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At 6:13 a.m. on July 23, Big Man joined the ancestors. Above all else, Elbert “Big Man” Howard loved his comrades and all oppressed people, who he never stopped fighting for. His Celebration of Live will be on Saturday, Aug. 25, 1 p.m., in the Bobby Hutton Grove inside of DeFremery Park, Oakland. Big Man was responsible for a free medical clinic for sickle-cell anemia and a work-study program for parolees at Merritt College. He was the first editor of The Black Panther newspaper, rebuilt Black Panther chapters decimated by COINTELPRO and built Solidarity Committees in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.
In 1968, Joe Debro was reporting on an Oakland we would recognize today, where white arrests were down and Black arrests up, where in the first four months of 1968, police murdered about a dozen Black and Brown youth allegedly fleeing the scene of a crime, where “almost every ghetto Negro has a police record.” This is Part 18 of the report titled “A Study of the Manpower Implications of Small Business Financing: A Survey of 149 Minority and 202 Anglo-Owned Small Businesses in Oakland, California.”
In the spirit of the MOVE conference held May 5-7 in Philadelphia to educate the public about the MOVE organization, I will like to expound on the U.S. government sanctioned attacks on MOVE within the larger context of the FBI’s campaign of harassment, murder, frame-ups and imprisonment of Black revolutionaries during the radical ‘60s and ‘70s, and even today, in an effort to thwart the realization and actualization of Black unity, Black power and Black liberation.
“Cream” is a political and socially conscious short that is set in Oakland in 1968, at the time of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. The film deals with identity, self-respect and knowledge of self in a Black family setting. Check out filmmaker Alexandra Lebona as she talks about her film, “Cream,” which has been selected to screen at the San Francisco Black Film Festival.
The 50th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party Conference, Oct. 20-23, held at the Oakland Museum of California and in Bobby Hutton Grove at deFremery Park, was a huge success. To see the Vanguards of the Revolution saluted in such elegant surroundings at the banquet Saturday evening was certainly a fitting tribute to the legacy their lives concretely represent. Hats off to the committee that organized the conference.
Looking back at the Black Panther Party is like looking at a large landscape of people, locations and events in time and space. For me, that time was between the years 1966 and 1974. As memory fades increasingly with age, I won’t try to document in detail specifics such as the names of people and the exact dates of events. However, I do remember working with some of the most dynamic, resourceful and dedicated community organizers on the planet.
To those of us who were alive and sentient, the name Huey P. Newton evokes an era of mass resistance, of Black popular protest and of the rise of revolutionary organizations across the land. To those of subsequent eras – youth in their 20s – the name is largely unknown, as is the name of its greatest creation: the Black Panther Party. It is up to the oppressed of every generation to plumb the depths of history and to excavate the ore of understanding, to teach us not what happened yesterday, but to teach us why today is like it is, so that we may learn ideas to change it.
I was the founding chairman and national organizer of the Black Panther Party. Our first organizing tactic was to legally observe the police in our Oakland and Berkeley Black communities. During those hard core late 1960s racist, fascist times, we took a big chance with our lives patrolling the police. It was a time of rampant vicious police brutality and murder of Black people by police that was 10 times worse than today.
“Listen to Me Marlon” is a documentary film by Stevan Riley that takes a candid look at the life, activism and work of the legendary, charismatic and mercurial film icon Marlon Brando, whose career spanned five decades. The late Brando narrates the film exclusively with sound taken from hundreds of hours of audio that he himself recorded privately over the course of 40 years.
Rickey Vincent’s new book, “Party Music,” about the Black Panther Party singing group The Lumpen is a great read. The revolutionary singing group was all about the ideology of the Black Panther Party in song and music. The Lumpen had a powerful show. They mixed the contemporary music of James Brown, Curtis Mayfield and Motown and changed the lyrics to provide a positive message in their music.
By now millions of Americans have heard about COINTELPRO. COINTELPRO was the FBI’s evil and illegal system of spying, lying, telephone wire taps, frame-ups and assassination that violated the constitutional and human rights that they claim to uphold. I was recently asked, while doing a Black Panther Party historical tour in Oakland, how COINTELPRO affected me personally. Here is one of my stories.
On April 4, 2013, the Oakland Film Festival premiered the long anticipated documentary “Crimes of Police,” directed by Ansar El Muhammad and produced by Derrick Bowman. Now the documentary has been chosen for the San Francisco Black Film Festival as well, screening Saturday, June 15, 5:45 p.m., at the Jazz Heritage Center, 1320 Fillmore St., San Francisco.
In the spirit of young freedom fighters like Lil’ Bobby Hutton, Young Malcolm will live forever in the hearts and minds of oppressed people who want to be free, especially those incarcerated in jail cells and in Amerikkkan ghettos. We love you and we will never forget you. We will make sure that the young people of today and tomorrow use your life as an example to keep up the fight that so many have given their lives for over time. Long live Hajj Malcolm Latif Shabazz! May you rest in peace with the other warriors from our movement.
Aaron Dixon was the first leader within the Black Panther Party to bring it out of California to Seattle, Washington. He recently authored a book, “My People Are Rising,” which is the memoir of a Black Panther Party captain and a community organizer who also had two blood brothers within the Black Panther Party. Check out Aaron Dixon in his own words ...
Cowardice in journalism triumphs when an experienced reporter uses insufficient evidence to accuse a movement leader of being an FBI informer betraying the Black Panther Party and others – after the brother is dead and the crows and worms have already done their work.
The murder of a 22-year-old unarmed Black man, Oscar Grant, by a transit cop in Oakland during the early hours of New Year's Day sparked national indignation. Onlookers captured the shooting on cell phones, and their video footage was transmitted to millions via the Internet and TV.
George Jackson said, “If terror is going to be the choice of weapons, there must be funerals on both sides ... And let the whole enemy power complex be conscious of that!” Or, as Brother Imam Malik Khaba (formerly known as Jeff Fort) put it: “Ain’t gone be no killing, without killing.”
The Luggage Store Gallery presents the Bobby Hutton Memorial Benefit, Nov. 29-Dec. 6. The opening reception is Saturday, Nov. 29, from 8 to 10 p.m. at the gallery, 1007 Market St. in San Francisco. The show features work by 27 artists - among them, Emory Douglas, Rigo 23 and a photo essay by Billy X.