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Slavery ended in the U.S. after the 13th Amendment was ratified on Dec. 6, 1865. However, disabled slaves were kept on plantations because slavery was connected to the ability to work. Jim Downs, among other scholars, wrote an essay entitled, “The Continuation of Slavery: The Experience of Disabled Slaves during Emancipation,” which explains that disabled slaves were seen as non-workers. Because they could not work, they were kept on plantations to be “taking care of.” But in reality, they continued to work for their “masters.”
Congrats to new San Francisco Mayor London Breed! Congrats to TheatreFirst for “Participants,” the kind of collaborative theatre project which should be the norm, not the exception. Make sure you check out the finale for the TF 2017-18 season: “Between Us” and “Just One Day” beginning Feb. 18. Listen to two engaging conversations with playwrights and actors about “Participants”: Dezi Soléy and Cheri L. Miller, Skyler Cooper, Nick Nanna Mwaluko, Carl Lumbly.
Greetings of imani (faith), esteemed G-o-ds, May our Divine Creator of and in all – and beloved ancestors from yesteryear and yesterday – find you and (y)our extended family in healing spirit. Asé. Amen. We joyously welcome and fully support Baba Troy Williams as the new editor of our San Francisco Bay View (SFBV) newspaper. Baba Troy brings a wealth of valuable experience in uplifting community members and skills in developing innovative media, from inside and outside the prison walls.
Poet-composer-playwright-critic Mari Evans Phemster was funeralized March 21, 2017, at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. Like her friend, Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000), Mari’s output preceded the Black Arts Movement, though many of her titles and themes – like “I Am a Black Woman” – became anthems of BAM.
We continue our celebration of the fairer sex this month with Amara Tabor-Smith and Ellen Sebastian Chang’s House/Full of Black Women Project: Episode: Black Women Dreaming, a Ritual Rest, March 26-April 7. In this 10th episode of House/Full, perhaps its largest and longest episode, Black women are invited to sleep, stop during the middle of the day or evening and rest, dream. Black women rest least of all people across race, gender and class.
This Maafa Commemoration Month we continue to lift “A Love Supreme” as we organize a defense against state violence. Congratulations to Professor Aaliyah Dunn-Salahuddin, whose community vigil and program honored the lives of the Bayview Hunters Point revolutionaries killed 50 years ago when the community rose up after SFPD killed Matthew “Peanut” Johnson and more recently when the community turned out after SFPD killed Mario Woods.
Bashi Rose is an East coast filmmaker. He recently worked on two flicks that greatly inspired me. One is about the legendary George Jackson’s politics and ideas called “George Jackson: Releasing the Dragon (A Video Mixtape).” The other film is called “Until Them Whores Get Locked Up,” which is about the police murder of Freddie Gray and the people in the recent rebellion. Check out filmmaker Bashi Rose in his own words.
The most exciting literary event every year for Black people on the West Coast is the Leimert Park Book Fair, held this year on Saturday, Aug. 1. It brings out a lot of community members, community heroes and sheroes, as well as Hollywood celebrities to share in the festivities. Check out the founder of the Leimert Park Book Fair and author Cynthia Exum as she tells us about this year’s Leimert Park Book Fair.
Russell Maroon Shoatz is out of solitary confinement! Hugo Pinnell had his first contact visit in 40 years last weekend. Kiilu Nyasha announced this wonderful news at a reception following the second public hearing on solitary confinement called by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, Feb. 11.
“The Black Arts Movement and Its Influences” conference will be going down with a host of legendary Black artists who have contributed to the liberation of our minds over the last 50 years. People like Askia Toure, Umar Bin Hasan of the Last Poets, Emory Douglas, the Minister of Culture of the Black Panther Party, Avotcja, Ayodele Nzinga, Ras Baraka and Ishmael Reed, to name a few, will be participating.
I am recovering from a huge blow – my computer was taken along with other personal irreplaceable items. We stopped by Loon Point to visit the shore before driving back to the San Francisco Bay Area Jan. 30. It was early, we’d just finished our first session of the Winter Quarter. We left our luggage in view in our cohort’s car. In Oakland, we’d not have done that, but somehow the seashore, mountains and quiet terrain deceptively seduced us.
“Emmitt Till” does more than call attention to how Till’s death ignited the U.S. Civil Rights Movement in the ‘50s and ‘60s. It points to the quiet heroism of Mamie Till Mobley in the face of unspeakable horror and unrelieved terrorism. Come see this dynamic and inspirational play by Tavia Percia and the Tavia Percia Theatre Company: Saturday, Feb. 1, 7 and 9 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 2, 3 and 5 p.m., at the Eastside Arts Alliance, 2277 International Blvd, Oakland.
Amiri Baraka was a giant to those who know him. And now that he is physically gone, his legend will only grow. The FBI once identified him as “the person who will probably emerge as the leader of the pan-African movement in the United States.” Even those who critiqued him considered him to be brilliant, even referring to him as the Malcolm X of literature and spoken word. He often said bluntly and yet humbly that “Malcolm X was my leader.” Amiri Baraka put into practice what Malcolm taught him about cultural revolution.
Word reached The Liberator Magazine that revolutionary Black independent media is about to expand with the impending launch of Block Report Radio Station on the internet. So they sought out its founder, Oakland journalist JR Valrey, to ask him why he devotes his life to independent media and what we can expect from the new Block Report Radio Station.
June 29 is one of the most exciting days for Black bookworms across the state of California. That is the date for the Leimert Park Book Fair, the only annual Black book fair in Cali. I attended this beautiful event two years ago and met boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard, who was promoting his book at an event at Eso Won Black bookstore, one of the founding sponsors of the Leimert Park Book Fair.
The revolution of militant Black theatre lost one of its giants last month on the 20th of February. John Henry Doyle passed into history. A group of John’s coworkers and friends are sponsoring a memorial celebration of his life with a reading of “Freedom Road,” poetry and song on Sunday, April 7, 2-5 p.m., at the original site of his theatre, the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House, 953 DeHaro St., San Francisco.
Students learned many things about African and African American history, ranging from the classical African civilizations of Kemet (ancient Egypt), Songhai and Mali to the Black Arts Movement and the Harlem Renaissance. The African-centered curriculum is designed to encourage youth to read during the summer while building self-esteem and a strong cultural identity.
August Wilson is one of the most if not the most important playwright of the 20th century. His “Pittsburgh Cycle” pens the 20th century North American African experience through gentrification and trauma of the recurrent loss of geographical space.
From the first time I ever heard of Abbey Lincoln she was associated with the struggle for the freedom and dignity of Black folks. She could have found commercial success, but Abbey was committed to the liberation and elevation of her oppressed people; once you experience that freedom high, nothing can compare with it.
Maafa 2009 was chillier than usual, but our hearts were certainly no less warmed by the ancestors’ tight embrace as supplicants made their way through the Middle Passage to the Wolosodon rhythms, the slave march through the Doors of No Return to the beach where each person held a piece of string – symbolic of a connection … a philosophical connection to the homeland, family and history.