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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.
Oct. 12 is the birthday of one of the most talented and promising young men martyred in the massive state repression against the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter. Unlike Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver and George Jackson, Carter has almost been forgotten from the history of Africans in America except for diehards. Carter, then 26 (born Oct. 12, 1942), was assassinated on Jan. 17, 1969 in a Campbell Hall classroom at UCLA in Los Angeles.
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.