Happy Juneteenth 2014!!!

JUNETEENTH: A CELEBRATION OF FREEDOM

WHAT IS JUNETEENTH?

Juneteenth or June 19, 1865, is considered the date when the last slaves in America were freed. Although the rumors of freedom were widespread prior to this, actual emancipation did not come until General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas and issued General Order No. 3, on June 19, almost two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

BUT DIDN’T THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION FREE THE ENSLAVED?

President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, notifying the states in rebellion against the Union that if they did not cease their rebellion and return to the Union by January 1, 1863, he would declare their slaves forever free. Needless to say, the proclamation was ignored by those states that seceded from the Union. Furthermore, the proclamation did not apply to those slave-holding states that did not rebel against the Union. As a result about 8000,000 slaves were unaffected by the provisions of the proclamation. It would take a civil war to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to formally outlaw slavery in the United States.

WHEN IS JUNETEENTH CELEBRATED?

Annually, on June 19, in more than 200 cities in the United States. Texas (and Oklahoma) is the only state that has made Juneteenth a legal holiday. Some cities sponsor week-long celebrations, culminating on June 19, while others hold shorter celebrations.

WHY IS JUNETEENTH CELEBRATED?

It symbolizes the end of slavery. Juneteenth has come to symbolize for many African-Americans what the fourth of July symbolizes for all Americans — freedom. It serves as a historical milestone reminding Americans of the triumph of the human spirit over the cruelty of slavery. It honors those African-Americans ancestors who survived the inhumane institution of bondage, as well as demonstrating pride in the marvelous legacy of resistance and perseverance they left us.

WHY NOT JUST CELEBRATE THE FOURTH OF JULY LIKE OTHER AMERICANS?

Blacks do celebrate the Fourth of July in honor of American Independence Day, but history reminds us that blacks were still enslaved when the United States obtained its independence.

WHY WERE SLAVES IN TEXAS THE LAST TO KNOW THAT THEY WERE FREE?

During the Civil War, Texas did not experience any significant invasion by Union forces. Although the Union army made several attempts to invade Texas, they were thwarted by Confederate troops. As a result, slavery in Texas continued to thrive. In fact, because slavery in Texas experienced such a minor interruption in its operation, many slave owners from other slave-holding states brought their slaves to Texas to wait out the war. News of the emancipation was suppressed due to the overwhelming influence of the slave owners.

 

The Meaning of Juneteenth — Freedom

When blacks in Texas heard the news, they alternately sang, danced and prayed. There was much rejoicing and jubilation that their life long prayers had finally been answered. Many of the slaves left their masters immediately upon being freed, in search of family members, economic opportunities or simply because they could. They left with nothing but the clothes on their backs and hope in their hearts. Oh, freedom!

“When my oldest brother heard we were free, he gave a whoop, ran, and jumped a high fence, and told mammy good-bye. Then he grabbed me up and hugged and kissed me and said, “Brother is gone, don’t expect you’ll ever see me anymore,” I don’t know where he went, but I never did see him again.” — Susan Ross

Freedom meant more than the right to travel freely. It meant the right to name one’s self and many freedmen gave themselves new names. County courthouses were overcrowded as blacks applied for licenses to legalize their marriages. Emancipation allowed ex-slaves the right to assemble and openly worship as they saw fit. As a result, a number of social and community organizations were formed, many originating from the church. Freedom implied that for the first time, United States laws protected the rights of blacks. There was a run on educational primers as freed men and woman sought the education that had for so long been denied them. The Bureau of Refuges, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, commonly known as the Freedmen’s Bureau, were founded by Congress in March 1865 to provide relief services for former slaves. Schools were established and joined churches as centers of the newly-freed communities. The promise of emancipation gave freedmen optimism for the future; few realized slavery’s bitter legacy was just beginning to unfold and that equality was to remain an elusive dream. Oh freedom!

At the beginning of Reconstruction, the period immediately following the end of the Civil War, rumors were rampant that every freedman would be given forty acres and a mule. Ex-slaves petitioned for land and, with federal troops stationed throughout the South to protect their rights, looked forward to participating in American society as free citizens. In some cases ex-slaves were successful in obtaining land. Land grants by Congress allowed several states to establish black colleges.

The optimism was short-lived, however, and soon replaced by a betrayal so soul shattering blacks questioned whether the United States was serious about granting them their freedom. Ex-slaves found for the most part, that despite the Freedman’s Bureau, they were left to fend for themselves. The abject poverty and the racism that maintained it, prohibited any hope for assimilated into American society. In Texas, the editor of the Harrison Flag newspaper denounced as “treasonable” the sale of land to blacks. The Texas Homestead Act, passed during Reconstruction, granted up to 160 acres of free land to white persons only. The Texas legislature in 1866 passed a new set of black codes that attempted to reverse the limited gains blacks had been granted.

Ex-slaves entered freedom under the worst possible conditions. Most were turned loose penniless and homeless, with only the clothes on their back. Ex-slaves were, as Frederick Douglas said “free, without roofs to cover them, or bread to eat, or land to cultivate, and as a consequence died in such numbers as to awaken the hope of their enemies that they would soon disappear.”

Many white Texans disdained black freedom and this utter contempt guaranteed the price of freedom for many would be unaffordable. The sharecropping system that emerged in Texas and all over the deep South kept many blacks from starving, but had little to distinguish it from the slave life blacks thought they had escaped. This was the other side of emancipation where high expectations gave way to heart-crushing disillusionment.

By 1877, the end of Reconstruction, the North had abandoned black Americans to the will of southern whites, who through violence, racial discrimination and Jim Crow laws succeeded in disenfranchising them, resulting in more than 100 years of oppression. It’s not surprising that blacks turned to the only institution that gave them hope–the church.

CHURCH

From the establishment of the first black church in America, throughout slavery and beyond, the church has been the foundation of the black community. During the horrific days of slavery it provided relief and nourishment for the soul with its promise of a better life after death. The church gave the slave dignity and assured him he was equal in the eyes of God. Despite his earthly condition he was loved and valued as a child of God no matter how difficult his burden became or unbearable his suffering was, Jesus, who too suffered, prepared a place of rest for him when his time was up on earth. It was this religious faith that sustained the slave and enabled him to endure his bondage.

The slave owner was able to observe a glimpse of this faith as he heard the incredible music that seemed to come out of the slave’s soul while toiling in the field. If the slave owner had ventured into a slave church, his strong defense of slavery would no doubt have been weakened. He would have seen the people he considered inferior and sub-human without the defensive masks they wore in the fields; in their churches, enslaved men and woman displayed a dignity and stateliness that survived the slave owner’s dehumanizing oppression.

The church was more than a safe house. It served as a launching pad for black leadership and was involved early on in working for liberation. Many free blacks in northern churches participated in the Underground Railroad, raised money for freedmen after the Civil War, and helped keep the black community intact.

The importance of the black church cannot be overstated. It was, and perhaps still is, the single most important institution in the black community. It permitted self-expression and supported creativity at a time when it could have meant death. An example is found in the spirituals, gospel and other forms of music that helped blacks explain and endure their sojourn in America. Blacks were able to use their churches to hone organization and leadership skills useful in the economic, social and political development of their community. It’s no accident that Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesse Jackson and a host of other civil rights leaders got their start through the black church.

Therefore it is not surprising the black church has always played a pivOtal role in keeping alive the meaning of Juneteenth. Religion has always been at the root of the observance of this holiday, which is ironic, considering it is a holiday born out of an institution so far removed from Christian ideals–slavery.

The Black Church provided a haven from the daily oppression slaves faced, but after freedom it was also the center of social activities including the sponsorship of the annual Juneteenth Celebration.

TRADITIONAL PRAYER

The deep spiritual faith of the enslaved is reflected in the traditional prayer below. Similar prayers are often recited in Juneteenth celebrations.

Father, I stretch my hand to thee–for no other help I know. Oh my rose of Sharon, my shelter in the time of storm. My prince of peace, my hope in this harsh land. We bow before you this morning to thank you for watching over us and taking care of us. This morning you touched us and brought us out of the land of slumber, gave us another day–thank you Jesus. We realize that many that talked as we now talked, this morning when their names were called, they failed to answer. Their voices were hushed up in death. Their souls had taken a flight and gone back to the God that gave it, but not so with us. We are thankful the sheet we covered with, was not our winding sheet, and the bed we slept on was not our cooling board. You spared us and gave us one more chance to pray. And Father, before we go further, we want to pause and thank you for forgiving our sins. Forgive all our wrong doings. We don’t deserve it, but you lengthened out the briskly threads of our lives and gave us another chance to pray, and Lord for this we thank you… Now Lord, when I’ve come to the end of my journey, when praying days are done and time for me shall be no more; when these knees have bowed for the last time, when I too, like all others must come in off the battlefield of life, when I’m through being ‘buked and scorned, I pray for a home in glory.

When I come down to the river of Jordan, hold the river still and let your servant cross over during a calm down. Father, I’ll be looking for that land where Job said the wicked would cease from troubling us and our weary souls would be at rest; over there where a thousand years is but a day in eternity, where I’ll meet with loved ones and where I can sing praises to thee; and we can say with the saints of old, Free at Last, Free at Last, thank God almighty, I am free at last. Your servant’s prayer for Christ sake. Amen!
— Traditional with additions from Reverend Wallace Evans

LEGACY OF SLAVERY

The fact that it took a Civil War to forcibly put an end to slavery left a bitter legacy that continues to divide American society. Slavery so bankrupted slave owners’ sense of right and wrong that they were willing to die to defend that lifestyle. A slave-holding minority morally corrupted a nation, and this legacy still haunts the country.

According to historian John Hope Franklin, “the Founding Fathers (by allowing slavery) set the stage for every succeeding generation of Americans to apologize, compromise and temporize on those principles of liberty that were supposed to be the very foundation of our system of government and way of life…that is why this nation tolerated and indeed, nurtured the cultivation of racism that has been as insidious as it has been pervasive.”

Professor Franklin asks, “How could the colonists make (such) distinctions in their revolutionary philosophy? They either meant that all men were created equal or they did not mean it at all. They either meant that every man was entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or they did not mean it at all…Patrick Henry, who had cried, ‘Give me liberty or give me death’, admitted that slavery was ‘repugnant to humanity’, but (obviously) not terribly repugnant, for he continued to hold blacks in bondage. So did George Washington and Thomas Jefferson…”

This blatant hypocrisy poisoned both religion and the law. Every institution at the slave-holder’s disposal was used to justify slavery. Instead of the slave-owner being considered inhumane, the people he enslaved were. The legacy of racism has grown into perhaps the greatest internal threat that this country faces. John Hope Franklin aptly put it when he wrote that “slavery weakened America’s moral authority.”

It’s amazing that despite living under the most inhumane conditions known to humankind, blacks contributed everything from agricultural inventions, to medical breakthroughs, to music. Enslaved artisans crafted incredible sculptures, designed beautiful buildings and helped build a nation. Blacks preserved a culture and succeeded in passing down a legacy of music, language, food, religion and a lesson in survival. We’ll never know how many scientists, engineers, doctors and artists were lost on the trip over on the slave ships or after they arrived.

Slavery taught America another lesson, one that it too often ignores. Blacks and whites worked together to create an anti-slavery movement that ultimately succeeded. Later they fought and died together to force an end of slavery. Blacks and whites have worked throughout the nation’s history for social justice. This lesson of cooperation must never be forgotten.

While the painful side of slavery makes it difficult for many blacks to celebrate Juneteenth, it is the positive legacy of perseverance and cooperation that makes it impossible for others to ignore.

WHY WE CELEBRATE

J — Juneteenth represents the joy of freedom–the chance for a new beginning.

U — Unless we expose the truth about the African-American slave experience, Americans won’t be truly free.

N — Never must we forget our ancestors’ endurance of one of the worst slave experiences in human history.

E — Every American has benefitted from the wealth blacks created through over 200 years of free labor and Juneteenth allows us to acknowledge that debt.

T — To encourage every former slave-holding state to follow Texas’ (and Oklahoma’s) example and make Juneteenth a state holiday.

E — Every day in America, blacks are reminded of the legacy of slavery. Juneteenth counters that by reminding us of the promise of deliverance.

E — Even on the journey to discover who we are, Juneteenth allows us to reflect on where we’ve been, where we’re at and where we’re going as a people.

N — Never give up hope is the legacy our enslaved ancestors left. It was this legacy that produced black heroism in the Civil War and helped launch the modern civil rights era. It is this legacy we celebrate.

T — To proclaim for all the world to hear, that human rights must never again become subservient to property rights.

H — History books have only told a small part of the story; Juneteenth gives us a chance to set the record straight.

FREEDOM IS ALWAYS WORTH CELEBRATING!

The MOVE 9 Bombing: 29 Years Later

Today marks the 29th year since the Philadelphia-based movement’s headquarters were bombed by law enforcement

move

On this date in 1985, a four pound bomb made of the explosive C-4 and Tovex, a dynamite substitute, was dropped onto the roof of a revolutionary organization by American state and federal agencies, killing six adults and five children.

No, this was not in Afghanistan, Iraq, or any other country that the media has trained the general public to believe is justified in receiving such an attack. This military action was executed on American citizens.

MOVE, which was founded in 1972 by Vincent Leaphart, who later became known as John Africa, lived communally and frequently engaged in public demonstrations related to issues they deemed important. MOVE’s early protests centered around treatment of animals in zoos and circuses and poor housing conditions for the elderly. As time went by, MOVE began to protest chemical companies such as Dow Chemical and DuPont. As the decade wore on, MOVE began to be targeted by the Philadelphia Police Department for its views on technology and its “getting back to nature” mentality.

In 1978, a negotiation was reached to vacate their Powellton Village headquarters after a year-long standoff with the police, however, they refused to follow the court order and vacate. After the eviction notice was served on the premises, the Philadelphia PD attempted re-entry, in which Officer James Ramp was shot in the back of the head and killed. In turn, nine members of the group were found guilty of 3rd degree murder and all sentenced to 30-100 years in prison. 7 of the 9 became eligible for parole in 2008, but were all denied.

Following the 1978 shoot-out, or “shoot-in” as it has been called by some, the MOVE house was immediately bulldozed despite a court order against its destruction — as well as the fact of it being a crime scene — by the city on the orders of mayor Frank L. Rizzo. This destroyed any and all defense evidence. For the next seven years, MOVE worked tirelessly to free the MOVE 9 and other members of the organization who had been jailed. MOVE relocated to Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia. After neighborhood complaints about dirtiness, rat infestations, and MOVE’s refusal to use electricity and gas, another eviction notice was drawn up to relocate MOVE members. This time 500 to 600 armed law enforcement descended into the Osage Avenue neighborhood and neighborhood residents were ordered to evacuate their homes. On the morning of May 13, 1985 MOVE headquarters was bombarded with water from fire hoses. Then came the tear gas. At 5:20 p.m. the four pound C-4 bomb was dropped and MOVE headquarters caught fire. Despite using fire hoses to try to get MOVE members to evacuate the house on Osage Avenue, after the fire started the fire department turned no hoses towards the flames. Instead, the flames of the fire were left to burn destroying MOVE headquarters and 58 other houses in the neighborhood. Neighborhood residents were shocked and appalled by what had transpired. Eleven people – six adults and five children – were massacred, an entire neighborhood was burned to the ground and over 280 people were displaced from their homes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Delbert Africa dragged by Philadelphia police officers after they dropped a bomb on the MOVE home.)

According to a chosen few, the price of freedom is death. MOVE members have given and continue to give their lives in the struggle for freedom, justice, and equality.

A revolutionary soldier salute goes out to Sister Debbie Africa, who I have had the honor of corresponding with and has sat in a Pa. prison cell for 25 years in the name of freedom. She gave birth to her son Mike Jr. in her prison cell on September 15, 1978 with no medical assistance

-Sha Be Allah(@KingPenStatus)

Source: http://thesource.com/2014/05/13/the-move-organization-bombing-29-years-later/

Black Women Are Ranked The Most Educated

Black Women Are Ranked The Most Educated Group By Race & Gender

ProfessU’s Dr. John Hamilton had the opportunity to be on a panel with Janks Morton a few years ago. Morton is the truth when it comes to data. Watch and listen as he provides “Truths You Won’t Believe”.

Source: http://www.professu.com/black-women-are-ranked-the-most-educated-group-by-race-gender/

28 Years Ago Today: Philadelphia Police Department Bombs MOVE Headquarters

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s been 28 years to the day since the City of Philadelphia dropped explosives on the MOVE headquarters on Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia that set fire to an entire residential block.

The fire destroyed the homes of neighbors who had grown impatient with the noise and conditions at the “back-to-nature” MOVE house

by:

Linn Washington Jr.

Philadelphia loves to brag about it’s ‘Firsts,’ citing such notable things as the nation’s first capital (1774), America’s first zoo (1874) and the birthplace of the world’s first digital computer ENIAC (1946).

There is one ‘First’ that will never appear in slick tourist handouts from the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau though, and that’s the city’s first air raid on May 13, 1985, when the city deliberately bombed an occupied house containing children, sparking a deadly firestorm.

Philadelphia MOVE Bombing Anniversary

A bomb dropped on an American city by that city’s own police force?

Yes, a bomb made with hi-explosive military C-4 and powerful Tovex dropped by Philadelphia police from a Pennsylvania State Police helicopter onto the roof of 6221 Osage Ave., located in West Philadelphia just blocks from the University of Pennsylvania – considered America’s ‘First’ university.

Police drop satchel of C-4 explosive on the MOVE housePolice drop satchel of C-4 explosive on the MOVE house

That 5:27PM bombing ignited a small fire that grew steadily because of an unconscionable decision by Philadelphia’s then Police Commissioner, Greg Sambor.

The commissioner ordered arriving firefighters not to fight the spreading blaze, telling them to “let the fire burn” because he wanted to use the flames as a “tactical weapon” to drive out persons barricaded inside the bombed house.

Over three hours later, when firefighters finally received permission to attack this blaze with hoses, it had become a raging inferno that gutted 61 homes – including the entire 6200 block of Osage Ave. – leaving 250 homeless and killing 11 people in the original bombed house, five of them children ranging in ages from 7-to-14-years-old.

All of the fatalities – adults and children – were members of MOVE, a radical organization that had waged a series of often violent confrontations with Philadelphia city officials for over a decade.

*****

During the 1970s and early 1980s MOVE was an offensively confrontational group.

The group had fortified 6221 Osage Ave. as part of their strategy to win release of nine imprisoned members they felt authorities had unjustly convicted for a fatal 1978 shootout with police.

The March 1986 report from the MOVE Commission established by Philadelphia’s then mayor to probe the 5/13/85 bombing declared that MOVE had “held Osage Avenue “hostage” for nearly two years [through a] deliberate use of terror…violent acts against their own neighbors.”

Philadelphia_MOVE_Bombing_Anniversary_3

The flash point for that series of confrontations, however, was rampant brutality by Philadelphia police.

In 1973, months after MOVE first surfaced publicly, a federal judge issued a ruling in a class-action lawsuit on brutality, unrelated to MOVE, where he stated that violence by Philadelphia police – from physical assaults to fatal shootings – occurred with such frequency it could not “be dismissed as rare, isolated incidents.”

Typically though, Philadelphia’s body politic dismissed the televised police brutality on May 13th as an isolated incident precipitated by MOVE’s intransigence.

Democracy Now! Interviews Ramona Africa:

Pam Africa, Myself & Ramona Africa:

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ONA MOVE!!!

An Open Letter From Assata

My name is Assata Shakur, and I am a 20th century escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the US government’s policy towards people of color. I am an ex-political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984.

 

I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one. In the 1960s, I participated in various struggles: the black liberation movement, the student rights movement, and the movement to end the war in Vietnam. I joined the Black Panther Party. By 1969 the Black Panther Party had become the number one organization targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO program. Because the Black Panther Party demanded the total liberation of black people, J. Edgar Hoover called it “greatest threat to the internal security of the country” and vowed to destroy it and its leaders and activists.

In 1978, my case was one of many cases bought before the United Nations Organization in a petition filed by the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, and the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice, exposing the existence of political prisoners in the United States, their political persecution, and the cruel and inhuman treatment they receive in US prisons. According to the report:

The FBI and the New York Police Department in particular, charged and accused Assata Shakur of participating in attacks on law enforcement personnel and widely circulated such charges and accusations among police agencies and units. The FBI and the NYPD further charged her as being a leader of the Black Liberation Army which the government and its respective agencies described as an organization engaged in the shooting of police officers. This description of the Black Liberation Army and the accusation of Assata Shakur’s relationship to it was widely circulated by government agents among police agencies and units. As a result of these activities by the government, Ms. Shakur became a hunted person; posters in police precincts and banks described her as being involved in serious criminal activities; she was highlighted on the FBI’s most wanted list; and to police at all levels she became a ‘shoot-to-kill’ target.”

 

I was falsely accused in six different “criminal cases” and in all six of these cases I was eventually acquitted or the charges were dismissed. The fact that I was acquitted or that the charges were dismissed, did not mean that I received justice in the courts, that was certainly not the case. It only meant that the “evidence” presented against me was so flimsy and false that my innocence became evident. This political persecution was part and parcel of the government’s policy of eliminating political opponents by charging them with crimes and arresting them with no regard to the factual basis of such charges.

On May 2, 1973 I, along with Zayd Malik Shakur and Sundiata Acoli were stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike, supposedly for a “faulty tail light.” Sundiata Acoli got out of the car to determine why we were stopped. Zayd and I remained in the car. State trooper Harper then came to the car, opened the door and began to question us. Because we were black, and riding in a car with Vermont license plates, he claimed he became “suspicious.” He then drew his gun, pointed it at us, and told us to put our hands up in the air, in front of us, where he could see them. I complied and in a split second, there was a sound that came from outside the car, there was a sudden movement, and I was shot once with my arms held up in the air, and then once again from the back. Zayd Malik Shakur was later killed, trooper Werner Foerster was killed, and even though trooper Harper admitted that he shot and killed Zayd Malik Shakur, under the New Jersey felony murder law, I was charged with killing both Zayd Malik Shakur, who was my closest friend and comrade, and charged in the death of trooper Forester. Never in my life have I felt such grief. Zayd had vowed to protect me, and to help me to get to a safe place, and it was clear that he had lost his life, trying to protect both me and Sundiata. Although he was also unarmed, and the gun that killed trooper Foerster was found under Zayd’s leg, Sundiata Acoli, who was captured later, was also charged with both deaths. Neither Sundiata Acoli nor I ever received a fair trial We were both convicted in the news media way before our trials. No news media was ever permitted to interview us, although the New Jersey police and the FBI fed stories to the press on a daily basis. In 1977, I was convicted by an all- white jury and sentenced to life plus 33 years in prison. In 1979, fearing that I would be murdered in prison, and knowing that I would never receive any justice, I was liberated from prison, aided by committed comrades who understood the depths of the injustices in my case, and who were also extremely fearful for my life.

The U.S. Senate’s 1976 Church Commission report on intelligence operations inside the USA, revealed that “The FBI has attempted covertly to influence the public’s perception of persons and organizations by disseminating derogatory information to the press, either anonymously or through “friendly” news contacts.” This same policy is evidently still very much in effect today.

On December 24, 1997, The New Jersey State called a press conference to announce that New Jersey State Police had written a letter to Pope John Paul II asking him to intervene on their behalf and to aid in having me extradited back to New Jersey prisons. The New Jersey State Police refused to make their letter public. Knowing that they had probably totally distort the facts, and attempted to get the Pope to do the devils work in the name of religion, I decided to write the Pope to inform him about the reality of’ “justice” for black people in the State of New Jersey and in the United States. (See attached Letter to the Pope).

 

In January of 1998, during the pope’s visit to Cuba, I agreed to do an interview with NBC journalist Ralph Penza around my letter to the Pope, about my experiences in New Jersey court system, and about the changes I saw in the United States and it’s treatment of Black people in the last 25 years. I agreed to do this interview because I saw this secret letter to the Pope as a vicious, vulgar, publicity maneuver on the part of the New Jersey State Police, and as a cynical attempt to manipulate Pope John Paul II. I have lived in Cuba for many years, and was completely out of touch with the sensationalist, dishonest, nature of the establishment media today. It is worse today than it was 30 years ago. After years of being victimized by the “establishment” media it was naive of me to hope that I might finally get the opportunity to tell “my side of the story.” Instead of an interview with me, what took place was a “staged media event” in three parts, full of distortions, inaccuracies and outright lies. NBC purposely misrepresented the facts. Not only did NBC spend thousands of dollars promoting this “exclusive interview series” on NBC, they also spent a great deal of money advertising this “exclusive interview” on black radio stations and also placed notices in local newspapers.

 . . .

Like most poor and oppressed people in the United States, I do not have a voice. Black people, poor people in the U.S. have no real freedom of speech, no real freedom of expression and very little freedom of the press. The black press and the progressive media has historically played an essential role in the struggle for social justice. We need to continue and to expand that tradition. We need to create media outlets that help to educate our people and our children, and not annihilate their minds. I am only one woman. I own no TV stations, or Radio Stations or Newspapers. But I feel that people need to be educated as to what is going on, and to understand the connection between the news media and the instruments of repression in Amerika. All I have is my voice, my spirit and the will to tell the truth. But I sincerely ask, those of you in the Black media, those of you in the progressive media, those of you who believe in truth freedom, To publish this statement and to let people know what is happening. We have no voice, so you must be the voice of the voiceless.

Free all Political Prisoners, I send you Love and Revolutionary Greetings From Cuba, One of the Largest, Most Resistant and Most Courageous Palenques (Maroon Camps) That has ever existed on the Face of this Planet.

Assata Shakur Havana, Cuba

Read more at: http://www.daveyd.com/assataletterpol.html

Below is a clip of Assata Sakur’s Documentary “Eyes of the Rainbow: Assata Shakur Documentary”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography

Happy 59th Birthday Mumia Abu Jamal

Free Mumia campaign intensifies

By Jamila Wilson
Philadelphia

“It is our job to give people hope and help people see this is people power. We are winners. We can never be discouraged.”

These words from the ever-present representative of people power, Pam Africa, minister of confrontation with the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, kicked off a Jan. 8 organizing meeting for the Free Mumia Campaign.

Educators for Mumia, Millions for Mumia, the International Action Center and other grassroots organizations joined Concerned Family and Friends at the Calvary Church in Philadelphia to discuss the next steps to win Abu-Jamal’s release from prison. Major initiatives have been established for local, national and international actions around the Free Mumia Campaign.

Organizing on the local level includes holding Seth Williams, Philadelphia’s district attorney, accountable to former District Attorney Lynne Abraham’s pledge to “release people” when issues of corruption and police misconduct occur in the judicial system, as is the case for Abu-Jamal.

The local initiative also includes a “meet Mumia” project. “People don’t really know who Mumia Abu-Jamal is … they need to get to know him as a person,” said Kevin Price of the local organizing group.

The group also discussed how they would influence communities’ conversations to include Abu-Jamal’s name and case by circulating Mumia’s “Message to the Movement” statement to the Occupy Wall Street movement, as well as promoting his latest book, “Classroom and the Cell.”

On the national front, a pledge campaign “to Occupy for Mumia and End Mass Incarceration” will kick off organizing efforts for a national rally and protest on April 24, when activists will descend upon Washington, D.C., to occupy the Department of Justice for Mumia.

The pledge campaign is designed to engage different constituents, including youth, religious groups and public figures, to lend their voice and support for the Occupy for Mumia and End Mass Incarceration movement. Another key constituent being engaged is the national Occupy movement, by establishing Occupy for Mumia and Mass Incarceration working groups within local general assemblies throughout the U.S.

The international campaign shared its plan for actions to help maintain the momentum of various efforts to free Mumia, including those of public figures who have already come out in support of Abu-Jamal’s release, such as former Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

“This is an internationalist movement. Mumia is a true internationalist,” Suzanne Ross from the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC) explained.

International law and its standards on torture identify psychological torture as more than 15 days in solitary confinement. A petition campaign against torture, supported by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, will be among the many projects undertaken by this working group.

http://www.workers.org/2012/us/free_mumia_0126/

Join us in Philadelphia on April 24th (Mumia Abu-Jamal’s 59th birthday) to kickoff the new campaign to end his incarceration and bring Mumia home.

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100 Percent of Urban Prep Seniors College-Bound

Seniors have been awarded more than $6 million in scholarships and grants

Urban Prep Academy is continuing its record of success.

For the last three years, all graduation seniors from the charter school’s Englewood campus have been college bound. This year, the inaugural graduating class of the West Campus has  accomplished the same goal.

In all, 167 seniors, all African American males, have been accepted to a four-year college or university.

“What this 100 percent proves beyond a doubt is that it need not be the exception but it should be the expectation for every child in the city of Chicago,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at a ceremony where the final students exchanged their red uniform neckties with the red-and-gold striped ones that signify their college-bound status.

Urban Prep founder Tim King said he was exceedingly proud of the young men.

“It’s really heartwarming. It’s really an inspiration,” said Tim King. “These guys are an inspiration to all of us because they show you what can happen when you really work hard and do the right thing. I feel great. There are no words to describe how powerful and wonderful it is to be a part of Urban Prep.”

Urban Prep also announced a $150,000 donation from Citi Foundation to support the academy’s  Alumni Affairs Program, which supports roughly 300 graduates enrolled in college.

“To me, it’s a place that wants to see more young black men grow and mature into men and be successful in life,” senior Malik Battle said of Urban Prep.

Battle said he’ll be attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. in the fall, studying business administration and sociology.

“Urban Prep cares,” he said.

Urban Prep Academies, founded in 2002 by King and a group of African American leaders, will host commencement exercises for this year’s graduating seniors on June 7, 2013 at the UIC Forum.

4 Famous Black Feminists You Never Learned About in School

Black History Month: 4 Famous Black Feminists You Never Learned About in School

by Saudi Garcia

Feminism, the age old F-word, is a key reason why millennial women are able to do the things they do.

Feminism has broken down barriers of inequality and liberated the daughters of a past generation to have it all: college educations, fulfilling careers, relationships on their own terms, and progressive status within their families. As women, we owe a lot to the feminist movement and to the leaders like Gloria Steinem who inspired a generation.

In honor of Black History Month, and in honor of the feminists women of color who have gone unacknowledged in the mainstream folds of the movement, I present to you a list of some of the most radical black feminists of all time.

Radical and revolutionary are terms that can be empty when not understood within their context. The following women are radical feminists because of their desire to bring attention to the plight of black women, which in some cases was and is different from the struggles of white women. Dealing with social conditions like slavery, structural racism, poverty and a denial of education, they called attention to the needs of black women in the U.S. in their own unique ways. And like other feminists, they were not afraid to be the first to do so.

1. Anna Julia Cooper (1858-1964)

Cooper was a mixed race woman born in 1858. She was a fierce supporter of education for black women, believing that they could make deep contributions to society. She is best known for being the first black feminist and for publishing the book A Voice from the South. Despite her focus on Black American issues, she was traveled and lived in Europe, collaborating with black intellectuals there. Cooper lived to the age of 105 and saw slavery, emancipation, the Civil War, the early rise of the American feminist movement, World Wars I and II, and the Civil Rights movement.

For more on her, go here and here.

2. Amy Jacques Garvey (1895-1973)

As you might have guessed, Amy Garvey was the wife of Marcus Garvey. On her own, she was a leading Pan-Africanist and Black Nationalist. Her feminist contribution came in the form of highlighting the voices of Black women by publishing their writings in a column of the newspaper “The Negro World.” After her husband was expelled from the U.S., she came to lead the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), advocating and raising funds on its behalf.

3. Florynce Kennedy (1916-2000)

Kennedy was known to be the kind of lawyer who did not take “no” for an answer, and who refused to back away from controversial, high-profile cases. She fought her way to an admission at Columbia Law School after being rejected for being a woman. In 1948, Kennedy went on to be the second Black woman to graduate from CLS.

She opened her own practice in 1952 and went on to represent clients like female members of the Black Liberation Front, the Black Panthers and Billie Holiday. As a lawyer and social activist, she became active in struggles against racism, sexism and homophobia in the government, private corporations and media. In few words, Florynce Kennedy was a badass. How else can you describe the woman who helped found the Women’s Political Caucus, the National Black Feminist Organization,and the National Organization of Women, and who also was an early supporter of pro-choice legislation?

4. Cheryl Clarke (b. 1947)

Clarke is a female black lesbian poet in the style of a feminist favorite, Audre Lorde. Clarke received her Ph.D. in English from Rutgers University and has contributed to understanding the intellectual production of queer women in the Black Arts Movement. She is the author of several books of poetry and prose, but by far “After Mecca”: Women Poets and the Black Arts Movement is her best known work. Clarke represents new directions for black feminists in the 21st century.

Though still contending with problems of structural racism and poverty, black feminists are now trying to continue the work of building coalitions across racial, ethnic, political, and sexual identities.

I leave you with this quote from famed scholar and Black feminist Angela Davis:

“For me, revolution was never “a thing to do” before settling down; it was no fashionable club with newly-minted jargon or new kind of social life–made thrilling by risk and confrontation, made glamorous by costume. Revolution is a serious thing, the most serious thing about a revolutionary’s life. When one commits oneself to the struggle, it must be for a lifetime.” — Angela Davis: An Autobiography, p. 162

Source: http://www.policymic.com/articles/27159/black-history-month-4-famous-black-feminists-you-never-learned-about-in-school

Malcolm X – You Can’t Hate the Roots Of A Tree

Malcolm X – You Can’t Hate the Roots Of A Tree (Speech)

Transcript Included Below:

Why should the Black man in America concern himself since he’s been away from the African continent for three or four hundred years? Why should we concern ourselves?

What impact does what happens to them have upon us? Number one, you have to realize that up until 1959 Africa was dominated by the colonial powers. Having complete control over Africa, the colonial powers of Europe projected the image of Africa negatively.

They always project Africa in a negative light: jungle savages, cannibals, nothing civilized. Why then, naturally it was so negative that it was negative to you and me, and you and I began to hate it. We didn’t want anybody telling us anything about Africa, much less calling us Africans.

In hating Africa and in hating the Africans, we ended up hating ourselves, without even realizing it. Because you can’t hate the roots of a tree, and not hate the tree. You can’t hate your origin and not end up hating yourself. You can’t hate Africa and not hate yourself.

You show me one of these people over here who has been thoroughly brainwashed and has a negative attitude toward Africa, and I’ll show you one who has a negative attitude toward himself. You can’t have a positive toward yourself and a negative attitude toward Africa at the same time. To the same degree that your understanding of and attitude toward become positive, you’ll find that your understanding of and your toward yourself will also become positive.

And this is what the white man knows. So they very skillfully make you and me hate our African identity, our African characteristics. You know yourself that we have been a people who hated our African characteristics. We hated our heads, we hated the shape of our nose, we wanted one of those long doglike noses, you know; we hated the color of our skin, hated the blood of Africa that was in our veins. And in hating our features and our skin and our blood, why, we had to end up hating ourselves. And we hated ourselves.

Our color became to us a chain–we felt that it was holding us back; our color became to us like a prison which we felt was keeping us confined, not letting us go this way or that way. We felt all of these restrictions were based solely upon our color, and the psychological reaction to that would have to be that as long as we felt imprisoned or chained or trapped by Black skin, Black features, and Black blood, that skin and those features and that blood holding us back automatically had to become hateful to us. And it became hateful to us.

It made us feel inferior; it made us feel inadequate made us feel helpless. And when we fell victims to this feeling of inadequacy or inferiority or helplessness, we turned to somebody else to show us the way. We didn’t have confidence in another Black man to show us the way, or Black people to show us the way. In those days we didn’t. We didn’t think a man could do anything except play some horns–you know, make sound and make you happy with some songs and in that way.

But in serious things, where our food, clothing, shelter, and education were concerned, we turned to the man. We never thought in terms of bringing these things into existence for ourselves, we never thought in terms of doing for ourselves. Because we felt helpless.

What made us feel helpless was our hatred for ourselves. And our hatred for ourselves stemmed from hatred for things African. After 1959 the spirit of African nationalism was fanned to a high flame, and we then began to witness the complete collapse of colonialism. France began to get out of French West Africa, Belgium began to make moves to get out of the Congo, Britain began to make moves to get out of Kenya, Tanganyika, Uganda, Nigeria, and some of these other places.

And although it looked like they were getting out, they pulled a trick that was colossal. When you’re playing ball and they’ve got you trapped, you don’t throw the ball away–you throw it to one of your teammates who’s in the clear. And this is what the European powers did.

They were trapped African continent, they couldn’t stay there –they were looked upon as colonial and imperialist. They had to pass the ball to someone whose image was different, and they passed the ball to Uncle Sam. And he picked it up and has been running it for a touchdown ever since.

He was in the clear, he was not looked upon as one who had colonized the African continent. At that time, the Africans couldn’t see that though the Unites States hadn’t colonized the African continent, it had colonized twenty-two million Blacks here on this continent. Because we’re just as thoroughly colonized as anybody else. When the ball was passed to the United States, it was passed at the time when John Kennedy came into power. He picked it up and helped to run it. He was one of the shrewdest backfield runners that history has recorded. He surrounded himself with intellectuals–highly educated, learned, and well informed people.

And their analysis told him that the government of America was confronted with a new problem. And this new problem stemmed from the fact that Africans were now awakened, they were enlightened, they were fearless, they would fight. This meant that the Western powers couldn’t stay there by force. Since their own economy, the European economy and the American economy was based upon their continued influence over the African continent, they had to find some means of staying there.

So they used the friendly approach. They switched from the old, openly colonial imperialistic approach to the benevolent approach. They came up with some benevolent colonialism, philanthropic colonialism, humanitarianism, or dollarism. Immediately everything was Peace Corps, Operation Crossroads, “We’ve got to help our African brothers.” Pick up on that: Can’t help us in Mississippi. Can’t help us in Alabama, or Detroit, or out here in Dearborn, where some real Ku Klux Klan lives. They’re going to send all the way to Africa to help.

One of the things that made the Black Muslim movement grow was its emphasis upon things African. This was the secret to the growth of the Black Muslim movement. African blood, African origin, African culture, African ties. And you’d be surprised–we discovered that deep within the subconscious of the black man in this country, he is still more African than he is American. He thinks that he’s more American than African, because the man is jiving him, the man is brainwashing him every day.

He’s telling him, “You’re an American, you’re an American.” Man, how could you think you’re an American when you haven’t ever had any kind of an American treat over here? You have never, never. Ten men can be at a table eating, you know, dining, and I can come and sit down where they’re dining. They’re dining; I’ve got a plate in front of me, but nothing is on it. Because all of us are sitting at the same table, are all us are diners? I’m not a diner until you let me dine. Just being at the table with others who are dining doesn’t make me a diner, and this is what you’ve got to get in your head here in this country. Just because you’re in this country doesn’t make you an American.

No, you’ve got to go farther than that before you can become an American. You’ve got to enjoy the fruits of Americanism. You haven’t enjoyed those fruits. You’ve enjoyed the thorns. You’ve enjoyed the thistles. But you have not enjoyed the fruits, no sir. You have fought harder for the fruits the white man has, you have worked harder for the fruits than the white man has, but you’ve enjoyed less. When the man put the uniform on and sent you abroad, you fought harder than they did. Yes, I know you–when you’re fighting for them, you can fight.

The Black Muslim movement did make that contribution. They made the whole civil rights movement become more militant and more acceptable to the white power structure. He would rather have them than us. In fact, I think we forced many of the civil rights leaders to be even more militant than they intended. I know some of them who get out there and “boom, boom, boom” and don’t mean it. Because they’re right on back in their corner as soon as the action comes.

The worst thing the white man can do to himself is to take one of these kinds of Negroes and ask him, “How do your people feel, boy?” He’s going to tell that man that we are satisfied. That’s what they do, brothers and sisters. They get behind the door and tell the white man we’re satisfied. “Just keep on keeping me up here in front of them, boss, and I’ll keep them behind you.” That’s what they talk when they’re behind closed us. Because, you see, the white man doesn’t go along with anybody who’s not for him. He doesn’t care are you for right or wrong; he wants to know are you for him. And if you’re for him, he doesn’t care what else you’re for. As long as you’re for him, then he puts you up over the Negro community. You become a spokesman…

Brothers and sisters, let me tell you, I spend my time out there streets with people, all kinds of people, listening to what they have to say. And they’re dissatisfied, they’re disillusioned, they’re fed up, they’re getting to the point of frustration where they begin to feel, “What do we have to lose?” When you get to that point, you’re the type of person who can create a very dangerously explosive atmosphere. This is what’s happening in our neighborhoods, to our people.

I read in a poll taken by Newsweek magazine this week, saying that Negroes are satisfied. Oh, yes, Newsweek, you know, supposed to be a top magazine with a top pollster, talking about how satisfied Negroes are. Maybe I haven’t met the Negroes he met. Because I know he hasn’t met the ones that I’ve met. And this is dangerous. This is where the white man does himself the most harm. He invents statistics to create an image thinking that that image is going to hold things in check.

You know why they always say Negroes are lazy? Because they want Negroes to be lazy. They always say Negroes can’t unite, because they don’t want Negroes to unite. And once they put this thing in the Negro’s mind, they feel he tries to fulfill their image. If they say you can’t unite Black people and then you come to them to unite them, they won’t unite, because it’s been said that they’re not supposed to unite. It’s a psycho that they work and it’s the same way with these statistics.

When they think that an explosive era is coming up, then they grab their press again and begin to shower the Negro public, to make it appear that all Negroes are satisfied. Because if you know you’re dissatisfied all by yourself and ten others aren’t, you play it cool; but if you know that all ten of you are dissatisfied, you get with it. This is what the man knows. The man knows that if these Negroes find out how dissatisfied they really are–even Uncle Tom is dissatisfied, he’s just playing his part for now–this is what makes the man frightened. It frightens them in France and it frightens them in England, and it frightens them in the United States.

And it is for this reason that it is so important for you and me to start organizing among ourselves, intelligently, and try to find out: “What are we going to do if this happens, that happens or the next thing happens?” Don’t think that you’re going to run to the man and say, “Look, boss this is me.” Why, when the deal goes down, you’ll look just like me in his eyesight; I’ll make it tough for you. Yes, when the deal goes down, he doesn’t look at you in any better light than he looks at me…

I say again that I’m not a racist, I don’t believe in any form of segregation or anything like that. I’m for brotherhood for everybody, but I don’t believe in forcing brotherhood upon people who done’ want it. Let us practice brotherhood among ourselves, and then if others want to practice brotherhood with us, we’re for practicing it with them also. But I don’t think that we should run around trying to love somebody who doesn’t love us.