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Steve Bloom, a comrade and veteran activist, asked me several questions regarding my contribution to “Look for Me in the Whirlwind.” The questions delve into aspects of our political struggle against oppression back in the 1960s and ‘70s and are still pressing concerns. My story is closer to what untold numbers of highly motivated 1960s and 1970s “revolutionaries” usually don’t write about or discuss nowadays. I believe I have answered comrade Steve Bloom’s questions.
“Race” (2016) is the story of Jesse Owens’ triumphant wins in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin just before World War II. Nicknamed “The Buckeye Bullet” for his legendary speed, Owens distanced himself from socially constructed hurdles which ran counter to his personal goals. Directed by Stephen Hopkins, the film features rising star, Stephan James (“Selma”) as Jesse Owens.
Just five days after the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Watts Rebellion erupted, lasting several days. Today urban rebellion remains a key element in the struggle of the African American people against national oppression and economic exploitation. Since 2012, with the vigilante killing of Trayvon Martin and the resultant acquittal of George Zimmerman, a rising consciousness and intolerance for racism has been rapidly accelerating.
On June 27, a young freedom fighter and community organizer mounted an awe-inspiring campaign to bring down the Confederate battle flag. Brittany “Bree” Newsome, in a courageous act of civil disobedience, scaled a metal pole using a climbing harness, to remove the flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol. She refused law enforcement commands to end her mission and was immediately arrested along with ally James Ian Tyson. Though the flag was replaced an hour later, only 12 days later, the Legislature voted it down for good.
Margaret Stroud Block, long time civil rights activist, passed away June 20 in Cleveland, Mississippi, where she was born and raised. She lectured at universities and organizations throughout the U.S., particularly in the eastern part of the country, on civil rights and current education policies. Margaret was a dear friend. We met each other in the mid-‘80s when Proposition J was proposed.
I’ve finally seen “Selma” and can report it is a proper civil rights movie. By that I mean it takes few chances either thematically or aesthetically. The icons remain intact and the movement free from revisionist recriminations. This cautious strategy is understandable in a risk-averse Hollywood. Although boxed in by those kinds of commercial expectations, “Selma” delivers even more than it should.
In African lore, rain means good fortune. So when Chokwe Antar Lumumba announced that he was running to fill his father’s mayoral seat on a rainy day in March, it was reassurance that The People’s Movement would forge ahead. Still grieving for his father, Chokwe Antar strapped a city, a people, The People, on his back and vowed to fight for the progress set into motion by Chokwe Lumumba and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. And though Chokwe Antar lost the mayoral election in a close run-off on April 22, he understands, just as his father before him, that one battle does not decide the war.
In a stunning turn of events, Chokwe defeated Jackson’s three-term incumbent and first African American mayor, Harvey Johnson, the white Republican-financed young Black businessman Jonathan Lee, and others to win leadership of the city with the second highest percentage of Black people in the United States.
The mayoral contest in Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, is now widely reported to be very close as it heads for a conclusion on Tuesday, May 21. Jackson’s population is majority Black and Democratic, so Tuesday’s Democratic primary run-off, between Black Democrat Chokwe Lumumba and Black Democrat Jonathan Lee, will effectively determine who the city’s next mayor will be.
“We’re going to JAB the City of Oakland Police Department in the ass until they do what they’re supposed to do.” – Jeralyn Blueford, Nov. 10, 2012, on the steps of Oakland Police Department headquarters. On Tuesday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m., join Angela Davis and Alan’s parents for ‘Honoring Alan Blueford’ on what should be his 19th birthday: Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon, Oakland
Our nation’s democracy is in a crisis. We are facing the biggest challenge to our nation since its inception. No, there is not an armed rebellion going on, but, oh, is there a war – a silent, insidious, invidious, nefarious, absolutely downright ugly war. And the war is on the right to vote for American citizens. – Barbara Arnwine, July 2012
The new book by Manning Marable, “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention,” will help us to get a deeper understanding of Malcolm X and the times we’re living in now. This will not be a direct result of what Marable has done, but rather of what needs to happen now because of what he has done.
First of all, let’s not get it twisted: You can be a born-again African and a born-again Christian at the same time! Being a born-again African has nothing to do with religion, other than religiously going out of your way to support Black people and Black businesses. Being a born again African means you realize that you and your people have been stripped of your land, language, culture, heritage and spirituality and you know it is your responsibility and delight to reclaim it for yourself and your kin.
Individuals in North Africa, Europe and West Asia are rewriting the history of their countries as “people power” takes center stage. This “people power” has always existed within us; history is written by those who recognize the power of the human dream of freedom and who set about making that dream a reality, against all odds.
Inmate beatings by prison guards occur across Georgia following an eight-day peaceful protest to highlight inhumane conditions in the prisons. These protesting prisoners must be silenced because a whole range of corporate interests has found that they can profit from caging human beings.
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.
The thing that most threw me off about this East Oakland native is that she loves opera. She has been singing longer in her life than she hasn’t been, and seems to be able to hit notes that makes glass break. She has recently been cast in a Black opera called “Dark River,” which tells the story of legendary Civil Rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer. It opens at the Oakland Metro Opera House on Nov. 12 and runs until the 22nd.