited and urged to bring family and friends to this free event.

Make your body a place where cancer is not welcome

February 1, 2017

In 1971 President Nixon declared war on cancer. Clearly, we have lost that war, because cancer is fast overtaking heart disease as the number one cause of death in America. Hopefully, we are finally coming to understand that to successfully respond to cancer requires changing the environment in our body so that millions of misbehaving cancer cells cannot thrive. Our emphasis should be on safe and reliable things we all can do to make our body a place where cancer is not welcome.

Hubert Harrison: Growing appreciation for this giant of Black history

January 31, 2017

Hubert Harrison (1883-1927), the “father of Harlem radicalism” and founder of the militant “New Negro Movement,” is a giant of our history. He was extremely important in his day and his significant contributions and influence are attracting increased study and discussion today. In this 90th year since his death in 1927, let us all make a commitment to learn more about the important struggles that he and others waged. Let us also commit to share this knowledge with others.

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Hedda Gabler: Britney Frazier stars in Cutting Ball’s stunning Ibsen classic

January 30, 2017

Britney Frazier is stunning as Hedda Gabler in Cutting Ball Theatre’s current production of 19th-century Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s classic. Hedda is a spoiled girl who settles on husband Jorgen Tesman because he demands, she says, the least emotionally from her. Francisco Arcila’s Tesman, a scholar, remains preoccupied with his work, yet delights in his wife’s choice of him. The story is deceptively simple, but then so is much of life.

‘Deep Denial: The Persistence of White Supremacy in United States History and Life’ by David Billings

January 29, 2017

“Race is the Rubicon we have never crossed in this country.” That’s David Billings’ thesis in his provocative new historical memoir, “Deep Denial: The Persistence of White Supremacy in the United States History and Life.” It documents the 400-year racialization of the United States and how people of European descent came to be called “White.” Billings tells us why, despite the Civil Rights Movement and an African-American president, we remain, in his words, “a nation hard-wired by race.”

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