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!
September 3, 2017
On Aug. 30, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick posted birthday wishes to Fred Hampton with Hampton’s picture and a quotation of something he said: “You can kill a revolutionary, but you can’t kill the revolution.” The 49ers played the Chicago Bears last year on Dec. 4, 2016, the anniversary of Hampton’s assassination by a tactical unit of state, city and federal officers. Kaepernick wore a Fred Hampton T-shirt to the postgame press conference.
August 31, 2017
His name was Richard Claxton Gregory, born Oct. 12, 1932, in St. Louis, Missouri. But the world knew him as Dick Gregory, comedian, human rights activist, social critic and presidential candidate. As a young man, he won an athletic scholarship as a runner, which took him to college. But he really hit his mark as a comedian who told sidesplitting jokes about American segregation and racism. The great civil rights activist Dick Gregory died this week.
July 28, 2017
I am at Lighthouse Mosque for El Hajjah Dhameera Ahmad’s Janazah or prayer service Wednesday afternoon, July 26. I will miss her. Dameera Ahmad (née Carlotta Basseau Simon) was a huge presence in a world that is shrinking. I am happy our paths were one at some point and shared many subsequent intersections. Her burial was on Oya’s day – Oya, guardian of the cemetery, spirit of the winds or transformation and change.
July 13, 2017
Ava DuVernay undertook the documentary “13th” in order to explore and bring attention to the Prison Industrial Complex. The film’s title refers to the 1865 amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in which slavery was abolished “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” The story told by “13th” thus goes back to the early chain-gangs of Black prisoners – men arrested for petty offenses under the post-Civil War Black Codes who were then contracted out to perform labor that they had previously performed as privately-owned slaves.
June 27, 2017
You may think you know this story. A man lives the high life of a drug dealer, becomes a fugitive, goes to prison for a long time and eventually redeems himself. But you would be wrong. Malik Wade’s story is much, much more. While “Pressure” is a story about a man existing in Dante’s Inferno who transformed himself into an educated and enlightened person, it will also take you on Malik’s sometimes painful but never boring journey that has led him to who he is today.
June 12, 2017
Patrick Thomas’ short film “Cut My Hair, Barber” is a powerful portrayal of a father and son relationship that is disturbing and extremely dysfunctional, yet familiar. It is a story that many single Black mothers and Black young and old men, especially, could relate to in our communities. I got a chance to interview filmmaker Patrick Thomas about his cinematic creation, “Cut My Hair, Barber.” Check it out.
May 29, 2017
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.
May 23, 2017
In an era where the Koreans own the multi-billion-dollar Black haircare industry in the U.S., we need to know about and learn from Black business pioneers like Madame Sara Spencer Washington. Atlantic City’s Madame was a multi-millionaire in the 20’s, running a business empire called Apex Hair and News Co. Her grandson, filmmaker Royston Scott, sat down with me to discuss his documentary called “The Sara Spencer Washington Story,” which will be screening at the SF Black Film Festival.
April 20, 2017
Now, as the San Francisco Bay View newspaper’s 40th birthday year comes to a close, is the time to bring up to date the historical sketch of our paper that I began with Part 1 in the January paper. Piles of old papers rest on my desk, waiting to be read once again – a banquet of stories and pictures of our lives, our hopes, our goals. Let me let you taste the flavor of the freedom we continue to fight for in the age of Trump.
April 20, 2017
It’s 2016, 40 years since Muhammad al-Kareem founded the New Bayview, now renamed the San Francisco Bay View, in 1976. Inspired by Malcolm X, he wanted to bring a newspaper like Muhammad Speaks to Bayview Hunters Point. He’ll tell the story of those early years, and I’ll pick it up now at the point when my wife Mary and I took over in 1992. Watching our first paper roll through the huge two-story tall lumbering old press at Tom Berkley’s Post Newspaper Building on Feb. 3, 1992, was a feel-like-flying thrill we’ll never forget.
April 3, 2017
The Oakland International Film Festival is an opportunity for Oakland to shine – its artists the polish and vehicle. From its inception 15 years ago, when the City of Oakland was one of the only cities in the nation with a film office, sadly eliminated an administration ago, this festival has maintained its focus – on Oakland and its diversity of talent: directors, writers, actors, technicians – famous and up and coming. The festival is on April 4-8. To learn more and get tickets, visit http://www.oiff.org and https://oaklandroots40th.info/.
March 29, 2017
All across this kkkountry we are hearing and seeing the masses exclaim, “Black lives matter!” We heard Obama counter that by telling the people, “All lives matter” and “Police lives matter.” But what about the more than 2 million lives being held captive across this kkkountry in amerikkka’s kkkoncentration kkkamps (jails and prisons)? So we must raise the questions needed to spark the discussion so many fail to acknowledge: Do prison lives matter?
March 3, 2017
Minister Nyle Fort starts us off with a strong quote. I am going to expand his analysis by highlighting the historical fact that slavery in the United States was and is still directly tied to capitalism! So in order for us to combat and abolish legalized slavery in Amerika we must focus our attention on dismantling the system which has allowed this institution of modern prison slavery to proliferate.
February 27, 2017
On Feb. 1, scores of men in Delaware’s largest prison, the Vaughn Correctional Center, took over one of the buildings in their facility. The prison, built in 1971 and known for its serious overuse of solitary confinement, is one of the state’s most severely overcrowded and punitive facilities. Hoping to push the state to improve living conditions at Vaughn, the prisoners didn’t just take control of Building C – they also took guards hostage. And to make the public aware of why they were protesting, they called the media.
February 27, 2017
Change is a protracted struggle. We must have clear eyed theoreticians who are able to shape public opinion, instruct us of the possibilities on the horizon and move us forward. So I implore all New Afrikan revolutionary nationalists to recognize after the inauguration of Donald Trump that just by nature of the reactionary circle he is forming for his cabinet, there will be many opportunities to agitate, educate and organize. Our struggle is one campaign composed of many battles.
February 18, 2017
Today, reading the current reporting and editorials of the large, white-dominated, corporate newspapers, I have a sense of déjà vu. But now it is not just the newspapers of the Southern segregationists that are spewing lies. The “alt right” haters have gained a prominent voice in the national discourse, and they are on their way towards gaining even greater influence, with Steve Bannon entrenched in the White House. So now, as much as ever, the voices of the Black newspapers are needed to combat the evil we face.
February 10, 2017
Happy Black History Month. Knowledge is power, something Black people from Frederick Douglass to Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks to Kamala Harris have never taken for granted. If white people would kill a Black person for teaching someone to read, not to mention knowing how to read – enough said! The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s organization, has chosen the theme: “Crisis in Education” for 2017.
February 5, 2017
I went to San Francisco’s 2017 Dr. King Day celebration riding the same wave that hounded every other participant. As I suspected, a tragic election caused crowd levels to swell significantly compared to a year ago. I’d say at least three times the number of 2016 attendees walked in this year’s march. One ugly cloud loomed: the transfer of federal powers – which finally did arrive four days later – had crept oh so dreadfully near.
January 31, 2017
Hubert Harrison (1883-1927), the “father of Harlem radicalism” and founder of the militant “New Negro Movement,” is a giant of our history. He was extremely important in his day and his significant contributions and influence are attracting increased study and discussion today. In this 90th year since his death in 1927, let us all make a commitment to learn more about the important struggles that he and others waged. Let us also commit to share this knowledge with others.