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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.
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!
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.
The resurgence of modern Black towns for today’s Black population could represent a renaissance in Black thinking. It makes sense that if other cultural groups have “towns” like Chinatown, Japantown, Little Italy or Little Mexico, the Black community should get serious about developing and building Africatowns to recapture our internal economic markets and revitalize our cultural heritage for posterity.
The Central Office of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections upheld the censorship of the book “10 Lessons: An Introduction to Black History” by Mba Mbulu and refused to give me the book because they allege it contained “racially inflammatory material and/or writings that advocate violence against the government or any of its facilities.” The prohibited material outlined Cheikh Anta Diop’s “two cradle theory.”