Tags Richard Aoki
Tag: Richard Aoki
Grove Street College was opened in 1954. This two-year community college served a student body which consisted mostly of poor, disenfranchised Blacks in the surrounding flatlands of Oakland. Many of these people were older than 30 years of age and had not previously had an opportunity to attend college. They had hopes for better lives and enrolled as students seeking the knowledge and skills to help them attain and fulfill their goals.
In an earlier statement, I said that Richard Aoki is and was my respected friend, comrade, mentor and crime partner. I received the feedback that I had used fine words but had given no examples to show what I meant. I accept that criticism and the following is my response. I hope that you can see what kind of cat the brotha was.
Richard Aoki’s reputation as a strong principled person is intact. Now some were wavering in their feelings about him, which is understandable, because so many knew him as a tower of strength and almost super-human in his accomplishments and dedication to helping others. Now this is the bottom line: What Richard did for the people he served is known.
Far from bringing “discredit to the Panthers,” as Rosenfeld contends, the Black Panthers’ armed street patrols dramatically reduced the level of violence visited by Oakland’s white cops upon the city’s Black residents, earning the admiration of 62 percent of inner city Blacks, according to a 1969 Wall Street Journal poll. Rosenfeld’s portrayal of the Panthers, including Richard Aoki’s role in the organization, is grossly inaccurate. His analysis of the violence surrounding the party’s challenge to racial inequality and injustice is simplistic and racist.
Richard Aoki has been used as a sensationalized hook to sell Seth Rosenfeld’s book. The recently released FBI documents still don’t pass the burden of proof and only fuel more speculation as to Rosenfeld’s motives. The only thing that I believe can be confirmed by these heavily redacted files is that the FBI believed it had an informant.
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.
Seth Rosenfeld’s dramatic announcement that Richard Aoki was an FBI informant provoked an enormous response from Chronicle readers. Could it be true? Or was this a “snitch-jacketing,” a classic FBI tactic used to cast suspicion on a legitimate activist by spreading rumors and manufacturing evidence?
I was not only surprised by the allegations made against my comrade Richard Aoki, I was sickened. I should not have been surprised because I know that this government still has unfinished business with us, we Panthers, and being dead doesn’t free us from their need to persecute us and create chaos and mistrust among those of us who remain. The San Francisco Chronicle, like most mainstream press, loves this shit.
Brother Richard Aoki demonstrably and sincerely dedicated the vast majority of his life and his every living thought to achieve the overcoming of racism, poverty and inequality, without giving up. Richard was indeed exactly who he claimed to be, who is exactly what people back in the day of the struggle also knew him to be: a dedicated, brilliant revolutionary.
Richard Aoki lived a full life, as dictated by the four winds and the revolutionary party that he served. He was indeed a revolutionary in every sense of the word. Well done, Field Marshal Richard Aoki. Please ride the four winds in dashing splendor, as only you can, so that young people will breathe in the essence of your courage.
Aoki NEVER was an agent. The over-emphasis upon Aoki providing the Panthers their first firearms is sensationalist fodder. What is conveniently ignored is what he contributed most to the Panthers and to the legacy of the U.S. revolutionary movement: promoting revolutionary study, ideology and disciplined organization. That’s why he was field marshal – because the cat could organize and tolerated no indiscipline and lack of seriousness. To the end of his life, Aoki could go toe-to-toe with any intellectual, theorist or organizer on the complexities and challenges of revolutionary theory.
Most people do not know enough about the Black Panther Party, which was founded at Merritt College in Oakland in October of 1966 by Minister of Defense Huey P. Newton and Chairman Bobby Seale. This happening is important to Black history nationally and worldwide because the Panthers were and are an example of Black people fighting for self-determination no matter the cost.
Guests on Friday's Wanda's Picks Radio are Tovi Scruggs, M.Ed., and Sharon Morrison Parker, directors of ASA Academy, who talked about an exciting conference next week: "MAN UP! First Annual Black Boys Conference: Extending the Arm of Brotherhood to Achieve Manhood" on Saturday, March 28.