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One of author Dr. Gerald Horne’s latest volumes is “Paul Robeson: The Artist as Revolutionary.” I recently walked into the Parkdale Library in Toronto and saw a huge poster celebrating the great Robeson. Robeson, actor, athlete, political activist and one of the greatest singers of all time, would have been 120 years old today, April 9. Thousands of words have been written about Robeson’s interpretation of Jerome Kern’s song, “Old Man River,” but little has been mentioned about his participation in a unique musical collaboration.
From May through August, three floors of black and white jazz photographs are on display at the African American Art & Culture Complex. They depict Harlem of the West, the San Francisco Fillmore jazz era that was bustling from the 1930s through the 1950s. Jazz was “king” and the Fillmore music scene was alive and flowing from end to end in the African American community.
Leola King brought memorable class and dignity to every business she operated during a 50-year career in San Francisco. Most of the Black people here now know nothing positive of what it was like to walk and live amongst the greatness we had created there on Fillmore Street. Redevelopment viciously undermined and ripped Mrs. King’s fortune away. Her funeral is Friday, Feb. 13, 11 a.m., at Third Baptist Church, 1399 McAllister, the repast 4-7 p.m. at West Bay Conference Center, 1290 Fillmore St., San Francisco.
Amoeblog invited author, journalist, broadcaster and activist JR Valrey, aka the People’s Minister of Information, to be a guest contributor. The Oakland-based Valrey, who was interviewed and profiled on the Amoeblog last month, is known for his work on KPFA radio, the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, and his book “Block Reportin’.” The book will soon be available for sale in Amoeba Hollywood’s book section.
Though we have witnessed our leaders and family members being killed, tortured and brutalized as they fought for their civil liberties, we cannot give up the fight by not voting. People have died so you could do so. Of the 16 running mates for mayor, only Public Defender Jeff Adachi has placed his money where his mouth is.
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.
We lost the great Lena Horne this month on Mother’s Day, May 9. She was 92, her birthday June 17, 1917 – her funeral Friday, May 14. I found out recently that Ms. Horne was at the March on Washington with sisters Mahalia Jackson and Dorothy Height.
Shout out to First Lady Michelle Obama, who presented the bust of Queen Mother Sojourner Truth, a woman who experienced first hand the hardships of slavery, yet emerged strong, so strong she had to remind America she too was a woman, a woman deserving all the respect and honor reserved for privileged white women.