February 9, 2018
The month of February signifies the annual celebration of Black History Month, a time to recognize African American achievements and contributions to America. One notable consequence is the hero worship of a handful of prominent figures. This celebration of Black achievement tends to be sanitized, and this selective representation often comes at the expense of erasing a rich legacy of individuals, groups and movements just as important in the legacy of Black struggle.
December 30, 2017
For 62 years, the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society has been one of the leading voices promoting Black history and the contributions of African Americans both nationally and locally. The 2018 Black History Month theme is “African Americans in Times of War: A Resilient Spirit.” The kickoff celebration will be held in the San Francisco City Hall Rotunda on Friday, Feb. 2, at 12:00 noon.
September 26, 2017
My life began in the Jim Crow South, in Houston, Texas. I remember the segregated world I was born into … the separate water fountains, the back of the bus, the going around to the back door of Mr. Fontnoe’s grocery store to buy milk for my mother and grandmother. I recall the segregated section of the movie theaters – and the long, seemingly endless net partitioning the giant sandy beaches, separating the “Colored” folks from the “Whites.” Can you imagine that it once was a reality, a segregated beach!
February 5, 2017
Former Black Panther Jalil Muntaqim was transferred from Attica Correctional Facility to Southport Correctional Facility, a notorious supermax prison just south of Elmira, New York, in early January. “This is clearly a punitive transfer,” Anne Lamb told the Militant Jan. 11. “It also means he’s much farther away from his legal advisers in Buffalo.” Lamb is a spokesperson for the Jericho Movement, a group that Muntaqim helped found, which works to win amnesty for political prisoners.
February 2, 2017
Fascism has been thrust into the mainstream political vocabulary of the United States since the election of President Donald Trump on a platform grounded in xenophobia, corporate dominance and right wing white nationalism. If the growing resistance movement to Trump’s fascism is to realize its potential for societal transformation, it must draw from the deep well of Black anti-fascist resistance.
October 14, 2016
Perhaps the reason why Nat Turner is almost completely buried within documented and oral histories is connected to the fear his rebellion caused in the Southampton and by extension the Southern antebellum community. Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation” visits this story as Donald Trump draws a white male constituency very much in keeping philosophically with the angry mob who tear the flesh from the iconic Prophet Nat Turner’s body.
July 20, 2016
In the national debate ensuing from Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” some have not given credit to Angela Davis forging national interest in prison abolition with her organizing Critical Resistance campaigns across the country. With the nominal success of the Pelican Bay prisoners’ hunger strike in California, we recognize that when we organize a national determination, we can collectively force institutional change.
March 7, 2016
Congratulations to Mary and Willie Ratcliff and Muhammad al-Kareem for the People’s Liberation Movement as manifested for 40 years in the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. Congratulations to the collective voices which have graced its pages over this history, especially ancestors such as Kevin Weston, and, to JR Valrey, much respect for envisioning such a wonderful tribute program on Feb. 21.
September 1, 2015
So this poem is for everybody on planet earth, even though I start it out by saying: When I was younger … I used to wonder … why my elders would be talking holes in my clothes about Blackness? I just thought it was to make me feel better about my situation: being a Black man in America. But a funny thing happened to me while I was searching for my blackness: I found God!
July 1, 2015
Our big brother Tahuti, the man in red, black and green himself, passed Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in the garden of the cottage where he lived. At this time, the cause of his death is unknown. But it is for certain that the Bay Area community, Pan Afrika and the world has suffered a great loss. He is irreplaceable! And is perhaps most notably recognized or remembered for wearing nothing but Afrocentric clothing.
May 21, 2015
Rahsaan won his appeal and the release of his March Bay View. With his letter, he enclosed the “Final Appeal Decision,” dated April 30, 2015, and marked “Grant Inmate Appeal.” Now he is working to get his April and May Bay Views released. The Bay View thanks and congratulates this outstanding jailhouse lawyer and encourages others who encounter censorship to follow his lead.
April 26, 2015
For most, the pain of the loss of loved ones is so great that they look away and never look back. For our family, 50 years after the death of our father, Sp5 Wyley Wright Jr., in Viet Nam on March 9, 1964, as he accepted an extra mission to join the Honor Guard for Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara two weeks from coming home with his new orders for Fort Hamilton, New York, we, who rarely talked about the loss over the years, had to look back.
January 26, 2015
After winning their freedom in the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history, Blacks were in many cases and places denied basic human, civil and political rights, literally forcing New Afrikans back into slavery by denying them a right to life. Over the years the government declared and waged war on the New Afrikan communities – war on unemployed “vagrants,’ war on crime, war on drugs, war on gangs – culminating in mass incarceration.
January 20, 2015
On Sunday, Feb. 1, 1-3 p.m., to kick off Black History Month, she will be giving a lecture called “Racism and All That Jazz” on African American classical music, aka Jazz, in the Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin St. “I’m honored to have the fabulous Yemanya Napue, percussionists Val Serrant and Sosu Ayansolo and visual artist Duane Deterville collaborate with me on this presentation,” she says.
September 19, 2014
From the moment the doors opened on the evening of Sept. 13, it was apparent that the honoring of our global African media would begin its night of empowerment with the tradition of honoring one of the community’s foremost elders. We celebrated the 82 years of life and struggle of Dr. Willie Ratcliff and Dr. Ratcliff’s 22 years of Black media ownership of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. Black Media Appreciation Night 2014 was filled with wisdom, communication and the exchange of knowledge, as well as people receiving awards for life changing, revolutionary work.
September 3, 2014
On Aug. 9, police in Ferguson, St. Louis County, Missouri, murdered Michael Brown, 18, as he put his hands in the air to let his friend escape. Then the police aimed their full U.S. military-strength force at all the youth of Ferguson who dared to demand justice. With the world watching and their hands in the air, identifying the police as the source of the violence, night after night, young people waded INTO the tear gas and stood unflinching with guns in their faces. Oscar Grant’s Uncle Bobby, Cephus Johnson, calls them the most fearless youth of our generation. And they vow not to stop until killer cop Darren Wilson is brought to justice.
May 13, 2014
I was validated on the mere basis of my New Afrikan revolutionary beliefs and political activities, expediently defined and treated as “gang activity.” I was literally told that my political writings were in the hands of others and would I consider not writing such because of their “concerns.” Naturally I refused to conform to their illegal requests, but a clear message was delivered to me: CDCR prefers that prisoners not evolve politically but to remain gang oriented inmates.
March 23, 2014
Last month’s Community Newsroom at POOR was in honor of Black History Month – even though we know at POOR Magazine that every month is Black history. One of our guest speakers, Kinara Sankofa, blew the crowd away. Being that I graduated from an Africana Studies program, his name automatically intrigued me because Sankofa is an important part of Black history.
February 23, 2014
There are hundreds of prisoners who have been falsely validated as members or associates of prison gangs that can viscerally relate to my experience, from living life as an outlaw in society to being prosecuted and convicted to prison, only to be persecuted while in prison, fundamentally for educating oneself by trying to heighten one’s sense of cultural and social awareness.
February 11, 2014
I hope the Black community in the Bay Area will share their stories of that time to finally tell the full story of our key involvement in the 504 sit-in and what came out of it that helped the Black disabled community and the Black community, covering all sides of the story – racism, ableism, a sense of accomplishment, self-pride, empowerment, frustrations etc. I’ve provided below some ideas on how to help with this exhibit.