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In the 20th century, few names, especially of Black people, ring louder than that of Martin Luther King. His life, his dedication to the civil rights movement and his martyrdom in April 1968 made him a global icon of social justice. Born in 1929, if he were not martyred, he would be enjoying his 90th year of life. But he was martyred and, too, he was considered an enemy of the state. Why?
“Settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already here, that people are dying who could be saved, that generations more will die or live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act. Do what must be done, discover your humanity and your love of Revolution. Pass on the torch. Join us, give your life for the people.” – George Jackson
Across Amerika, home of the world’s largest prison population, growing numbers of the imprisoned are coming to realize that they are victims of social injustice. Foremost, they are victims of an inherently predatory and dysfunctional capitalist-imperialist system, which targets the poor and people of color for intensified policing, militaristic containment and selective criminal prosecutions, while denying them access to the basic resources, employment and institutional control needed for social and economic security.
There are many facts about King’s life that are not widely known to today’s African youth. One example is that he visited Africa before Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad. Kwame Nkrumah invited King to Ghana’s independence celebration on March 6, 1957. Malcolm X’s first visited Egypt in 1959. King was light years ahead of his contemporaries on the South African question. It must be understood that the masses of Africans in the Western Hemisphere re-embraced pan-Africanism in the 1970s.
It is a hobby that began almost 50 years ago. Now, decades later, Albert Feldstein has the desire to preserve this history and share his button collection with others in a purposeful manner, the result being a new and unique poster entitled, “A Black History of America in 110 Buttons: The Events, The Issues, The Organizations, The People.” The goal of Feldstein’s poster is to recall the historic people and events which characterize African-American history. For some, it will rekindle memories – while for younger generations it will provide an impetus for research and a greater appreciation of past struggles.
“My dream was to develop a new color that no one had ever seen in life. It hasn’t come true yet, but that was a dream of mine when I was a little girl,” says Bay Area muralist Edyth Boone in the documentary about her life, called “A New Color: The Art of Being Edythe Boone.” It screens on April 6, 5:15 p.m. at Holy Names University, 3500 Mountain Blvd., Oakland, as a part of the Oakland International Film Festival.
Although Bayview Hunters Point is one of the most beautiful Black communities in California, it is also one of the most toxic places in the country due to the radiation experiments that took place on the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in the ‘40s and many other generators of deadly toxins, most of them government owned. Dr. Ray Tompkins, a historian and a scientific expert on the pollution in Bayview Hunters Point, gives an in-depth interview. Check him out in his own words.
Classic Black (June 4 , 6 and 7, Southside Theater, Fort Mason Center) and A Night of Tribute in Dance: Blanche Brown (May 28, Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center) are shining examples of the majestic spectrum of African American artistic excellence in the Bay Area and two of 150 performances that are part of SFIAF 2015. Co-presented by Fort Mason Center, SFIAF 2015 runs May 21-June 7.
Now 88, Mr. Johnson is not only a Bay Area resident, living in Marin County, and a documentarian of six decades of Afrikan life, he is a very important classic photojournalist whose 30-piece collection documenting the San Francisco Fillmore District during the 1940s to 1960s was exhibited at the Harvey Milk Photography Center in San Francisco in October 2014. San Francisco’s vibrant Afrikan Fillmore community became his signature tableau.
Congratulations to Gerald Lenoir for carrying the torch and blazing the way for so many social justice issues from HIV/AIDS awareness in the Black community to his recent work in just migration for Pan Africans. Much success on your new work! Farewell to Alona Clifton and much success in Atlanta. Congratulations also to Almaz Negash, founder and director of African Diaspora Network in Silicon Valley for her national recognition and award at the Continental African Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C.
My comrade Obi Egbuna’s father, with the same name, recently passed, and it was not until his old man died that I became aware of Senior’s well-documented history in the Pan African Movement. I am honored to salute the life of his father, Obi Egbuna Sr., and to enlighten our readers on some Pan Afrikan history. Here is Obi Egbuna Jr. in his own words ...
“The Black Arts Movement and Its Influences” conference will be going down with a host of legendary Black artists who have contributed to the liberation of our minds over the last 50 years. People like Askia Toure, Umar Bin Hasan of the Last Poets, Emory Douglas, the Minister of Culture of the Black Panther Party, Avotcja, Ayodele Nzinga, Ras Baraka and Ishmael Reed, to name a few, will be participating.
Fifty years ago this week, President Lyndon Johnson, lamenting that too many Americans “live on the outskirts of hope,” declared an “unconditional war on poverty in America.” This will not be “a short or easy struggle,” he stated, “no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we will not rest until that war is won. The richest nation on earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it.”
The house was packed for the San Francisco NAACP Freedom Fund Gala, “We Shall Not Be Moved Until Justice Rolls Down Like a Mighty Stream,” at the Union Square Hilton on Saturday, Nov. 9, when Tavis Smiley, named one of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People” by TIME magazine, broadcaster, author of 16 books, publisher, advocate and philanthropist, took the mic. Beginning with excerpts from his introduction by San Francisco NAACP President Dr. Amos C. Brown, here is Tavis’ provocative and profoundly moving address:
Regardless of what we may think about the U.S. political or economic system, we must support our New Afrikan brotha – i.e., without compromising our core revolutionary principles and tenets – and assist him in building a strong and viable Black stronghold. We must take both a strategic and tactical approach for this and not a subjective one. Think in terms of the potential benefits.
On the 20th anniversary of the demise of my father, Fred Ali Batin Sr., the 18th anniversary of the Maafa Commemoration San Francisco Bay Area – the Ritual Sunday is Oct. 13, 2013; see http://maafasfbayarea.com/ – and approximately the 60th day of the hunger strike to end the inhuman conditions in California’s Security Housing Units or SHUs, I just want to pause and reflect.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech resonates with renewed urgency as a national coalition prepares to observe the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington. The Realize the Dream March and Rally for Jobs, Justice and Freedom will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Juneteenth, a day signifying freedom, has been celebrated in San Francisco for 63 years – the largest annual gathering of Blacks in Northern California. This year also marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, a strategic move to free slaves to join the Union army to help defeat the Confederacy. The 2013 San Francisco Juneteenth will be held Saturday, June 15, on Fillmore Street between Sutter and Turk from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The event is free!
The 23rd African American Celebration through Poetry is Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, 1-4 p.m. at the West Oakland Branch Library, 1801 Adeline St., in Oakland, (510) 238-7352. All are welcome and if anyone didn’t hear of the event in time to be a part of the featured program, we do have an open mic at the end of the program.
Young women at the Chowchilla Freedom Rally Jan. 26 spoke out passionately for their sisters in a prison packed to nearly double its capacity, demanding that the 4,500 prisoners eligible for release be freed. At least 400 people came from all over California to show their support for the women locked up in the Central California Women’s Facility, currently the state’s only women’s prison.
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