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.
February 16, 2015
One often hidden historical fact brought out in the novel and TV series is that more Africans fought alongside the British during the colonial war than with the future rulers of the United States. The British promised emancipation to those slaves who joined their ranks after 1776. But unless you were in The Book of Negroes, you couldn’t escape to Canada.
February 1, 2015
Dr. Siri Brown is a professor at Merritt College in Oakland and head of its African American Studies Department. She is an academic who understands her role in the classroom, giving young people a knowledge of self and opening fertile minds to the social realities that are oppressing their people as well. She has been an example for present day and future academics for over a decade on how to teach history in a living way.
December 11, 2013
Nelson Mandela’s passing has drawn responses from throughout the U.S. and the world. To oppressed and working people, Mandela was a symbol and example of self-sacrifice and lifelong commitment to revolutionary change. Although the struggle inside South Africa and throughout the region is by no means complete, the legacy of Mandela through the ANC, SACP, COSATU and other affiliated organizations will live on.
December 4, 2013
“12 Years a Slave” affected me differently than Quentin Tarantino’s “Django,” which in its caricature style held me spellbound or suspended in a place of imaginative wonder – the Black man was going to win and get the girl too in the end. “Twelve Years” moved slowly and by the time Northup’s ordeal ends we are thankful yet exhausted. I saw the film alone. I think it’s the kind of journey one should invite a companion on.
September 12, 2013
Only a handful of prisoners globally have withstood the duration of years of harsh and solitary confinement that Albert and myself have. The state may have stolen my life, but my spirit will continue to struggle along with Albert and the many comrades that have joined us along the way here in the belly of the beast. I want to thank all of you, my devoted supporters, for being with me to the end.
July 31, 2013
David Livingston, the English explorer, is given a lot of credit for halting or ending the slave trade here. My guide said Livingston’s maps made it easier for the Arabs to penetrate the “interior” and that after the British abolished slavery, the Arabs continued at the Mangapwani Caves located about “20km north of Zanzibar Town along the coast” (Lonely Planet 144).
September 2, 2012
This year marks the 33rd anniversary of Black August, the annual commemoration of the liberation struggle of African people inside the United States. The month of celebration and reflection was initiated by political prisoners, many of whom were members of the Black Panther Party and the Republic of New Africa, two of the main revolutionary organizations that emerged during the late 1960s.
June 29, 2011
A recent evening at the African American Museum and Library in Oakland was special. The line wrapped around the corner of 14th Street at Martin Luther King Jr. Way as people lined up to hear Isabel Wilkerson talk about her book, “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration.”
January 14, 2010
Once the French army had subdued L’Ouverture and his rebel force, Napoleon intended to advance to the North American mainland, basing a new French empire in New Orleans and settling the vast territory west of the Mississippi River. By 1803, a frustrated Napoleon – denied his foothold in the New World – agreed to sell New Orleans and the Louisiana territories to Jefferson.
August 10, 2008
In Haiti, they have a name for hunger. It’s called Clorox hunger – meaning something that eats you from the inside. But it’s an imposed hunger, an imposed starvation on the people of Haiti. It has a history. Until the 1980s, Haiti was self sufficient in rice production. But with the lowering of tariffs, Haitians got what we call “Miami” rice. Haiti was flooded with cheap rice imports and Haitian peasants couldn’t compete.