Senator Barack Obama:
on Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts
Tuesday, September 6, 2005
Red Cross volunteers work with evacuees at
the Houston Astrodome. (AFP/Stan Honda)
Watch video of the statement >>
I just got back from a
trip to Houston with former Presidents Clinton and Bush. And as we wandered through the crowd, we heard in very intimate terms
the heart-wrenching stories that all of us have witnessed from a distance over the past several days: mothers separated from
babies, adults mourning the loss of elderly parents, descriptions of the heat and filth and fear of the Superdome and the
There was an overriding sense of relief, for the officials in Houston have done an outstanding job of
creating a clean and stable place for these families in the short-term. But a conversation I had with one woman captured the
realities that are settling into these families as they face the future.
She told me "We had nothing before the hurricane.
Now we got less than nothing."
We had nothing before the hurricane. Now we got less than nothing.
In the coming
weeks, as the images of the immediate crisis fade and this chamber becomes consumed with other matters, we will be hearing
a lot about lessons learned and steps to be taken. I will be among those voices calling for action.
In the most immediate
term, we will have to assure that the efforts at evacuating families from the affected states proceeds - that these Americans
are fed, clothed, housed, and provided with the immediate care and medicine that they need. We're going to have to make sure
that we cut through red tape. I can say from personal experience how frustrating, how unconscionable it is, that it has been
so difficult to get medical supplies to those in need quickly enough. We should make certain that any impediments that may
continue to exist in preventing relief efforts from moving rapidly are eliminated.
Once we stabilize the situation,
this country will face an enormous challenge in providing stability for displaced families over the months and years that
it will take to rebuild. Already, the state of Illinois has committed to accepting 10,000 families that are displaced. There
are stories in Illinois as there are everywhere of churches, mosques, synagogues and individual families welcoming people
with open arms and no strings attached. Indeed, if there's any bright light that has come out of this disaster, it's the degree
to which ordinary Americans have responded with speed and determination even as their government has responded with unconscionable
Which brings me to the next point. Once the situation is stable, once families are settled - at least for
the short term - once children are reunited with their parents and enrolled in schools and the wounds have healed, we're gonna
have to do some hard thinking about how we could have failed our fellow citizens so badly, and how we will prevent such a
failure from ever occurring again.
It is not politics to insist that we have an independent commission to examine these
issues. Indeed, one of the heartening things about this crisis has been the degree to which the outrage has come from across
the political spectrum; across races; across incomes. The degree to which the American people sense that we can and must do
better, and a recognition that if we cannot cope with a crisis that has been predicted for decades - a crisis in which we're
given four or five days notice - how can we ever hope to respond to a serious terrorist attack in a major American city in
which there is no notice, and in which the death toll and panic and disruptions may be far greater?
Which brings me
to my final point. There's been much attention in the press about the fact that those who were left behind in New Orleans
were disproportionately poor and African American. I've said publicly that I do not subscribe to the notion that the painfully
slow response of FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security was racially-based. The ineptitude was colorblind.
what must be said is that whoever was in charge of planning and preparing for the worst case scenario appeared to assume that
every American has the capacity to load up their family in an SUV, fill it up with $100 worth of gasoline, stick some bottled
water in the trunk, and use a credit card to check in to a hotel on safe ground. I see no evidence of active malice, but I
see a continuation of passive indifference on the part of our government towards the least of these.
And so I hope
that out of this crisis we all begin to reflect - Democrat and Republican - on not only our individual responsibilities to
ourselves and our families, but to our mutual responsibilities to our fellow Americans. I hope we realize that the people
of New Orleans weren't just abandoned during the Hurricane. They were abandoned long ago - to murder and mayhem in their streets;
to substandard schools; to dilapidated housing; to inadequate health care; to a pervasive sense of hopelessness.
is the deeper shame of this past week - that it has taken a crisis like this one to awaken us to the great divide that continues
to fester in our midst. That's what all Americans are truly ashamed about, and the fact that we're ashamed about it is a good
sign. The fact that all of us - black, white, rich, poor, Republican, Democrat - don't like to see such a reflection of this
country we love, tells me that the American people have better instincts and a broader heart than our current politics would
We had nothing before the Hurricane. Now we have even less.
I hope that we all take the time to ponder
the truth of that message.
About Barack Obama
United States Senator for Illinois
Senator Barack Obama
Barack Obama has dedicated
his life to public service as a community organizer, civil rights attorney, and leader in the Illinois state Senate. Obama
now continues his fight for working families following his recent election to the United States Senate.
Sworn into office
January 4, 2005, Senator Obama is focused on promoting economic growth and bringing good paying jobs to Illinois. Obama serves
on the important Environment and Public Works Committee, which oversees legislation and funding for the environment and public
works projects throughout the country, including the national transportation bill. He also serves on the Veterans ’
Affairs Committee where he is focused on investigating the disability pay discrepancies that have left thousands of Illinois
veterans without the benefits they earned. Senator Obama will also serve on the Foreign Relations Committee.
his seven years in the Illinois state Senate, Obama worked with both Democrats and Republicans to help working families get
ahead by creating programs like the state Earned Income Tax Credit, which in three years provided over $100 million in tax
cuts to families across the state. Obama also pushed through an expansion of early childhood education, and after a number
of inmates on death row were found innocent, Senator Obama enlisted the support of law enforcement officials to draft legislation
requiring the videotaping of interrogations and confessions in all capital cases.
Obama is especially proud of being
a husband and father of two daughters, Malia, 7 and Sasha, 4. Obama and his wife, Michelle, married in 1992 and live on Chicago
’s South Side where they attend Trinity United Church of Christ.
Barack Obama was born on August 4th, 1961, in
Hawaii to Barack Obama, Sr. and Ann Dunham. Obama graduated from Columbia University in 1983, and moved to Chicago in 1985
to work for a church-based group seeking to improve living conditions in poor neighborhoods plagued with crime and high unemployment.
In 1991, Obama graduated from Harvard Law School where he was the first African American editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Amy Jacques Garvey:
Amy Jacques Garvey was a pioneer Pan-African emancipator born in
Kingston, Jamaica on December 31, 1885. She became the first lady of the Interim-Provisional Government of Africa - the Universal
Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and African Communities League (ACL) in August 1920. She was the wife of the Right Honorable
Marcus Mosiah Garvey - The Universal African Redeemer, and mother of two sons -- Marcus Garvey, Jr. and Julius Garvey.
Jacques Garvey, like her husband, became a life-long toiler for Universal African Liberation and advancement. She was a very
special person, pursuing a brilliant meaningful lifetime work of which every moment was dedicated to dissemination of the
philosophy and principles of her beloved husband of race first, self-reliance and nationhood. Amy Jacques Garvey was an international
organizer and race leader in her own right. In the cause for African Emancipation, her message was the same as her husband's
-- "The hour of Black resurrection is at hand. Black man, Black woman, be up and doing for self and kind -- for you can achieve
what you will." She was genuinely concerned with the plight of her fellow Africans and for this reason she toiled unceasingly
from youth to old age to spread the teachings of African solidarity and independence. Mrs. Garvey was an exemplary politician
and wife. She was best known as a publicist of Garveyism. In 1923, she edited and published Volume One of The Philosophy and
Opinions of Marcus Garvey (sub-titled Africa for the Africans), and in 1925, she compiled and published Volume Two. During
that time, she was one of the editors of the Negro World Newspaper.
From 1919, when she became the Secretary General
of the UNIA until her death, 54 years of her life was intricately bound up with the national liberation struggles of African
people. She was a relentless enemy of colonialism and neo-colonialism. In her letters, essays, books and speeches, she always
stressed the point that the imperialist must not be allowed to creep in at the back fence in disguise in independent African
She aided and contributed financial assistance to the workers' movement in Nigeria. She was instrumental
in organizing the fifth Pan African Congress held in 1945. Twenty-five years later, she visited West Africa at the invitation
of Kwame Nkrumah. During the 1940s she labored for the Peoples National Party of Jamaica. She also was a sponsor of the 6th
Pan African Congress which convened in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in 1974. In her final years between 1968-73, she had written
and published Garvey and Garveyism (1963) and her collection of essays on Black Power in America and The Impact of Garvey
in Africa and Jamaica.
Her activities in Jamaica and the United States from 1919 to 1940 prefaced the defeat of fascism
and the irreversible disintegration of the colonial system which led to the upsurge and triumphs of the National Liberation
Movement. Amy Jacques Garvey, who was in the forefront of this movement, wrote her seminal "A Memorandum Correlative of Africa,
West Indies and the Americas" in 1944 which was sent to the representatives of the United Nations urging them to declare an
"African Freedom Charter". She spent thousands of dollars in purchasing and mailing many pamphlets, leaflets and newspapers
to Africa, the United States and Europe. She spent hours writing letters, articles and doing interviews and making speeches
on Black Liberation. She refused to rest or accept payment for her work.
Amy Jacques Garvey died a fighter on July
25, 1973. Her work and memory serve the cause for which she stood. As a Pan African Patriot, Pioneering Nationalist, Political
Scientist, Organizer, Journalist, Editor, Publisher, Philosopher, Mother, Wife and an immortal African Giant, she will live
on forever for Black people the world over in memory of love and self-determination.
William Henry Jackson-Bey
Woodson-Banneker-Jackson-Bey Division 330
Robert George Seale:
Also Known As: Bobby Seale
Robert George Seale (born 1936) was a militant activist who, with Huey P. Newton and Bobby Hutton, founded the Black
Panther Party for Self Defense in 1966.
Born to a poor African American carpenter and his wife in Dallas, Texas, on
October 22, 1936, Robert George (Bobby) Seale and his family moved to Port Arthur, Texas, and then to San Antonio, Texas,
before finally settling in Oakland, California, during World War II. Attributing his failure to make the basketball and football
teams to racial prejudice, Seale quit Oakland High School and joined the U.S. Air Force. After three years in the Air Force,
Seale was court-martialed and given a bad conduct discharge for disobeying a colonel at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South
Seale returned to Oakland and, while working as a sheet metal mechanic in various aerospace plants, earned
his high school diploma through night school. In 1962 he began attending Oakland City College (Merritt College). Seale became
aware of the African American struggle for civil rights when he joined the Afro-American Association (AAA), a campus organization
that stressed black separatism and self-improvement. Through the AAA he met activist Huey P. Newton in September 1962. Seale
and Newton soon became disenchanted with the AAA, however, believing that the organization offered little more than ineffectual
cultural nationalism. In their view, this cultural nationalism would not help lessen the economic and political oppression
felt in the African American community, especially in the Ghetto. Both greatly admired Malcolm X and were particularly impressed
with his teachings. They were especially drawn to the idea that Black people had to defend themselves against white brutality
and inaccurate education. The assassination of Malcolm X in 1965 pushed them to adopt Malcolm's slogan, "Freedom by any means
necessary," and they founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in October 1966.
The Black Panther Party for
Beginning as an armed patrol dedicated to the defense of Oakland Blacks against the brutality of the city
police, the Black Panthers gained local notoriety for their fearlessness and militant demand for Black rights. In 1967 the
Black Panther Party (BPP) garnered national attention when it sent an armed contingent to the state capitol in Sacramento
to protest a proposed gun-control law and to assert the constitutional right of Blacks to bear arms against their white oppressors.
Coupling food programs for needy families and "liberation schools" for political education with defiant calls for Black control
of community institutions and for "power to the people," the BPP opened recruitment centers across the nation in 1968. According
to J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the BPP had become "the No. 1 threat to the internal
security of the nation." Fearful of the growing popularity of the BPP and their insistence that Black Power grows out of the
barrel of a gun, Hoover ordered the FBI to employ "hard-hitting counterintelligence measures to cripple the Black Panthers"
in November 1968
For their participation in the demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in
1968, Seale was brought to trial with seven white radicals, including Youth International Party founders Jerry Rubin and Abbie
Hoffman, and the founders of Students for a Democratic Society, Tom Hayden and Rennie Davis, on September 24, 1969. The eight
were indicted in a federal court in Chicago under the new anti-riot provision of the 1968 Civil Rights Act, which made it
illegal to cross state lines to incite a riot or instruct in the use of riot weapons. Because his attorney, Charles Garry,
had just undergone surgery and could not be present, Seale asked for a delay two weeks before his trial. Judge Julius Hoffman
refused. Seale then retained William Kunstler, who was representing the other seven defendants. Upon Garry's advice, fired
Kunstler and asked to represent himself, which would have given him the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses and present
evidence during the trial. However, Judge Hoffman insisted that Kunstler was sufficient representation and proceeded with
When Seale continued to protest, with repeated outbursts and by refusing to follow courtroom procedure and
decorum, Hoffman had him bound and gagged during the trial. On November 5, 1969, the judge sentenced Seale to four years in
jail for 16 counts of contempt of court, each of which contributed three months to his sentence. During his prison term Seale
was also indicted for ordering the torture and execution of Alex Rackley, former Black Panther suspected of being a government
informer. On May 25, 1971, the conspiracy trial ended in a hung jury and the judge ordered all charges dropped against Seale
and the other defendants. The following year the federal government suspended the contempt charges and released Seale from
Return to Politics
Seale returned to Oakland to find the BPP decimated by police infiltration, killings,
and arrests. At least two dozen Black Panthers had died in gun fights with the police and dozens more had been imprisoned.
The BPP had also been rendered impotent by internal disputes in which Black nationalist advocates warred against the program
of revolutionary socialism called for by Newton and Seale. In 1973 Seale ran for mayor of Oakland, finishing second out of
nine candidates with 43,710 votes to the incumbent's 77,476.
Claiming combat weariness, Seale left Oakland and the
Panthers in 1974. In 1978 he published his autobiography, A Lonely Rage, which described the emotional and psychological changes
he had undergone as a black activist. His 1970 book, Seize the Time, portrayed the story of the Black Panthers and the political
views of Huey Newton. In retrospect, Seale found consolation in Newton's belief that, to move a single grain of sand is to
change a world. "We moved a grain of sand and several hills beside," Seale affirmed. "I swear I'm surprised we lived through
Throughout the 1980s Seale continued to develop and support organizations dedicated to combating social and political
injustices. He still lectures about his past and current experiences struggling for civil rights for African Americans. In
1987 he published Barbeque'n with Bobby, the proceeds from which go to various non-profit social organizations.
career and beliefs of Bobby Seale are dramatically described in A Lonely Rage: The Autobiography of Bobby Seale (1978); and
in his Seize the Time: The Story of the Black Panther Party and Huey P. Newton (1970). Also see his contributions to G. Louis
Heath, editor, The Black Panther Leaders Speak (1976) and Philip S. Fonder, editor, The Black Panthers Speak (1970). Further
background on Seale's life and activities as a leader of the Black Panther Party appear in Gene Marine's history The Black
Panthers (1969), Don A. Schanche's analysis The Panther Paradox: A Liberal's Dilemma (1970), and Reginald Major's study of
the party's roots and development, A Panther Is a Black Cat (1971). His murder trial is studied by Gail Sheehy, Panthermania:
The Clash of Black Against Black in One American City (1971).
Biography Resource Center
Denmark Vesey, like so many other African-American leaders of the nineteenth
century, came from the "upper class" of slaves: the engineers and craftspeople who were given a high degree of independence
and self-actualization, as opposed to field workers or house slaves. He purchased his own freedom and settled down as a carpenter
in Charleseton, South Carolina.
Despite the surface placidity of his free life, he was fired with anger over slavery
and the situation of black slaves. Throughout his entire free existence, he planned and thought about freeing his fellow slaves.
He was so full of anger that companions say that he could not even remain in the presence of a European-American.
Prosser, Vesey was also deeply inspired by Christianity, in particular, the Old Testament. An integral aspect of slave and
free Christianity was its emphasis on the delivery of the "children of Israel" from bondage in Egypt. This story was perhaps
the most powerful religious and cultural influence on the world view of nineteenth century Americans. While most historians
stress the passive nature of the Israelite deliverance, that deliverance was also yoked to the Israelite invasion of the land
of Canaan. While this invasion was barely successful, the Old Testament books telling the history of the Canaan occupation
and its aftermath are ruthlessly violent and present a warrior god with no mercy towards non-Israelites. All evidence we have
suggests that slaves understood that these two events were connected and that deliverance along Israelite lines would be bought
with human blood. Vesey, who went around quoting biblical texts to slaves to inspire them to revolt, particularly loved to
quote Yahweh's instructions to Joshua when he demands that Joshua kill every occupant of the cities of Canaan including women
His task, as he saw it, was to incite slaves into revolt. In 1821, that focus changed dramatically and
he began to organize his own revolt. He organized a working group of lieutenants that included Gullah Jack, a sorceror considered
absolutely invulnerable and Peter Poyas who was one of the great military and organizational geniuses of the early nineteenth
century. Poyas organized the revolt into separate cells under individual leaders. Only the leaders knew the plot; if any slave
betrayed the plot, they would only betray their one cell. By 1822, almost all the slaves in the plantations surrounding Charleston
had joined the revolt. His and Poyas's plan was brilliantly simple. The rebels would all station themselves at the doors of
European-Americans and, late at night, a group of rebels would start a major fire. When the men came out their doors, the
rebels would kill them with axes, picks, or guns. They would then enter the houses and kill all the occupants. Like Prosser's
revolt, they almost won. They were betrayed early in the game, but the cell structure prevented officials from finding out
the plot itself or identifying any of the leaders. It was only the day before that a slave, who knew the entire plot, betrayed
Vesey. He and his co-leaders were hung, but only one confessed.
Nationality - American
Occupation - Carpenter, Freedom
Denmark Vesey (1767-1822), an African American who fought to liberate his people from slavery,
planned an abortive slave insurrection.
Denmark Vesey, whose original name was Telemanque, was born in West Africa.
As a youth, he was captured, sold as a slave, and brought to America. In 1781 he came to the attention of a slaver, Capt.
Vesey, who was "struck with the beauty, alertness, and intelligence" of the boy. Vesey, a resident of Charleston, S.C., acquired
the boy. The captain had "no occasion to repent" his purchase of Denmark, who "proved for 20 years a most faithful slave."
1800 Vesey won a $1,500 lottery prize, with which he purchased his freedom and opened a carpentry shop. Soon this highly skilled
artisan became "distinguished for [his] great strength and activity. Among his color he was always looked up to with awe and
respect" by both black and white Americans. He acquired property and became prosperous.
Nevertheless, Vesey was not
content with his relatively successful life. He hated slavery and slaveholders. This brilliant man versed himself in all the
available antislavery arguments and spoke out against the abuse and exploitation of his own people. Believing in equality
for everyone and vowing never to rest until his people were free, he became the political provocateur, agitating and moving
his brethren to resist their enslavement.
Selecting a cadre of exceptional lieutenants, Vesey began organizing the
black community in and around Charleston to revolt. He developed a very sophisticated scheme to carry out his plan. The conspiracy
included over 9,000 slaves and "free" blacks in Charleston and on the neighboring plantations.
The revolt, which was
scheduled to occur on July 14, 1822, was betrayed before it could be put into effect. As rumors of the plot spread, Charleston
was thrown into a panic. Leaders of the plot were rounded up. Vesey and 46 other were condemned, and even four whites were
implicated in the revolt. On June 23 Vesey was hanged on the gallows for plotting to overthrow slavery.
examination of the historical record, the judgment of Sterling Stuckey remains valid: "Vesey's example must be regarded as
one of the most courageous ever to threaten the racist foundations of America.... He stands today, as he stood yesterday ...
as an awesome projection of the possibilities for militant action on the part of a people who have for centuries been made
to bow down in fear."
The best account of Vesey's rebellion is Robert S. Starobin, ed., Denmark Vesey: The
Slave Conspiracy of 1822 (1970). Of considerable importance is John Lofton, Insurrection in South Carolina: The Turbulent
World of Denmark Vesey (1964). Herbert Aptheker, American Negro Slave Revolts (1943), provides a useful account of Vesey's
revolt. William W. Freehling, Prelude to Civil War: The Nullification Controversy in South Carolina (1966), should be consulted
for a broad understanding of the influence of the event.
Booker Taliaferro Washington:
Booker Taliaferro Washington
(1856-1915), African American educator and racial leader, founded Tuskegee Institute for black students. His "Atlanta Compromise"
speech made him America's major black leader for 20 years.
Booker Taliaferro (the Washington was added later) was
born a slave in Franklin County, Va., on April 5, 1856. His mother was the plantation's cook. His father, a local white man,
took no responsibility for him. His mother married another slave, who escaped to West Virginia during the Civil War. She and
her three children were liberated by a Union army in 1865 and, after the war, joined her husband.
Growing Up Black
stepfather put the boys to work in the salt mines in Malden, West Virginia. Booker eagerly asked for education, but his stepfather
conceded only when Booker agreed to toil in the mines mornings and evenings to make up for earnings lost while in school.
He had known only his first name, but when pupils responded to roll call with two names, Booker desperately added a famous
name, becoming Booker Washington. Learning from his mother that he already had a last name, he became Booker T. Washington.
talk about a black college in Hampton, Va., Washington longed to go. Meanwhile, as houseboy for the owner of the coal mines
and saltworks, he developed scrupulous work habits. In 1872 he set out for Hampton Institute. When his money gave out, he
worked at odd jobs. Sleeping under wooden sidewalks, begging rides, and walking, he traveled the remaining 80 miles and, bedraggled
and penniless, asked for admission and assistance. After Hampton officials tested him by having him clean a room, he was admitted
and given work as a janitor.
Hampton Institute, founded in 1868 by a former Union general, emphasized manual training.
The students learned useful trades and earned their way. Washington studied brick masonry along with collegiate courses. Graduating
in 1876, he taught in a rural school for two years. Studying at Wayland Seminary in Washington, D.C., he became disenchanted
with classical education, considering his fellow students to be dandies more interested in making an impression and living
off the black masses than in serving mankind. He became convinced that practical, manual training in rural skills and crafts
would save his race, not higher learning divorced from the reality of the black man's downtrodden existence. In 1879 he was
invited to teach at Hampton Institute, particularly to supervise 100 Native Americans admitted experimentally. He proved a
great success in his two years on the faculty.
In 1881 citizens in Tuskegee, Ala., asked Hampton's
president to recommend a white man to head their new black college; he suggested Washington instead. The school had an annual
legislative appropriation of $2,000 for salaries, but no campus, buildings, pupils, or staff. Washington had to recruit pupils
and teachers and raise money for land, buildings, and equipment. Hostile rural whites who feared education would ruin black
laborers accepted his demonstration that his students' practical training would help improve their usefulness. He and his
students built a kiln and made the bricks with which they erected campus buildings.
Under Washington's leadership (1881-1915),
Tuskegee Institute became an important force in black education. Tuskegee pioneered in agricultural extension, sending out
demonstration wagons that brought better methods to farmers and sharecroppers. Graduates founded numerous "little Tuskegees."
African Americans mired in the poverty and degradation of cotton sharecropping improved their farming techniques, income,
and living conditions. Washington urged them to become capitalists, founding the National Negro Business League in 1900. Black
agricultural scientist George Washington Carver worked at Tuskegee from 1896 to 1943, devising new products from peanuts and
sweet potatoes. By 1915 Tuskegee had 1,500 students and a larger endowment than any other black institution.
In 1895 Washington gave his famous "Atlanta Compromise" speech. Although he shared the late Frederick Douglass's
long-range goals of equality and integration, Washington renounced agitation and protest tactics. He urged blacks to subordinate
demands for political and social rights, concentrating instead on improving job skills and usefulness. "The opportunity to
earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera-house," he
said. He appealed to white people to rely on loyal, proven black workers, pointing out that the South would advance to the
degree that blacks were allowed to secure education and become productive.
Washington's position so pleased whites,
North and South, that they made him the new black spokesman. He became powerful, having the deciding voice in Federal appointments
of African Americans and in philanthropic grants to black institutions. Through subsidies or secret partnerships, he controlled
black newspapers, stifling critics. Overawed by his power and hoping his tactics would work, many blacks went along. However,
increasingly during his last years, such black intellectuals as W.E.B. Du Bois, John Hope, and William Monroe Trotter denounced
his surrender of civil rights and his stressing of training in crafts, some obsolete, to the neglect of liberal education.
Opposition centered in the Niagara Movement, founded in 1905, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People, which succeeded it in 1910.
Although outwardly conciliatory, Washington secretly financed and encouraged attempts
and lawsuits to block southern moves to disfranchise and segregate blacks. He had lost two wives by death and married a third
time in 1893. His death on November 14, 1915, cleared the way for blacks to return to Douglass's tactics of agitating for
equal political, social, and economic rights. Washington won a Harvard honorary degree in 1891. His birthplace is a national
Washington's autobiographical works are The Story of My Life and Work (1900), Up from Slavery
(1901), and My Larger Education (1911), the last two especially revealing. Collections of his writings along with contemporary
opinions are Hugh Hawkins, ed., Booker T. Washington and His Critics (1962), and Emma Lou Thornbrough, ed., Booker T. Washington
(1969). There are three major biographies: Emmett J. Scott and Lyman Beecher Stowe, Booker T. Washington (1916), an unscholarly
glorification, is useful because Scott was Washington's assistant; Basil Mathews, Booker T. Washington: Educator and Interracial
Interpreter (1948), is also highly laudatory; Samuel R. Spencer, Jr., Booker T. Washington and the Negro's Place in American
Life (1955), the most balanced account is still not sufficiently critical of Washington. The best account of Washington's
times is August Meier, Negro Thought in America, 1880-1915: Racial Ideologies in the Age of Booker T. Washington (1963).
DR. CHANCELLOR JAMES WILLIAMS:
AND THE RECONSTRUCTION OF AFRICAN CIVILIZATION
By RUNOKO RASHIDI
the recent towering figures in the struggle to completely eradicate the pervasive racial myths clinging to the origins of
Nile Valley Civilization, few scholars have had the impact of Dr. Chancellor James Williams (1898-1992). Chancellor Williams,
the youngest of five children, was born in Bennetsville, South Carolina December 22, 1898. His father had been a slave; his
mother a cook, nurse, and evangelist. A stirring writer, Chancellor Williams achieved wide acclaim as the author of the 1971
publication, The Destruction of Black Civilization--Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D.
highly controversial, broadly sweeping in its range and immensely powerful in its scope, there have been few books published
during the past half-century focusing on the African presence in antiquity that have so profoundly affected the consciousness
of African people in search of their historical identity. Dr. John Henrik Clarke, now an ancestor and a contemporary of Dr.
Williams and one of our most outstanding scholars, described The Destruction of Black Civilization as "a foundation and new
approach to the history of our race." In The Destruction of Black Civilization Chancellor Williams successfully "shifted the
main focus from the history of Arabs and Europeans in Africa to the Africans themselves--a history of the Blacks that is a
history of Blacks."
The career of Chancellor Williams was spacious and varied; university professor, novelist, and
author-historian. He was the father of fourteen children. Blind and in poor health, the last years of Dr. Williams' life were
spent in a nursing home in Washington, D.C. His contributions to the reconstruction of African civilization, however, stand
as monuments and beacons reflecting the past, present and future of African people.
The Destruction Of
Black Civilization, by Chancellor Williams
Egypt: Child Of Africa, Edited by Ivan Van Sertima
Williams was born in Bennettsville, South Carolina. He received his undergraduate degree in Education and Master of Arts degree
in history from Howard University. He studied abroad serving as a visiting research scholar at the Unversity of Oxford in
England and at the University of London.
Chancellor Williams began field research in African History in Ghana (University
College) in 1956. His primary focus was on African achievments and autonomous civilizations before Asian and European influences.
His last study in 1964 covered an astounding 26 countries and more than 100 language groups. His best known work is "The Destruction
of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D." For this effort, Dr. Williams was accorded honors
by the Black Academy of Arts and Letters.
A little known fact about Dr. Williams is that in addition to being an historian
and professor, Dr. Williams was president of a baking company, editor of a newsletter, The New Challenge, an economist, high
school teacher and principal and a novelist.
Dr. Williams remained a staunch advocate that African historians do independent
research and investigations so that the history of African people be told and understood from their perspective. Dr. Williams
stated clearly, "As long as we rely on white historians to write Black History for us, we should keep silent about what they
produce." Dr. Chancellor Williams joined the Ancestors in 1992.
BIBLIOGRAPHY -- CHANCELLOR JAMES WILLIAMS
The Destruction of Black Civilization--Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D.
2. The Rebirth of African
*The Soul School Institute
P.O. Box 1872
Baltimore, MD 21203-1872
Martin Robinson Delany:
African American intellectual Martin Robinson Delany (1812-1885),
a journalist, physician, army officer, politician, and judge, is best known for his promotion before the Civil War of a national
home in Africa for African Americans.
Martin Delany was born free in Charlestown, Virginia, on May 6, 1812. His parents
traced their ancestry to West African royalty. In 1822 the family moved to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, to find a better racial
climate, and at the age of 19 Martin attended an African American school in Pittsburgh. He married Kate Richards there in
1843; they had 11 children.
In 1843 Delany founded one of the earliest African American newspapers, the Mystery, devoted
particularly to the abolition of slavery. Proud of his African ancestry, Delany advocated unrestricted equality for African
Americans, and he participated in conventions to protest slavery. Frederick Douglass, the leading African American abolitionist,
made him coeditor of his newspaper, the North Star, in 1847. But Delany left in 1849 to study medicine at Harvard.
the age of 40 Delany began the practice of medicine, which he would continue on and off for the rest of his life. But with
the publication of his book The Condition, Elevation, Emigration, and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States,
Politically Considered (1852; reprinted, 1968), he began to agitate for a separate nation, trying to get African Americans
to settle outside the United States, possibly in Africa, but more probably in Canada or Latin America. In 1854 he led a National
Emigration Convention. For a time he lived in Ontario. Despite his bitter opposition to the American Colonization Society
and its colony, Liberia, Delany kept open the possibility of settling elsewhere in Africa. His 1859-1860 visit to the country
of the Yorubas (now part of Nigeria) to negotiate with local kings for settling African Americans there is summarized in The
Official Report of the Niger Valley Exploring Party (1861; reprinted, 1969).
When Delany returned to the United States,
however, the Civil War was in progress and prospects of freedom for African Americans were brighter. He got President Abraham
Lincoln to appoint him as a major in the infantry in charge of recruiting all-African American Union units.
war Delany went to South Carolina to participate in the Reconstruction. In the Freedmen's Bureau and as a Republican politician,
he was influential among the state's population, regardless of race. In 1874 he narrowly missed election as lieutenant governor.
In 1876, as the Republicans began losing control of the state, Delany switched to the conservative Democrats. Newly elected
governor Wade Hampton rewarded him with an important judgeship in Charleston. As a judge, Delany won the respect of people
of all races. In 1878 he helped sponsor the Liberian Exodus Joint Stock Steamship Company, which sent one ill-fated emigration
ship to Africa. The next year his The Principia of Ethnology argued for pride and purity of the races and for Africa's self-regeneration.
his political base collapsed in 1879, Delany returned to practicing medicine and later became a businessman in Boston. He
died on January 24, 1885.
A recent biography of Delany is Victor Ullman, Martin R. Delany: The Beginnings
of Black Nationalism (1971). A contemporary account is Frank A. Rollin, Life and Public Services of Martin R. Delany (1868;
repr. 1969). William J. Simmons, Men of Mark (1968), includes a biographical sketch. For the significance of Delany's black
nationalist thought before the Civil War see Howard H. Bell, A Survey of the Negro Convention Movement 1830-1861 (1970).
Dr. Jacob Carruthers - Kemetic (Egyptian) Institute:
Dr. Jacob Carruthers
Professor Jacob Carruthers was born on February 15, 1930 in Dallas, Texas. He is a firm believer that
a large part of liberating African American people comes from understanding and connecting history, culture and heritage.
He received a B.A. from Samuel Huston College in Austin, Texas in 1950; an M.A. from Texas Southern University in 1958; and
a Ph.D. in Political Studies from the University of Colorado in 1966. From 1966 to 1968, Carruthers worked as an assistant
professor at Kansas State College before joining the staff of Northeastern Illinois University's Center for Inner City Studies
(CICS). Carruthers, along with Dr. Anderson Thompson, Robert Starks, Dr. Conrad Worrill and others shaped the CICS program
into one that emphasizes self-determination, activism and study of the global black community.
In this context, Carruthers
has earned respect as one of the world's leading experts in classical African civilizations. His interests have carried him
throughout the continent of Africa, conducting study tours to Egypt, Ethiopia, the Nile Valley, Zimbabwe, Senegal, the Ivory
Coast, and other parts of West Africa. Carruthers has written or edited hundreds of essays and papers on his findings and
his major works include: The Irritated Genie: An Essay on the Haitian Revolution, Essays in Ancient Egyptian Studies, Intellectual
Warfare, MDW NTR: Divine Speech and Science and Oppression. He has lectured at various educational institutions; served on
evaluation teams for many area high schools; and worked as a consultant to both the Dayton and Chicago public school systems.
Carruthers served as founding president of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations for five years.
In that capacity, he led a group of 1,000 black teachers, students, artists and scholars from the United States to the Nubian
Cultural Center in Aswan, Egypt for a two week conference and tour of Nubia and Egypt.
He is a founding member and
priest of the Temple of African Community of Chicago and founding member and director of the Kemetic (Egyptian) Institute,
which sponsors the annual Teaching About Africa program for schoolteachers and administrators. He married his wife, Ifé, in
1986 and has four children.
"The Invention of Africa" and Intellectual Neocolonialism
by Jedi Shemsu Jewheti
Jacob H. Carruthers
These comments are not as an exegesis on V. Y. Mudimbe's The Invention of Africa: Gnosis,
Philosophy, and the Order of Knowledge, although I will argue some of the ideas contained therein. I am concerned specifically
with his argument that "Modern African thought seems to be basically a product of the West." To the extent that Modern African
thought includes post 1960 thinking. Mudimbe's conclusion may be called "Intellectual Neocolonialism." My question is not
so much with the conclusion itself as with the meaning he attaches to the conclusion, and with his location within the neocolonial
First of all let us attempt to locate Mudimbe's essential interest in the project. In his words, his "commitment"
is "not to philosophy, not to an invented Africa, but to what it essentially means to be African and a philosopher today (xi
emphasis Mudimbe's)." In other words Dr. Mudimbe is searching for thought about Africa and by Africans from the perspective
of "a philosopher" who is also an African. Since "African traditional systems of thought" do not include philosophy, "strictly
speaking" according to Mudimbe (ix), he uses the Greek concept gnosis to identify African traditional thought. He defines
the term Thusly:
... higher and esoteric knowledge, and thus it refers to a structured, common, and conventional knowledge,
but one strictly under the control of specific procedures for its use as well as transmission. Gnosis ..., cannot be confused
with episteme, understood as both science and general intellectual configuration. (ix)
Thus, for Mudimbe, philosophy
and science are absences from African traditional thought. Mudimbe's vocation, thus involves a possible estrangement. His
search for "conditions of possibility of the larger body of knowledge on Africa called `Africanism'," (ix) implies that this
absent philosophy is something that ought to be provided for Africans, by African philosophers.
Using a methodology
developed from the ideas of Michel Foucault and Claude Levi-Strauss, Mudimbe proceeds to examined "discourses" about Africa
by Europeans and Africans with a focus on evaluation of African traditional thought. He examines the intellectual "invention"
of a primitive African and its relationship to the changing paradigms of modern European social sciences. Following Foucault
he attempts to construct as "Archaeology" of thought about Africa with special focus on the discipline of anthropology. Archaeology
enables the researcher to treat every human discourse as a "moment" and thus discover meanings not consciously intended by
the authors of the discourses. (Thus, archaeology is like the anthropology which allows Robert Merton to teach that the Hopi
"Rain Dance" really functions to promote group solidarity even though Hopi priests assert that it is designed to produce rain.)
frame work enables Foucault to trace the change in the western discourses on "non-western" societies from those projecting
the "achievements of the civilized world against the primitiveness of non-literate societies (27), to those which allow for
the possibility of "decolonialization of the social sciences." This is the context in which Mudimbe examines the development
of European evaluation of African traditional thought from the missionaries through the several generations of anthropologists.
From that base Mudimbe addresses the African responses with special emphasis on the "Négritude" and post-Négritude generations.
fairness we must point out that Mudimbe does not accept Foucault and Leve-Strauss with reservations. In Mudimbe's words:
masterful demonstrations by Levi-Strauss and Foucault do not convince me that the subject in the discourse on the same or
on the other should be a mere illusion or a simple shadow of an episteme." (35m Mudimbe's emphasis)
This is in reference
to the tendency on the part of both Levi-Strauss and Foucault to promote ending the debate on "Race," since race never existed
in the first place: it was merely a metaphor or simply an invention. But this "color" blind position still enables Levi-Strauss
to conclude "... it is true that science is more successful than magic" (31). According to Mudimbe, Levi-Strauss de-emphasized
the differences between the disciplines of history and anthropology; from a framework of white cultural supremacy to one of
multi-cultural reciprocity is paralleled in the discipline of history. For Mudimbe, Durkeheim's prescription on the pathology
of civilization, levy-Bruhl's thesis on pre-logical systems of thought and Frazier's hypothesis on primitive scientists (28),
represented the older framework which was based upon a philosophy of conquest. These ideas in effect "invented" the concept
of "primitive Africa" in the disciplines of social science. Their studies complimented or supplemented the explorer tales
and the "philosophical interpretations about a hierarchy of civilizations" (69).
According to Mudimbe as the European
paradigm shifted to the position of cultural relativity, conditions for the methodological position of Levi-Strauss and Foucault
developed. The "ethnophilosophy" of Placide Temples and Marcel Griaule's Conversation with Ogotommeli, provided bases for
the upgrading of African thought from the level of pre-logic to near parity with European thought. For Mudimbe not only did
these sympathetic studies pave the way for Levi-Strauss and Foucault, they also provided "an atmosphere' for an "African prise
de parole about philosophy and knowledge." (36)
When Mudimbe turns to discourses by Africans he examines the relationships
between their arguments and those of the European thinkers. In fact Mudimbe does not always separate the Africans from the
Europeans in this regard. Thus, African thinkers seem to be merely amending (or "Amening") the thoughts of the Europeans.
In fact modern African thought seems to be dependent on the European paradigm:
"Until now ... African analysis have
been using categories and conceptual systems which depend on a western epistemological order ... Even the most explicitly
"Afrocentric descriptions." (x)
Indeed, after examining "the history of knowledge in Africa about Africa" (175) he
asserts, the thought of modern African thinkers:
"... Is at the crossroads of Western epistemological filiation and
African ethnocentrism (and) are inventions of the West." (185)
This intellectual colonialism is nonetheless the condition
for the possibility of African philosophy, for Mudimbe.
Mudimbe divides the African thinkers into two groups: those
of "the era of Négritude and African Personality" (38) consisting of "the pre-independence generation" (36); and "a new generation"
which advances a "notion of epistemological vigilance" (36). Mudimbe associates the older generation, which includes Aimé
Caesar, Leopold Senghor and Cheikh Anta Diop, with producing:
"... an African literature that flatters condescending
Western ears, in which Africans prove, by means of négritude and black personality rhetoric, that they are "intelligent human
beings" who once had respectable civilizations that colonialism destroyed." (36)
He goes on to assert that the younger
generation is more concerned with "the path to truth" (37) among other epistemologically related issues. Indeed, Mudimbe indicates
that they are somewhat embarrassed by the arguments of their elders. In fact some of them consider the literature "to be a
childish reaction of over compensation." (36) Among those Mudimbe considers representative of this spirit are Willie E. Abraham,
Pauline J. Hountondji, Theophile Obenga and Kwasi Wiredu. (39) He reveals their shared qualifications:
1. They were
or still profoundly marked by Christian principles and values. (39)
2. They are university professors (who) are not
only teachers but also in charge of regional inter-African, or even international agencies working for the development of
the continent. (40)
3. All ... are in "power." (40)
4. These intellectuals are producing a body of good works,
which are both difficult, because of the amplifications that explain them, and extremely sophisticated with respect to the
relationships between power and knowledge. (xxx)
After explaining the Levy-Bruhl school of thought about savage Africa,
Mudimbe analyzes the Négritude movement which presumably was a black reversal of the European perspective. He primarily focuses
on Senghor whose "influence on contemporary African thought, particularly in Francophone countries, is considerable." (94)
In fact, Mudimbe points out:
"Of the African thinkers of this century, he will probably have been the most honored
and the most complimented, yet probably also the most disparaged and the most insulted, particularly by the present generation
of African intellectuals." (94)
Although Aimé Caesar, who first put forth the concept, is discussed by Mudimbe, the
role of the founder of Négritude is not analyzed as thoroughly as Senghor's. Nor is the parallel "affirmation of African political
thought" (black personality) argument treated as thoroughly by Mudimbe (87-88). From time to time Mudimbe cites Cheikh Anta
Diop's project and works with such epithets as "extreme." (78)
Mudimbe notes Senghor's claim that this older generation
was influenced by: Anthropology, Black American Ideology, and Marxism. He assess the influence of Anthropology throughout
his work. He also examine the Marxist influence at come length. About the "Black American influence" he is less decisive.
He agrees that:
"... the association with Black Americans strongly influenced the critical views of black Africans
with respect to the crisis of Western values." (90)
"It is difficult to say with certainty to what extent
the ideological commitment of Black Americans made an impact on the African intelligentsia." (90)
of the work of this "school" is that it contributed to changes in colonial thinking along with other intellectual influences.
His list of major influences is put in the following order: first, Anthropological and missionary commitments to Africans
values (e.g. Marcel Griaule); second, interventions by some Western sociologists and historians (e.g. Basil Davidson); third,
"awakening" of African intellectuals." (88)
Mudimbe devotes a chapter to Blyden presumably because Senghor, whom Mudimbe
calls " the father of Négritude," suggested that Blyden promoted the spirit of "modern African ideology" in the 19th century.
(99) His critique of Blyden is based upon his conclusion that African thinkers use "categories and conceptual systems which
depend on a Western epistemological order." (x) In this regard, Mudimbe asserts that much of Blyden's discourse is racist
and "based on the European thinking that he should be opposing." (105) Concerning Blyden's thought Mudimbe recognizes that:
premises and even the essentials of his ideology were already in the air before he explicated his thesis ... They had already
been used both politically and ideologically by the founders of Liberia ... and the Haitian revolutionaries." (131)
finds some merit in Blyden's stance, for example he proclaims:
"one cannot but be amazed when analyzing (Blyden's)
thesis, which was the first articulate nineteenth-century theory of "blackness." (132)
Nonetheless, Mudimbe concludes
that Blyden's thought "represents an emotional response to the European process of denigrating Africa. "Finally he asserts
that Blyden's concept of race is now generally considered an ideological trap!" (132)
In his penultimate chapter, Mudimbe
examines the influence of "The Belgian Franciscan Placide Frantz Temple" whose Bantu Philosophy seemed to have been a wake
up call to African intellectuals. The African thinkers began to take sides either generally supporting or opposing Temple's
"sympathetic" assertions about traditional African deep thought. It is out of this debate that the African discourse on philosophy
seems to have begun Mudimbe.
Although Mudimbe's view of "the existence of philosophy as an autocritical exercise and
a critical discipline in Africa" (162) includes four broad angles he apparently exudes the Diop project, which seeks "to give
Africa the moral benefit the cradle of mankind and of having influenced the history of ancient Egypt as well as Mediterranean
civilizations." (97) Instead he included only those African discourses which have been influenced by Christianity (Ethiopian
heritage) or Western Europe including Marxism. It seems as though African discourse cannot exist except in response to foreign
intrusion, for Mudimbe.
Mudimbe adds an appendix entitled "Ethiopian Sources of Knowledge." The implication seems to
be that here at last are authentic African discourses. But these texts are responses to the impact of Christianity. Had Mudimbe
included those Kemetic (Ancient Egypt) texts in his thinking, his treatment of Diop's proposals may have been different. Surely
African deep thinkers should examine what Africans were thinking about before the advent of Christianity and Islam. The mutual
impacts of those encounters could then be a later stage of analysis.
Before beginning my negative criticism of some
of Mudimbe's ideas, let me first of all commend his scholarship. The Invention of Africa is a brilliant work which presents
a provocative argument and is well documented and surprisingly complete. Indeed he seems to have read everything possible
and included significant insights to many positions put forth by the leading scholars about African thinking. There are, however,
some connections, disconnections and possible discourses which, in my opinion are quite pertinent to discourse about African
To begin let us accept a modified version on Professor Mudimbe's proclamation: "The conception framework
of [some] African thinking has been both a mirror and a consequence of the experience of European hegemony." (185) This has
been true in parts of Africa since the advent of European Christianity, first in the latter part of antiquity and later from
the latter 15th century when Europe began its invasion of the West Coast of Africa.
Acceptance of the proclamation
however, does not require that we also accept the conclusion that there was no African thought before the advent of European
hegemony, or that some traditional African thinking did not continue throughout the era of colonialism, or that African thinking
was inferior before the advent, or that there is no continuity between African thinking before and after the intrusion. In
fact, it is quite logical to conclude that there have been continuous African discourses from the beginning of our national
histories. We may further assume that the African discourses responded to foreign encounters and intrusion when they occurred;
some did mirror European thought, some others probably accepted European thought wholly. But why then are we implied to begin
the reconstruction of African "critical" thinking with the first African who reacted to the ancient Christian project or to
the European Anthropologists or missionaries; or indeed to the first African who argued against "racism." Why not begin with
what African thinkers were talking about before these intrusions and regardless of the great interruption.
If we begin
by the restatement of an African traditional discourse we may view the period on which Mudimbe focuses as the era of "Intellectual
Welfare." (Carruthers, 1996) In the middle of the 18th century the European thinkers such as Voltaire, Montesquieu, Hume,
and Kant began their project of white supremacy with the fabrication of an inferior "Negro." In time this "Negro" was separated
not only from Eurasian humanity but also from other black skinned kinky haired Africans like the ancient Egyptians and Ethiopians.
This intellectual blitzkrieg was followed by a sustained barrage of ideological atrocities aimed first at "educating" Europeans
about the necessary causes of the slave industry. Africans in the diaspora were the first Africans to experience and recognize
the intellectual onslaught as a cruel campaign to aggravate the deep wounds of the three centuries. If successful the campaign
would have removed Africans not only from higher humanity but also from history.
We can trace the militant African
response to these atrocities from the last decade of the 18th century, although a response of submission was recorded a few
years earlier (the poetry of Phylis Wheatley). The responses of Richard Allen, Absalom Jones, and Prince Hall in the 1790's
were more than appeals to recognize the humanity of Africans as Henry Louis Gates has suggested. They established Ethiopia,
Ancient Egypt, and the Haitian Revolution as pillars of a revitalized African History. This intellectual strategy was continued
in the early 19th century by such leaders as Prince Sanders, David Walker, and Hosea Easton who converted the defensive stratagem
into a vigorous offense. By the 1860's this project had been cultivated as a concrete plan for liberation and intellectual
freedom by Henry Highland Garnet and Martin Delaney and others. First and second generation repatriated Africans such as Africanus
Horton, Colin Teague, and Edward Wilmot Blyden took the strategy to the African continent itself. By this time the pillars
of Africanity were used by two camps of Africans: the vindicationists and the foundationalists. The former directed their
discourse toward the European in order to prove their humanity; the later spoke to their fellow Africans in order to reconstitute
independent African nations. At this point we can observe the emergence of two streams of African intellectuals: those who
would become the agents of intellectual neocolonialism (the Vindicationists), and those who continue to fight for intellectual
freedom, who are often called extremists and irresponsible.
In the meantime, European intellectuals began to exercise
dominance over African knowledge through disciplines such as anthropology, and the training of excommunicated Africans. Indeed
the training of Europeanized African Intellectuals, whether through integrating European Universities or through providing
"separate but equal" African schools, was the final phase of the white supremacy project. These trained scholars were pitted
against the self-educated champions of African civilizations. From time to time a few of these intellectuals have rebelled
and joined the ranks of the champions.
Let us now focus on a major implication of this conceptualization of the Intellectual
Warfare. All European disciplines and scholars with African interests aim at dominance, i.e., mastery of knowledge about and
by Africans. Some of these "patrons" are emphatic or sympathetic toward the African target. Others are apathetic, still others
are antipathetic. But whatever the bias of their pathos, all attempt to persuade other Europeans and Africans that their way
of discoursing about Africa is the proper way. (Admittedly some of them are brilliant, enchanting, audacious, and rebellious
like one of Mudimbe's mentors, Foucault.) This includes Anthropologists, sociologists, historians, political scientists. Marxists,
and especially philosophers. The extent to which trained Africans are protégés of these European intellectuals attests to
the success of European domination of African knowledge. At best the relationship between these African thinkers and their
European teachers is neocolonial.
The problem can be seen in Mudimbe's response to the "original interpretations of
`savages' [by] Enlightenment social scientists." (17) He continued:
"I quite agree ... that if we look at their work
what shine (sic) out are its virtues rather than its vices, its brilliant intuitions rather than its occasional logical lapses,
its adventurousness and novelty rather than its dogmatism." (17, my emphasis)
Let us recall that the "Enlightenment
social scientists" include Montesquieu , Hume Voltaire, and Kant. The concepts they put forth included not only "savages"
but also "Negro inferiority." In other words they develop philosophical white supremacy. They set the stage for Hegel's proposal
of African historicide. How can their virtues out shine their vices for African thinkers? The intellectual atrocities which
they perpetuated was a declaration of was against African peoples. According to them a Mudimbe could never come into existence
except as "a parrot who speaks a few words plainly," as Hume would put it. (Hume, 208) Thus, Mudimbe is himself as agent of
the intellectual colonialism which he so brilliantly analyzes.
W. E. B. DuBois's dilemma over the tension between being
"a Negro" and "a student of Science," (DuBois, 725) is a classic example of the tendency toward intellectual schizophrenia.
He criticized John W. Burgess (who is credited with the founding of Political Science as a discipline in the United States).
DuBois explained Burgess's "theory of Nordic supremacy which colored all of his political theories" and Burgess's conclusion
that the United States congressional reconstruction policy as an attempt" to establish barbarism (blacks) in power over civilization
(whites)" (DuBois, 719). After his critique of Burgess, DuBois concluded:
"Subtract from Burgess his belief that only
white people can rule, and he is in essential agreement with me." (DuBois, 726)
The tendency of African Intellectuals
to find the good in the opponent is a testimony to the power of the European control of knowledge. Perhaps in attempting to
humanize those who have dehumanized us we must search their vices to find some virtue. But let us make a distinction between
the moral urge to sympathize and the emotional tendency to empathize, on the one hand, and the necessity of analyzing the
enemy on the other hand. Understanding the oppressor does not require us to fall for his propaganda about morality and objectivity.
us put the question in a much simpler manner. If one could not be both, which would DuBois choose to be, "a Negro" or a social
scientist? Which would Mudimbe choose to be, an African or a philosopher?
This is the context in which I wish to consider
Mudimbe's commitment "to what it essentially means to be an African and a philosopher today." (xi) The first answer is that
the commitment is a ticket to intellectual schizophrenia; that is the position in which the African agent of neocolonialism
finds himself or herself. Philosophy is the cause of the warfare against African knowledge. Philosophers invented the doctrine
of Negro inferiority, especially intellectual inferiority.
Mudimbe's indictment of Blyden who advocated African racial
solidarity as a necessary condition for liberation, fall under a like criticism. There is always contradiction in fighting
to establish peace but what can you do when the other side refuses to stop its aggression? While African racial solidarity
may never be achieved, to abandon the goal seems an invitation to defeat. As long as while supremacy exists in any form, political,
economic, social, psychological or philosophical it seem that all Africans should fight together against it by any means necessary.
"obvious racism" Mudimbe found in Blyden's criticism of " people of mixed blood," is removed from Blyden's context. (104)
As clumsily as Blyden may have expressed himself, he was reacting to the attitudes of many "light skinned" Africans who project
as air of superiority over darker Africans. Chancellor Williams in Destruction of Black Civilization presents extended discussions
of the intra racial problem.
The term racism as Mudimbe uses it gives the European intellectuals a great advantage
because as a generic term it implies that there is white racism and black racism. But if racism is what Montesquieu, Hume,
and company inserted into European philosophy, and if the brutal, hostile, and demeaning behaviors of Europeans toward African
peoples are instances of racism, then only one case of racism has ever come into existence. There could possibly come a time
when the leading African thinkers might invent a theory of white inferiority; there would come a time when the political and
economic leaders of African nations could oppress all whites within their reach and base such actions on a doctrine of black
supremacy. In the meantime, let us identify the real problem, white supremacy, and leave the ambiguous term racism out of
the discourse. Not even Mudimbe could accuse Blyden of being a white supremacist, although some Africans probably are.
should say at this point that we hold as did Martin Delaney, that there are probably some Europeans of good will. The problem
is that these good Europeans have never had the power, or the "will" power, to overthrow their more mean spirited fellow Europeans.
In any case, our fight is not against good Europeans but against the perpetrators and defenders of white supremacy, some of
whom are Africans. In pursuit of our objective, however, we do not believe that the enemies are necessarily our friends. While
the overthrow of white supremacy should be everybody's goal, the revival of African thought is a job for Africans-only; that
is only Africans can do it. If Europeans do it, it would only mean that they defeated us again.
Finally, we must oppose
the way Mudimbe dismissed Cheikh Anta Diop's project with the question:
"But could then potentially mobilizing myths
provide, as Diop hoped, the possibility of a new political order in Africa?" (97)
The possibility of restoring African
thinking to its position of world wide acclaim lies with Professor Diop's instruction that: "The return to Egypt in all domains
is the necessary condition for reconciling African civilization with history, in order to be able to construct a body of modern
human sciences, in order to renovate African culture." (Diop, 1991) In other words, it seems to me that the objective is neither
to adapt African discourse to the parameters of a European discipline nor to modify the European discipline to include African
content because both approaches are essentially intellectual versions of neocolonialism. Rather Africans should construct
their own modern disciplines based upon the pillars of African traditions. In this sense we do not have to "invent African
history" but merely to restore it, to free it from the debris of the European sandstorm which covered it up. If we abandon
the search for the phantom of an African philosophy (or at least philosophy, "strictly speaking") we may indeed rediscover
a much more profound way of thinking about existence. [One might begin to break the bonds of intellectual colonialism by not
only recognizing that African traditional deep thought is different from European philosophy but calling it by one of its
African names like Medew Netcher (Divine Speech), instead of Greek words such as gnosis which Professor Mudimbe uses. (Carruthers
1995)] It seems to me that the question is whether African thinkers should give their intellectual allegiance to the traditions
of those who debased us including their rebels, or to the traditions of their ancestors.
Shemsu Jehewty (a.k.a. Jacob H. Carruthers) received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado and is currently on the faculty
of Northeastern Illinois University's Center for Inner City Studies in Chicago. He is a founding member of the Association
for the Study of Classical African Civilizations (ASCAC) and Director of the Kemetic Institute. He is the author of Mdw Ntr:
Divine Speech (A Historical Reflection of African Deep Thought from the Time of the Pharaohs to the Present) and The Irritated
Genie: An Essay on the Haitian Revolution.
Carruthers, Jacob 1995 Mdw Ntr: Divine Speech Karnak House
Jacob 1996 Intellectual Warfare Chicago: Third World Press
Diop, Cheikh Anta 1991 Civilization or Barbarism: An Authentic
Anthropology New York: Lawrence Hill & Company
DuBois, W. E. B. 1964 Black Reconstruction New York: Meridian Books
Henry Louis 1992 Loose Cannons: Notes on the Culture Wars New York: Oxford University Press
Hume, David 1912 Essays:
Moral. Political and Literary New York: Indianapolis Liberty Classics
Gabriel Prosser (ca. 1775-1800), born in Henrico County, Virginia, was an African-American slave who, in the summer of
1800, planned an uprising of 1000 to 4000 (the exact number is unknown) Africans in Richmond, Virginia.
He was the
slave of Thomas H. Prosser, but little else is known about his earlier life. He had been meticulously planning the revolt
since the spring. On August 30, 1800, Gabriel led X slaves to carry out the rebellion. Torrential rain, however, postponed
the rebellion. The slaves' masters had suspicion of the revolt; and before it could be carried out the following night they
notified James Monroe, who in turn sent the state militia. Thus Gabriel found Richmond too heavily defended for the attack
to continue, although as much as 1000 slaves had gathered on the outskirts. Gabriel tried to escape by schooner, but was spotted
and betrayed by two fellow slaves. Gabriel was brought before Monroe for questioning, but would not submit. Gabriel and 34
of his followers were hanged.
A new perspective on Gabriel is provided in Douglas Egerton's book Gabriel's Rebellion:
The Virginia Slave Conspiracies of 1800-1802. Although the book reflects a great deal of primary research from surviving contemporary
documents, his conclusions remain controversial among historians of the period. One of the first points Egerton has clarified
is that Gabriel was never known by the surname "Prosser." This is an assumption made in later periods, when slaves and ex-slaves
commonly adopted their owner's family names. In fact, around 1800 he might have been referred to as "Prosser's Gabriel," but
his common use name was simply Gabriel.
Gabriel was a skilled blacksmith who mostly "hired out" his time in Richmond
foundries, a common practice during this period when the market for tobacco was depressed, soil depleted, and cotton not yet
a major cash crop. Egerton concludes that Gabriel absorbed the viewpoint of his co-workers, of both European, African and
mixed descent, who expected Thomas Jefferson's Republicans to liberate them from domination by the wealthy merchants of the
Thus, Gabriel did have many "white" co-conspirators. Documentary evidence as to who they were, was sent straight
to Gov. Monroe, and never seen in court. The internal dynamics of Jefferson's, and Monroe's party in the 1800 elections were
more complex than they appeared to an industrial worker in Richmond. A large part of the Republicans' base were themselves
owners of large plantations. Any sign of white Republicans supporting Gabriel's plan could have cost Jefferson the election.
orders were not to kill all whites except Methodists, Quakers and Frenchmen, but to refrain from killing any of those three
categories. In fact, after taking Gov. Monroe hostage, Gabriel expected to negotiate an end to slavery, and then to "drink
and dine with the merchants of the city" when freedom had been agreed to.
It is notable that Gabriel initially escaped
on a ship owned by a former overseer, a recently converted Methodist who repeatedly ignored information as to his passenger's
identity. Gabriel was turned in by a slave "hired out" to work on the ship, who hoped to obtain a sufficient reward to purchase
his own freedom. However, he was paid only $50, not the $300 he expected.
This potential slave uprising was notable
not because of its actual impact — the rebellion was quelled before it could begin — but because of the potential
for mass chaos. Southern slave-owners became fearful of another slave rebellion. Gabriel had been able to plan the rebellion
so well because of relatively lax rules of movement between plantations; as a result, many owners greatly restricted the slaves'
rights of travel when not working. The fear of a slave revolt would persist until the abolition of slavery in the 1860s.
to this rebellion, education of slaves, and training slaves in skilled trades, had not been restricted. After the rebellion,
and a second conspiracy organized among river boatmen in 1802, slave owners realized they must either begin a program of gradual
emancipation, or reduce the slave population to a completely illiterate, unskilled condition useful only for common labor
and field work. The latter course was adopted.
HUEY P. NEWTON - FIGHTER:
Huey P. Newton (February 17, 1942 – August 22, 1989) was co-founder and inspirational leader of the Black Panther
Party, a militant African-American activist group.
Huey P. Newton was born in Monroe, Louisiana. He was named after
governor Huey P. Long. Newton's family moved to Oakland, California in his childhood. Newton attended Merritt College, earning
an Associate of Arts degree. He also studied law at Oakland City College and at San Francisco Law School.
he studied law to become a better burglar. He was arrested several times for minor offenses while still a teenager and he
supported himself in college by burglarizing homes in the Oakland and Berkeley Hills. In 1964, he was convicted of assault
with a deadly weapon after stabbing a man at a party and sentenced to six months in the Alameda County jail.
at Oakland City College, Newton had become involved in the radical politics that dominated the Bay Area. He joined the Afro-American
Association and played a role in getting the first black history course adopted as part of the college's curriculum. He read
the works of Frantz Fanon, Malcolm X, Mao Tse-tung, and Che Guevara. It was during his time at Oakland City College that Newton
along with Bobby Seale organized the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in October 1966, with Seale as chairman and Newton
as minister of defense.
Newton and Seale decided early on that the police must be stopped from harassing Oakland's
African-Americans. From his study of the law, Newton was familiar with the California penal code and the state's law regarding
weapons and was thus able to convince a number of African-Americans of their right to bear arms. Armed members of the Black
Panther Party for Self Defense began patrolling the Oakland police. In addition to patrolling, Newton and Seale were responsible
for writing the Black Panther Party Platform and Program, which drew largely upon Newton’s Maoist influences. Former
Panther Earl Anthony describes the part formation as being created with the goal to organize America for armed Maoist revolution.
was accused of murdering Oakland police officer John Frey and in September 1968 Newton was convicted of voluntary manslaughter
and was sentenced to two to 15 years in prison. In May 1970 the California Appellate Court reversed Newton's conviction and
ordered a new trial. The State of California dropped its case against Newton after two subsequent mistrials.
Autobiography, Revolutionary Suicide, was published in 1973.
While he had been imprisoned, party membership had decreased
significantly in several cities, and the FBI had been involved in a campaign to disrupt the Black Panthers (see COINTELPRO).
Newton concentrated on community outreach programs and the Black Panthers sponsored a free breakfast program, sickle-cell
anemia tests, free food and shoes. Funding for several of their programs were raised as the result of the co-operation of
drug dealers and prostitution rings. Bobby Seale later wrote about his knowledge of Newton’s involvement and attempted
takeover of the Oakland drug trade. Seale admitted that Newton attempted to shake down pimps and drug dealers, and as a result
a contract was taken out on Newton’s life.
In 1974 several assault charges were filed against him, and he was
also accused of murdering a 17-year-old prostitute, Kathleen Smith. Newton failed to make his court appearance. His bail was
revoked, a bench warrant issued, and his name added to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's most wanted list. Newton had
jumped bail and escaped to Cuba, where he spent three years in exile. He returned home in 1977 to face murder charges because,
he said, the climate in the United States had changed and he believed he could get a fair trial. He was acquitted of the murder
of Kathleen Smith after two juries were deadlocked.
In 1971, between his second and third trials for the murder of
John Frey, he visited China for ten days, where he met with Premier Chou En-lai and Chiang Ch'ing, the wife of Chairman Mao
Tse-tung. While there he was offered political asylum. In 1985 Newton was arrested for embezzling state and federal funds
from the Black Panthers' community education and nutrition programs. In 1989 he was convicted of embezzling funds from a school
run by the Black Panthers, supposedly to support his alcohol and drug addictions. By this time the Panthers had turned to
less violent activism.
The MOVE Organization - Philadelphia during the early 1970's Body: JOHN AFRICA's Organization
MOVE's work is to stop
industry from poisoning the air,
the water, the soil, and to put an end to the enslavement
of life -- people, animals,
any form of life. The purpose
of John Africa's revolution is to show people through John
Africa's teaching, the truth,
that this system is the cause
of all their problems (alcoholism, drug addiction, unemployment,
wife abuse, child pornography,
every problem in the world) and
set the example of revolution for people to follow when they
realize how they've been
oppressed, repressed, duped, tricked
by this system, this government and see the need to rid
themselves of this cancerous
system as MOVE does.
The MOVE Organization surfaced in Philadelphia during the early 1970's.
by dreadlock hair, the adopted surname "Africa",
a principled unity, and an uncompromising commitment to their belief,
members practiced the teachings of MOVE founder JOHN AFRICA.
"MOVE'S WORK IS TO STOP INDUSTRY FROM POISONING THE AIR,
WATER, THE SOIL, AND TO PUT AN END TO THE ENSLAVEMENT OF
LIFE - PEOPLE, ANIMALS, ANY FORM OF LIFE. THE PURPOSE
JOHN AFRICA'S REVOLUTION IS TO SHOW PEOPLE HOW CORRUPT,
ROTTEN, CRIMINALLY ENSLAVING THIS SYSTEM IS, SHOW PEOPLE
THROUGH JOHN AFRICA'S TEACHING, THE TRUTH, THAT THIS SYSTEM
IS THE CAUSE OF ALL THEIR PROBLEMS (ALCOHOLISM, DRUG ADDICTION,
UNEMPLOYMENT, WIFE ABUSE, CHILD PORNOGRAPHY, EVERY PROBLEM
IN THE WORLD) AND TO SET THE EXAMPLE OF REVOLUTION FOR PEOPLE
TO FOLLOW WHEN THEY REALIZE HOW THEY'VE BEEN OPPRESSED,
REPRESSED, DUPED, TRICKED BY THIS SYSTEM, THIS GOVERNMENT
SEE THE NEED TO RID THEMSELVES OF THIS CANCEROUS SYSTEM
AS MOVE DOES."
hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the
forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object,
evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government
and to provide new guards for their future security."
United States Declaration of Independence
During the early 1970's MOVE was based in the Powelton Village section of West Philadelphia. Members valued
the personal discipline and physical strength derived from hard manual labor,
and maintained a hefty work schedule of
daily activities such as exercising, scrubbing floors,
running dogs, chopping firewood, shoveling snow, sweeping the street,
Demonstrating their reverence for all forms of life, MOVE looked after neighbors' pets, helped homeless people find
places to live, assisted the elderly with home repairs, intervened in violence between local gangs and college fraternities,
and helped incarcerated offenders meet parole requirements through a rehabilitation program. After adopting MOVE's way of
natural living, many individuals overcame past problems of drug addiction, physical disabilities, infertility and alcoholism.
MOVE purchased a large Victorian house at 309 North 33rd Street, which became their headquarters. One of MOVE's fundraising
activities was a very popular car wash at this location. At regular study sessions for people interested in the teachings
of JOHN AFRICA, MOVE welcomed dissenting views as an opportunity to showcase their belief and sharpen their oratorical skills,
which they knew would be tested in their revolutionary struggle.
"IT IS THE POSITION OF MOVE TO CONFRONT ANY SPEAKER,
SO-CALLED INFORMED PERSONALITIES, ALLEGED LEADERS WHO SAY THEY HAVE ANSWERS TO THE VERY SERIOUS PROBLEMS OF PEOPLE, AND DEMAND
THAT THEY SUBSTANTIATE, QUALIFY WHAT THEY ARE SAYING OR STOPMISLEADING PEOPLE. INFORMATION IS IN THE ABILITY TO INFORM. AND
WHEN YOU HAVE NO INFORMATION TO GIVE, YOU CAN ONLY MISINFORM. THIS IS THE STATED POLICY OF MOVE, TO STAMP OUT MISINFORMATION,
FOR WHEN YOU DO NOT HAVE A SOLUTION, ALL YOU CAN OFFER IS THE PROBLEM."
APPEARANCES AND MEDIA COVERAGE
MOVE began attending public appearances of such noted personalities as Jane
Fonda, Dick Gregory, Alan Watts, Roy Wilkins, Julian Bond, Richie Havens, Walter Mondale, Buckminster Fuller, Maharishi Mahesh
Yogi, Caesar Chavez, and Russel Means. When questions were taken from the audience, MOVE challenged the speakers. Many were
receptive, some were hostile, but none could refute JOHN AFRICA's wisdom.
To expose injustice, oppression and disrespect
for Life, MOVE used strategized profanity and non-violent protest in demonstrations at zoos, pet shops, political rallies,
public forums and media offices. By 1974, MOVE was appearing in public with increasing frequency protesting the abuse of Life
in any form.
"IF OUR PROFANITY OFFENDS YOU, LOOK AROUND YOU
AND SEE HOW DESTRUCTIVELY SOCIETY IS PROFANING
IT IS THE RAPE OF THE LAND, THE POLLUTION
OF THE ENVIRONMENT, THE BETRAYAL AND SUFFERING
OF THE MASSES BY CORRUPT
GOVERNMENT THAT IS THE
The mainstream media began a long history of inaccurate,
distorted and misdirected coverage. MOVE's unique appearance, alarming profanity and unconventional behavior got prominent
attention, but their penetrating analysis and proposed solutions were largely ignored as were their extensive community assistance
efforts. While those who actually met MOVE members could see their remarkable strength and health, dehumanizing news accounts
perpetuated the falsehood that members never bathed and were unhealthy.
Protests of unfair coverage by the Black-owned
Philadelphia Tribune were resolved when the editor agreed to run a column entitled, "ON THE MOVE." Coordinated by JOHN AFRICA
to be written by MOVE members, the feature ran for about a year, starting in June of 1975.
Rizzo and the Police
Throughout the 1970's, Frank Rizzo was the premier figure in Philadelphia government. He started as
a street cop and rose through the ranks, eventually serving as Police Commissioner from 1967-71.
During this time, he
gained notoriety for his "tough-guy" law enforcement tactics and racist attitude. In Philadelphia's Black ghettos, Rizzo's
predominantly white police force was resented, feared and hated.
Capitalizing on his name recognition and tough on crime
image, Rizzo mobilized sufficient voters to be elected mayor of the city for two terms from 1972 until 1980. Having built
his career on opposing Black efforts to challenge the status quo, he ran the city with a prominent and heavy-handed police
force that had a national reputation for brutality.
Philadelphia's overblown and unrestrained police department was a
prime example of the type of injustice the system precipitated, so it was inevitable that MOVE would start to speak out against
them. As with other issues, this was done using peaceful demonstrations. When MOVE successfully focused attention on police
abuse, many community groups across the city sought MOVE's assistance with similar demonstrations in their own neighborhoods.
As a result of this activism, the police began a concerted campaign of harassment against MOVE, breaking up demonstrations
by arresting MOVE members on disorderly conduct charges or violations of whatever local ordinance could be made to apply.
The fact that MOVE's headquarters was located in an area of real estate speculation on the border of a university campus
brought further legal entanglement. beginning in 1975, the complaints of some neighboring property owners led to involvement
of the Department of Licenses and Inspections and ultimately a civil suit by the city against MOVE. On November 18, Judge
G. Fred DiBona, one of Rizzo's associates, ruled that city inspectors with the assistance of the police, could enter MOVE's
house to inspect it, but the case dragged on through numerous continuances and an appeal by MOVE to the Pennsylvania Supreme
MOVE never let the threat of being taken to jail interfere with planned demonstrations. Only a pre-selected
group, which excluded pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers, would plan to get arrested if the cops started trouble. Yet
events soon proved that police harassment was not limited to demonstrations alone.
Late in the evening of May 9, 1974,
two pregnant MOVE women, Janet and Leesing Africa, were taking a short walk to the corner store to get something to eat. They
were stopped and questioned by police officers who became abusive and slammed Janet stomach-first against a police car. The
two were subjected to a very rough handling and jailed overnight without food or water. Both women lost their babies due to
miscarriages. MOVE immediately began demonstrating at the 18th District police station where the incident occurred.
1975, clashes between MOVE and the police reached increasingly brutal proportions, though the city denied it's role in any
abusive handling. Members at demonstrations were getting beaten bloody on a regular basis, yet MOVE's deep commitment only
led to more determined protests. On April 29, 1975 a MOVE demonstration against ill-treatment of jailed members at the police
administration building led to several arrests. Alberta Africa, who was pregnant, was dragged from a holding cell, held spread-eagle
by four officers and repeatedly kicked in the stomach and vagina by a matron named Robins, suffering a miscarriage as a result.
Despite police violence against MOVE individuals who had not even been born, many MOVE mothers did bear children, and
did so naturally, without drugs or medical assistance, in accordance with JOHN AFRICA's teachings. Sue Africa, in spite of
several police beatings throughout her pregnancy, had a son, Tomes, born at the 33rd street headquarters on August 4, 1975.
Janine Africa's baby, Life Africa was born on March 8, 1976 but murdered by police less than a month later. (Tomes was later
murdered by the city May 13, 1985.)
On March 28, 1976, seven jailed MOVE members were released late in the evening and arrived home
after midnight. Officers in at least ten police cars and wagons pulled up in front of the 33rd Street house and said MOVE
was creating a disturbance. When Chuck Africa told police to leave MOVE alone, officer Daniel Palermo grabbed him and began
to beat him as other cops pulled out nightsticks and set upon MOVE members. Six MOVE men were arrested and beaten so viciously
they suffered fractured skulls, concussions and chipped bones. Robert Africa was struck over the head with a nightstick that
broke in two from the force of the blow. Janine Africa was trying to protect her husband Phil Africa, when she was grabbed
by a cop, thrown to the ground with 3-week-old Life Africa in arms, and stomped until she was nearly unconscious. The baby's
skull was crushed.
The next morning, MOVE notified the media that the police had brutally attacked them and that a baby
had been murdered. An officer's hat and the broken nightstick were displayed outside MOVE headquarters. Police denied that
any beatings took place or that a baby was killed. and claimed that the baby probably never existed because there was no birth
certificate. They then arrested the member who had shown the hat and nightstick to the press, on charges of receiving stolen
property. To prove the death to a skeptical media, MOVE invited the press and local politicians to dinner at their headquarters.
Those accepting the invitation included city councilmen Joseph Coleman and Lucien Blackwell, and Blackwell's wife, Jannie.
After the meal, the guests were shown the baby's body. (Jannie Blackwell herself was later elected to city council in 1991.)
MOVE's column in the Philadelphia Tribune, which had documented the birth of Life Africa 3 weeks earlier, ran a series
of pieces covering the March 28th attack. Interviews with several neighbors who had witnessed the incident were featured.
Yet no charges were filed against the officers involved in the baby's murder. Instead the District Attorney's office pursued
prosecution of the six MOVE members arrested that night. MOVE was prepared to present evidence of a long-standing Rizzo-directed
campaign of harassment that culminated in the death of Life Africa.
But before all the testimony could be presented, Judge
Merna Marshall dismissed the case, thereby thwarting the chance to prove a citywide conspiracy against MOVE in a court of
law. Dismissing felony charges of aggravated assault on cops was virtually unheard of in Philadelphia.
By confronting the judicial system as an organized, coordinated group not afraid to go to jail, MOVE was
able to run circles around the procedures and expose the fallacy of justice. Ignoring the status and elevation of judges,
MOVE remained seated when the order "all rise!" was given, and never addressed the judge as "your honor." They also rejected
plea bargain offers and public defenders.
In the early years defendants who were released on bail and given a court
date would often send a brother or sister member to the trial if they couldn't make it themselves. Most judges at that time
couldn't tell MOVE members apart and sentenced the apparent "defendant" who would be taken into custody and held for the duration.
The original defendant, often arrested again before his or her sentence expired, would just give police the name of another
member, leading the system into ever deepening confusion over who was who.
During a trial, MOVE attacked the legitimacy
of the court, demonstrating contradictions in such concepts as the presumption of innocence, freedom of religion, and the
right to free speech. When defendants refused to blindly submit to a judge's arbitrary dictates, the were either ejected from
the room, bound and gagged, or cited for contempt. MOVE spectators were often cited for contempt, too. Sheriffs
to be just as brutal as the city cops, at times beating MOVE members in the very presence of judges. All these incidents only
generated more cases, and a time went on, MOVE's practice of appealing at every opportunity further compounded an already
By 1976 literally hundreds of MOVE cases were clogging Philadelphia's justice system. Court
administrators realized that in a typical MOVE case the city was spending thousands of dollars to prosecute what had often
started out as a trivial, trumped-up misdemeanor charge. To save money, the courts began to dismiss MOVE cases in wholesale
During the summer of 1976, MOVE began concentrating on setting up chapters in other states and refrained from
further demonstrations. To provide a healthy environment for the children, MOVE secured a mortgage on a 96-acre farm in Virginia.
Meanwhile, Frank Rizzo resented a group of self-proclaimed revolutionaries wreaking havoc in the courts and exposing his brutal
police department. And with no more demonstrations, there were none of the usual opportunities to harass and arrest MOVE.
On November 5, 1976 a hearing was held before Judge Edward Blake regarding several different
MOVE cases. Some 20 MOVE defendants, all out on bail, appeared in court. Many were given sentences and despite their intention
to appeal, Blake ordered them taken into custody. On the way to a holding cell, sheriff Jerry Saunders began beating one handcuffed
young MOVE member, Dennis Africa , and a brief scuffle ensued. Sheriffs locked up all those who came to Dennis' defense, then
also arrested and brutalized Robert, Valerie and Rhonda Africa who had played no part in the altercation. Nearly 9 months
pregnant, Rhonda went into premature labor, giving birth to a bruised and injured baby that died within minutes.
of assault and resisting arrest against those involved were later dismissed, except for Robert, Conrad and Jerry Africa, who
were given bail. The case marked a new era in the conflict between MOVE and the courts. After hundreds of cases and years
of hearings, MOVE had accumulated a through knowledge of what could typically be expected from the courts at every stage of
the process. The courts, in turn, had settled into a grudging tolerance of MOVE's behavior, such as the refusal to stand when
a judge entered the room. At a pre-trial hearing, on February 7, 1977, Judge Paul Ribner ordered sheriffs to force Robert
to stand as the judge came in. Ribner then issued bench warrants for Jerry and Conrad, despite Robert's explanation that they
were out of town that day and would be present at the next listed hearing. Officers around MOVE headquarters, who normally
would not have immediate knowledge of bench warrants due to the usual bureaucratic delays, began taunting MOVE and talked
of forcibly entering the house with the warrants as legal justification.
As the case continued, MOVE could see that
Ribner's odd demands and threats, and the unusually large number of armed police and sheriffs present in the courtroom created
a situation in which a physical courtroom confrontation could result in some "accidental" MOVE injuries or deaths. After the
defendants refused to participate further, Ribner tried them in abstentia, and instead of the usual county jail time, gave
them longer state prison sentences. They were soon shipped off to Graterford prison, about 30 miles outside of Philadelphia.
MOVE was outraged at such a blatant set-up and railroading of Robert, Corned and Jerry, who were political prisoners.
20, 1977 Demonstration
In late April of 1977, MOVE set up a sister organization called the "Seed of Wisdom" in Richmond
Virginia. In less than a week Virginia police provoked a minor confrontation by surrounding the house and attempting to take
custody of the children. Meanwhile, MOVE foresaw the possibility that Philadelphia police could storm their 33rd Street headquarters,
kill those inside, and blame the victims for their own deaths in an operation similar to the type of government terrorism
used against the Black Panthers. Information from sympathetic sources in city government confirmed that plans for some type
of police operation had indeed been made. To safeguard the Philadelphia base, MOVE staged a major demonstration May 20, 1977
on a platform outside their house. They demanded the release of their political prisoners and as end to the violent harassment
by the city. To keep an increasingly brutal police force at bay, some members held firearms. Police tried to hold back a crowd
of on-lookers, but the growing numbers of people soon broke through police lines and swarmed the platform to hear MOVE speak.
"WE TOLD THE COPS THERE WASN'T GONNA BE ANY
MORE UNDERCOVER DEATHS. THIS TIME THEY BETTER
BE PREPARED TO MURDER
US IN FULL PUBLIC VIEW,
CAUSE IF THEY CAME AT US WITH FISTS,
WE WERE GONNA COME BACK WITH FISTS.
IF THEY CAME
WE'D COME BACK WITH CLUBS,
AND IF THEY CAME WITH GUNS, WE'D USE GUNS TOO.
WE DON'T BELIEVE IN DEATH-DEALING
WE BELIEVE IN LIFE.
BUT WE KNEW THE COPS WOULDN'T BE SO QUICK TO ATTACK US IF THEY HAD TO FACE THE SAME STUFF
THEY DISHED OUT SO CASUALLY ON UNARMED DEFENSELESS FOLK."
Aware that the Third Amendment guarantees the right to bear
arms on one's own property, Police Commissioner Joseph O'Neill told reporters, "under the constitution you have a right to
speak your mind and apparently that what they're doing." Yet four days later, the city sidestepped the lack of firearms violations
by having Judge Lynne Abraham issue warrants for 11 MOVE members on riot charges and "possession of an instrument of crime."
The media unfairly depicted MOVE as illegal gun-toting bandits.
Police set up a 24-hour watch
around MOVE's headquarters to arrest members when they came off the property. On June 12, 197 7 Sue Africa left the premises
and was apprehended a few blocks away. The other members remained at the house as months passed and police continued to watch
MOVE had files a $26 million civil suit against the city for the March 28, 1976 death of LIfe Africa and
the brutality leading to miscarriages from 1974-76, but the standoff prevented MOVE plaintiffs from attending the hearing
and the suit was thrown out of court. While the standoff continued, some Philadelphia politicians and reporters went to the
Virginia area, where MOVE's farm was located, and spread slanderous misinformation among people on adjoining properties by
describing MOVE as a group of drug-taking cannibals who would slaughter everyone's livestock. The rumors set off a rash of
complaints to the Realtor who demanded that MOVE pay off the entire mortgage at once. Unable to raise the full sum, MOVE lost
Rule 1100 of Pennsylvania Criminal Procedures sets a time limit of 180 days within which to either execute
an arrest warrant or file for an extension. On November 20th, the deadline on the MOVE warrants passed. The next day the DA's
office filed a late request for an extension. (They may have forgotten to file on time or were just accustomed to bending
the laws when prosecuting MOVE.) Judge Edward Blake granted the untimely extension. (Blake became the Common Pleas Court President
Judge in 1991.)
Throughout the standoff, mediators and negotiators from a number of community coalitions and intervention
agencies relayed messages between the city and MOVE in an attempt to come to a peaceful settlement. But talks always broke
down over the issue of releasing MOVE political prisoners. MOVE would not compromise. Their demand for Robert, Conrad, Jerry
and Sue's freedom was absolutely non-negotiable. Mediation went nowhere as city personnel were telling MOVE off the record,
"We'll kill all of you before we let your people out of jail." A federal agent who had begun lurking around the barricades
likewise informed MOVE that the Feds were going to infiltrate, disband and destroy them.
force the wanted MOVE members from the house, Rizzo got court approval to starve them out. On March 16, 1978, an arm y of
h undreds of cops invaded the area and sealed off a four block area. While sharpshooter posts and machinegun nests were set
up, workmen shut off the water to MOVE's headquarters. Those inside included pregnant women, nursing babies, children and
animals. Rizzo boasted that the perimeter was so tight "a fly couldn't get through." When various community members, who opposed
Rizzo's cruel tactic, made humanitarian attempts to rush the barricades with food and water for MOVE, they were arrested and
beaten by the police.
With loudspeakers and amplification, members exposed the filly of the city's action in spending
thousands of dollars a day on police overtime just to stand around and watch MOVE. As police in stake-out posts at surrounding
rooftops, apartments, and parked patrol cars were treated to a steady stream of revolutionary commentary, supervisors instructed
their men not to listen to anything MOVE said, after too many officers began to seriously consider what they heard.
was a great deal of dissention in police ranks regarding the handling of MOVE. Some cops had taken to tossing bottles, rocks,
and firecrackers into MOVE's yard, hoping to provoke a confrontation. But it only resulted in a police fist fight wherein
two officers got in a scuffle with a third one who had been throwing rocks at MOVE babies.
Rizzo's attempt to starve
MOVE out continued for almost two months, capping off nearly a year of continuous 24 hour police surveillance that had begun
on May 20, 1977. Traffic had been detoured, neighbors had to show identification going to and from their own homes, and reporters
noted that city spending for police overtime had passed the million dollar mark. On April 4, 1978 thousands marched around
city hall in a massive demonstration protesting the city's barbaric action. As the absurdity of Rizzo's police siege became
internationally known, Philadelphia became an embarrassment to the human right initiatives of President Jimmy Carter and United
Nations Ambassador Andrew Young.
Under federal pressure to end the stalemate, city officials
pushed for a negotiated settlement, but with MOVE standing firm in their demands, the city had no real leverage. For Rizzo
it became a matter of making the necessary concessions, but doing it in such a way that his tough-guy "law and order" image
remained intact. The city announced terms of a settlement in May of 1978, though final clarification was still going on behind
the scenes. To save face, the city had make certain oral promises that were not spelled out on paper so as to cover up the
fact that court procedures would be by-passed to spring MOVE's political prisoners.
MOVE was wary of making deals
with a government that had historically broken every treaty ever made with Native Americans. But the final terms of the agreement
gave them what they wanted, so any broken promises would only further expose the system's deception and lack of good faith.
Implementation of the agreement began on May 3rd. Escorted by civilian observers, the police took MOVE members, one at a time,
to the police administration building where they were arraigned and released on their own recognizance. The barricades and
roadblocks surrounding the area were pulled open. To the chagrin of anxious ATF agents, police and DA personnel, all the MOVE
"guns" and "explosives" cops had spotted at one time or another were revealed to be inoperable dummy firearms or road flares
disguised as dynamite. A search of the house with metal detectors found nothing incriminating. On May 8th, Jerry, Conrad,
Robert and Sue Africa were released. The DA's office, headed by Ed Rendell, agreed to dispose of all pending MOVE cases within
4-6 weeks and thereby purge MOVE from the court system. In order to prevent the start of another quagmire of contempt charges,
the city arranged that attorney Oscar Gaskins would handle all remaining legal proceedings and members themselves would not
make any court appearances. The agreement also provided that during a 90 day period, the city would assist MOVE in finding
another location in which to reside.
MOVE's victory was impressive. The confrontation initiated on May 20, 1977 had
succeeded, without bloodshed, in freeing their political prisoners and forcing Rizzo's cops to back down. It also provided
a powerful example of a fully dedicated and committed group of people fighting the system and winning.
Breaks the Agreement
As soon as the city knew MOVE had no guns or explosives, they began modifying and restating the
terms of the agreement. It soon become apparent that DA Ed Rendells's promise to dispose of all pending MOVE cases within
4-6 weeks was a blatant lie. The 90 day period, which had been described to MOVE as a work- ing timetable, was misrepresented
to the media as an absolute deadline. The promise to assist MOVE in finding a new place to live was never completed, and the
city began demanding that the house had to be razed.
Judge Fred DiBona, who only had jurisdiction in the civil suit
still pending from three years earlier (page 9), suddenly began issuing orders to MOVE regarding the criminal case that were
never a part of the agreement. MOVE had found DiBona to be particularly arrogant in the past, and as his conflicting directives
and unagreed-to demands became intolerable, Phil and Sue Africa attempted to resolve the problem by going to see the judge
on My 23rd. Although it was not a legal court hearing, but an informal meeting in the judges chambers, DiBona wound up citing
Phil for contempt and revoking his bail status previously set by the terms of the agreement. Before long the city wa funneling
the entire MOVE dispute through DiBona's courtroom, bypassing other judges not as closely aligned with Rizzo.
hearing on August 2, 1978, DiBona ruled that MOVE had violated the 90-day "deadline" and should have vacated the house. Police
surveillance officers could testify to only actually seeing three members present at the house that morning, yet the city
was so bent on hunting down and framing MOVE members that by the time the hearing was over, DiBona had sentenced attorney
Oscar Gaskins for contempt and signed bench warrants authorizing police to arrest practically every known MOVE adult, including
Robert, Conrad, Jerry, and Sue Africa. These four and most other members were not in the house and couldn't possibly have
violated an order to vacate.
On August 5th, Philadelphia authorities, in collaboration with Virginia police, staged
a midnight raid on the Richmond home of two MOVE women and 14 children. Storming in at gunpoint, they arrested Gail and Rhonda
Africa. The legal justification for these arrests was Gail and Rhonda's failure to leave a house they weren't within a hundred
August 8, 1978 Police Assault
By August of 1978 the government had: 1) Searched MOVE's house
to insure the absence of weapons and explosives, 2) Continued to keep the house under surveillance after the search, 3) Manufactured
the appearance of a legal basis to arrest MOVE, and 4) Kept legal improprieties out of media coverage while making MOVE out
to be the villians with a 90-day deadline myth. Rizzo was now in a position to use his favorite solution to civic conflicts:
Brute force and lots of it.
On Tuesday, August 8th, hundreds of cops in flak jackets and riot helmets surrounded the
33rd Street location at dawn and ordered MOVE to surrender. Police then rolled in specially modified construction vehicles
and tore down the fence and smashed out windows. Just before 7:00 am, MOVE was notified by bullhorn: "Uniformed officers will
enter your house for the purpose of taking each of you into custody. Any resistance or use of force will be met with force."
In the nest hour a total of 45 armed police entered and slowly searched the three story house only to find that MOVE was barricaded
in the basement. Around 8:00 am, firemen pried off the boarded up basement windows and turned on water canons. MOVE adults
were soon wading in rising water with children in their arms in danger of drowning. Suddenly, gunshots rang out and police
throughout the area opened fire. In the short period of sustained fire, Officer James Ramp was fatally wounded. Three other
policemen and several firemen were also hit. (The minutes of a police staff meeting two days later noted one captain's opinion
of "an excessive amount of unnecessary firing on the part of police personnel when there were no targets per se to shoot at."
One of the stake-out officers later admitted under oath that he had emptied his carbine into the very basement from which
he heard screaming women and crying children.) After the gunshots subsided and tear gas was fired in, MOVE adults began carrying
children out of the basement and were immediately arrested by angry cops.
Later in the day, the large crowds that
had gathered in the area were chased down and broken up by police on horseback. Many people were knocked to the ground and
brutally beaten. Others were chased into their very homes and assaulted by police.
Beating of Delbert Africa
police grabbed the twelve adults and eleven children coming out of the basement, MOVE mothers had their babies snatched from
their arms before being handcuffed and taken away. All the adults were mistreated and beaten by arresting officers eager to
vent their rage. One such arrest was captured on film unbeknownst to officers Joseph Zagame, Charles Geist, Terrance Mulvihill
and Lawrence D'Ulisse. As Delbert Africa emerged from a basement window empty-handed with outstretched arms (top of page.
click on pic to return), Zagame, without provoca- tion, smashed him in the face with a police helmet as D'Ulisse connected
with a blow from the butt of a shotgun. Knocked to the ground, Delbert was then dragged by his hair across the street where
the other officers set upon him, savagely kicking him in the head, kidneys and groin.
Initial denials of police brutality
became difficult to maintain after video tapes of the beating were broadcast. Only after the resulting public outcry arose
did the DA's office take any action. A special grand jury was impaneled which eventually handed down indictments. Not until
a few years later were Zagame, Geist and Mulvihill brought to trial on assault charges. On February 3, 1981, just before the
jury was to start deliberating, Judge Stanley Kubacki made a surprising departure from normal pro- cedures and ordered the
jury dismissed and the officers acquit- ted, despite irrefutable photographic evidence that they had indeed beaten Delbert.
Ed Rendell's office never brought charges against Office D'Ulisse, though his identity and participation in the brutality
were well known and documented.
Three months after the aquittal, Geist's wife, Carolyn, who was also a police officer,
shot him during a domestic dispute. He went into a coma and died 8 months later. It was revealed that she had been battered
by her abusive husband on many occasions but the police supervisors she had pleaded to for help had urged her to keep quiet
so as not to expose his sadistic tenden- cies while he was on trial for beating Delbert. (Zagame, D'Ulisse, and Mulvihill
all took part in the 1985 MOVE confrontation, each carrying an automatic weapon and firing it during the course of the day.
Mulvihill committed suicide in May of '89.)
destroying the evidence
Immediately following the August 8th assault,
the standard police version of events was that MOVE fired the first shot. Yet the limited number of civilian eyewitnesses,
mostly reporters, who had been allowed past police barricades had different accounts. Radio reporters Richard Maloney and
Larry Rosen both recalled hearing the first shot come from a house diagonally across the street where they saw an arm holding
apistol out of a second floor window.
Although destroying the evidence of a crime is illegal, police sent in bulldozers
and had the area leveled by noon, destroying the house, the foundations, and the trees in the yard. No efforts were made to
preserve the crime scene, inscribe chalk marks or measure ballistic angles.
With his typical showmanship and bravado,
Rizzo held an afternoon city hall press conference around a prominently displayed table of weapons said to have been removed
from the now demolished house. As to whether or not this was the last Philadelphia would see of MOVE, Rizzostated, "The only
way we're going to end them is - get that death penalty back in, put them in the electric chair and I'll pull the switch."
(Before the years end, Pennsylvania did reinstate the death penalty, but not retroactively.)
Prior to August 8th, at
the request of attorney Oscar Gaskins, Judge Calvin Wilson had issued a temporary restraining order to prevent the house from
being demolished, but City Solicitor Seldon Albert had ignored it. At a preliminary hearing on a motion to dismiss based on
destruction of evidence, MOVE argued that the destruction of the house prevented them from proving that it was impossible
for any MOVE member to have shot Officer Ramp. The Illinois case of Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark was cited,
where the preservation of the crime scene enabled investigators to prove that all the bullet holes in the walls were the result
of police gunfire. Judge Merna Marshal denied MOVE's petition and held them over for trial. (Her health failing, Marshal was
unable to preside to the end of the hearing and died of leukemia December 30, 1979.)
not going to be any peace as long as there are innocent people in prison. We know what we are going to do. The point is, people
have got to die. Not because we want to die - this is the price they are making us pay in order to expose their crimes. Ona
MOVE! Long live John Africa!" MOVE spokesperson, Jerry Africa
Eleven people, including five children, perished in the
blaze. Sixty-one houses burned to the ground. As this article goes to press, for the first time ever the men who ordered a
satchel bomb dropped on the home of MOVE members at 6221 Osage Avenue in Philadelphia, and let the resulting fire burn, are
answering in court for their actions on that infamous day: May 13, 1985. Ramona Africa, the only adult MOVE survivor of the
siege, and relatives of slain MOVE members are now suing the City of Philadelphia for millions in federal court. Wilson Goode,
mayor at the time of the bombing and the city's only black mayor, has been granted immunity from lawsuits in the case by U.S.
District Judge Louis Pollack (who claimed the bombing was reasonable under the circumstances). But Goode's police commissioner,
Gregore Sambor, and his fire commissioner, William Richmond, who were in charge of operations in the field, have been named
as defendants along with the city itself. Court watchers figure the trial will drag on for months, and expect a media circus.
Especially given MOVE's confrontational style, which Ramona Africa demonstrated when Judge Pollack debated curtailing the
amount of time counsel could question potential jurors: "It is an insult to me when you intimate that time is of the essence,"
the former paralegal suddenly told the judge. "I spent seven years in prison, and nobody seemed to care about that time."
to Ramona, now 40, tell what happened after she, along with a nine-year-old boy named Birdie Africa, survived the 1985 bombing:
"They put me in jail, charged me with everything that they did - charged me with possession of explosives, arson, recklessly
endangering other persons, risking a catastrophe, aggravated and simple assault - everything that they did, they charged me
with. I ended up doing seven years in jail. I had a sixteen month to seven year sentence, and when my minimum sentence was
up the parole board interviewed me and told me that they'd be willing to parole me, but only if I agreed to leave MOVE. I
had to agree to not have any contact with any MOVE person, and I was not going to do that. None of my sisters and brothers
did that - every single MOVE person who became eligible for parole was given that same stipulation, and not one of us would
John Henrik Clarke:
Henrik Clarke was born in Union Springs, Alabama on New Years Day, 1915. His family came from a long line of sharecroppers.
They moved to Columbus, Georgia, when he was four years old. He drew a powerful image of the woman who taught him in the fifth
grade in 1925, in Columbus, Ga., Eveline Taylor. Taylor put a halt to his rambunctious play with other children because she
saw something in him. "It's no disgrace to be alone," she said, "It's no disgrace to be right when everybody else thinks you
are wrong. There is nothing wrong with being a thinker.... Your playing days are over."
With that, the teacher helped
set the course of life for the student; for those words would reverberate in him when he later taught the junior Bible class
at a local Baptist church. Clarke noticed that although many bible stories "unfolded in Africa...I saw no African people in
the printed and illustrated Sunday school lessons," he wrote in 1985. "I began to suspect at this early age that someone had
distorted the image of my people. My long search for the true history of African people the world over began."
search took him to libraries, museums, attics, archives and collections in Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America and
What he found was that the history of black people is worldwide; that "the first light of human consciousness
and the world's first civilizations were in Africa"; that the so called Dark Ages were dark only for Europe and that some
African nations at the time were larger than any in Europe; that as Africa sends its children to Europe to study because that
is where the best universities are, early Greece once sent its children to Africa to study because that was where the best
universities were; and that slavery, although devastating was neither the beginning nor the end of Black people's impact on
Clarke gathered his findings into books on such figures as the early 20th century mass movement leader Marcus
Garvey, into articles with titles like "Africa in the Conquest of Spain" and "Harlem as Mecca and New Jerusalem," and many
books including American Heritage's two volume "History of Africa."
And in little churches and big community centers,
Clarke brought his findings to life in talks to black audiences hungry for a history so long lost, stolen or strayed.
love the brother" said Los Angeles resident Margaret Logan, a physical therapist who attended Clarke's book signing party.
"He has all this knowledge to give that we need desperately. He makes you think about the greatness of African people."
he was teaching at Hunter College in New York and at Cornell University in the 1980's, Clarke's lesson plans became well known
for their thoroughness. They are so filled with references and details that the Schomburg Library in Harlem asked for copies.
Clarke plans to provide them, he said, "so that 50 years from now, when people have a hard time locating my grave, they won't
have a hard time locating my lessons."
In 1985, the year of his retirement, the newest branch of the Cornell University
Library- a 60 seat, 9,000 volume facility- was named the "John Henrik Clarke Africana Library."
"History is not everything"
Clarke once wrote, "but it is the starting point. History is a clock that people use to tell their time of day. It is a compass
they use to find themselves on the map of human geography. It tells them where they are, but more importantly, what they must
(by Eric Acree)
The John Henrik Clarke Ancestral Shield
To be dedicated during Black History
Month. Please revisit us for an update.
and invoked by God:
Conceived and commissioned by Dr. Iva E. Carruthers
Created and molded by Mitchell Melson in collaboration
with Osagefo, Timbuctu Art Gallery
Accepted by Dr. John Henrik Clarke, January 1, 1998
Dr. Asa Hilliard and Dr. Na'im Akbar
Affirmed by Dr. Rosalind Jeffries and Dr. Marimba Ani
Presented by Dr. Bettye
Parker Smith, James Dyer and Lillie Hobbs on behalf of the Institute for African Research
Dedicated by Rev. Dr. Charles
G. Adams and Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright
Accepted by Woodruff Library Center, Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia
commemorative piece, created to celebrate the 83rd birthday of our beloved John Henrik Clarke, is a physical representation
of the essence of a life lived in the highest tradition of African culture. It will be gifted to and housed with the John
Henrik Clarke Africana collection at the Woodruff Library, Atlanta University Center. Since time immemorial, the circle has
represented the entity of life that is without beginning or end. As an ancestral shield, 42" in diameter, the foundation use
of wood and metals such as copper, silver, brass and gold represent Dr. Clarke's understanding of the power, which emanates
from responsible use of the natural and simple things. His deep respect for the rich supply of elements drawn from Mother
Earth—African ancestral land—is also symbolized with the inlays of amber, chevron beads and cowrie shills.
Clarke's life work and living has been manifest by a divine calling and quest for truth and justice articulated by influences
in Dr. Clarke's religious and philosophical beliefs. A cross speaks to his early Christian awareness that gave birth to the
classic short story, The Boy Who Painted Christ Black. That Christian symbols co-exist with his discovery of his African spirituality
affirmed by Gye Nyame (none except God) and the Ankh (life eternal). This configuration of religious and philosophical symbolism
is his awareness of God and our god-selves, is completed with the Sankofa giving voice to the trinity and transubstantiation
of life's essence—matter and spirit; theory and practice; life and death. In his quest for knowledge, he returned to
the source, sought and recovered those essential truths to which he committed his gifts and talents as a voice of the African
world people. Thus, the chevron beads, one of the oldest stones of the earth symbolize the talking drum. From the hearts intelligence,
the spirit of God and the voice of Pan Africanism are heard.
The cowrie shells, associated with water and signs of
a prosperous journey, fertility and rites of passage, reminds us of the holocaust The Middle Passage, endured by his ancestors.
Yet, we're still here. We must always remember those who went before us with each and every sunrise and sunset represented
by the amber shield.
As the circles within circles are symbolic of his eternal life, so are they symbolic of history
as the clock of the people. History is spoken in poetry, short story, prose, children's stories and fiction. So from the intelligent
mind and heart of John Henrik Clarke, the amulet placed in the center of the work contains artifacts of a more personal nature:
one of his pencils with which he always wrote, an eraser representing his awareness of his human fallibility, a tie tack and
other personal objects. Beneath one level of metal can be seen a piece of cloth which he wore. The mask and gold weights are
attributes to his claim as an African son, whose voice is heard by children yet to be born.
The spears honor the African
warrior's indomitable spirit to protect and fight for the truth. Baba Clarke waged the battle to regain the full expression
of the African mind—not only within himself, but also within the minds of millions of Africans.
Artist Dr. Iva E. Carruthers
January 1, 1998
KRS 1 THE - TEACHER OF HUMAN EDUCATION AGAINST LIES :
Our great African parents who are among us we humbly offer our thanks
for the many blessings you have given.
We extend our love to its ultimate state of being -
For the suffering that
you have endured so that we may not suffer so.
Mothers of our great African nation Fathers of our African selves -
invoke you to further lead and guide us to a higher understanding
Of our true greatness -
And a more encompassing
dedication of love for our African people.
Parents of all African children;
Guide us toward a greater unity -
us in a stronger African Value System and lead us into the zenith of respect and love for our people, through education and
the "Family Communal Structure"
We swear upon the heritage and legacy that you have left us to uphold and sustain our
rightful status on this earth, and to continue the struggle for the total mental and physical liberation of all African People.
ARIKU BABA WA (Thank You, by the Spirit of Our Ancestors)
'''Lawrence Krisna Parker''', a.k.a. KRS One, is a rapper born in Park Slope, Brooklyn. He ran away from home at
a young age and wound up in the Bronx. KRS is a highly respected figure in the hip hop community and is often referenced in
works by other hip hop artists. On his first solo album, KRS worked together with producers DJ Premier (Gang Starr), Showbiz
and Kid Capri. The catchy yet very hardcore track "Sound of da Police" is featured on this album.
Parker''' (born August 20, 1965), known throughout his career by several monikers including '''Kris Parker''', '''KRS One''',
'''The Blastmaster''' and '''The Teacha''', is a rapper born in Park Slope, Brooklyn. He ran away from home at a young age
and wound up in the Bronx. Young Kris Parker first adopted his most famous pseudonym when writing graffiti (''bombing'') in
his neighbourhood of the Bronx - he would sign his artwork as ''KRIS-One,'' which later became ''KRS-1,'' or ''KRS-ONE''.
Together with DJ Scott La Rock, he formed Boogie Down Productions. Their debut album - ''Criminal Minded'' - contained mainly
dissing records and tracks about crime ("wa da da deng wa da da da deng, listen to my nine millimeter go bang"), based around
James Brown samples and reggae influences. During these years, KRS-One was also famously involved in a rap battle (a ''beef'')
with MC Shan, of Queensbridge. KRS objected to MC Shan calling Queensbridge the home of hip hop, and attacked him viciously
on a seminal battle rap, ''The Bridge Is Over.'' KRS is a highly respected figure in the hip hop community and is often referenced
in works by other hip hop artists.
After many BDP albums and the solo albums, Jive Records decided to drop KRS, and
his 2001 album was released on Koch. In 2002, he released a gospel-rap album, Spiritual Minded, surprising many longtime fans
since he had once criticized Christianity as being a "slavemaster religion" which blacks should not follow. He founded the
Temple of Hip-Hop, and released a new album, Kristyles, in late 2002, as well as a new mixtape of classics and a few new tracks,
KRS-One: The Mixtape. He has most recently released Get Right in the summer of 2004.
In 2004, KRS engendered a controversy
by saying that African-Americans "cheered" when the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks occurred. KRS called the destruction
of the World Trade Center "justice" against the buildings occupants, who he accused of keeping African-Americans out of the
towers because of their style of dress and manner of speech.
Following the fatal shooting of Scott la Rock in
1987, Boogie Down Productions became increasingly political. KRS One was also the mastermind behind the HEAL compilation and
the Stop the Violence Movement that has its own manifesto with the 12" "Self Destruction" featuring many popular rappers.
As Kris Parker adopted this more-conscientious, less-violent approach, he stopped calling himself ''The Blastmaster'' (his
battle rap nickname), and instead began calling himself ''The Teacha,'' turning the nickname KRS-ONE into an acronym (''Knowledge
Reigns Supreme - Over Nearly Everybody'').
On his first solo album, KRS worked together with producers DJ Premier (Gang
Starr), Showbiz and Kid Capri. The catchy yet very hardcore track "Sound of da Police" is featured on this album. His second
album, ''KRS One'' featured Channel Live on the track "Free Mumia" as well as Mad Lion, Busta Rhymes, Das EFX and Fat Joe.
Sursprisingly enough, 1997's "I Got Next" included a remix of the new hit "Step into a World" (with a sample from Blondie's
"Rapture") by commercial rap icon Puff Daddy. "Hearbeat", featuring Angie Martinez and Redman, was based on the old school
classic "Feel the Heartbeat" by the Treacherous Three.
* ''Criminal Minded'' (1987)
All Means Necessary'' (1988)
* ''Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip Hop'' (1989)
* ''Edutainment'' (1990)
Hardcore Worldwide'' (1991)
* ''Sex and Violence'' (1992)
* ''Return of the Boom Bap'' (1993)
* ''KRS One'' (1995)
''I Got Next'' (1997)
* ''The Sneak Attack'' (2001)
* ''Spiritual Minded'' (2002)
* ''Kristyles'' (2003)
The Mixtape'' (2003)
* ''The Kristyle (Reissued on new label with new songs) ["To have everything, keep radiating in spirit
through your love everday."]'' (2003)
* ''Digital'' (2004)
* ''Keep Right'' (2004)
"Radio Song" by R.E.M. from ''Out of Time (album)|Out of Time'' (1991)
* "The Jam" by Shabba Ranks (1991)
by Queen Latifah on ''Black Reign'' (1993)
* "East Coast-West Coast Killas" by Dr. Dre from ''Dr. Dre Presents...The Aftermath''
* "C.I.A. (Criminals In Action)" Zack De La Rocha, KRS-One, The Last Emperor on Lyricist Lounge Vol. 1 (1999)
"Return of Hip Hop" by DJ Tomekk on ''The Return of Hip Hop'' (2001)
Cameos and Roles in Movies
Gonna Git You Sucka" (1988) - KRS One and BDP walk behind Jack Spade performing his theme music
* "Who's the Man?" (1993)
* "SUBWAYstories: Tales from the Underground" (1997) - Vendor
* "Rhyme & Reason" (1997) - Himself
"Boricua's Bond" (2000) - ?
* "2Pac 4 Ever" (2003) - Narrator
* "Beef" (2003) - Himself
* "Hip-Hop Babylon 2" (2003)
* "Soundz of Spirit" (2003) - ?
* "Beef 2" (2004) - Himself
* "And You Don't Stop: 30 Years of Hip-Hop"
(2004) - Himself
* "Hip-Hop Honors" (2004) - Himself
* "Keep Right (Or your gonna get left) DVD" (2004) - Himself
(born Kris Parker) was the leader of Boogie Down Productions, one of the most influential hardcore hip-hop outfits of the
'80s. At the height of his career -- roughly 1987-1990 -- KRS-One was known for his furiously political and socially conscious
raps, which is the source of his nickname, "The Teacher." Around the time of 1990's Edutainment, BDP's audience began to slip
as many fans thought his raps were becoming preachy. As a reaction, KRS-One began to re-establish his street credibility with
harder, sparer beats and raps. BDP's 1992's Sex and Violence was the first sign that he was taking a harder approach, one
that wasn't nearly as concerned with teaching. KRS-One's first solo album, 1993's Return of the Boom Bap, was an extension
of the more direct approach of Sex and Violence, yet it didn't halt his commercial decline. Still, he forged on with a high-quality
self-titled 1995 effort and 1996's Battle for Rap Supremacy, a joint effort with his old rival MC Shan. After 1997's I Got
Next, he put his solo career on hiatus for several years, finally returning in early 2001 with The Sneak Attack. The following
year brought two full releases: the gospel effort Spiritually Minded and The Mix Tape, the latter including a single ("Ova
Here") that stood as a response to Nellie, only the latest hip-hop figure to feud with the Blastmaster. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine,
All Music Guide
William Griffin (born January 28, 1968), better known as "Rakim", is a legendary New York MC.He is widely regarded as the
greatest MC ever. Rakim was born in Wyandanch, Long Island, which is in Suffolk County. During the 1980s, Eric B. and Rakim
released a number of very influental songs to the hip hop scene. Their most famous is probably "Paid in Full", which has become
a hip hop classic. It has been remixed by the British DJ collective Coldcut, sampled by Tupac's song "Hit 'Em Up", and covered
by Snoop Dogg during a party scene in the Will Ferrell movie Old School. Another of Eric B. & Rakim's hits from this era
is "Microphone Fiend"; which Rage Against the Machine covered many years later.
Although he never became a
household name, Rakim is near-universally acknowledged as one of the greatest MCs -- perhaps the greatest -- of all time within
the hip-hop community. It isn't necessarily the substance of what he says that's helped him win numerous polls among rap fans
in the know; the majority of his lyrics concern his own skills and his Islamic faith. But in terms of how he says it, Rakim
is virtually unparalleled. His flow is smooth and liquid, inflected with jazz rhythms and carried off with an effortless cool
that makes it sound as though he's not even breaking a sweat. He raised the bar for MC technique higher than it had ever been,
helping to pioneer the use of internal rhymes -- i.e., rhymes that occurred in the middle of lines, rather than just at the
end. Where many MCs of the time developed their technique through improvisational battles, Rakim was among the first to demonstrate
the possibilities of sitting down and writing intricately crafted lyrics packed with clever word choices and metaphors (of
course, he also had the delivery to articulate them). Even after his innovations were worshipfully absorbed and expanded upon
by countless MCs who followed, Rakim's early work still sounds startlingly fresh, and his comeback recordings (beginning in
the late '90s) only added to his legend.
Rakim was born William Griffin, Jr. on January 28, 1968, in the Long
Island suburb of Wyandanch. The nephew of '50s R&B legend Ruth Brown, Griffin was surrounded by music from day one, and
was interested in rap almost from its inception. At age 16, he converted to Islam, adopting the Muslim name Rakim Allah. In
1985, he met Queens DJ Eric B., whose intricately constructed soundscapes made an excellent match for Rakim's more cerebral
presence on the mic. With the release of their debut single, "Eric B. Is President," in 1986, Eric B. & Rakim became a
sensation in the hip-hop community, and their reputation kept growing as they issued classic tracks like "I Ain't No Joke"
and "Paid in Full." Their first two full-length albums, 1987's Paid in Full and 1988's Follow the Leader, are still regarded
as all-time hip-hop classics; Rakim's work set out a blueprint for other, similarly progressive-minded MCs to follow, and
helped ensure that even after the rise of other fertile scenes around the country, East Coast rap would maintain a reputation
as the center of innovative lyrical technique. The last two Eric B. & Rakim albums, 1990's Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em and
1992's Don't Sweat the Technique, weren't quite as consistent as their predecessors, but still had plenty of fine moments.
their legacy stopped at four albums. Both Eric B. and Rakim expressed interest in recording solo albums to one another, but
the former, fearful of being abandoned by his partner when their contract was up, refused to sign the release. That led to
their breakup in 1992, and Rakim spent a substantial amount of time in the courts, handling the legal fallout between himself,
his ex-partner, and their ex-label, MCA. His only solo output for a number of years was the track "Heat It Up," featured on
the 1993 soundtrack to the Mario Van Peebles film Gunmen. Moreover, a reshuffling at MCA effectively shut down production
on Rakim's solo debut, after he'd recorded some preliminary demos. Finally, Rakim got a new contract with Universal, and toward
the end of 1997 he released his first solo record, The 18th Letter (early editions contained the bonus disc Book of Life,
a fine Eric B. & Rakim retrospective). Anticipation for The 18th Letter turned out to be surprisingly high, especially
for a veteran rapper whose roots extended so far back into hip-hop history; yet thanks to Rakim's legendary reputation, it
entered the album charts at number four, and received mostly complimentary reviews. His follow-up, The Master, was released
in 1999 and failed to duplicate its predecessor's commercial success, barely debuting in the Top 75. Moreover, while The Master
received positive reviews in some quarters, others seemed disappointed that Rakim's comeback material wasn't reinventing the
wheel the way his early work had, and bemoaned the lack of unity among his array of different producers. Seeking to rectify
the latter situation, Rakim signed with Dr. Dre's Aftermath label in 2001, and the two began recording a new album early the
next year, to be titled Oh My God. In the meantime, to help heighten anticipation for the summit between two legends, Rakim
guested on the single "Addictive" by female R&B singer and Aftermath labelmate Truth Hurts; "Addictive" hit the Top Ten
in the summer of 2002, marking the first time Rakim had visited that territory since he and Eric B. appeared on Jody Watley's
"Friends" in 1989. ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide
|Booker T Washington
One of a handful of musicians who can be said to have
permanently changed jazz, Charlie Parker was arguably the greatest saxophonist of all time. He could play remarkably
lines that, if slowed down to half speed, would reveal that every note made sense. "Bird," along with his contemporaries Dizzy
Gillespie and Bud Powell, is considered a founder of bebop; in reality he was an intuitive player who simply was expressing
himself. Rather than basing his improvisations closely on the melody as was done in swing, he was a master of chordal improvising,
creating new melodies that were based on the structure of a song. In fact, Bird wrote several future standards (such as "Anthropology,"
"Ornithology," "Scrapple From the Apple," and "Ko Ko," along with such blues numbers as "Now's the Time" and "Parker's Mood")
that "borrowed" and modernized the chord structures of older tunes. Parker's remarkable technique, fairly original sound,
and ability to come up with harmonically advanced phrases that could be both logical and whimsical were highly influential.
By 1950, it was impossible to play "modern jazz" with credibility without closely studying Charlie Parker.
Kansas City, KS, Charlie Parker grew up in Kansas City, MO. He first played baritone horn before switching to alto. Parker
was so enamored of the rich Kansas City music scene that he dropped out of school when he was 14, even though his musicianship
at that point was questionable (with his ideas coming out faster than his fingers could play them). After a few humiliations
at jam sessions, Bird worked hard woodshedding over one summer, building up his technique and mastery of the fundamentals.
By 1937, when he first joined Jay McShann's Orchestra, he was already a long way toward becoming a major player.
Parker, who was early on influenced by Lester Young and the sound of Buster Smith, visited New York for the first time in
1939, working as a dishwasher at one point so he could hear Art Tatum play on a nightly basis. He made his recording debut
with Jay McShann in 1940, creating remarkable solos with a small group from McShann's orchestra on "Lady Be Good" and "Honeysuckle
Rose." When the McShann big band arrived in New York in 1941, Parker had short solos on a few of their studio blues records,
and his broadcasts with the orchestra greatly impressed (and sometimes scared) other musicians who had never heard his ideas
before. Parker, who had met and jammed with Dizzy Gillespie for the first time in 1940, had a short stint with Noble Sissle's
band in 1942, played tenor with Earl Hines' sadly unrecorded bop band of 1943, and spent a few months in 1944 with Billy Eckstine's
orchestra, leaving before that group made their first records. Gillespie was also in the Hines and Eckstine big bands, and
the duo became a team starting in late 1944.
Although Charlie Parker recorded with Tiny Grimes' combo in 1944, it was
his collaborations with Dizzy Gillespie in 1945 that startled the jazz world. To hear the two virtuosos play rapid unisons
on such new songs as "Groovin' High," "Dizzy Atmosphere," "Shaw 'Nuff," "Salt Peanuts," and "Hot House," and then launch into
fiery and unpredictable solos could be an upsetting experience for listeners much more familiar with Glenn Miller and Benny
Goodman. Although the new music was evolutionary rather than revolutionary, the recording strike of 1943-1944 resulted in
bebop arriving fully formed on records, seemingly out of nowhere.
Unfortunately, Charlie Parker was a heroin addict
ever since he was a teenager, and some other musicians who idolized Bird foolishly took up drugs in the hope that it would
elevate their playing to his level. When Gillespie and Parker (known as "Diz & Bird") traveled to Los Angeles and were
met with a mixture of hostility and indifference (except by younger musicians who listened closely), they decided to return
to New York. Impulsively, Parker cashed in his ticket, ended up staying in L.A., and, after some recordings and performances
(including a classic version of "Lady Be Good" with Jazz at the Philharmonic), the lack of drugs (which he combated by drinking
an excess of liquor) resulted in a mental breakdown and six months of confinement at the Camarillo State Hospital. Released
in January 1947, Parker soon headed back to New York and engaged in some of the most rewarding playing of his career, leading
a quintet that included Miles Davis, Duke Jordan, Tommy Potter, and Max Roach. Parker, who recorded simultaneously for the
Savoy and Dial labels, was in peak form during the 1947-1951 period, visiting Europe in 1949 and 1950, and realizing a lifelong
dream to record with strings starting in 1949 when he switched to Norman Granz's Verve label.
But Charlie Parker, due
to his drug addiction and chance-taking personality, enjoyed playing with fire too much. In 1951, his cabaret license was
revoked in New York (making it difficult for him to play in clubs) and he became increasingly unreliable. Although he could
still play at his best when he was inspired (such as at the 1953 Massey Hall concert with Gillespie), Bird was heading downhill.
In 1954, he twice attempted suicide before spending time in Bellevue. His health, shaken by a very full if brief life of excesses,
gradually declined, and when he died in March 1955 at the age of 34, he could have passed for 64.
Charlie Parker, who
was a legendary figure during his lifetime, has if anything grown in stature since his death. Virtually all of his studio
recordings are available on CD along with a countless number of radio broadcasts and club appearances. Clint Eastwood put
together a well-intentioned if simplified movie about aspects of his life (Bird). Parker's influence, after the rise of John
Coltrane, has become more indirect than direct, but jazz would sound a great deal different if Charlie Parker had not existed.
The phrase "Bird Lives" (which was scrawled as graffiti after his death) is still very true. ~ Scott Yanow,
Alexander Miles of Duluth:
Minnesota patented an electric elevator (U.S. pat..371,207) on October 11, 1887 (see patent below). Alexander Miles did
not invent the first elevator, however, his design was very important. Alexander Miles improved the method of the opening
and closing of elevator doors; and he improved the closing of the opening to the elevator shaft when an elevator was not on
that floor. Alexander Miles created an automatic mechanism that closed access to the shaft. At that time elevator patrons
or operators were often required to manually shut a door to cutoff access to the elevator shaft. People would forget to close
the shaft door and as a result there were accidents with people falling down the elevator shafts.
Other Things Invented By Blacks:
Refining of coconut oil.
July 27, 1980
A. B. Blackburn
Spring seat for chairs. Patent.. 380,420
April 3, 1888
Casket-Lowering Device. Patent.. 529,311
November 13, 1894
Churn. Patent .. 466,470
February 17, 1891
A.E. Long and A.A. Jones--
Caps For Bottles And Jars
Anna M. Mangin
March 1, 1892
Alexander P. Ashbourne
Elevator and also safety device for elevators. Patent No. 371,207
Alfred L. Cralle
Ice Cream Scooper. Patent .. 576,395
Automatic Car Coupling Device
B. F. Cargill
Invalid cot. Patent.. 629,658
July 25, 1899
Clock, Prints for Wash. DC 1st Almanac
Bessie V. Griffin
Fire Escape Bracket. Patent .. 596,427
December 28, 1897
C. W. Allen
Self Leveling table. Patent .. 613,436
November 1, 1898
Portable Fire Escape. Patent .. 440,322
November 11, 1890
Cattle Roping Apparatus
Dr. Charles Drew
Invented Blood Banks And Established Them Around The World
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams
Performed First Open Heart Surgery
Elbert R. Robinson
Electric Railway Trolley
Automatic Lubrication System (For Railroad And Heavy Machinery) 1892
July 2, 1872
Package-Park (Solves Package Delivery Dilemma)
Ticket Dispensing Machine. Patent .. 2163754
June 27, 1939
Starter Generator. Patent .. 2475842
July 12, 1949
Two-Cycle gasoline Engine. Patent .. 2523273
November 28, 1950
Air Condition. Patent .. 2475841
July 12, 1949
Portable X-Ray Machine
Cultivator and Marker. Patent .. 517,961
April 10, 1894
Combined Furrow Opener and Stalk-Knocker. Patent .. 517,960
April 10, 1894
Fertilizer Distributor. Patent.. 520,889
June 5, 1894
Cotton Chopper. Patent .. 520,888
June 5, 1894
Planter. Patent .. 520,887
June 5, 1894
G. F. Grant
Golf Tee. Patent .. 638,920
December 12, 1899
Garret A. Morgan
Gas Mask (Saved Many Lives During WWI)
Fabrication of spectrometer. Patent .. 4,618,380
October 21, 1986
George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver
300 products from peanuts, 118 products from
the sweet potato and 75 from the pecan.
Garret A. Morgan
Automatic Traffic Signal
Gertrude E. Downing and William Desjardin
Corner Cleaner Attachment.
Patent .. 3,715,772
February 13, 1973
Telephone (His Telephone Was Far Superior To Alexander Graham Bell's)
Multiplex Telegraph System (Allowed Messages To Be Sent And Received From
Railway Air Brakes (The First Safe Method Of Stopping Trains) 1903
Third Rail (Subway)
Razor Stropping Device. Patent .. 554,867
February 18, 1896
Window Ventilator for Railroad Cars.
April 3, 1883
Mechanical Seed Planter
Mechanical Corn Harvester
Patented an Improved Fish Hook. He sold it later for $625.
July 6th, 1971
Issac R. Johnson
J. A. Joyce
Ore Bucket. Patent .. 603,143
April 26, 1898
Patented the Gridiron
March 3, 1845
Fire Escape Ladder
J. H. Hunter
Portable Weighing Scales. Patent .. 570,533
November 3, 1896
J. H. Robinson
Lifesaving guards for Street Cars. Patent.. 623,929
April 25, 1899
Dinner Pail. Patent.. 356,852
February 1, 1887
J. W. Reed
Dough Kneader and Roller. Patents.. 304,552
September 2, 1884
Bailing Press. Patent .. 632,539
Sept 05, 1899
Convertible Sette (A Large Sofa)
Pencil Sharpener. Patent .. 594,114
23 November 1897
Lawn Sprinkler. Patent .. 581,785
May 4, 1897
James S. Adams
Automatic Shoe Making Machine
John A. Johnson
"Parker Pulverizer" Follower-Screw for Tobacco Presses. Patent.. 304,552
September 2, 1884
Refrigerator. Patent.. 304,552
Supercharge System for Internal Combustion Engine
Joseph N. Jackson
Programmable Remote Control
Locomotive smoke stack. Patent.. 115,153
May 23, 1871
L. F. Brown
Bridle bit. Patent .. 484,994
October 25, 1892
L.S. Burridge And N.R. Marsham
Lewis Howard Latimer
Light Bulb Filament
Toggle Harpoon (Revolutionized The Whaling Industry)
Lloyd A. Hall
Chemical compound to preserve meat
Lloyd P. Ray
Wood Toys. Patent .. 2,529,692
November 14, 1950
Lydia O. Newman
Madam. C. Walker
Hair Care Products
Permanent hair wave machine. Patent .. 1693515
November 27, 1928
Madeline M. Turner
The Fruit Press
Marie V. Brittan Brown
Security System. Patent .. 3,482,037
December 2, 1969
Discovered compound in canibis to cure glaucoma.
Sugar Refining System
Rail Tresle. Patent.. 390,753
October 9, 1888
O. E. Brown
Small Pox Inoculation (He Brought This Method From Africa Where Advance
Medical Practices Were In Use
Long Before Europeans Had Any Medical
Otis F. Boykin
Wire Type Precision Resistor.
Patent .. U.S. 2,891,227
June 16, 1959
Paul E Williams
Machine for Cleaning Seed Cotton
Letter Drop Mailbox. Patent .. 462,096
October 27, 1891
Accurate Weather Forecasting
Improved Petroleum Recovery
World's Fastest Computer
Train alarm. Patent ..157,370
June 15, 1897
Automatic Gear Shift
Robert Flemming Jr.
March 3, 1886
S. H. Love
Improvement to military guns. Patent .. 1301143.
22 April 1919
S. H. Love
Improve Vending Machine. Patent .. 1936515
November 21, 1933
Sara E. Goode
Rufus Stokes Patent ..3,378,241
April 16, 1968
April 26, 1892
T. J. Byrd
Rail car coupling . Patent.. 157,370
December 1, 1874
Patented the Fire Extinguisher
March 26, 1872
Thomas W. Stewart
Virgie M. Ammons
Fireplace Damper Actuating Tool. Patent .. 3,908,633
September 30, 1975
W. A. Lovette
The Advance Printing Press
W. F. Burr
Railway Switching device . Patent .. 636,197
W. H. Ballow
Combined hatrack and table. Patent .. 601,422
March 29, 1898
Self-setting animal trap. Patent.. 246,369
August 30, 1881
The Fountain Pen Patent.. 419,065
October 6, 1895
Curtain Rod Support
Postmarking and Canceling machine
Attachment for shuttle arm; device used to capture satellites
Queen Mother Audley E. Moore:
In Honor Of A Warrior Woman
n December 6 and 7,
1991, the Department of Pan-African Studies at Kent State University dedicated the entire third floor of the Center of Pan-African
Culture to Queen Mother Audley E. Moore, a "Warrior Women," born on July 27, 1898, who devoted her life to active struggle
on behalf of all people of African descent. She was honored for having organized on many fronts, from the great influenza
epidemic of 1918 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where she worked as a volunteer nurse, to the United Nations, where she presented
petitions in the 1950s charging genocide and demanding reparations to descendants of former slaves.
She was born as
Audley to Ella and St. Cry Moore on July 27, 1898 in New Iberia, Louisiana. Her grandmother, Nora Henry, was born into slavery,
the daughter of an African woman who was raped by her slave master who was a doctor. Her grandfather was lynched before his
wife's eyes leaving Nora Henry with five orphaned children of whom Ella Johnson — mother of Queen Mother Moore —
was the youngest. Ella died in 1904.
Queen Mother Moore completed only the third grade of her formal education. Her
struggles began at the tender age of twelve fighting the advances of white men in the South . . . Queen Mother has been struggling
for seventy-seven years for the human and civil rights of all African people throughout the world which makes her our warrior
queen and a living legend. At the grand old age of ninety-eight, she continues to make her home in Harlem.
her efforts — to help our struggle to take us towards self-determination, acquisition of our inheritance in Africa and
our just claim for reparations from the United States government — are documented below:
The founder and president
of the Universal Association of Ethiopian Women, she is a life member of both the Universal Negro Improvement Association
and the National Moorish Council of Negro Women. She joined Marcus Mosiah Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association
and African Communities League (UNIA) while living in Louisiana. She participated in Garvey's first international convention
in New York City, owned stock in the Black Star Line, and came to New York when the UNIA launched the Black Star Line's first
She is President-General, World Federation of African People, Inc. She is founder and president of the Universal
Association of Ethiopian Women, Inc. which led a successful fight to restore 23,000 families to the welfare rolls after they
had been ruthlessly cut off by Louisiana authorities. She is the founder of the Committee for Reparations for Descendants
of U.S. Slaves. She is a founding member of the Republic of New Africa to fight for self-determination, land, and reparations.
She is founder of Mt. Addis Ababa, Inc., envisioned as a facility to totally embrace the cultural, educational, and industrial
needs of her people. Through Mr. Roscoe Bradley, her executive vice president, this organization, located at Mt. Addis Ababa,
Box 244, Parksville, NY 12768, taught hundreds of children African music, dance, and culture.
She is Bishop of the
Apostolic Orthodox Church of Judea. She is a founding member of the Commission to Eliminate Racism, Council of Churches of
Greater New York. In organizing this commission, she staged a twenty-four-hour sit-in for three weeks. She is a founder of
the African American Cultural Foundation, Inc., which led the fight against usage of the slave term "Negro."
the Republican Party, found them racist, left and joined the Communist Party to fight the Scottsboro Boys' imprisonment. She
led the fight to end Jim Crow in big league baseball. She organized the community with Captain Hugh Mulzac as chairman and
the Reverend Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. as co-chairman. Later realizing the fallacy in this, she apologized to her people. She
resigned from the Communist Party in disillusionment after they changed their position on self-determination in the South's
She led protests against the Apollo Theatre for showing racist shows and led protests against the Alhambra
Theatre for showing a white man as Hannibal. She helped organize CIO unions and the Work Progress Administration. She forced
the WPA to employ black women on sewing projects who were previously relegated to domestic work. She also tried to organize
a domestic workers union. She was arrested three times during her struggle-first for defending the rights of our children
to use the public Colonial Park pool without bringing along their birth certificates; another time for defending a peddler
from arrest for selling tomatoes to support his seven little children; the third time for trying to register people to vote
in Green County, New York.
She led the fight with Assemblyman William Andrews, the Reverend Ethelring Brown, and Ludlow
Werner to get a congressional district in Harlem in the 1930s. She helped to organize the Maritime Union under Ferdinand Smith.
She also led the fight to break Jim Crow policy in the Coast Guard and became the first black stewardess to be hired. She
helped stranded seamen in London and held a mass meeting in 1946 in a hotel lobby in London for the management's refusal of
accommodations due to racism. She campaigned for medical aid and funds for Ethiopia after the Italians attacked. She organized
500 nurses to sterilize sheets which were collected from laundries for bandages for the wounded Ethiopian soldiers.
investigated the condition of our little girls, ages twelve to fourteen, who gave birth while in a mental institution in Louisiana.
The girls had been raped by their white male attendants. She was encouraged by Dr. A.L. Reddick and Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune,
both of whom were eminent educators, to take to public speaking in defense of her people's liberty. Before this she only spoke
at street meetings from a box or a ladder on the corner of 125th Street and 7th Avenue. She organized the first rent strike
on Sugar Hill in 1930 and restored tenants to their apartments after having been evicted. She supported the Mau Mau rebellion
in Kenya and took a delegation to the British Embassy to protest the ultimatum given to the Mau Mau to surrender or be annihilated.
fought to save from execution the Martinville Seven and helped to organize street meetings and demonstrations. She helped
to free Mae Mallory imprisoned for defending herself from an attack of the KKK in Monroe, North Carolina. She presented a
petition to the United Nations in 1957 for self-determination and against genocide. She presented a second petition in 1959
to the United Nations for land and reparations. She toured throughout the country by car in 1962 begging gas from gas station
to gas station to alarm our people to prepare for our Emancipation Proclamation Centennial by presenting a judicial document
for reparations and self-determination proclaiming us a non-self-governing nation.
She organized a soup kitchen in Harlem
for African students after learning two students had died from malnutrition after they received their Ph.D. She also helped
to organize Africa House in New York City with Mrs. Mattie Hunter for African students. She participated in the North American
Regional Planning Conference (held at Kent State University in 1973) leading up to the Sixth Pan-African Congress. In 1974,
she attended this international Congress in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. This Congress was the first ever international meeting
of African people held on the soil of Mother Africa. She, at the request of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, became a life member
of the National Council of Negro Women. She is the founder and president of the Harriet Tubman Association. She helped to
organize the Unemployed Councils when millions were on the brink of starvation. She presented a demand for reparations to
President Kennedy which caused him to say: "Ask not what this country can do for you, but what you can do for it."
earlier, the above represents only "some" of the activities in which Queen Mother Moore has been involved for the past seventy
or more years. We are, therefore, very much honored to have her in our presence and to take time out to honor this great African
Unfortunately, Queen Mother Audley E. Moore, a life-long "Warrior Woman," died on May 2, 1997, at the
age of 99. We will miss her. May she rest in eternal peace.
Mary McLeod Bethune:
Medal of Honor and Merit, 1949.
Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955), an African American teacher, was
one of the great educators of the United States. She was a leader of women, a distinguished adviser to several American presidents,
and a powerful champion of racial equality.
Mary McLeod was born in Mayesville, S.C. Her parents, Samuel and Patsy
McLeod, were former slaves; Mary was the fifteenth of 17 children. She helped her parents on the family farm and first entered
a Presbyterian mission school when she was 11 years old. Later she attended Scotia Seminary, a school for African American
girls in Concord, N.C., on a scholarship. She graduated in 1893; there she had met some of the people with whom she would
Though she had a serious turn of mind, it did not prevent her from being a lively dancer and developing
a lasting fondness for music. Dynamic and alert, she was very popular and the acknowledged leader of her classmates. After
graduating from Scotia Seminary, she attended the Moody Bible Institute.
Career as an Educator
from Moody Institute, she wished to become a missionary in Africa; however, she was unable to pursue this end. She was an
instructor at the Presbyterian Mission School in Mayesville in 1896 and later an instructor at Haines Institute in Augusta,
Ga., in 1896-1897. While she was an instructor at Kindell Institute in Sumpter, S.C., in 1897-1898, she met Albertus Bethune,
whom she later married.
Bethune began her career as an educator in earnest when she rented a two-story frame building
in Daytona Beach, Fla., and began the difficult task of establishing a school for African American girls. Her school opened
in October 1904, with six pupils, five girls and her own son; there was no equipment; crates were used for desks and charcoal
took the place of pencils; and ink came from crushed elderberries. Thus began the Daytona Literary and Industrial School for
Training Negro Girls, in an era when most African American children received little or no education.
At first Bethune
was teacher, administrator, comptroller, and custodian. Later she was able to secure a staff, many of whom worked loyally
for many years. To finance and expand the school, Bethune and her pupils baked pies and made ice cream to sell to nearby construction
gangs. In addition to her regular classes, Bethune organized classes for the children of turpentine workers. In these ways
she satisfied her desire to serve as a missionary.
As the school at Daytona progressed, it became necessary to secure
an adequate financial base. Bethune began to seek financial aid in earnest. In 1912 she interested James M. Gamble of the
Proctor and Gamble Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, who contributed financially to the school and served as chairman of its board
of trustees until his death.
In 1923 Bethune's school for girls merged with Cookman Institute of Jacksonville, Fla.,
a school for boys, and the new coeducational school became known as Bethune-Cookman Collegiate Institute, soon renamed Bethune-Cookman
College. Bethune served as president of the college until her retirement as president emeritus in 1942. She remained a trustee
of the college to the end of her life. By 1955 the college had a faculty of 100 and a student enrollment of over 1,000.
Bethune's business activities were confined to the Central Life Insurance Company of Tampa, Fla., of which
she was president for several years; the Afro-American Life Insurance Company of Jacksonville, which she served as director;
and the Bethune-Volusia Beach Corporation, a recreation area and housing development she founded in 1940. In addition, she
wrote numerous magazine and newspaper articles and contributed chapters to several books. In 1932 she founded and organized
the National Council of Negro Women and became its president; by 1955 this organization had a membership of 800,000.
gained national recognition in 1936, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her director of African American affairs
in the National Youth Administration and a special adviser on minority affairs. She served for 8 years and supervised the
expansion of employment opportunities and recreational facilities for African American youth throughout the United States.
She also served as special assistant to the secretary of war during World War II. In the course of her government assignments
she became a close friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. During her long career Bethune received many honorary degrees and awards,
including the Haitian Medal of Honor and Merit (1949), the highest award of the Haitian government.
Bethune died in
Daytona Beach on May 18, 1955, of a heart attack. She was buried on the campus of Bethune-Cookman College.
best biography of Mrs. Bethune is Rackham Holt, Mary McLeod Bethune (1964). See also Catherine Owens Peare, Mary McLeod Bethune
(1951), and Emma Gelders Sterne, Mary McLeod Bethune (1957). Edwin R. Embree, 13 Against the Odds (1944), includes a chapter
on Mrs. Bethune. Shorter accounts of her are in Russell L. Adams, Great Negroes: Past and Present (1963; 3d ed. 1969), and
in Walter Christmas, ed., Negroes in Public Affairs and Government, vol. 1 (1966). Background studies include John Hope Franklin,
From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans (1947; 3d rev. ed. 1967), and Bernard Sternsher, ed., The Negro in Depression
and War: Prelude to Revolution, 1930-1945 (1969), which contains a selection by Bethune.
Martin Robinson Delany:
African American intellectual Martin Robinson Delany (1812-1885),
a journalist, physician, army officer, politician, and judge, is best known for his promotion before the Civil War of a national
home in Africa for African Americans.
Martin Delany was born free in Charlestown, Virginia, on May 6, 1812. His parents
traced their ancestry to West African royalty. In 1822 the family moved to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, to find a better racial
climate, and at the age of 19 Martin attended an African American school in Pittsburgh. He married Kate Richards there in
1843; they had 11 children.
In 1843 Delany founded one of the earliest African American newspapers, the Mystery, devoted
particularly to the abolition of slavery. Proud of his African ancestry, Delany advocated unrestricted equality for African
Americans, and he participated in conventions to protest slavery. Frederick Douglass, the leading African American abolitionist,
made him coeditor of his newspaper, the North Star, in 1847. But Delany left in 1849 to study medicine at Harvard.
the age of 40 Delany began the practice of medicine, which he would continue on and off for the rest of his life. But with
the publication of his book The Condition, Elevation, Emigration, and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States,
Politically Considered (1852; reprinted, 1968), he began to agitate for a separate nation, trying to get African Americans
to settle outside the United States, possibly in Africa, but more probably in Canada or Latin America. In 1854 he led a National
Emigration Convention. For a time he lived in Ontario. Despite his bitter opposition to the American Colonization Society
and its colony, Liberia, Delany kept open the possibility of settling elsewhere in Africa. His 1859-1860 visit to the country
of the Yorubas (now part of Nigeria) to negotiate with local kings for settling African Americans there is summarized in The
Official Report of the Niger Valley Exploring Party (1861; reprinted, 1969).
When Delany returned to the United States,
however, the Civil War was in progress and prospects of freedom for African Americans were brighter. He got President Abraham
Lincoln to appoint him as a major in the infantry in charge of recruiting all-African American Union units.
war Delany went to South Carolina to participate in the Reconstruction. In the Freedmen's Bureau and as a Republican politician,
he was influential among the state's population, regardless of race. In 1874 he narrowly missed election as lieutenant governor.
In 1876, as the Republicans began losing control of the state, Delany switched to the conservative Democrats. Newly elected
governor Wade Hampton rewarded him with an important judgeship in Charleston. As a judge, Delany won the respect of people
of all races. In 1878 he helped sponsor the Liberian Exodus Joint Stock Steamship Company, which sent one ill-fated emigration
ship to Africa. The next year his The Principia of Ethnology argued for pride and purity of the races and for Africa's self-regeneration.
his political base collapsed in 1879, Delany returned to practicing medicine and later became a businessman in Boston. He
died on January 24, 1885.
A recent biography of Delany is Victor Ullman, Martin R. Delany: The Beginnings
of Black Nationalism (1971). A contemporary account is Frank A. Rollin, Life and Public Services of Martin R. Delany (1868;
repr. 1969). William J. Simmons, Men of Mark (1968), includes a biographical sketch. For the significance of Delany's black
nationalist thought before the Civil War see Howard H. Bell, A Survey of the Negro Convention Movement 1830-1861 (1970).
Timothy Thomas Fortune:
Timothy Thomas Fortune (b. October 3, 1856; d. June 2, 1928) was an Orator,
Civil Rights leader, journalist, writer, editor and publisher. He was born during slavery in Marianna, Jackson County, Florida
to Emanuel and Sarah Jane Fortune.
Fortune started his education at Marianna's first school for
African Americans after the civil war. He worked both as a page in the state senate and apprenticed as printer at a Jacksonville
newspaper during the time that his father, Emanuel, was a Reconstruction politician in Florida. At one time he also worked
at the Marianna Courier and later the Jacksonville Daily-Times Union. These experiences would be the start of a career wherein
he would go on to have his work published in over twenty books and articles and in more than three hundred editorials.
he was mostly self-taught, in 1875 Fortune enrolled in Howard University to study law. He changed to journalism after two
semesters before leaving school altogether to begin work, in 1876, at the People's Advocate, a newspaper in Washington, D.C.
New York Journalist
When Fortune moved to New York City in 1881 and began a process whereby
over the next two decades he would become known as editor and owner of a newspaper named first the Globe, then the Freeman,
and finally the New York Age.
Upon arrival in New York Fortune began working as a printer. He became part owner of
various publications, ultimately founding the New York Freeman in 1884. That same year he published a book "Black and white;
land, labor, and politics in the South." Four years later The Freeman took the new name of "The New York Age" and set out
to become "The Afro-American Journal of News and Opinion".
In Chicago on January 25, 1890 Fortune co-founded the militant
National Afro-American League to right wrongs against African Americans authorized by law and sanctioned or tolerated by public
opinion. The league fell apart after four years. When it was revived in Rochester, New York on September 15, 1898, it had
the new name of the "National Afro-American Council", with Fortune as President. Those two organizations would play a vital
role in setting the stage for the Niagara Movement, NAACP and other civil rights organizations to follow. Fortune was also
the leading advocate of using Afro-American to identify his people. Since they are "African in origin and American in birth",
it was his argument that it most accurately defined them.
With Fortune at the helm as co-owner with Emanuel Fortune,
Jr. and Jerome B. Peterson, the New York Age became the most widely read of all Black newpapers. It stood at the forefront
as a voice agitating against the evils of discrimination, lynching, mob violence, and disenfranchisement. Its popularity was
due to Fortune's editorials which condemned all forms of discrimination and demanded full justice for all African Americans.
Ida B. Wells's newspaper "Memphis Free Speech and Headlight" had its printing press destroyed and building burned as the result
of an article published in it on May 25, 1892. Fortune then gave her a job and a new platform from which to detail and condemn
lynching. His book "The kind of education the Afro-American most needs" was published in 1898. He published "Dreams of life
: miscellaneous poems" in 1905. After a nervous breakdown, Fortune sold the New York Age to Fred R. Moore in 1907, who continued
publishing it until 1960. Fortune published another book "The New York Negro in Journalism" in 1915.
and the Negro World
Fortune went to work as an editor at the UNIA's house organ the Negro World in 1923. When at its
height the Negro World had circulation of over 200,000. With distribution throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa,
the Caribbean, and in Central America it may have been the most widely distributed newspaper in the world at that time. During
his tenure at the Negro World, Fortune rubbed shoulders with such literary luminaries as Zora Neale Hurston, W.A. Domingo,
Hubert Harrison, and John E. Bruce, among others.
Fortune died in 1928 at age 71 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His
house in Monmouth, Red Bank, New Jersey was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 8, 1976 and the
New Jersey State register of historic places on August 16, 1979.
Paul Robeson, the Artist as Activist and Social Thinker:
John Henrik Clarke
Paul Robeson was indeed more than an artist, activist and freedom fighter. The dimensions of his
talent made him our Renaissance man. He was the first American artist, Black or White, to realize that the role of the artist
extends far beyond the stage and the concert hall. Early in his life he became conscious of the plight of his people, stubbornly
surviving in a racist society. This was his window on the world. From this vantage point he saw how the plight of his people
related to the rest of humanity. He realized that the artist had the power, and the responsibility, to change the society
in which he lived. He learned that art and culture are weapons in a people's struggle to exist with dignity, and in peace.
Life offered him many options and he never chose the easiest one. For most of his life he was a man walking against the wind.
An understanding of his beginning and how he developed artistically and politically, will reveal the nature of his mission
and the importance of the legacy of participation in struggle that we have inherited from him.
He was born, April 9,
1898, at a time of great crisis for his people. When he died, January 23, 1976, his people were still in a crisis, partly
of a different nature, and partly the same crisis that they faced in the closing years of the nineteenth century, when Paul
Robeson was born. He was born three years after Booker T. Washington made his famous Atlanta Exposition address, 1895, and
two years after the Supreme Court announced a decision in the Plessy versus Ferguson Case, in which the concept of "Separate
but Equal" facilities for Black Americans became law. Of course the separateness never produced any equalness. The time and
the decision did produce some of the problems that Paul Robeson would address himself to in later years.
years were strengthened by binding family ties. They were not easy years. He recalled those years and reflected on their meaning
in the introductory issue of the newspaper Freedom, November 1950.
"My father was of slave origin," he said. "He reached
as honorable a position as a Negro could under these circumstances, but soon after I was born he lost his church and poverty
was my beginning. Relatives from my father's North Carolina family took me in, a motherless orphan, while my father went to
new fields to begin again in a corner grocery store. I slept four in a bed, ate the nourishing greens and cornbread.
times I stood on the very soil on which my father was a slave, where some of my cousins were sharecroppers and unemployed
tobacco workers. I reflected upon the wealth bled from my near relatives alone, and of the very basic wealth of all this America
beaten out of millions of Negro people, enslaved, freed, newly enslaved until this very day."
He grew to early manhood
during the Booker T. Washington era. He made his professional debut at the Harlem YMCA in 1920, in a play, "Simon, the Cyrenian,"
by Redgely Torrence. The play was about an Ethiopian who steps out of a crowd to help a tired and haggard Jesus Christ carry
his cross up Calvary Hill to be crucified. His role in this play was symbolic of his commitment to just causes and to oppressed
people, the world over, the rest of his life. This dimension of his life is the main focus of this paper. He was not persecuted,
denied a passport and attacked at Peekskill because he was a world famous concert singer and activist.
Many of his
persecutors admired him in these capacities. He was persecuted, denied a passport and attacked at Peekskill because he was
an artist and activist who used his art and his personality to call for change in the society in which he lived. This was
not a late development in his life. He grew to manhood observing the need for change.
Paul Robeson attended elementary
and high school in Westfield and Somerville, New Jersey. He won a four-year scholarship to Rutgers College and entered in
the fall of 1915. Only two other Black students had attended the school since its founding in 1776. Robeson's achievements
in both scholarship and athletics at Rutgers were extraordinary. He won Phi Beta Kappa honors in his junior year, was valedictorian
of his graduation class, and was the debating champion in all of his four years.
Although he was initially brutalized
by his own team-mates when he tried out for the football team, he survived to become one of the greatest football players
of all time. Walter Camp selected Robeson as his first-team All-America end for two years—1977 and 1918, and he was
named on all important "consensus" All-America teams for both those years. Robeson was also a great all-round athlete, winning
a total of 15 varsity letters in football, basketball, baseball and track.
In May of 1918 Reverend Robeson died, Paul's
relatives and his football coach, Foster Sanford, were especially helpful to him during the trying time immediately after
his father's death. Following his graduation in 1919, Paul went to live in Harlem and entered Columbia Law School, from which
he graduated in 1923. To pay his way through law school, Paul played professional football on weekends, first with Fritz Pollard
on the Akron, Ohio team in 1920 and 1921, and then with Milwaukee in 1922. In 1921, he met and married Eslanda Cardozo Goode,
a brilliant young woman who was the first Black analytical chemist at Columbia Medical Center. Their marriage lasted forty-four
years until Eslanda's death in 1965.
In the early 1920's Paul Robeson joined the Provincetown Players in Greenwich
Village. This brought him to the attention of the American Playwright, Eugene O'Neil who selected him for the lead in his
play, "All God's Children Got Wings." His performance in this play established his importance in the American Theatre. In
1924, he was in another Eugene O'Neil play, "The Emperor Jones." By 1925, he was known both in England and in the United States
as an actor and as a concert singer. Lawrence Brown, who accompanied him during his first concert in 1925, remained with him
for twenty-five years.
In these years following the First World War, Black Americans were discovering themselves, their
culture and their history. Thousands of Black soldiers had returned from the war in Europe to face unemployment, bad housing
and lynchings. The Universal Negro Improvement Association led by Marcus Garvey, and the intellectual movement called The
Harlem Literary Renaissance reached their respective highs during this period. The years of the nineteen-twenties were proving
grounds for Paul Robeson's development as an artist and a responsible person.
Many of the roles that Paul Robeson played
in America were repeated in the theatres of London. It has been reported his political ideas took shape after George Bernard
Shaw introduced him to the concept of socialism in 1928. This may be partly true about his political ideas in a formal sense,
though his social awareness started before this time. His first visit to the Soviet Union in 1934 had a more profound influence
on the shaping of his political ideas and understanding. Later, he publicly expressed his belief in the principles of scientific
socialism. It was his convictions that a socialist society represents an advance to a higher stage of life for all mankind.
The rest of his life was a commitment to this conviction.
He spoke out against oppression where ever he saw it, and
not just the oppression of his own people. He went to Spain during the Civil War in that country and sang for the Republican
troops and for the members of the International Brigades. This was part of a gathering of anti-Fascist forces who were in
battle with the army of General Franco who was backed by Hitler and Mussolini. When Paul Robeson returned to the United States
be expressed the belief that the war in Spain represented dangers for the world far beyond that country's borders.
saw the connection between the problems of all oppressed people and the necessity of the artist to participate fully," he
He opposed every form of racism in his own country; he was the first American artist to refuse to sing before
a segregated audience. He spoke out against lynching, segregated theatres and eating places a generation before the beginning
of what is referred to as the Black Revolution. He supported all organizations that he thought were working genuinely to improve
the lot of his people and mankind.
In his book, Robeson: Labor's Forgotten Champion, (Balamp Publishing Co., Detroit,
Mich., 1975), Dr. Charles H. Wright states that:
"Robeson saw the struggle of the working classes of Spain in the same
terms that he saw the struggles of the black man in the United States. He made this clear after he left Spain and embarked
on a series of public appearances on behalf of the Republicans, both on the continent and in England. It was from the continent,
probably the Spanish Embassy in Paris that he issued what became known as his Manifesto against Fascism."
reads, as follows:
"Every artist, every scientist must decide, now, where he stands. He has no alternative. There are
no impartial observers.
Through the destruction, in certain countries, of man's literary heritage, through the propagation
of false ideas of national and racial superiority, the artist, the scientist, the writer is challenged. This struggle invades
the former cloistered halls of our universities and all her seats of learning.
The battlefront is everywhere. There
is no sheltered rear. The artist elects to fight for freedom or slavery.
I have made my choice! I had no alternative!
history of the era is characterized by the degradation of my people. Despoiled of their lands, their culture destroyed, they
are denied equal opportunity of the law and deprived of their rightful place in the respect of their fellows.
blind faith or through coercion, but conscious of my course, I take my place with you. I stand with you in unalterable support
of the lawful government of Spain, duly and regularly chosen by its sons and daughters."
In January 1938 he visited
Spain with his wife, Eslanda. Plans had already been made for him to sing to the troops in the International Abraham Lincoln
This was not his introduction to the international aspects of the fight against Fascism. The Spanish Civil
War started in June 1936, the Italian-Ethiopian War had started the year before. On December 20, 1937, Robeson had participated
in a meeting on the Spanish Civil War at Albert Hall in London. This and other anti-fascist activity disenchanted the United
States Department of State. This was probably the formal beginning of his harassment by that agency. This harassment would
continue for another twenty years. In his writings and speeches, for most of the years of his active career, Paul Robeson
was very explicit in explaining the motive and antecedents of his fight against every form of racism and oppression. At a
Welcome Home Rally in Harlem, June19, 1949, he restated his position and the nature of his commitment.
"I have traveled
many lands and I have sung and talked to many peoples. Wherever I appeared, whether in professional concert, at peace meetings,
in the factories, at trade union gatherings, at the mining pits, at assemblies of representative colonial students from all
over the world, always the greeting came: "Take back our affection, our love, our strength to the Negro people and to the
members of the progressive movement of America."
I was then, through my athletics and my university record, trying
to hold up the prestige of my people; trying in the only way I knew to ease the path for future Negro boys and girls. And
I am still in there slugging, yes, at another level, and you can bet your life that I shall battle every step of the way until
conditions around these corners change and conditions change for the Negro people all up and down this land.
has been long. The road has been hard. It began about as tough as I ever had it in Princeton, New Jersey, a college town of
Southern aristocrats, who from Revolutionary time transferred Georgia to New Jersey. My brothers couldn't go to high school
in Princeton. They had to go to Trenton, ten miles away. That's right—Trenton, of the "Trenton Six." My brother or I
could have been one of the "Trenton Six."
Almost every Negro in Princeton lived off the college and accepted the social
status that went with it. We lived for all intents and purposes on a Southern plantation. And with no more dignity than that
suggests all the bowing and scraping to the drunken rich, all the vile names, all the Uncle Tomming to earn enough to lead
He could not see himself accepting any form of Jim-Crow Americanism. He said in many ways he hated
what American was, but he lived what it promised to be. He defended the stated higher ideals and potential of the United States
while calling attention to the fact that the nation's promise to all people had not been kept.
"And I defied," he said,
"and I defy any part of this insolent, dominating America, however powerful; to challenge my Americanism; because by word
and deed I challenge this vicious system to the death."
Paul Robeson would not let his public acceptance as an actor
and singer, make him relax in comfort and forget the struggle for basic dignity still being waged by the rest of his people.
On this point he said:
"I refuse to let my personal success, as part of a fraction of one percent of the Negro people,
to explain away the injustices to fourteen million of my people; because with all the energy at my command, I fight for the
right of the Negro people and other oppressed labor-driven Americans to have decent homes, decent jobs, and the dignity that
belongs to every human being!
Somewhere in my childhood these feelings were planted. Perhaps when I resented being
pushed off the sidewalk, when I saw my women being insulted, and especially when I saw my elder brother answer each insult
with blows that sent would-be slave masters crashing to the stone sidewalks, even though jail was his constant reward. He
never said it, but he told me day after day: "Listen to me, kid." (He loved me dearly.) "Don't you ever take it, as long as
In my opinion, the artistic and political growth of Paul Robeson has its greatest stimulant during the nineteen-thirties.
Paul was always discovering something new in the human situation, and new dimensions in old things he already knew. He was,
concurrently, both a student and a scholar, in pursuit of knowledge about the world's people and the conditions of their lives.
Africa, its people and cultures were of special interest to him. In a note, dated 1936, included in his "Selected Writings,"
published by the Paul Robeson Archives, 1976, he makes this comment:
"I am a singer and an actor. I am primarily an
artist. Had I been born in Africa, I would have belonged, I hope, to that family which sings and chants the glories and legends
of the tribe. I would have liked in my mature years to have been a wise elder, for I worship wisdom and knowledge of the ways
His artistic strength was in his love for the history, songs, and for culture of his people. In this way he
learned to respect the cultures of all people.
I an article published in the Royal Screen Pictorial, London, April
1935 he said:
I am a Negro. The origin of the Negro is African. It would, therefore, seem an easy matter for me to
assume African nationality… At present the younger generation of Negroes in America looks towards Africa and asks, "What
is there to interest me? What of value has Africa to offer that the Western world cannot give me? … Their acknowledgement
of their common origin, species, interest and attitudes binds Jew to Jew; a similar acknowledgement will bind Negro to Negro.
I realize that this will not be accomplished by viewing from afar the dark rites of the witch doctor. It may be accomplished,
or at least furthered, by patient inquiry. To this end I am learning Swahili, Twi, and other African dialects which come easily
to me because their rhythm is the same as that employed by the American Negro in speaking English; and when the time is ripe,
I propose to investigate on the spot the possibilities of such a regeneration as I have outlined. Meanwhile, in my music,
my plays, my films. I want to carry always this central idea—to be African. Multitudes of men have died for less worthy
ideals; it is more eminently worth living for.
This interest in Africa, started during his "London years" continued
throughout the rest of his life; and very logically led to his participation in the development and leadership of organizations
like the Council on African Affairs (1937–1955) and the National Negro Congress. In an article in his "Selected Writings,"
that was first published in Fighting Talk, April 1955, Paul Robeson speaks of his discovery of Africa in this way:
"discovered" Africa in London. That discovery—back in the twenties—profoundly influenced my life. Like most of
Africa's children in America, I had known little about the land of our fathers. Both in England, where my career as an actor
and singer took me, I came to know many Africans. Some of their names are now known to the world—Azikiwe, and Nkrumah,
and Kenyatta, who has just been jailed for his leadership of the liberation struggles in Kenya.
Many of these Africans
were students, and I spent many hours talking with them and taking part in their activities at the West African Students Union
building. Somehow they came to think of me as one of them; they took pride in my successes; and they made Mrs. Robeson and
me honorary members of the Union.
Besides these students, who were mostly of princely origin, I also came to know another
class of African—the seamen in the ports of London, Liverpool and Cardiff. They too had their organizations, and much
to teach me of their lives and their various peoples.
As an artist it was most natural that my first interest in Africa
was cultural. Culture? The foreign rulers of that continent insisted there was no culture worthy of the name in Africa. But
already musicians and sculptors in Europe were astir with their discovery of African art. And as I plunged, with excited interest,
into my studies of Africa at the London University and elsewhere, I came to see that African culture was indeed a treasure-store
for the world.
Those who scorned the African languages as so many "barbarous dialects" could never know, of course,
of the richness of those languages, and of the great philosophy and epics of poetry that have come down through the ages in
these ancient tongues. I studied these languages—as I do this day: Yoruba, Efik, Benin, Ashanti and the others.
now felt as one with my African friends and became filled with a great, glowing pride in these riches, new found for me. I
learned that along with the towering achievements of the cultures in ancient Greece and China there stood the culture of Africa,
unseen and denied by the imperialist looters of Africa's material wealth.
I came to see the root sources of my own
people's culture, especially in our music which is still the richest and most healthy in America. Scholars had traced the
influence of African music to Europe—to Spain with the Moors, to Persia and India and China, and westward to the Americas.
And I came to learn of the remarkable kinship between African and Chinese culture (of which I intend to write at length some
My pride in Africa, that grew with the learning, impelled me to speak out against the scorners. I wrote articles
for the New Statesman and Nation and elsewhere championing the real but unknown glories of African culture.
and discussed the subject with men like H. G. Wells, and Laski, and Nehru; with students and savants.
He now saw the
logic in this culture struggle and realized, as never before, that culture was an instrument in a people's liberation, and
the suppression of it was an instrument that was used in their enslavement. This point was brought forcefully home to him
when the British Intelligence cautioned him about the political meaning of his activities. He knew now that the British claim
that it would take one thousand years to prepare Africans for self-rule was a lie. The experience led him to conclude that:
culture and politics were actually inseparable here as always. And it was an African who directed my interest in Africa to
something he had noted in the Soviet Union. On a visit to that country he had traveled east and had seen the Yakuts, a people
who had been classed as a "backward Race" by the Czars. He had been struck by the resemblance between the tribal life of the
Yakuts and his own people of East Africa.
What would happen to a people like the Yakuts now that they were freed from
colonial oppression and were a part of the construction of the new socialist society?
I saw for myself when I visited
the Soviet Union how the Yakuts and the Uzbeks and all the other formerly oppressed nations were leaping ahead from tribalism
to modern industrial economy, from illiteracy to the heights of knowledge. Their ancient culture blossoming in new and greater
splendor. Their young men and women mastering the sciences and arts. A thousand years? No, less than 30!
London years, Paul Robeson was also involved with a number of Caribbean people and organizations. These were the years of
the Italian-Ethiopian War, the self-imposed exile of Haile Selassie and Marcus Garvey, and the proliferation of African and
Caribbean organizations, with London headquarters, demanding the improvements in their colonial status that eventually led
to the independence explosion. In an article in the National Guardian, Paul Robeson spoke of his impressions of the Caribbean
people, after returning from a concert tour in Jamaica and Trinidad. He said:
I feel now as if I had drawn my first
great of fresh air in many years. Once before I felt like that. When I first entered the Soviet Union I said to myself, "I
am a human being. I don't have to worry about my color."
In the West Indies I felt all that and something new besides.
I felt that for the first time I could see what it will be like when Negroes are free in their own land. I felt something
like what a Jew must feel when first he goes to Israel, what a Chinese must feel on entering areas of his country that now
Certainly my people in the islands are poor. They are desperately poor. In Kingston, Jamaica, I saw many
families living in shells of old automobiles, hollowed out and turned upside down. Many are unemployed. They are economically
subjected to landholders, British, American and native.
But the people are on the road to freedom. I saw Negro professionals:
artists, writers, scientists, scholars. And above all I saw Negro workers walking erect and proud.
Once I was driving
in Jamaica. My road passed a school and as we came abreast of the building a great crowd of school children came running out
to wave at me. I stopped, got out of my car to talk with them and sing to them. Those kids were wonderful. I have stopped
at similar farms in our own deep South and I have talked to Negro children everywhere in our country. Here for the first time
I could talk to children who did not have to look over their shoulders to see if a white man was watching them talk to me.
crowded around my car. For hours they waited to see me. Some might be embarrassed or afraid of such crowds of people pressing
all around. I am not embarrassed or afraid in the presence of people.
I was not received as an opera singer is received
by his people in Italy. I was not received as Joe Louis is received by our own people. These people saw in me not a singer,
or not just a singer. They called to me: "Hello, Paul. We know you've been fighting for us."
In many ways his concert
tours were educational tours. He had a similar experience, in New Orleans, on October 19, 1942 when he sang before a capacity
audience of black and white men and women, seated without segregation, in the Booker T. Washington School auditorium. On this
occasion he said:
I had never put a correct evaluation on the dignity and courage of my people of the deep South until
I began to come south myself. I had read, of course, and folks had told me of strides made…but always I had discounted
much if it, charged much of it to what some people would have us believe. Deep down, I think, I had imagined Negroes of the
South beaten, subservient, cowed.
But I see them now courageous and possessors of a profound and instinctive dignity,
a race that has come through its trials unbroken, a race of such magnificence of spirit that there exists no power on earth
that could crush them. They will bend, but they will never break.
I find that I must come south again and again, again
and yet again. It is only here that I achieve absolute and utter identity with my people. There is no question here of where
I stand, no need to make a decision. The redcap in the station, the president of your college, the man in the street—they
are all one with me, part of me. And I am proud of it, utterly proud of my people.
He reaffirmed his commitment to
the Black struggle in the South by adding:
We must come south to understand in their starkest presentation the common
problems that beset us everywhere. We must breathe the smoke of battle. We must taste the bitterness, see the ugliness…we
must expose ourselves unremittingly to the source of strength that makes the black South strong!
In spite of the years
he and his family spent abroad, he was never estranged from his own people. In his book, Here I Stand, he explained this in
essence when he said:
"I am a Negro. The house I live in is in Harlem—this city within a city, Negro Metropolis
of America. And now as I write of things that are urgent in my mind and heart, I feel the press of all that is around me here
where I live, at home among my people."
The 1940's the war years, was a turning point in his career. His rendition
of "Ballad For Americans," made a lot of Americans, Black and white, rethink the nature of their commitment, or lack of it,
in the making of genuine democracy in this country. The song stated a certainty that "Our Marching Song to a land of freedom
and equality will come again." Mr. Robeson sang: "For I have always believed it and I believe it now." In this song, and his
life he was asking that America keep its promise to all of its people.
On October 19, 1943, he became the first Black
actor to play the role of Othello with a White supporting cast, on an American stage. He had played this role years before
In 1944, Paul Robeson was awarded the Spingarn Medal by the National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People. Soon afterwards he took the lead in a course of actions more direct and radical than the NAACP. He led a delegation
that demanded the end to racial bars in professional baseball. He called on President Truman to extend the civil rights of
Blacks in the South. He became a founder and chairman of the Progressive Party which nominated former Vice President Henry
A. Wallace in the 1948 presidential campaign.
In the years immediately following the Second World War, Paul Robeson
called attention to the unfinished fight for the basic dignity of all people. The following excerpt was extracted from a speech
he made in Detroit, Michigan on the Tenth Anniversary of the National Negro Congress:
"These are times of peril in
the history of the Negro people and of the American nation.
Fresh from victorious battles, in which we soundly defeated
the military forces of German, Italian and Japanese fascism, driving to oppress and enslave the peoples of the world, we are
now faced with an even more sinister threat to the peace and security and freedom of all our peoples. This time the danger
lies in the resurgent imperialist and pro-fascist forces of our own country, powerfully organized gentlemen of great wealth,
who are determined now, to attempt what Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo tried to do and failed. AND The ELECTED POLITICAL LEADERSHIP
OF THE UNITED STATES IS SERVING AS THE SPEARHEAD OF THIS NEW DRIVE TOWARD IMPERIALIST WAR IN THE WORLD AND THE RUTHLESS DESTRUCTION
OF OUR FREEDOM AND SECURITY HERE AT HOME.
I understand full well the meaning of these times for my country and my people.
The triumph of imperialist reaction in America now, would bring death and mass destruction to our own and all other countries
of the world. It would engulf our hard won democratic liberties in the onrush of native fascism. And it would push the Negro
people backward into a modern and highly scientific form of oppression, far worse than our slave forefathers ever knew.
also understand full well the important role which my people can and must play in helping to save America and the peoples
of all the world, from annihilation and enslavement. Precisely as Negro patriots helped turn back the red-coats at Bunker
Hill, just as the struggles of over 200,000 Negro soldiers and four million slaves turned the tide of victory for the Union
forces in the Civil War, just as the Negro people have thrown their power on the side of progress in every other great crisis
in the history of our country—so now, we must mobilize our full strength, in firm unity with all the other progressive
forces of our country and the world, to set American imperialist reaction back on its heels.
On this occasion he further
"I have been a member of the National Negro Congress since its inception. I have taken great pride in its struggles
to unite the progressive forces of the Negro people and of organized labor in common struggle. And I know that I now talk
to an assemble of approximately one thousand delegates, the overwhelming majority of whom are the elected representatives
of millions of trade unionists throughout our country.
Here is the concrete expression of one of the most salutary
developments in the political history of America—the unity of the Negro people and the progressive forces of labor of
which they are an increasingly active part."
The trouble of the post war years, mainly the lack of civil rights for
his people, made him step up his political activity. At the World Peace Congress in Paris in 1940, he stated that:
is unthinkable that American Negroes will go to war on behalf of those who have oppressed us for generations against a country
(the Soviet Union) which in one generation has raised our people to the full dignity of mankind."
His words, often
exaggerated out of context, turned every right wing extremist organization in America against him. Their anger reached a sad
and destructive climax during two of his concerts in Peekskill, New York in the summer of 1949.
His interest in Africa,
that had started early in his life continued through his affiliations with "The Council on African Affairs" and the column
that he wrote regularly for the newspaper Freedom.
His association with organized labor was almost as long and consistent
as his association with the concert stage. In a speech, "Forge Negro-Labor Unity for Peace and Jobs," delivered in Chicago,
before nine hundred delegates to the National Labor Conference for Negro Rights, June 1950, his association and commitment
to the laboring class was restated in the following manner:
"No meeting held in America at the mid-century turning
point in world history holds more significant promise for the bright future toward which humanity strives than this National
Labor Conference for Negro Rights. For here are gathered together the basic forces—the Negro sons and daughters of labor
and their white brothers and sisters—whose increasingly active intervention in national and world affairs is an essential
requirement if we are to have a peaceful and democratic solution of the burning issues of our times.
Again we must
recall the state of the world in which we live, and especially the America in which we live. Our history as Americans, Black
and white, has been a long battle, so often unsuccessful. For the most basic rights of citizenship, for the most basic rights
of citizenship, for the most simple standards of living, the avoidance of starvation—for survival.
I have been
up and down the land time and again, thanks in the main to you trade unionists gathered here tonight. You helped to arouse
American communities to give answer to Peekskill, to protect the right of freedom of speech and assembly. And I have seen
and daily see the unemployment, the poverty, the plight of our children, our youth, the backbreaking labor of our women—and
too long, too long have my people wept and mourned. We're tired of this denial of a decent existence. We demand some approximation
of the American democracy we have helped to build."
He ended his speech with this reminder:
"As the Black worker
takes his place upon the stage of history—not for a bit part, but to play his full role with dignity in the very center
of the action—a new day dawns in human affairs. The determination of the Negro workers, supported by the whole Negro
people, and joined with the mass of progressive white working men and women, can save the labor movement. … This alliance
can beat back the attacks against the living standards and the very lives of the Negro people. It can stop the drive toward
fascism. It can halt the chariot of war in its tracks.
And it can help to bring to pass in America and in the world
the dream our father dreamed—of a land that's free, of a people growing in friendship, in love, in cooperation and peace.
is history's challenge to you. I know you will not fail."
In 1950 Paul Robeson's passport was revoked by the State
Department, though he was not charged with any crime. President Truman had signed an executive order forbidding Paul Robeson
to set foot outside the continental limits of the United States. "Committees To Restore Paul Robeson's Passport" were organized
in the United States and in other countries around the world. The fight to restore his passport lasted eight years.
Paul Robeson these were not lost or inactive years; and they were not years when he was forgotten or without appreciation,
though, in some circles, his supporters "dwindled down to a precious few." He was fully involved, during these years, with
the Council on African Affairs, Freedom Magazine, The American Labor Movement, The Peace Movement, and The National Council
of American-Soviet Friendship.
From its inception in November 1950 to the last issue, July-August 1955, Paul Robeson
wrote a regular column for the newspaper Freedom. After his passport was restored in 1958, he went to Europe for an extended
concert tour. In 1963 he returned to the United States, with his wife Eslanda, who died two years later. After her death he
gave up his home in Harlem and moved to Philadelphia to spend his last years with his sister Mrs. Marion Forsythe.
to W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson was the best example of an intellect who was active in his peoples freedom struggle. Through
this struggle both men committed themselves to the struggle to improve the lot of all mankind. Paul Robeson's thoughts in
this matter is summed up in the following quote from his book, Here I Stand.
"I learned that the essential character
of a nation is determined not by the upper classes, but by the common people, and that the common people of all nations are
truly brothers in the great family of mankind … And even as I grew to feel more Negro in spirit, or African as I put
it then, I also came to feel a sense of oneness with the white working people whom I came to know and love.
in the oneness of humankind, about which I have often spoken in concerts and elsewhere, has existed within me side by side
with my deep attachment to the cause of my own race. Some people have seen a contradiction in this duality…I do not
think however, that my sentiments are contradictory … I learned that there truly is a kinship among us all, a basis
for mutual respect and brotherly love."
At the time of his death, January 23, 1976, a new generation was discovering
Paul Robeson for the first time. An older generation was regretting that it had not made the best use of the strengths and
hope that he had given to them. The writer, L. Clayton Jones, made this comment in the Amsterdam News, after his death.
watches with restrained anger as a nation of hypocrites grudgingly acknowledges the passing of a twentieth century phenomenon,
Paul Robeson, All American Athlete, Shakespearean Actor, Basso Profundo, Linguist, Scholar, Lawyer, Activist. He was all these
things and more."
In December 1977, an Ad Hoc Committee to End the Crimes Against Paul Robeson was formed to protest
the inaccurate portrayal of Paul Robeson in a new play by Philip Hayes Dean. Their statement read, in part:
of Paul Robeson is inseparable from his ideas—those most profoundly held artistic, philosophical and political principles
which evolved from his early youth into the lifelong commitments for which he paid so dear and from which he never wavered
down to his final public statement in 1975.
In life, Paul Robeson sustained the greatest effort in the history of this
nation to silence a single artist. He defied physical and psychological harassment and abuse without once retreating from
his principles and the positions to which he dedicated his life. We believe that it is no less a continuation of the same
crime to restore him, that he is safely dead, to the pantheon of respectability on the terms of those who sought to destroy
Robeson is the archetype of the Black American who uncompromisingly insists on total liberation. His example and
his fate strike to the very heart of American racism.
For the nation to confront him honestly would mean that it confronts
itself—to begin at last the process of reclamation of the national soul."
William Edward Burghardt DuBois:
(1868 - 1963)
the greatest scholars in American history stands Dr. W.E.B. DuBois. A towering figure, a brilliant scholar and a prolific
writer, William Edward Burghardt DuBois was born February 23, 1868 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In 1890 he graduated
cum laude from Harvard University and attended the University of Berlin in 1892. In 1896 DuBois became the first Black person
to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University. After teaching at Wilberforce University in Ohio and the University of Pennsylvania,
he went on to establish the first department of sociology in the United States at Atlanta University.
Dr. DuBois was
the author of scores of significant books, including three major autobiographies. Among his most important works were The
Philadelphia Negro in 1896, Souls of Black Folk in 1903, John Brown in 1909, Black Reconstruction in 1935, and Black Folk,
Then and Now in 1939. His book, The Negro (first published in 1915), significantly influenced the lives of such pioneer Africanist
scholars as Drusilla Dunjee Houston and William Leo Hansberry. In 1940 DuBois founded Phylon--a magazine published out of
Atlanta University. Dr. DuBois also authored The World and Africa: An Inquiry Into the Part that Africa has Played in World
History, a very important work first published in 1946. In 1945 he played a major role at the historic Fifth Pan-African Conference
held in Manchester, England.
In addition to his literary activities and profound scholarship, at one time or another
during the course of his long life, DuBois could be characterized politically as an integrationist, Pan-Africanist, Socialist
and Communist. He was a founding member of both the Niagara Movement and the NAACP, and editor of the Crisis--the NAACP literary
organ. In 1961, during the twilight of his life, DuBois was honored by an invitation from President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana
to head a secretariat for an Encyclopedia Africana. Dr. W.E.B. DuBois died in Accra, Ghana August 27, 1963 as a Ghanaian citizen.
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868-1963) was a major African American
scholar, an early leader in the 20th-century African American protest movement, and an advocate of pan-Africanism.
Feb. 23, 1868, W. E. B. Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Mass., where he grew up. During his youth he did some newspaper
reporting. In 1884 he graduated as valedictorian from high school. He got his bachelor of arts from Fisk University in Nashville,
Tenn., in 1888, having spent summers teaching in African American schools in Nashville's rural areas. In 1888 he entered Harvard
University as a junior, took a bachelor of arts cum laude in 1890, and was one of six commencement speakers. From 1892 to
1894 he pursued graduate studies in history and economics at the University of Berlin on a Slater Fund fellowship. He served
for 2 years as professor of Greek and Latin at Wilberforce University in Ohio.
In 1891 Du Bois got his master of arts
and in 1895 his doctorate in history from Harvard. His dissertation, The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United
States of America, 1638-1870, was published as No. 1 in the Harvard Historical Series. This important work has yet to be surpassed.
In 1896 he married Nina Gomer, and they had two children.
In 1896-1897 Du Bois became assistant instructor in sociology
at the University of Pennsylvania. There he conducted the pioneering sociological study of an urban community, published as
The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study (1899). These first two works assured Du Bois's place among America's leading scholars.
Bois's life and work were an inseparable mixture of scholarship, protest activity, and polemics. All of his efforts were geared
toward gaining equal treatment for black people in a world dominated by whites and toward marshaling and presenting evidence
to refute the myths of racial inferiority.
As Racial Activist
In 1905 Du Bois was a founder and general secretary
of the Niagara movement, an African American protest group of scholars and professionals. Du Bois founded and edited the Moon
(1906) and the Horizon (1907-1910) as organs for the Niagara movement. In 1909 Du Bois was among the founders of the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and from 1910 to 1934 served it as director of publicity and research,
a member of the board of directors, and editor of the Crisis, its monthly magazine.
In the Crisis, Du Bois directed
a constant stream of agitation--often bitter and sarcastic--at white Americans while serving as a source of information and
pride to African Americans. The magazine always published young African American writers. Racial protest during the decade
following World War I focused on securing anti-lynching legislation. During this period the NAACP was the leading protest
organization and Du Bois its leading figure.
In 1934 Du Bois resigned from the NAACP board and from the Crisis because
of his new advocacy of an African American nationalist strategy: African American controlled institutions, schools, and economic
cooperatives. This approach opposed the NAACP's commitment to integration. However, he returned to the NAACP as director of
special research from 1944 to 1948. During this period he was active in placing the grievances of African Americans before
the United Nations, serving as a consultant to the UN founding convention (1945) and writing the famous "An Appeal to the
Du Bois was a member of the Socialist party from 1910 to 1912 and always considered himself a Socialist.
In 1948 he was cochairman of the Council on African Affairs; in 1949 he attended the New York, Paris, and Moscow peace congresses;
in 1950 he served as chairman of the Peace Information Center and ran for the U.S. Senate on the American Labor party ticket
in New York. In 1950-1951 Du Bois was tried and acquitted as an agent of a foreign power in one of the most ludicrous actions
ever taken by the American government. Du Bois traveled widely throughout Russia and China in 1958-1959 and in 1961 joined
the Communist party of the United States. He also took up residence in Ghana, Africa, in 1961.
Bois was also active in behalf of pan-Africanism and concerned with the conditions of people of African descent wherever they
lived. In 1900 he attended the First Pan-African Conference held in London, was elected a vice president, and wrote the "Address
to the Nations of the World." The Niagara movement included a "pan-African department." In 1911 Du Bois attended the First
Universal Races Congress in London along with black intellectuals from Africa and the West Indies.
Du Bois organized
a series of pan-African congresses around the world, in 1919, 1921, 1923, and 1927. The delegations comprised intellectuals
from Africa, the West Indies, and the United States. Though resolutions condemning colonialism and calling for alleviation
of the oppression of Africans were passed, little concrete action was taken. The Fifth Congress (1945, Manchester, England)
elected Du Bois as chairman, but the power was clearly in the hands of younger activists, such as George Padmore and Kwame
Nkrumah, who later became significant in the independence movements of their respective countries. Du Bois's final pan-African
gesture was to take up citizenship in Ghana in 1961 at the request of President Kwame Nkrumah and to begin work as director
of the Encyclopedia Africana.
Du Bois's most lasting contribution is his writing. As poet, playwright,
novelist, essayist, sociologist, historian, and journalist, he wrote 21 books, edited 15 more, and published over 100 essays
and articles. Only a few of his most significant works will be mentioned here.
From 1897 to 1910 Du Bois served as
professor of economics and history at Atlanta University, where he organized conferences titled the Atlanta University Studies
of the Negro Problem and edited or co-edited 16 of the annual publications, on such topics as The Negro in Business (1899),
The Negro Artisan (1902), The Negro Church (1903), Economic Cooperation among Negro Americans (1907), and The Negro American
Family (1908). Other significant publications were The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches (1903), one of the outstanding
collections of essays in American letters, and John Brown (1909), a sympathetic portrayal published in the American Crisis
Du Bois also wrote two novels, The Quest of the Silver Fleece (1911) and Dark Princess: A Romance
(1928); a book of essays and poetry, Darkwater: Voices from within the Veil (1920); and two histories of black people, The
Negro (1915) and The Gift of Black Folk: Negroes in the Making of America (1924).
From 1934 to 1944 Du Bois was chairman
of the department of sociology at Atlanta University. In 1940 he founded Phylon, a social science quarterly. Black Reconstruction
in America, 1860-1880 (1935), perhaps his most significant historical work, details the role of African Americans in American
society, specifically during the Reconstruction period. The book was criticized for its use of Marxist concepts and for its
attacks on the racist character of much of American historiography. However, it remains the best single source on its subject.
Folk, Then and Now (1939) is an elaboration of the history of black people in Africa and the New World. Color and Democracy:
Colonies and Peace (1945) is a brief call for the granting of independence to Africans, and The World and Africa: An Inquiry
into the Part Which Africa Has Played in World History (1947; enlarged ed. 1965) is a major work anticipating many later scholarly
conclusions regarding the significance and complexity of African history and culture. A trilogy of novels, collectively entitled
The Black Flame (1957, 1959, 1961), and a selection of his writings, An ABC of Color (1963), are also worthy.
received many honorary degrees, was a fellow and life member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and
a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. He was the outstanding African American intellectual of his period
Du Bois died in Ghana on Aug. 27, 1963, on the eve of the civil rights march in Washington, D.C. He was
given a state funeral, at which Kwame Nkrumah remarked that he was "a phenomenon."
points for an understanding of Du Bois's life are his autobiographical writings (the dates are of the most recent editions):
The Autobiography of W. E. B. Du Bois: A Soliloquy on Viewing My Life from the Last Decades of Its First Century (1968); Dusk
of Dawn: An Essay toward an Autobiography of a Race Concept (1968); Darkwater: Voices from within the Veil (1969); and The
Souls of Black Folk (1969). Two critical biographies are Francis L. Broderick, W. E. B. Du Bois: Negro Leader in a Time of
Crisis (1959), and Elliott M. Rudwick, W. E. B. Du Bois: A Study of Minority Group Leadership (1960; 1968). Also of importance
is the W. E. B. Du Bois memorial issue of Freedomways magazine (vol. 5, no. 1, 1965). This was expanded and published in book
form as Black Titan: W. E. B. Du Bois (1970). Arna Bontemps, 100 Years of Negro Freedom (1963), has a biographical sketch.
Meyer Weinberg, Walter Wilson, Julius Lester, and Andrew G. Paschal edited Du Bois readers. Philip S. Foner edited W. E. B.
Du Bois Speaks (1970), two volumes of speeches and addresses.
was born as Stokely Carmichael on the Caribbean island of Trinidad, on June 29, 1941. Kwame became a household name
in amerikkka during the 1960s when after enrolling as a student of Howard University in Washington D.C., Kwame decided to
join the freedom rider efforts to integrate the southern portion of the united snakes. As a member of the Student Nonviolent
Coordinating Committee, SNCC (pronounced SNICK), Kwame was arrested 26 times between 1964 and 1966 because of his work to
register Africans in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, to vote. In June, 1966, Kwame defeated now usa Congressman John Lewis
to become Chairperson of SNCC. Kwame's election as SNCC Chairperson signaled the growing militancy within SNCC, and the movement,
and a desire on behalf of many in the membership to take a more militant and uncompromising stance on African liberation.
During the summer of 1966, Kwame became known as the person who popularized the phrase "Black Power" when he articulated that
demand in Greenwood, Mississippi, during the great Civil Rights march of that summer. It should be noted that although Kwame
has been credited with creating that phrase, the phrase has a long history that extends back to the 1700s and the movement
and writings of Martin Delaney. During his tenure as Chairperson of SNCC, Kwame helped the organization develop into one of
the most militant African organizations in amerikkka. SNCC became the first African organization to come out against the Vietnam
war. SNCC was also the first African organization to take a position against the zionist state of israel. In 1968, Kwame briefly
spent time as the Prime Minister of the Black Panther Party (BPP) that was founded in Oakland, California by Huey P. Newton
and Bobby Seale. By the end of 1968, Kwame had resigned from the BPP, not because, as the imperialist press has consistently
claimed, the BPP "forged links with whiteradicals", but because the BPP's ideological framework was not completely consistent
with Kwame's developing ideological orientation.
In 1967, while still Chairperson of SNCC, in the height of
the united snakes of amerikka imperialist war against Vietnam, Kwame had the privilege of going to Vietnam and visiting the
Great Nguyen Al Thouc (Ho Chi Minh), the leader of the Vietnamese war resistance against amerikkkan imperialism. It was during
that visit when Kwame expressed his disillusionment with the direction of the struggle in the amerikkka, that Al Thouc told
Kwame "why don't you go to Africa? It is your home."
Taking Al Thouc's advice further, Kwame took up the offer made by
Guinean (West African) President Sekou Ture made three years prior to a visiting SNCC delegation, to come to Guinea, stay,
and help to build the African revolution. In 1968, Kwame moved to Guinea and began to live and study under Sekou Ture, and
Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana who was overthrown in a central intelligence agency-organized Coup in 1966. After
the coup in Ghana, Ture invited Nkrumah to come to Guinea and become Co-President of Guinea. At that time, Guinea was struggling
to build the Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG), as a mass, Pan-Africanist political party that would function as a base within
West Africa in which to launch the Pan-African struggle to unite Africa under one continental, socialist, government (see
Nkrumah; Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare pg. 56-59). Kwame Ture stayed in Guinea from 1968, until his death in 1998, working
to bring about Pan-Africanism. Ture and Nkrumah passed on in 1984 and 1972 respectively. In 1977, Kwame changed his name from
Stokely Carmichael to Kwame Ture in order to honor the Pan-Africanist work of Sekou Ture and Kwame Nkrumah. From 1968 to 1998,
Kwame worked tirelessly to build the All African People's Revolutionary Party (A-APRP), which is the revolutionary Pan-Africanist
political party that Nkrumah discussed in his handbook as the logical vehicle to bring about unity and socialism to Africa.
In the Handbook, Nkrumah talked about the inability of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which he founded, to bring
about genuine African unity. He offered up the A-APRP, through it's organization of the All African Committee for Political
Coordination (A-ACPC) as the vehicle to bring about true unity. The A-ACPC, unlike the OAU, would not depend on the governments
to unite, but would instead unite the genuine African revolutionary political parties and movements under the direction and
guidance of the A-APRP to bring about continental unification.
Kwame Ture spent 4 years at Howard, three years
in SNCC, less than one year in the BPP, but thirty years in the A-APRP. He didn't run away, disappear, or become irrelevant
after 1968, as the imperialists, and many so-called progressives and revolutionaries would have you believe. Instead he worked
tirelessly to build the A-ACPC and the A-APRP. Today, five years after his physical transition, no one can deny the fruits
of his work. The A-APRP, in its efforts to build the A-ACPC, has developed strong principled brother/sister relationships
with the Democratic Party of Guinea, Pan-African Union of Sierra Leone, African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau,
Azanian People's Organization of Azania/South Africa, and Pan-Africanist Congress of Azania/South Africa, all of which consider
themselves A-ACPC organizations as called for by Nkrumah. The A-APRP has organizers on the ground, openly integrated with
the A-APRP and those respective parties and organizations in each of those countries, as well as Ghana, Senegal, The Gambia,
Britain, Canada, Barbados, Virgin Islands, Brazil, and throughout the united snakes of amerikkka. These organizers are working
to build the A-ACPC which will serve as a worldwide fighting force of Pan-African revolutionaries who are dedicated to fighting
amerikkkan led imperialism to liberate Africa under one unified, socialist government. As Kwame Nkrumah and Sekou Ture predicted,
once Africa is free, unified, and socialist, Africa, and Africans, wherever they live on the planet, will be empowered to
make a proper forward contribution to all of human civilization.
Kwame Ture's life, from Civil Rights, to Black Power,
forward to Pan-Africanism, is the logical forward progress of the international struggle of African people to achieve self-determination.
He should be remembered, three years after his death, as Rev. Jesse Jackson described him in 1998, as "a man who never made
peace with capitalism, racism, and amerikkkan policy."Some legacies of Kwame Ture's life:
- Contributions to the A-APRP
which include actualizing a genuine international Pan-African political party, based in Africa.
- Contributing towards
developing true principled relationships with< non-African revolutionaries such as
-the Palestine Liberation Organization,
Republican Socialist Party, International Indian Treaty
-Council/American Indian Movement.
- Contribution towards institutionalizing
African Liberation Day as an
international Pan-Africanist day of protest and unity throughout the world.
towards developing and building an African United Front in
amerikkka between groups as far apart ideologically as the NAACP,
League, Nation of Islam, Republic of New Afrika, and A-APRP.
James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens:
(September 12, 1913 - March 31, 1980) was an African-American athlete and civic leader. He participated in the 1936
Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany where he won four gold medals and achieved international fame.
the world record in the long jump at the University of Michigan in 1935He was born in Oakville, Alabama and grew up in Cleveland,
Ohio. He was given the name Jesse by a teacher in Cleveland who did not understand his accent when the young boy said he was
called J.C. Throughout his life Owens attributed the success of his athletic career to the encouragement of Charles Riley,
his junior-high track coach who had picked him off the playground and put him on the track team (See Harrison Dillard, a Cleveland
athlete inspired by Owens).
In a span of 45 minutes on May 25, 1935 at the Big Ten meet in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he
tied the record for the 100 yard (91 m) dash and set world records in the long jump, 220 yard (201 m) dash, and the 220 yard
(201 m) low hurdles.
In 1936 Owens arrived in Berlin to compete for the United States in the 1936 Summer Olympics.
Adolf Hitler was using the games to show the world a resurgent Nazi Germany. He and other government officials had high hopes
German athletes would dominate the games with victories (and Germany did win more gold medals that year than any other country).
Meanwhile, Nazi propaganda promoted concepts of "Aryan" racial superiority and depicted ethnic Africans as inferior or even
Owens surprised many by winning four gold medals: On August 3, 1936 the 100 m dash, on August 4 the long
jump (after some friendly and helpful advice from German competitor Lutz Long), on August 5 the 200 m dash and after he was
added to the 4 x 100 m relay team, he won his fourth on August 9 (his performance wasn't duplicated until 1984 when Carl Lewis
won gold medals in the same events at the 1984 Summer Olympics).
Medal ceremony for the long jump at the 1936 Olympics
with Tajima, Owens and Lutz Long. Hitler was not present.After the first day, when Hitler left the stadium before an awards
ceremony involving an African-American, Olympic committee officials had insisted Hitler greet each and every medalist or none
at all. Hitler opted for the latter and skipped all further medal presentations. In his autobiography (The Jesse Owens Story,
1970) Owens recounted how Hitler later stood up and waved to him anyway:
When I passed the Chancellor he arose, waved
his hand at me, and I waved back at him. I think the writers showed bad taste in criticizing the man of the hour in Germany.
was cheered enthusiastically by 110,000 people in Berlin's Olympic Stadium and later ordinary Germans sought his autograph
when they saw him in the streets. However back in New York, after the ticker-tape parade in his honor, Owens had to ride the
freight elevator to attend a reception for him at the Waldorf-Astoria. He later recounted:
When I came back to my native
country, after all the stories about Hitler, I couldn't ride in the front of the bus. I had to go to the back door. I couldn't
live where I wanted. I wasn't invited to shake hands with Hitler, but I wasn't invited to the White House to shake hands with
the President, either.
After the games he had difficulty making a living and became a sports promoter, essentially
an entertainer. He would give local sprinters a ten or twenty yards (9.1 or 18.3 metres) start and beat them in the 100 yd
(91 m) dash. He also challenged and defeated racehorses although as he revealed later, the trick was to race a high-strung
thoroughbred horse that would be frightened by the starter's pistol and give him a good jump. His self-promotion eventually
turned into a public relations career in Chicago, Illinois, including a long stint as a popular jazz disc jockey there.
Owens was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1976 by Gerald Ford and (posthumously) the Congressional Gold Medal
by George H. W. Bush on March 28, 1990. In 1984, a street in Berlin was renamed for him and the Jesse Owens Realschule/Oberschule
(a secondary school) is in Berlin-Lichtenberg.
Owens was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the first intercollegiate
Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans.
A pack-a-day smoker for 35 years, he died of lung cancer
at age 66 in Tucson, Arizona. Owens is buried in Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois.
James Cleveland Owens was
born in 1913 in a small town in Alabama to Henry and Emma Owens. When J.C. was eight, his parents decided to move the family
to Cleveland, Ohio. They did not have much money, and J.C.'s father was hoping to find a better job. When they arrived in
Cleveland, J.C. was enrolled in a public school. On his first day of class when the teacher asked his name, she heard Jesse,
instead of J.C. He would be called Jesse from that point on.
Cleveland was not as prosperous as Henry and Emma had
hoped and the family remained very poor. Jesse took on different jobs in his spare time. He delivered groceries, loaded freight
cars and worked in a shoe repair shop. It was during this time that Jesse discovered he enjoyed running, which would prove
to be the turning point in his life.
One day in gym class, the students were timed in the 60-yard dash. When Coach
Charlie Riley saw the raw, yet natural talent that young Jesse had, he immediately invited him to run for the track team.
Although Jesse was unable to participate in after-school practices because of work, Coach Riley offered to train him in the
mornings. Jesse agreed.
At Cleveland East Technical High School Jesse became a track star. As a senior, he tied the
world record in the 100-yard dash with a time of 9.4 seconds, only to tie it again while running in the Interscholastic Championships
in Chicago. While in Chicago, he also leaped a distance of 24 feet 9 5/8 inches in the broad-jump.
Many colleges and
universities tried to recruit Jesse; he chose to attend Ohio State University. Here Jesse met some of his fiercest competition,
and not just on the track. The United States was still struggling to desegregate in 1933, which led to many difficult experiences
for Jesse. He was required to live off campus with other African-American athletes. When he traveled with the team, Jesse
could either order carryout or eat at "blacks-only" restaurants. Likewise, he slept in "blacks-only" hotels. On occasion,
a "white" hotel would allow the black athletes to stay, but they had to use the back door, and the stairs instead of the elevator.
Because Jesse was not awarded a scholarship from the university, he continued to work part-time jobs to pay for school.
the Big Ten meet in Ann Arbor on May 25, 1935, Jesse set three world records and tied a fourth, all in a span of about 45
minutes. Jesse had an ailing back the entire week leading up to the meet in Ann Arbor. He had fallen down a flight of stairs,
and it was questionable whether he would physically be able to participate in the meet. He received treatment right up to
race time. Confident that the treatment helped, Jesse persuaded the coach to allow him to run the 100-yard dash. Remarkably,
each race timer had clocked him at an official 9.4 seconds, once again tying the world record. This convinced Owens' coach
to allow him to participate in his other events. A mere fifteen minutes later, Jesse took his first attempt it the broad jump.
Prior to jumping, Jesse put a handkerchief at 26 feet 2˝ inches, the distance of the world record. After such a bold gesture,
he soared to a distance of 26 feet 8Ľ inches, shattering the old world record by nearly 6 inches.
pain, Jesse proceeded to set a new world record in the 220-yard dash in 20.3 seconds, besting the old record by three-tenths
of a second. Within the next fifteen minutes, Jesse was ready to compete in another event, this one being the 220-yard low
hurdles. In his final event, Owens' official time was 22.6 seconds. This time would set yet another world record, beating
the old record by four-tenths of a second. Jesse Owens had completed a task that had never been accomplished in the history
of track and field. He had set three new world records and equaled a fourth.
By the end of his sophomore year at Ohio
State, Jesse realized that he could be successful on a more competitive level. Jesse entered the 1936 Olympics, which to many
are known as the "Hitler Olympics." These games were to be held in Nazi Germany, and Hitler was going to prove to the world
that the German "Aryan" people were the dominant race. Jesse had different plans, however, and by the end of the games even
German fans cheered for him.
Jesse was triumphant in the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash and the broad jump. He
was also a key member of the 400-meter relay team that won the Gold Medal. In all but one of these events Jesse set Olympic
records. Jesse was the first American in the history of Olympic Track and Field to win four gold medals in a single Olympics.
Despite his success, the financial instability of the Owens family continued. Shamefully, at that time in America
he was not offered any endorsement deals because he was black. In an effort to provide for his family, Jesse left school before
his senior year to run professionally. For a while he was a runner-for-hire, racing against anything from people, to horses,
to motorcycles. The Negro Baseball league often hired him to race against thoroughbred horses in an exhibition before every
game. Jesse even raced against the some of the Major Leagues fastest ballplayers, always giving them a 10-yard head start
before beating them.
Jesse also took numerous public-speaking engagements, and was an articulate and enjoyable lecturer.
In fact, Jesse was so well-liked and successful that he started his own public relations firm. He traveled around the country
spoke on behalf of companies like Ford and the United States Olympic Committee. He stressed the importance of religion, hard
work and loyalty. He also sponsored and participated in many youth sports programs in underprivileged neighborhoods.
1976, Jesse was awarded the highest honor a civilian of the United States can receive. President Gerald R. Ford awarded him
with the Medal of Freedom. Jesse overcame segregation, racism and bigotry to prove to the world that African-Americans belonged
in the world of athletics. Several years later, on March 31, 1980, Jesse Owens,66, died in Tucson from complications due to
Through all the trials, tribulations and successes, Jesse Owens was a devoted and loving family man. He married
his longtime high school sweetheart, Ruth Solomon, in 1935. Together they had three daughters, Gloria, Beverly and Marlene.
To this day, his widow Ruth and daughter Marlene operate the Jesse Owens Foundation, striving to provide financial assistance
and support to deserving young individuals that otherwise would not have the opportunity to pursue their goals. Jesse would
certainly be proud of their efforts.
Minister (religion), Editor, Abolitionist
Cornish was an early Presbyterian minister and a prominent abolitionist. A conservative in religious and social views, he
lost influence in the early 1840s as many black leaders became more militant, although he remained a respected figure. In
addition, Cornish was an important newspaper editor, a co-founder of Freedom's Journal, the first black newspaper, and later
editor of the Colored American.
Samuel Eli Cornish was born in Sussex County, Delaware, in 1795.
Little is known of his family background except that his parents were free. He moved to Philadelphia in 1815, and there came
under the influence of John Gloucester, the minister who founded the first black Presbyterian church. Gloucester educated
him and trained him for the ministry. Since Gloucester was already gravely ill with the tuberculosis which killed him in 1822,
Cornish gained practical experience filling in for his mentor. Cornish was licensed to preach in 1819 and spent a year as
a missionary in Maryland.
Cornish established himself in New York City in 1821 and gathered a congregation which officially
became the New Demeter Street Presbyterian Church when he was ordained in 1822. In 1824 he married Jane Livingston (d. 1844).
The couple had four children: Sarah Matilda (1824--1846), William (b. 1826), Samuel (1828--1838), and Jane Sophia Tappan (1833--1855).
He resigned from New Demeter Street Presbyterian Church in 1828 to work as an itinerant preacher and missionary.
reputation rests more on his work with abolitionist organizations than on his career as a minister. In 1827 and 1828 he was
an agent for the New York African Free Schools, charged with visiting parents in their homes to encourage attendance. In 1831
the First Annual Convention of the People of Color appointed him agent to collect funds for a college for African Americans
to be built in New Haven, Connecticut. This project came to nothing due to overwhelming local opposition.
In 1827 Cornish
joined John Russworm in editing Freedom's Journal, which first appeared on March 16. Russworm assumed sole editorial control
on September 24, 1827, but Cornish took over the paper in 1829 when Russworm was forced to resign because of his support of
the colonization movement. After a two-month hiatus, Cornish continued the paper for less than a year under the name The Rights
of All. For a few months in 1832 he served as pastor of the First African Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, founded by
John Gloucester. Cornish further devoted his energies to eradicating the stain of slavery; he joined William Lloyd Garrison
in the founding of the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833, and helped found a local branch of the New York Anti-Slavery
Society. Cornish also joined the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, and spent at least nine years on its executive
committee. He was an active member of the American Missionary Society, which incorporated the black Union Missionary Society
Cornish had helped found. He was on the AMA's executive committee for three years and served as its vice-president.
1837 Cornish again became a newspaper editor, this time of the Colored American, a paper subsidized by noted white abolitionist
Arthur Tappan. His associate on the paper was Philip A. Bell, later a noted California newspaper editor. Cornish held this
post until the middle of 1839. Cornish was more conservative in his views than many of his younger contemporaries. For example,
in an 1837 editorial he was part of a minority opposing the use of demonstrations and force to resist enforcement of the fugitive
slave laws. This controversial opinion led to his estrangement from David Ruggles and the New York Committee of Vigilance,
an organization dedicated to helping fugitive slaves.
In 1838 Cornish and his family moved to Belleville, New Jersey.
The Colored American was in financial straits, Cornish's salary was unpaid, and Cornish hoped to raise his children in an
environment less prejudiced than New York City. Tragedy struck, however, when the younger son drowned and the older son faced
degradation in the public school. Around 1840 Cornish moved to Newark, New Jersey, where he headed a church for a brief time.
After his wife died in 1844, Cornish moved his family back to New York City where he organized Emmanuel Church which he led
until 1847. His older daughter died in 1846, and his younger daughter became ill in 1851 and died insane in 1855. In this
year, Cornish, in very poor health himself, moved to Brooklyn, where he died in 1858.
Cornish was an important early
figure in the abolition movement although younger colleagues overshadowed him in his later years. His reputation, as well
as most of the information about his life, rests on his work as a journalist.
Andrews, Charles C. The History
of the New-York African Free Schools. 1830. Reprint, New York: Negro Universities Press, 1969.
Bell, Howard Holman. Minutes
and Proceedings of the National Negro Conventions, 1830--1864. New York: Arno Press and the New York Times, 1969.
Bella. "Freedom's Journal and The Rights of All." Journal of Negro History 17 (July 1932): 241--86.
W., and Michael R. Winston, eds. Dictionary of American Negro Biography. New York: Norton, 1982.
Pease, Jane H., and
William H. Pease. Bound with Them in Chains. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1972.
Sterling, Dorothy. Speak Out in
Thunder Tones. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1973.
[Tappan, Lewis]. The Life of Arthur Tappan. London, England: Sampson
Low, Son, and Marston, 1870.
Professor John Glover Jackson:
Humanist and Pioneer to the Past
John Glover Jackson, one of our greatest cultural historians, was born on April 1, 1907 in Aiken, South
Carolina. Jokingly, he would sometimes tell me: "Runoko, I was born on April Fool's Day and I've been a fool ever since!"
At the age of fifteen he moved to Harlem, New York, where he entered Stuyvesant High School. During his student days Jackson
began to engage in in-depth historical research and was soon writing short essays about African-American history and culture.
These essays were so impressive that in 1925, while still a high school student, Jackson was invited to write articles for
the Honorable Marcus Garvey's newspaper, the Negro World.
In addition to his growing activities as a writer, in 1930
Jackson became a lecturer at both the Ingersoll Forum and the Harlem Unitarian Church. Among his teachers and associates during
this formative phase of his life were Hubert Henry Harrison (whom Jackson would later refer to as the "Black Socrates"), Arthur
Alfonso Schomburg (founder of the Schomburg Library in New York), Joel Augustus Rogers (one of the greatest historians and
journalists of the twentieth century) and Dr. Willis Nathaniel Huggins (a brilliant historian and ardent Pan-Africanist).
1932 young Jackson became the Associate Director of the Blyden Society. Named after the outstanding race leader of the nineteenth
century, Edward Wilmot Blyden, the Blyden Society performed an outstanding role as an African-American support group for Ethiopia
after Italy's brutal 1935 African invasion. Among the very early and, as Jackson was quick to point out, most talented students
to come out of the Blyden Society is the now highly respected and almost venerated Dr. John Henrik Clarke.
these were difficult years for John Jackson, with race-prejudice, poverty and illness his frequent companions, he continued
to produce well-researched, informative and controversial works. In 1934 Jackson coauthored with Dr. Huggins A Guide to the
Study of African History. In 1937, also with Dr. Huggins, he wrote Introduction to African Civilizations. In 1939 he authored
Ethiopia and the Origin of Civilization, and Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth in 1941. His insightful literary contributions
to The Truthseeker Magazine continued regularly from 1930 until 1955.
Beginning in the 1970s John Glover Jackson produced
several major books. These works include Man, God, and Civilization in 1972, Introduction to African Civilizations in 1974,
Christianity Before Christ in 1985, and Ages of Gold and Silver in 1990. Professor Jackson, one of the most remarkable scholars
of our time, taught and lectured at colleges and universities throughout the United States and resided during his last years
in Southside Chicago, Illinois. John Glover Jackson joined the ancestors October 13, 1993.
John Glover Jackson was
one of the major influences in my life, and I was blessed to know him personally. I met Professor Jackson for the first time
in 1982 while working at Compton College. After our initial encounter, we were to spend many hours on the phone and in person
dissecting history, scholarship and politics. The twilight years of his life were spent in a nursing home in Southside Chicago.
He remains one of my great heroes.
Introduction To African Civilizations, by John G. Jackson
Gold And Silver, by John G. Jackson
Zora Neale Hurston:
(January 7, 1891–January 28, 1960) was an African-American folklorist and author. Her best-known work is most
likely Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Hurston was born in Notasulga, Alabama and grew up in Eatonville, Florida. She
studied anthropology at Barnard College under Franz Boas at Columbia University, whom she was greatly influenced by, as is
evident in Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Hurston's work slid into obscurity for decades, explainable for a number of
reasons, cultural and political.
Dialogue in Hurston's work is roughly transcribed so as to mimic the actual speech
of the period, and thus it embraces the dialect and culture of Black America of the early 20th century. For example ( Amy
from the opening of Jonah's Gourd Vine):
Quote:"Dat's a big ole resurrection lie, Ned. Uh slew-foot, drag-leg lie at
dat, and Ah dare yuh tuh hit me too. You know Ahm uh fightin' dawg and mah hide is worth money. Hit me if you dare! Ah'll
wash yo' tub uh 'gator guts and dat quick."
Many felt that rendering the language this way was making a caricature
of Black culture and thus was not deserving of respect. Recently, however, critics have praised her for her artful capture
of the actual language and idiom of the day.
During the 1930s and 1940s when her work was published, the preminent
Black American author was Richard Wright. Unlike Hurston, Wright wrote in explicitly political terms, using the struggle of
Black Americans as both the setting and the motivation for his work. Because the political struggle of the time was aligned
with Wright's writings, Hurston's work was ignored because it simply didn't fit in with this struggle. Other popular Black
authors of the time, such as Ralph Ellison and Langston Hughes, were aligned with Wright's vision of the struggle of Black
Americans, and did not sink into obscurity.
Some of Hurston's work was groundbreaking: She was among the first academics
to study Voodoo, even travelling to Haiti in 1937, and presuming a scientific basis for tales of zombies.
Neale HurstonAt the time of the publication of her little regarded last novel, Seraph on the Suwanee, Hurston was wrongly
accused of child molestation. In her defense she presented her passport, which indicated that she had been in Honduras at
the time of the alleged incident, and the case was dismissed.
She covered the 1954 Florida murder trial of Ruby McCollum
with journalist/author and civil rights advocate William Bradford Huie. Her detachment from the wider civil rights movement
struggle was demonstrated by Hurston's opposition to the Supreme Court ruling in the Brown v Board of Education case (1954),
arguing in a letter to the Orlando Sentinel that desegregation was predicated on black inferiority. The letter caused a furore
and proved to be Hurston's last public intervention.
An article by Alice Walker about Hurston
was published in Ms. Magazine in 1975, which is seen as reviving interest in her work. The rediscovery of Hurston's work has
coincided with the popularity and critical acclaim of authors such as Toni Morrison and Walker herself, whose works are centered
in a Black American experience which includes, but does not necessarily focus on racial struggle.
Walker In Search of Zora Neale Hurston Ms (March 1975) pp. 74-79, 84-89
Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934)
Mules and Men (1935)
Tell My Horse (1937)
Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)
Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939)
Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)
Seraph on the Suwanee (1948)
Sanctified Church (1981)
Mule Bone (A play written
with Langston Hughes) (1996)
The Complete Stories (1995)
Novels and Stories
and Other Writings
Their Eyes Were Watching God, set in the Southern states of the US in
the late 19th century, is perhaps Zora Neale Hurston's most well-known novel, and is considered by many to be a quasi-autobiographical
The main character, Janie, embarks on an epic journey. Her search for self-fufillment as a woman and as an African-American
is paralleled with that of Odysseus as her journey takes her far and wide and pits her against the forces of nature and "monsters"
that try to stop her from reaching self-actualization. Through Janie's trials, Hurston makes the claim that African-American
women are marginalized by their society and admonishes the Negro race to reject the materialistic attitudes of their white
masters and to obey only God. Hence, the title, which suggests passive submission to the will of the Creator.
written in black southern dialect, has attracted criticism by those who claim it portrays African-Americans as ignorant. Similar
criticisms have been leveled at Twain's Huckleberry Finn.
The book was adapted into a telefilm that aired on ABC on
March 16, 2005; it received very high ratings, and starred Academy Award winner Halle Berry as Janie and her then-boyfriend
Michael Ealy as Tea Cake. The movie was produced by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios, and Winfrey served as the host for the
After it debuted on ABC in early 2005, there was heavy talk about Halle Berry winning the award for Best
Actress in a TV Movie (Golden Globes). This won't be made official until the end of the year and when it aires in February-March.
Professor James Small:
James Small - Transformational Speaker & Consultant
James Small was born in 1945, on Arcadia plantation, located on the banks of the Waccamaw River. This Lowland rice plantation
is located where the Waccamaw, Peedee, and Black Rivers converge to meet the Atlantic Ocean, on the shores of historic Georgetown,
South Carolina. Prof. Small was born to a family that traces their descent from enslaved Africans, to the Yoruba, Akan, and
Ewe people of West Africa. Prof. Small's heritage also stems from the Native American ancestors that inhabited these South
Carolinian shores. Both his maternal great-grandmother and his paternal great-grandmother were members of the Chicora Nation,
and made their home along the mighty Waccamaw River.
Prof. Small graduated from the all Black Howard High School in
Georgetown, South Carolina in 1964. He then served in the U.S. Navy for two years during the Vietnam era. Upon his release
from military service, Prof. Small moved to New York City where he joined the organization of Afro-American Unity founded
by the legendary Malcolm X. In 1967, Prof. Small became Imam (minister) of the Muslim Mosque Incorporated, also founded by
Malcolm X. In 1975 Prof. Small traveled to the Holy City of Mecca in Saudi Arabia to make his holy pilgrimage, the Hajjah.
eleven years Prof. Small served as principal bodyguard to the late Ella L. Collins, the sister of Malcolm X, the then President
of the Organization of Afro-American Unity (O.A.A.U.) Between the years of 1966 and 1980, Prof. Small held membership in the
Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (S.N.C.C.), the N.A.A.C.P, Uhuru fighters and O.A.A.U. During this period Prof.
Small had the opportunity to interact with such historical giants as Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Kwame Ture, H. Rap
Brown of S.N.C.C, Eldridge Cleaver, Zaid Shakur, and Lumumba Shakur of the Black Panther Party (B.P.P.) in which he served
as a liaison between the B.P.P. and the O.A.A.U.
Prof. Small has been a member of the Association for the Study of
Classical African Civilization (A.S.C.A.C.) for 14 years. He served as President of A.S.C.A.C. Eastern Region for two years,
where he worked and studied with Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Dr. Yosef A. A. ben Jochannan, Dr. Leonard Jeffries, Dr. Ivan Van
Sertima, Dr. Asa Hilliard, Dr. Wade Nobles, Dr. Amos Wilson and Dr. Francis Cress Welsing, just to name a few.
Small taught for fifteen years at the City University of New York, including 13 years at the City College of New York's Black
Studies Department and two years at New York City Technical College. Prof. Small has taught courses on Malcolm X, Traditional
African Religion (Prof. Small is a priest in the Yoruba religion), Pan Africanism, Crime in the Urban Community, Urban Crisis
and Issues, and African Folklore. Prof. Small has also appeared on a number of network talk shows and newsmagazines. These
include the Phil Donahue Show, The Rolanda Watts Show, The Geraldo Rivera Show, Matt Lauer Nine Broadcast Plaza Show, The
Charlie Rose Show, Tony Brown's Journal, Like it Is with Gil Noble as well as numerous cable programs and local, national
and international television and radio shows.
Prof. Small has lectured at some of the most prestigious colleges and
universities in the world. Among the many colleges and universities where Prof. Small has lectured at are the University of
Manchester, Manchester England. University of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, V.I. University of the West Indies Porte-Spain,
Trinidad; University of West Indies; Kingston Jamaica, Princeton University Princeton, N.J., Harvard University Boston, Mass.,
Yale University, New Haven, Conn., Columbia University and New York University of New York, N.Y. to mention a few.
Small is currently conducting educational and cultural tours throughout Africa and the United States and he is also working
on two books, one a collection of his lectures on Malcolm X and the other on the topic of "Post Slavery Trauma Syndrome."
Eugene Walcott was born on May 11, 1933, and grew up in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. After joining the Nation of Islam
in the 1950s, he took the name Louis X (a standardpractice indicating that one's identity and culture were stolen during slavery)
and later Louis Farrakhan. In high school he was an honor student, a good track athlete, and an active Episcopalian. After
two years of college he embarked on a career as a professional violinist and singer who used such stage names as "Calypso
Gene" and "The Charmer."
At the age of 21, in 1955, Farrakhan was taken by a friend to hear Elijah Muhammad, the leader
of the Nation of Islam. Muhammad was the second head of the movement, having attained his position following the mysterious
disappearance of founder W.D. Fard in 1934, and had overseen its growth to tens or hundreds of thousands of members with an
extensive network of farms, restaurants, stores, schools, and other businesses and institutions. Muhammad's message excoriated
"white devils" and promised that the day would soon arrive when God would restore African Americans, who were regarded as
the original humans, to their rightful position as leaders of the world. Muhammad also imposed strict standards of behavior
on his followers, who were forbidden from smoking, drinking, fighting, eating pork, and other behaviors regarded as destructive
and were commanded to say prayers, attend religious services regularly, improve their education, and provide extensive service
to the movement. Farrakhan joined the movement soon after hearing its leader speak.
The newcomer's ability and dedication
were quickly appreciated by Muhammad, who appointed him minister of the Boston mosque. After the death of Malcolm X in 1965
he was appointed leader of the important Harlem Temple No. 7 and official spokesperson for Elijah Muhammad. He was also given
the symbolically important task of introducing Muhammad at rallies on Savior's Day, a major Nation of Islam holiday celebrating
Elijah Muhammad died in 1975 and was succeeded by his son Wallace Muhammad, who proved much quieter
and more moderate than his father. At Wallace Muhammad's invitation Farrakhan moved to Chicago to work in the movement's headquarters.
Farrakhan became a major voice of the "purist" faction composed of members who rejected the move toward moderation.
He resigned from the movement in 1978 and organized a new Nation of Islam that closely resembled Elijah Muhammad's original
movement, with dress and behavior codes and Muslim institutions and businesses. The reconstituted movement grew quietly but
steadily as Farrakhan opened mosques in American cities and reached out to the wider African American community through publications
and a radio show.
Farrakhan's movement, which in 1983 was estimated to have between five and ten thousand members,
remained relatively obscure until March 1984, when controversy suddenly erupted over his association with presidential candidate
Jesse Jackson. Farrakhan, who had earlier counseled his devoted followers to avoid political involvements, had thrown his
movement behind Jackson, providing, in addition to rhetorical support before African American audiences, bodyguards for the
candidate. Farrakhan had registered to vote for the first time and urged his followers to do the same. Jackson had returned
the favor by appearing as the featured speaker at the Muslim Savior's Day rally in February 1984.
After his time of
greatest publicity during the presidential campaign of 1984, Farrakhan continued his extensive public speaking schedule and
continued to wield influence among African Americans far beyond the membership of his own movement. He and his wife, Betsy,
had nine children.
Farrakhan has always had a loyal following. This fact was most evident on October 16, 1995 in Washington
D.C. Farrakhan had called upon at least one million African American men to converge on the nation's capital to reinvigorate
their community. The "Million Man March" was to create a solidarity amongst the African American community. Farrakhan had
support from the likes of Maya Angelou, Jesse Jackson, Stevie Wonder and a host of other notable personalities. The march
surprised many, not only because of the sheer force of attendance, but because Farrakhan was able to not only promote, but
deliver a non-violent protest in Washington D.C.
Farrakhan was hospitalized in April of 1999 and underwent surgery
to treat prostate cancer.
Farrakhan has given few interviews and has not been the subject of a major
biographical study. One helpful article is Clarence Page's "Deciphering Farrakhan," in Chicago magazine (August 1984). The
Nation of Islam's newspaper, The Final Call, provides a general exposition of Farrakhan's outlook. Other articles pertaining
to Farrakhan include "No Innocent Abroad" by Jack E. White, Time (February 26, 1996) and "Million Man March" by Eric Pooley,
Time (October 16, 1995).
Biography Resource Center
©2001, Gale Group, Inc.
"UP YOU MIGHTY NATION, YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH
WHAT YOU WILL."
- Marcus Garvey; The Honorable Elijah Muhammad
440 YEARS the Black male has been the object of scorn, ridicule, and abuse, worse than that suffered by any people in the
annals of history. The Black male is so destroyed, that Allah (God) Himself has to do today what He did in the beginning,
and that is to declare His involvement in the process of the remaking of man.
We, as students and followers of the Honorable
Elijah Muhammad, are calling on all able-bodied Black men to set aside a day, October 16, 1995, for an historic March on Washington
to declare to the Government of America and the world, that we are ready to take our place as the head of our families and
our communities and that we, as Black men, are ready to shoulder the responsibility of being the maintainers of our women
and children and the builders of our communities. There is enough unused and undeveloped talent in the Black male to build
an entirely New World. The Almighty Allah (God) has declared that the time is ripe; and, that we must get up from our assigned
place at the foot of the rulers of this world and show forth the Wisdom and Power of Allah (God) in doing something for ourselves.
a March on Washington?
In 1963 the leaders of the civil rights movement gathered Black people together to march on Washington
for jobs and justice. The government became so frightened by this that they decided to dilute the strength of the march and
weaken the resolve of the marchers. However, the march went forward as planned and out of it later emerged the passing of
the voting rights and public accommodations bills of 1965 and 1966. From that point there has been a steady movement of talented
Black people in corporate America, politics, and business. However, the masses of Black people, and Black men in particular,
are lagging far, far behind.
I was visiting with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad as we watched the 1963 March on Washington.
He said that he saw too much frivolity, joking and a picnic atmosphere. He said, "One day, Brother, I will call for a March
on Washington." However, this march and the marchers will be serious about our quest for justice. It is the thinking of the
Honorable Elijah Muhammad that has inspired this call, in particular to Black men, that we must now show the world our resolve;
for it is we, Black men, who cleared the underbrush, laid the tracks for the railroad, built the homes in the south for the
slave masters. It is we who plowed their fields, helped build their roads. It is we who fought in all of America's wars for
a freedom that we have yet to enjoy.
So, now the God of Justice has declared that it is time for us as Black men and
as Christians, Muslims, Nationalists, Agnostics, young and old members of every fraternal, civic, and political organization
to stand together as one to declare our right to justice and our right to determine the future of ourselves and our people.
dry bones in the valley: An Exceedingly Great Army
It is written in the Book of Ezekiel that the dry bones would hear
a word that would stimulate them, causing them to move, but there would be no spirit or breath in these bones to make them
stand up. The son of man went back to his Sender pleading for more power to resurrect these bones and the Mighty God told
the son of man to call on the winds and let them blow on these slain of God. When the winds began to blow on the bones, the
scripture said the bones stood up an exceedingly great army.
What are the winds? Winds represent forces that create
movement to overpower the inertia of the bones; for a bone at rest will remain at rest unless it is acted upon by an external
force greater than the resistance of the inertia of the bones. Those forces that are blowing on the Black community, and particularly
the Black male, are the winds of poverty, want, joblessness, and homelessness; the winds of drugs and crime; the winds of
political recalcitrance on the part of those in power; the winds of rejection and increased hatred. The winds of the Republican
Party which swept into power calling for more harsh punishment for criminals, and the building of more prisons, saying that
anyone who has been guilty of a criminal offense three times will be imprisoned for the rest of his or her natural life. Prisons
are now private enterprise, which means that it is becoming big business now to build prisons to incarcerate the Black, the
weak, the poor and the ignorant. This new wave of anti-crime legislation is to legitimize a return to slavery in the name
of crime-reduction. It is our intention in the Nation of Islam and among concerned Black clergy, politicians, and other leaders
to reduce crime and violence in our community by increasing the level of productivity, particularly in the Black male.
kind of army will this be?
Will these men be coming to Washington to threaten the U.S. Government? Will this be an army
to perpetuate more violence and evil in the society? A million men can create tremendous havoc. However, this march is to
declare to the world our readiness to stand up like free Black men to take on the responsibility of freedom allegedly given
to us in 1865. This will be a march with an army of men filled with the spirit produced by the winds of change. This will
be an army to stand up as never before to do something for self.
This will be an army that will be in Washington filled
with the spirit of love for self, love for each other, love for our families and filled with the determination that we should
no longer and never again be looked at as the criminals, the clowns, the buffoons, the dregs of society. Since we were created
in the beginning in the nature of Allah (God) then, we will be declaring to the world that we want to make a new beginning;
to be fruitful and multiply; meaning, to become productive men and women, to conquer the earth, and master its laws of production
that we may offer to this nation and to the world what Allah (God) has put within us.
What kind of attention will
this March attract?
The whole world will be watching to see what the Black man will do. The whole world will be watching
to see if this march will produce civil unrest and strife. The world of investors will be watching to see if it is safe to
continue to invest in the economy of America. We say to the world you will be witnessing the power of Allah's (God's) Own
Hand on the children of ex-slaves whose mind is on freedom, justice and equality for all of our people. Will you be there?
Every Black man who is able should start now putting aside his nickels, dimes and dollars because no man who is unable to
make the journey on his own will have his way paid for him. We must show the world that we are ready to shoulder our responsibility
by paying our own way from wherever we come. We should start preparing now to make sure that on October 16, 1995 we will be
ready to make such a march and demonstration.
What about those who are not able to make it?
In every city and
town in America, those who cannot participate in the march should show their sympathy for the march and their agreement with
why the marchers are marching. On that day, stay home from school and from work. That day those who are at home should teach
our children the value of unity; the value of pooling our resources; the value of building businesses and enterprises in the
Black community to serve our own needs. Although the children on that day should not go to school, the parents should be the
teachers teaching our children the value of a proper education; an education that teaches you to love yourself; education
is that which gives you a desire to bring forth from yourself the God given gifts and talents to put them in the service of
self and others. On that day, the parents should focus on the value of education and begin to move more strongly to take control
of the education in our own communities to make sure that it is an education that does not make another slave, but an education
that qualifies us to be self independent, self-determined and self-reliant.
On that day, I will be asking every entertainer
not to entertain. I will be asking every sports figure, professional or otherwise, not to play. America must be made to see
that the Black people in her midst have added something of significance to this country. On that day, your basketball, football,
baseball and entertainment will be all white. Since so many of you love to be all white, then be all white, it's all right.
America must taste how it feels when her ex-slave is not in her midst.
Make America to know her sins
America to reflect on her sins against the Black man. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said, "Make America to know her sins."
So, we want America to see that she owes something to the people who built her country and as yet have not received justice.
may say, "We, the Caucasian people of this generation, don't owe anything to Black people for we didn't bring you into slavery.
While it is true that the present generation of whites did not initiate slavery and the wretched condition of Black people
which resulted from it, nevertheless, the present generation of whites are the beneficiaries of that which was done by their
fathers to our fathers who made us to work to produce wealth for the nation that the present generation is feeding from. Even
though the present generation is not responsible for slavery and its evil, the present generation of Caucasians, however,
must accept the responsibility and the challenge to be participants in finding the solution that will correct the wrong that
was done that has never been properly addressed.
If the present generation of Caucasians refuses to accept this challenge
then they will, in effect, be saying that they agree with the evil of their fathers and thus be face to face with The Judgment
of Allah (God) that is written in the scriptures, "And I will visit the sins of the fathers on their children even to the
3rd and 4th generation of them that hate me (This hatred of God is manifested by a hatred for the principle of justice for
the children of the slaves)."
It will be our duty to present our case in the wisest and most intelligent way. In so
doing, we must also make the Black man to know his sins. We cannot, in this modern time, keep on blaming white people for
our shortcomings. We have to know our own sins in this matter and repent of the evils that are destroying our own communities.
We must repent of the laziness that has caused us not to be willing to take up our responsibility to do for self; and, if
we will repent and, if we can call America to repentance for her own evils, then we can work out a way to resolve the problem
between the two people with justice.
To our Women and Girls
You have always been by our side. In fact, you
have been in front leading us. Were it not for your boldness, your courage, intelligence, and forthrightness, we as Black
men would have very little. We are asking our wives and daughters to stay at home on that day; not because we don't need you;
not because we don't think that you can be of great support to us. You, my dear sisters, have been our leaders, our teachers,
our nurses. You have been so patient waiting for us to take up our responsibility; so now that we have made up our minds to
stand up for you and our families, we want you to aid us in this march by staying at home with the children teaching them
in sympathy with what your Black men have finally decided to do.
You should not go to the store on that day to buy
anything. Whatever we buy, buy it ahead of this day. We should not go to the office. We should not let this world see us.
We should be in our homes focused on prayer and thanksgiving, praying that Allah (God) will pour out His Spirit and Protection
on those who actually march on the streets of Washington, D.C., and those who march with us in spirit in their homes. We want
this march to be the real shot heard around the world that the Black man, the Black woman, and the Black family are standing
together at last.
This must be a day of prayer. Let all of Us turn to Almighty (God) Allah and pray to Him with our
children by our sides-young and old. This should be a day of fasting for those who are able to fast from sunup to sundown.
This should be a day when we bow down to the Lord of Creation, to the God of our salvation in remembrance of our ancestors
and what they suffered to bring us to this great day. If all of us will unite this one day, then the world will take notice
that there is a new Black man in America. We must organize beyond the march for a time of productive activity that Isaiah
the Prophet said will give us the means to rebuild the wasted cities.
What are the political, social, and economic
advantages of this historic March?
Politicians are moved by numbers. Politicians know that numbers can determine elections.
1996 will produce the most fateful of Presidential elections. No candidate of either party has ever addressed Black people
on an agenda that we ourselves have fashioned and put before them for their consideration. By the Grace of Allah (God) we
will present a Black agenda for the candidate of either party to address forthrightly. Since both parties, Democrat and Republican,
have never addressed the real needs of the Black people of America. I will therefore ask all Black men to register or re-register
as independents, holding our vote to be given to whomsoever will address the Black agenda with truth and with justice. There
will be great political advantage in a million Black men representing several million more behind the door. Let us use this
political leverage to help our people get up and to help America to see that we intend to use our political power in a constructive
way and that no longer can any party depend on our vote or take it for granted.
What is the social advantage? Black
men from every religious affiliation, every civic, fraternal or political persuasion, from the revolutionist to the integrationist,
from the Christians, to the Muslims, Hebrews and Agnostics - all of us will be together. There will be a common denominator
uniting the fractions and the factions. On that one day we will see the value socially of never allowing artificial barriers
to impede the advancement of our people.
What is the spiritual advantage? The spiritual advantage is that the greatest
force of Allah (God) is not only Truth, but His Spirit which engenders and promotes the love of the brotherhood.
writer says in the scripture that, "We can tell that we have passed from death into life because we love the brotherhood."
The spiritual advantage is that we will find common cause to love ourselves and to love one another. And out of that love,
life will increase in our families, in the Black nation in America and in Black people all over the world who will be touched
by what we say and do.
What is the economic advantage? We will begin to see as never before the value of pooling our
resources to buy farmland, to set up factories, to enter into international trade and commerce, to petition the government
that they should not cede manufacturing to Third World countries but the Black community, or the inner cities which are in
a Third World condition. Therefore, manufacturing must be ceded to us. We will make the shoes and cobble our feet. We will
make the suits and dresses to clothe our backs. We will make the underwear, shirts, socks and other necessities that are now
being imported from China, Japan, Korea, and Italy. We will take the responsibility of food, clothing, and shelter for our
people, with a partnership with government, a partnership for mutual progress. This army will be the true army of salvation
of the Black nation and the army of salvation of America and the salvation army of the world. Will you be there? Let us pray
that Allah (God) will increase the spirit in Black men that we will make up our minds to present our bodies on that day as
a reasonable and living sacrifice to accomplish what we have determined to accomplish by the help of Allah (God).
you for reading these few words.
(This article originally appeared in volume 14, number 4 of The Final Call
newspaper, dated December 14, 1994.)
Marvin Penze Gaye:
(b. 2 April 1939 in Washington, D.C.; d.
1 April 1984 in Washington, D.C.) singer and songwriter and one of the most successful and popular soul artists during the
early years of the Motown era.
Marvin Gaye (originally Gay) was the second of four children
of Alberta and Marvin Gay, Sr., a minister. He grew up in a modest home in a poor, segregated section of the nation's capital.
Raised by devout Seventh-Day Adventists, he was the product of a strict and often abusive upbringing. In contrast to Gay's
mother, a strong, pious woman who left home each morning at 5 a.m. to work as a maid, his father was an uninspired, effeminate
man who drank excessively and even beat his children. His fits of rage were tempered, ironically, by a millenarian religious
devotion that prized restraint. Indeed, for much of their childhood, the Gay children were expected to immerse themselves
in worship from Friday night until Sunday afternoon, making them the object of ridicule from schoolmates who considered their
religion (and their father) peculiar. Nonetheless, at the age of three, Marvin began singing gospel hymns at the House of
God, his father's church. As members of the congregation began to notice Marvin's considerable vocal and instrumental talents
(he also played the organ), his father demanded that he pursue a religious vocation. Of his relationship with his father,
Gaye would later say: "Living with my father was like living with a king, a very peculiar, changeable, cruel, and all-powerful
king." That Marvin would, as a teenager, turn to more secular pleasures like sex, Viceroy cigarettes, and doo-wop music defied
his father's uncompromising expectations.
Marvin attended Cardozo High School, where he studied drums, piano, and
guitar. A shy, handsome adolescent, he immersed himself in musical pursuits, often skipping classes to watch singers like
James Brown and Jackie Wilson perform at the Howard Theatre. An inconsistent student, he dropped out of school in 1957 and
joined the air force, where he hoped to learn how to fly. Once he realized that his unruly temperament was not fit for the
military, Marvin wanted out. His honorable discharge (1957), read: "Marvin Gay cannot adjust to regimentation and authority."
He did achieve one milestone while serving in the Air Forcehe lost his virginity to a prostitute. This experience unleashed
an internal struggle between physical desire and moral reserve that bedeviled him throughout his adult life.
he returned to Washington in 1957, Gay joined with friends Reese Palmer, James Nolan, and Chester Simmons to form the Marquees,
a doo-wop group that performed mostly in front of high school audiences. During their first year together, rhythm-and-blues
pioneer Bo Diddley agreed to produce their first record, "Hey Little Schoolgirl," on the Columbia subsidiary label Okeh. Despite
high expectations, their debut failed to reach the chartsa disappointment for Gay especially, who had long dreamed of becoming
a "black Sinatra." After a number of humiliating months as a dishwasher at People's Drugstore, a local all-white establishment
in Washington, D.C., Gay met Harvey Fuqua, a record promoter who had been impressed with his magnetic performance at a recent
high school talent contest. Fuqua, who was then in the process of re-forming a group named the Moonglows, invited Gay and
his friends to Chicago to sign with his label, Chess Records.
In 1959 the Marquees changed their name to Harvey and
the Moonglows and recorded their first hit, "Ten Commandments of Love." It was as lead singer for Harvey and the Moonglows
that Gay got his first exposure to the life of a road performer. Despite his initial excitement at this, experience soon taught
him that opportunities for black performers came with profound limitations in Jim Crow America. "We ran into all kinds of
racist shit," Marvin recalled. "I thought about Joseph and Mary being turned away, but that wasn't comfort enough. Jesus turned
over tables in the temple, and I was ready to break down doors." This early period of Gay's professional life involved a search
for identity, informed by the burdens of his own tortured past as well as the stark realities of a racially segregated society.
Gay then decided to change his last name by adding an "e" to the endat once a sign of independence from his father and a defiant
response to those who had questioned his sexual identity.
In 1960 Gaye and Fuqua moved to Detroit, where they teamed
up with Berry Gordy, Jr., the determined entrepreneur who had founded the Motown Record Corporation one year before. After
about a year as a backup singer, studio musician, and drummer for Smokey Robinson's band and other Motown acts, Gaye signed
a contract with the company as a solo artist. Shortly thereafter, he married Gordy's thirty-seven-year-old sister, Anna, a
move that elicited severe criticism from those who saw the Gaye-Gordy marriage as blatant opportunism. Nonetheless, with Anna's
encouragement, Gaye entered the studio and recorded his first album, The Soulful Moods of Marvin Gaye (1961), a modest collection
of subdued, jazz-influenced ballads. After recording several more albums that failed to impress critics, Gaye was urged to
modify his sound to conform to the increasingly popular genre of rhythm and blues (R&B) music. Somewhat begrudgingly,
Gaye did so, recording his self-referential "Stubborn Kind of Fellow," which quickly reached the top-ten list. It was not
until 1964, however, that Gaye got a taste of the kind of stardom he wanted, with hit singles like "Hitch Hike," "Can I Get
a Witness," and especially "Pride and Joy," which climbed to the top ten on both the pop and rhythm-and-blues charts.
this time Motown was growing into one of the most successful black-owned businesses in America. As the civil rights movement
heated up during the summer of 1964, so did Marvin Gaye's career. Following his first batch of hitsincluding "How Sweet It
Is (to Be Loved by You)" which soared to number six on the chartsGaye began to do collaborative albums with some of Motown's
hottest new female vocalists, including Mary Wells (Together, 1964) and Kim Weston (It Takes Two, 1967). His most successful
collaboration, however, was with Tammi Terrell, a promising young R&B singer with whom Gaye recorded three albums in conjunction
with the famous writing and production team of Ashford and Simpson. Their first hit single together, "Ain't No Mountain High
Enough" (1967), was the first of nine songs to make the charts, including "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" and "Your Precious
Love" (both in 1968). By the time Terrell died of a brain tumor in March 1970 at age twenty-four, Gaye's marriage to Annadespite
the adoption of a son, Marvin Pentz Gaye III, in 1965was disintegrating. He was bordering on depression (it was during this
period that he first threatened suicide) and was involved with cocaine. "My heart was broken," he claimed. "My own marriage
to Anna had proven a lie. In my heart I could no longer pretend to sing love songs for people. I couldn't perform. When Tammi
became ill, I refused to sing in public."
Despite his personal torment, he continued to record hits. In 1968 Gaye
finally hit number one with "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," which he followed with a deeply personal album, M.P.G. (1969),
that exposed his marriage crisis and deepening depression. Continuing to abuse drugs, Gaye also grew more disillusioned with
the state of the nation. Indeed, following the deaths of four protesters at Kent State University and his brother's return
from Vietnam in 1971, Gaye was explosive. He recorded (and coproduced) his best-selling album What's Going On, a musically
diverse and politically charged manifesto on the contemporary problems of racism, poverty, and war. Hailed as Motown's first
"concept album," it contained soul-wrenching top-ten hits like "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)," "Mercy Mercy Me,"
and the famous title track, the lyrics of which spoke for a nation in chaos: "War is not the answer / Only love can conquer
hate / We've got to find some way / to bring some lovin' here today." Because of the album's success, Gaye received Billboard's
Trendsetter of the Year award, Cashbox's Male Vocalist of the Year award, and an NAACP Image Award in 1971. He followed this
success two years later with Let's Get It On, an album whose sultry title song debuted at number one.
At the peak
of his career, however, Gaye's personal life continued to crumble. Addicted to drugs and unwilling to perform in concert,
he initiated a tumultuous affair in 1971 with sixteen-year-old Janis Hunter. Anna finally filed for divorce in 1975, at which
point Janis was pregnant for a second time with Gaye's child. While Gaye was in Hawaii and Europe to avoid charges of tax
evasion, Motown released an unfinished album, In Our Lifetime, without his permission. Furious, Gaye signed with CBS Records
in 1981, ending an almost twenty-year partnership with Motown. In one last grasp for glory, he released Midnight Lover (1982),
a compilation of love ballads that won him two Grammy Awards in 1983, for best male vocalist and best instrumental performance.
The album's best-selling single, "Sexual Healing," remained at number one for four months, becoming the fastest-selling soul
single in more than five years. In 1983, during an erratic concert tour, Gaye was hospitalized for drug-related complications
and developed an acute case of paranoia. He returned to Los Angeles, a broken man. On Sunday, 1 April 1984, the eve of his
forty-fifth birthday, Gaye was shot to death by his father during a violent altercation about finances in his parents' home.
Marvin Gay, Sr., was later acquitted of his son's murder, claiming that he acted in self-defense.
More than ten thousand
people attended Gaye's open-casket funeral in Los Angeles, at which Stevie Wonder sang and Smokey Robinson read the Twenty-third
Psalm. A longtime friend, Robinson later reflected on Gaye's legacy: "The tragic ending can only be softened by the memory
of a beautiful human being. He could be full of joy sometimes, but at others, full of woe, but in the end how compassionate,
how wonderful, how exciting was Marvin Gaye and his music."
Timothy P. McCarthy
with information on Gaye include Nelson George, Where Did Our Love Go? The Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound (1985); David
Ritz, Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye (1985); Gerald Early, One Nation Under Groove: Motown and American Culture (1995);
and Pamela Des Barres, Rock Bottom: Dark Moments in Music Babylon (1996). An obituary is in the New York Times (2 Apr. 1984).
The Rise and Fall of Black Swan Records:
by Jitu K. Weusi
He viewed himself as a sort of
expert in Black History and Culture. In 1980 he earned a Master's Degree in Black Studies at the Africana Studies and Research
Center of Cornell University. So when he was asked on the T. V. quiz show to name the first Black owned and operated recording
company, he answered with assurance: "Motown Records." "I'm sorry," the announcer said, "you're wrong." "The correct answer
is Black Swan Records."
In the first quarter of the 29th century (1900-1925), the great migration
of the African-American people took shape. They left their rural, country, backwoods habitats of the southern states of the
U. S. and relocated in the northern cities of an emerging industrialized America. They brought with them their taste for music
which was a staple of their spiritual and earthy lifestyle.
This musical impact combined with the technical growth
of capitalist America to produce an urban industry; the entertainment industry. Names like Scott Joplin (Ragtime), W. C. Handy
(Blues), Hubie Blake (Dixieland) and Louis Armstrong (Jazz) produced a lucrative and thriving music entertainment industry
that exists and is viable up until this present time. The technology of this industry was almost totally in the hands of white
Americans. Recording, the making of records in its beginning years 1900-1920, was a discriminatory process. White producers
took the musical ideas of Blacks, but were reluctant to allow Blacks to make records. By 1920 the only Black voice to be recorded
by the major companies was Bert Williams on Columbia and Mamie Smith on O. K. Victor Records. One man, Harry Herbert Pace,
was aware of this fact. He decided to act.
"Companies would not entertain any thought of recording a colored musician
or colored voice, I therefore decided to form my own company and make such recordings as I believed would sell." (The Negro
in New York, 1939)
Harry Herbert Pace was born on January 6th, 1884 in Covington, Georgia. His father, Charles Pace, was
a blacksmith who died while harry was an infant leaving him to be raised by his mother, Nancy Francis Pace. Light skinned
and extremely bright, Pace finished elementary school at age twelve and seven years later graduated valedictorian of his class
in Atlanta University. A disciple of his college teacher, W. E. B. DuBois and his concept of the talented tenth, upon graduation,
Pace worked in printing, banking and insurance industries first in Atlanta and later in Memphis. In various junior executive
positions, he demonstrated a strong understanding of business tactics and had a reputation for rebuilding failing enterprises.
During his sojourn in the South, two significant things happened that would impact his figure. In 1912 in Memphis,
he met and collaborated with W. C. Handy, generally recognized as the father of the Blues. Handy took a liking to Pace, they
wrote songs together. Later they would develop the Pace and Handy Music Company, that would bring Harry Pace to New York City.
Secondly, he met and married his wife, Ethlynde Bibb, who would be a great inspiration in his life. (African-American Business
Leaders, Ingraham and Feldman.)
In 1920, Pace resigned his position in Atlanta, moved to New York, purchased a fine
home on "Striver Row" in Harlem and settled in to manage the Pace and Handy Sheet Music business. The business using Pace's
business knowledge and Handy's creative genius was very successful. While the company was profitable and artistically effective,
Pace was frustrated. He observed as white recording companies bought the music and lyrics from Pace and Handy and then recorded
them using white artists. When they did employ Blacks, they refused to let them sing and play in their own authentic style.
Pace resolved to start his own record firm. Many scholars for years believed Handy was part of Pace company. Handy stated:
"To add to my woes, my partner withdrew from the business. He disagreed with some of my business methods, but
no harsh words were involved. He simply chose this time to sever connection with our firm in order that he might organized
Pace Phonograph Company, issuing Black Swan Records and making a serious bid for the Negro market. ... With Pace went a large
number of our employees. ... Still more confusion and anguish grew out of the fact that people did not generally know that
I had no stake in the Black Swan Record Company."
In the 1920's New York, Harlem was ushering in a Negro renaissance of
art and culture. Marcus Garvey (of whom Pace was a severe critic) was leading the largest Black mass movement for pride and
economic redemption in twentieth century America. Even the Negro middle class, of which Pace was an undeniable member, was
feeling the call to control the destiny of their lives, set up companies, manufactured products, employ and sell products
to their own people. Pace was impacted by the wave of Black Nationalism sweeping the U. S. in the early 1920's post World
War I period.
In March of 1921 under the laws of the state of Delaware and using about
$30,000 in borrowed capital, Pace organized the Pace Phonograph Corporation, Inc. with a Board of Directors that included
Dr. W. E. B. DuBois, Mr. John E. Nail, Dr. Matthew V. Bouttle and Ms. Viola Bibb. The company's first office was his home
at 257 West 138th Street New York, N.Y. The African-American newspaper, New York Age reported:
MAKING RAPID PROGRESS
Among the business organizations recently established by Negroes in New York, one of the
most important is the Pace Phonograph Company. This company was incorporated in January 1921, under the laws of the state
of Delaware on $110,000. The board of directors of the organization is composed of some of the most able colored businessmen.
did not have an easy time entering the record business. White record companies threw up obstacles to keep him out. When he
attempted to use a local pressing company, a large white company purchased the plant to keep him out. He was able to get a
local studio to record, but had to send the master to a pressing plant located in Port Washington, Wisconsin to be pressed.
Finally in about six weeks with all the preliminary work completed and all the necessary ingredients in place, from recording
laboratories to wrapping paper and corrugated board. Pace was ready to manufacture Black Swan Records.
The name Black
Swan, Pace used to honor the accomplishments of Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield (1809-1976), a remarkably talented Negro singer
known as "The Black Swan." Pace had designed a logo, a handsome black and gold label with a swan in gold against the black,
floating above the banner (Jazz: A History of the New York Scene). In his advertising in African-American newspapers Pace
stressed the race issue, saying, "The only genuine colored records others are only passing for colored." Among the earliest
employees for Pace was Fletcher Henderson, the pianist and band leader who became the recording manager and William Grant
Still, the classical composer and orchestra leader who was the musical director of the new firm.
The first 3 records,
probably recorded in April of 1921 and released in May of 1921, featured C. Carroll Clarke, a Denver-born baritone known to
sing a fine ballad with a generally good reputation among high class Negro patrons, Katie Crippen, a vaudevillian who sang
Blues and Revella Hughes, a soprano and vocal teacher who was very popular among the highbrow New York area patrons at that
time. The Chicago Defender of May 7th, 1921 carried a press release of three paragraphs listing Black Swan 2001, 2002 and
2003 as May releases.
Fletcher Henderson was the pianist of record on all Black Swan releases from the start until
the Fall of 1921. Other regularly used musicians for Black Swan during that period included; Joe Smith, Cornet; George Brashear,
Trombone; Edgar Campbell, Clarinet; Cordy Williams, Charlie Dixon, Banjo; "Chink" Johnson, Trombone/Tubas. William Grant Still
also doubled as manager and played several instruments (Oboe, Violin, Cello, Clarinet, Saxophone, Banjo and others) and was
available for recordings. (Henderson/W. C. Allen)
Black Swan Records would have had a short and non-significant existence
if it relied on the sale of its earliest records. Even Fletcher Henderson stated that these early releases were "straight
songs or novelty numbers in the raggy style which was that heritage of the Europe-Brymn-Dabney School ... the one blues had
not been done in blues style. "The music was not being produced to appeal to the taste of masses of the African-American people.
This changed suddenly in the Summer of 1921.
It was in the Summer of 1921 that Ethel Waters came to the rescue of
Black Swan Records. Three different accounts of this occurrence is depicted. Which ever version we select the outcome was
the same. Fletcher Henderson stated:
"I was walking along 135th Street in Harlem one night, and there, in a basement,
singing with all her heart, was Ethel. I had her come down and cut four sides of which two-DOWN HOME BLUES and OH DADDY-became
such hits that we were made."
Other recollections of this date are a bit different. Harry Pace himself was written:
in Atlantic City. ... I went to a cabaret on the West Side at the invitation of a mutual friend who stated that there was
a girl there singing with a peculiar voice that he thought I might use. I went into the cabaret and heard this girl and I
invited her over to my table to talk about coming to New York to make a recording. She very brusquely refused but at the same
time I saw that she was interested and I told her that I would send her a ticket to New York and return on the next Wednesday.
I did send such a ticket and she came to New York and made two records, DOWN HOME BLUES and OH DADDY. This girl was Ethel
Waters and the records were enormously successful. I sold 500,000 of these records within six months. The next month I had
her make two other records and thereafter for a long time she made a record a month. But none of them ever measured up to
the DOWN HOME BLUES record."
Ethel Waters added her own recollections. She had recorded earlier for the Cardinal company,
having been contracted by a free-lanced talent scout, who later suggested she go to Black Swan for an audition:
I found Fletcher Henderson sitting behind a desk and looking very prissy and important. ... There was much discussion of whether
I should sing popular or 'cultural' numbers. They finally decided on popular, and I asked one hundred dollars for making the
record. I was still getting only thirty-five dollars a week, so one hundred dollars seemed quite a lump sum to me. Mr. Pace
paid me the one hundred dollars, and that first Black Swan record I made had DOWN HOME BLUES on one side, OH DADDY on the
other. It proved a great success ... got Black Swan out of the red.
Riding the crest of this first successful Black Swan
Recording, Pace and his small army hit upon the concept that would catapult Black Swan into the annals of recording history;
the Black Swan tours.
High Times For Black Swan
It was ironic that at the time of its earliest success
Black Swan had the opportunity to record and sign Bessie Smith, who would later become legendary as the "Queen of the Blues."
Harry Pace upon hearing her sing one night decided that she was too "nitty gritty" for his taste. (African-American Business
Leaders, Ingraham and Feldman) Two years later she would break all sales as a Columbia recording artist.
was doing better by the fall of 1921. Pace decided to send group of Black Swan artists out on a Vaudeville tour.
the October 22, 1921 issue of the Chicago DEFENDER there appeared the following advertisement:
"Coming Your Way-Black
Swan Troubadours Featuring the Famous phonographic Star ETHEL WATERS The World's Greatest 'Blues' Singer and Her Black Swan
Jazz Masters. Company of All-Star Colored Artists. Exclusive Artists of the Only Colored Phonograph Record Company. Lodge,
Clubs Societies and Managers wire or write terms and open time. T. V. Holland, Mgr. 275 W. 138th St. New York City."
An orchestra, the Black Swan Jazz Masters was organized to accompany Ethel Waters on this national tour.
A man named Simpson was named road manager and a series of dates were lined up. But before the Tour could begin two matters
had to be dealt with that reveals the social tone of the tome most specially in the would of African-American entertainment.
Fletcher Henderson, the will-mannered, quiet, studious pianist and leader of the Black Swan Jazz Masters, was being
advertised on a National Tour with a noted Blues singer. From a distinguished Southern colored Georgia family, this Atlanta
University chemistry graduate had to entertain his parents in New York City to counsel him before departing on the tour. After
meeting Ms. Ethel Waters, the beloved Black Queen of stage, screen , T. V. and music had to suffer further indignities so
she could enrich the legacy of Black Swan Records. She was requested and agreed to sign a one year contract with Harry Pace.
The Chicago DEFENDER of Dec. 24,1921 broke the news:
"ETHEL MUST NOT MARRY-SIGNS CONTRACT FOR BIG SALARY-PROVIDING
SHE DOES NOT MARRY WITHIN A YEAR. New York, Dec. 21-Ethel Waters, star of the Black Swan Troubadours, has signed a unique
contract with Harry H. Pace, which stipulates that she is not to marry for at least a year, and that during this period she
is to devote her time largely to singing for Black Swan Records and appearing with the Troubadours. It was due to numerous
offers of marriage, many of her suitors suggesting that she give up her professional life at once for domesticity, that Mr.
Pace was prompted to make this step. ... Miss Waters' contract makes her now the highest salaried colored phonograph star
in the country."
The tour began at the Pennsylvania Standard Theater in Philadelphia on Nov. 23,1921 and the Black Swan
Troubadours remained on tour until July of 1922. They visited 21 states (See Appendix) and performed in over 53 cities playing
one two night stands and up to 2 weeks on one engagement. (New Orleans)
The turnouts and enthusiasm of the audiences
were fantastic. After the first month engagement, Pace hired Lester Walton, noted newspaper columnist (the first Black) for
the New York World (a major daily newspaper) as the road manager and advance man for the Tour. Walton got the African-American
Newspaper Network (New York Age, Chicago Defender, Pittsburgh Courier, Baltimore Afro-American) involve in pumping out constant
media on the Tour and the people's response to Ethel Waters and her Black Swan Jazzmen.
"ETHEL WATERS MAKING BIG
HIT IN WEST Harry H. Pace, president of the Pace Phonograph Company, under whose auspices Ethel Waters and her troubadours
are touring the West, received the following telegram from C. H. Turner, manager of the Booker Washington Theater, St. Louis,
Mo., on Tuesday morning relative in her show, which opened there on New Year's Day:
"Congratulations on your wonderful
show which opened here today to a record business. Predict increase in sales of your product by thousand per cent."
Waters and her band has been making a hit in every theater she has played since beginning her tour. During the Christmas week
her show was at the Lincoln Theater, Louisville, Ky."
New York, Age, Jan., 7th, 1922
Early in January 1922, the Chicago
DEFENDER noted that Lester Walton "manager in advance for the tour of Ethel Waters & Co." had arrived in Chicago on Jan.
3, while the troupe itself was "breaking all records" in St. Louis. Undoubtedly he was lining up their next major playing
date, for on Jan. 14, 1922, a prominent advertisement in the DEFENDER announced:
"One week Only-Starting on Monday,
January 16. ... Walton & Pace present the Black Swan Troubadours featuring Ethel Waters-World's Greatest Singer of Blues
and Her Jazz Masters, New York's Leading Exponents of Syncopation. Also Ethel Williams and Froncell Manley in a Whirlwind
Dancing Specialty. Grand Theater, State @ 31st St., Chicago. Nightly at 8:30."
Chicago Defender, Jan. 14, 1922
the four musicians declared they were through, Miss Waters asked if there were others in the company who objected to traveling
to the South. There were no response. The singer ended the incident by stating that while railroad accommodations and other
phases of travel were none too desirable in the South she felt it her duty to make sacrifices in order that members of her
Race might hear her sing a style of music which is a product of the Southland. The places of four dissatisfied musicians were
at once filled by talented young men from Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Chicago."
Chicago Defender, Feb. 11th, 1922
WATERS CO, NOW IN THE SOUTH
Ethel Waters and her Black Swan Troubadours opened their Southern tour Monday at the Palace
Theater, Memphis, for a week's run. Indications are that company will do a record-breaking business during this engagement.
Company will open in Pine Bluff, Ark. for two days' engagement of February 24 and 25, Fort Smith, February 27 and 28."
York Age, Feb. 18th, 1922
"ETHEL WATERS AND CO. A HIT IN NEW ORLEANS
New Orleans, La.-The Ethel Waters' Company,
Lester A. Walton, manager, of New York played a week's engagement at the Lyric Theater of this city beginning Monday, April
17th, and offered a show that drew a record attendance at every performance for this playhouse. It has been voted the cleanest
and strongest company of vaudeville performers offered at the Lyric in a long time. So popular as entertainers did it become
after showing a few days that the New Orleans Item, a big daily here persuaded the manager to have the company's star and
its jazz band to go to its office on Friday night and have their work radio phoned all over the city and the surrounding territory.
And on Saturday morning on the first page. The Item told its readers of the way the blues singer and jazz players stirred
the radio fans by its hit. Friday night after the show, the Astoria Hotel had the company and manager as honor guests at a
special entertainment in the Red Room of the Hotel. A toothsome collation was served the guests and the hall was thronged."
New York Age, April 29th, 1922
"The dance at Lincoln Park Tuesday night (i.e. May 16) by Henderson's Dance
Orchestra of New York popularly known as Ethel Water's Jazz Masters, was much better than expected. There was (sic) quite
a few present in spite of the dampness caused by the rain, and all who went danced to the strains until the wee hours of the
Savannah TRIBUTE, May 18th, 1922
"The jazzies were present with bells on, and for the first time
of their lives members of the [...] his instrument [...] than any musician [t]o ever appear-could do more with [...] an excellent
musician can do with a trombone-and few in the audience ever expected to hear the notes from a cornet that issued forth last
Wilmington, N. C. TRIBUTE, unknown date
"The Wilmington, N. C., Dispatch had the following to say concerning
the company's appearance in that city: 'Ethel Waters and her jazz masters have come and gone but their memory will linger
for months. The Black Swan Troubadours played an engagement at the Academy of Music last night and were so much better than
had been expected the crowd was left wide eyed and gasping with astonishment and delight for the company has class written
all over it. Ethel Waters is headlined but was forced to share her honors with Ethel Williams, a dancer of more ability than
two-thirds of those who have ever played Wilmington. Her acts, including shimmies and shivers, is done with Roscoe Wickman
and it sent crowd into paroxyms of the wildest delight. The Williams woman is almost white, with her form of a Venus and the
eyes of a devil and in company with Wickman, she lifted the audience up and up until it literally overflowed with delight.
Ethel Waters' blues numbers closed the
program and with her jazz masters under perfect control and rendering jazz music
that is only possible with Negro artists, she backed all colored competitors who have ever appeared here completely off the
boards. The Waters aggregation is in a class to itself. It is so much better than other colored shows that have appeared here
that a comparison is unfair to others.'
New York Age, June 3rd, 1922
The Tour was an overwhelming success with
ramification far and wide. Black Swan was established as an national record label with respect and increasing record sales.
The new Blues and Jazz music had national recognition and a meaningful following. In New Orleans, Ethel Waters became the
first Black performer to entertain on the new mass media, radio. Musicians like Louis Armstrong in New Orleans and Joe Smith
in Cincinnati came out to support and perform with the Black Swan Jazz Masters. Anew camaraderie and standard was adopted
within the National Jazz community.
By the time the participant in the Black Swan Troubadours returned to New York
in July of 1922, the Pace Phonograph Co. had exploded in success. From its beginning in the basement of the owner, the company
now owned a building as 2289 Seventh Avenue a 135th Street. It employed 15-30 people in its offices and shipping room, an
8 man orchestra, seven district managers in the largest cities in the country, over 1,000 dealers and agents in locations
as far away as the Philippines and the West Indies.
In January of 1922, Harry H. Pace had issued a public financial
statement on the first year of existence of Black Swan Records (New York Age, Jan. 24th, 1922). This strategy brought to the
attention of everyone the financial success of Black Swan Records. A company started with $30,000 investment had yielded an
income of $104,628.74 during its first eleven months of its existence. That was almost four times the economic investment.
Pace boasted that the success of Black Swan had colored people rewarded in the economic success of their labors:
is worthy to note that sharing in the prosperity of this company are colored employees, including singers, musicians, composers,
printers an many other. The company announces disbursements for the period of [...] $101,327.17."
In April of 1922, Pace
completed his final major deal when he bought part-interest in a pressing plant to produce Black Swan Records. He formed a
partnership with John Fletcher, a white man, to purchase the bankrupt Remington Phonograph Corp. and their recording and pressing
plant in Long Island City. With this increased capacity, Pace expanded the production of Black Swan Records to more than 6,000
records daily. Black Swan issued two new series of recorded music with its 10000 and 14000 series. With William Grant Still
replacing the touring Fletcher Henderson, the company introduced music in every genre including opera, choral groups and symphony
Things were going so well for Harry Pace that in an interview with writers for the New York Age in August
of 1922, he talked about manufacturing a "Swanola" phonograph. He stated that this part of the business had not yet been fully
developed. But the Pace Company was looking forward to employing colored mechanics as soon as they can be properly trained
for work. This was Harry Pace's final dream for Black Swan Records.
The Decline of Black Swan
If the successes
that Pace Phonograph Corp., Inc. experienced during its first year provided anything , it alerted the competition to lucrativeness
of the market. More than ever by succeeding years 1922 and 1923 obtaining Black artists become increasingly harder as the
major white companies began to bid competitively for their services. After the tour concluded in July of 1922, artists like
Fletcher Henderson and Bessie Smith no longer recorded exclusively for Black Swan Records.
The success of race records
led to costly competition and price cutting by white-owned labels such as Okeh, Paramount and Columbia.
especially from the entertainment community, resented Pace for breaking his promise of an all-Black recording company. Though
he continues to in advertisement that the enterprise was run only by Blacks and that they put only recordings by Black musicians.
It was proven that the company was pressing records that used music by white ensembles such as the Original Memphis Five.
Pace began to lose the respect and confidence of the musician community and it became more difficult to continue to produce
a quality product.
In March of 1923, the Pace Phonograph Company was renamed the Black Swan Phonograph Co., a sure
signal that trouble was coming. By the summer on 1923, no new recordings of Black Swan were announced. Pace summed up his
troubles in a letter sent to Roi Ottley:
Business became so great that we bought a plant in Long Island City that
we were using as a recording laboratory and a pressing laboratory, and shortly afterwards transferred all shipping over to
the plant. We were selling around 7,000 records a day and had only three presses in the factory which could make 6,000 records
daily, ... We ordered three additional presses in 1923 made especially for some improvements, and had them ready for installation
in the factory. Before they were set up and
ready for running, radio broadcasting broke and this spelled doom for us.
Immediately dealers began to cancel orders that they had placed, records were returned unaccepted, many record stores became
radio stores, and we found ourselves making and selling only about 3,000 records daily and then it came down to 1,000, and
our factory was closed for two weeks at a time and finally the factory was sold to a sheriff's sale and bought by a Chicago
firm who made records for Sears & Roebuck Company. However, this did not completely defeat us and we continued to have
records made at a concern in Connecticut and sold these repeat orders for a year or so until the thing finally came to a close.
In December of 1923, Black Swan Records declared bankruptcy and in May of 1924 Paramount announce a deal to lease
the Black Swam catalog. Black Swan Records was history.
Pace Moves On
The long term impact of black Swan
Records are too numerous to elaborate upon fully in this paper. Some of them are:
Paramount, Columbia and other recording
companies could no longer ignore Black musicians and singers. The Black Swan discography still has value. As late as 1987,
Jazzology Records announced its intention to revive the name and reissue the series of early recordings. Ethel Waters, Fletcher
Henderson, William Grant Still, Alberta Hunter and many others used Black Swan as a training period and proceeded on to outstanding
success within the entertainment industry.
It opened up the entertainment/recording industry to Blacks and opened
up advertisement in Black newspapers from major record and entertainment companies. Today, the many musical, recording and
entertainment stars who earn enormous salaries and have world-wide recognition owe a debt of gratitude to the symbol of self-pride
and self-determination to The Black Swan Recording Company.
(Spring 1996 term paper for the "Black Music in New York
City 1900-1935" graduate course in music at Brooklyn
Jitu K. Weusi
is a 34 year veteran educator of the social sciences. He is active in the New York political scene, and
an activist for
the community control of schools. Jitu K. Weusi is a charter member of the National Black United
1.Record Research-Black Swan catalog and discography 1955, 56, 57.
2.Southern, Eileen. The Music
of Black Americans. Pages 366-367.
3.Allen, W. C. Hendersonia-The biography of Fletcher Henderson. Pages 10-65.
Ethel. His Eye is on the Sparrow.
5.Jazz, A History of the New York Scene. Pages 166-167.
6.Ottley, Leroi. The Negro
in New York. Pages 234-238.
7.Ingraham and Fletcher. African-American Business Leaders. Pages 510-517.
Dictionary of Jazz. Pages 112-113.
9.Sampson, H. T. African-American Culture and History. Page 369.
10.Blacks in Blackfare.
11.New York Age Newspaper Microfilm Jan. 1021 to Jan. 1924.
Swan Records founder Harry Pace, an original!
Harry Herbert Pace was born on this date in 1884. He was an African-American
music publisher and insurance executive.
From Covington, Georgia, his father, Charles Pace, was a blacksmith who died
while Harry was an infant thus his mother, Nancy Francis Pace, raised him. Light skinned and extremely bright, Pace finished
elementary school at age twelve and seven years later graduated valedictorian of his class in Atlanta University. A disciple
of his college professor, W. E. B. DuBois and his concept of the talented tenth, upon graduation, Pace worked in printing,
banking and insurance industries in Atlanta and Memphis.
In various junior executive positions, he demonstrated a
strong awareness of the tactics of commerce and had a reputation for rebuilding failing enterprises. After receiving another
degree in 1903, Pace went into the printing business with Du Bois in Memphis. Two years later they put together the short-lived
magazine The Moon Illustrated Weekly was the first illustrated African-American journal. During this stopover in the South,
two significant things happened that would impact his figure.
In 1912 in Memphis, he met and collaborated with W.
C. Handy, who took a liking to Pace; they wrote songs together. Later they would develop the Pace and Handy Music Company,
bringing him to New York City. Secondly, he met and married his wife, Ethylene Bibb, who would be a great inspiration in his
life. Around 1920, the company began working with composers William Grant Still and Fletcher Henderson. Although the company
did well and his financial status improved, Pace did not like Handy’s business methods and resigned.
here that he formed his own Phonograph Company, Black Swan; the first Black-owned record company. In 1925, he founded the
Northeastern Life Insurance Company in Newark, New Jersey, a venture that became the largest Black-owned business in the North
during the 1930’s. Besides his insurance business, Pace attended the Chicago law School, receiving his degree in 1933
and he was active in Democratic Party politics. He opened a law firm in downtown Chicago in 1942, it has been said that disgruntled
employees accused Pace of trying to "pass" for white.
This hurt him deeply, he withdrew from the black community and
Harry Pace died the following year.
The brief history of the Black Swan record label, as an
independent entity, provides an example of the difficulty in turning a novel, entrepreneurial idea into a reality and the
pitfalls confronting a small business in the face of racial prejudice, shortage of finance and lack of managerial and accounting
expertise. A paucity of archival data on the company's finances has led us to indulge in considerable speculation but, nevertheless,
what is known about its affairs illustrates how accounting, economic, and cultural factors affected an Afro-American business
in the early twentieth century.
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the United States, black
people faced many difficulties in founding and running businesses. Post-Civil War riots and other social upheavals caused
black businesses to lose considerable white patronage (Ottley & Weatherby, 1967, p.229). Despite attempts to encourage
black business, by organisations such as the National Negro Business League (founded by Booker T. Washington in 1900), Afro-American
entrepreneurs had great difficulty raising adequate capital from banks and other financial institutions, which were predominantly
white-owned. As a result, black businesses were typically small service sector activities such as dressmaking, poolrooms,
grocery stores, restaurants and barbershops.
At the same time, increasing migration of black people from the southern
states to northern cities in search of better employment prospects spread a new musical and cultural heritage across the nation.
There emerged a buoyant nightlife in uptown New York (Harlem) but the black musicians engaged in it were relatively unknown
and, with one or two exceptions, neither they nor their new music style were recorded by the major record companies of the
time. The recording of black musicians by major record companies had commenced in 1901 when Bert Williams and George Walker,
who had a minstrel act, made a recording for Victor (Halper, 1999). Although hundreds of records featuring black musicians
had been issued in Europe prior to 1920 (Rust 1978; Thygesen, 2002), the only other black artists to record on a major label
in the United States were Mamie Smith on OKeh (Weusi, 1996) and Lucille Hegamin on Arto (Thygesen, 2002). Jazz, which was
seen by some as a "dangerous" type of music, had little overall impact prior to 1920. So little known was it that the first
jazz recording ever made was in 1917 by a white band called the Original Dixieland Jass (sic) Band (Cook & Morton, 1996,
In response to the lack of opportunity for black musicians in the recording industry, Harry Herbert Pace formed
his own recording company, the Pace Phonograph Corporation Inc., in 1921 to establish and operate the influential Black Swan
label. Although the Black Swan label was started during an economic recession, it became one of the most successful Afro-American
businesses of the early 1920s (Weusi (1996).
Pace explicitly employed the race issue in promoting his records, using
a standard promotional line that appeared on record sleeves and in the New York Age, a weekly Afro-American newspaper founded,
in 1884, by T. Thomas Fortune. Among Pace's claims was that: "Every time you buy a Black Swan record, you buy the only record
made by colored people" (New York Age, 21 January 1922, p.6).
Pace signed top black artists, such as Ethel Waters and
Fletcher Henderson to the label, although he declined others, such as Bessie Smith (Weusi, 1996). In 1921 and 1922, Pace organised
a vaudeville tour across the United States by his most renowned musicians. This tour established Pace's company firmly in
the recording field. During its first eleven months of operation, the company had revenues of $104,628 (New York Age, 28 January
1922, p.6) but soon after fell into decline. Partnerships were entered into with white-owned businesses which, since Pace
had earlier exploited the race issue, eventually worked against the Black Swan label and the company. The major record companies
also discovered the niche market first exploited by Pace and this competition had a severe adverse effect on his business.
The end of Pace's company came in May 1924 when Paramount announced it was leasing the Black Swan catalogue. Paramount's marketing
and distributions systems were better organised than Pace's and the agreement would prevent Pace issuing further records under
the Black Swan label, thus making the Pace Phonograph Corporation's main asset effectively worthless.
of this paper considers cultural and economic elements in the rise and fall of the Black Swan label. Accounting issues are
considered in the context of accounting knowledge and expertise of the time, and cost and profit calculations are applied
to examine the company's financial statements and investment decisions. Other factors in the demise of the company are examined
and the conclusion follows a summary of the study's key findings.
The foundation and growth of Black Swan
Herbert Pace was born in 1884 in Covington, Georgia. After graduation from university, he taught Greek and Latin for a short
time before holding various junior executive positions with banks and insurance companies in Atlanta and Memphis. Pace made
a name for himself as a rebuilder of failing enterprises (Weusi, 1996) and, despite being black, gained valuable experience
in obtaining and handling capital. In 1907 (Allen, 1973, p.10) or 1912 (Weusi, 1996), Pace entered a partnership with W.C.
Handy, a popular black composer, to compose songs for sale to major record companies. The pair founded the Pace and Handy
Music Company and moved their music publishing firm from Memphis to New York in 1918. In its heyday of 1920, the Pace and
Handy Music Company employed between 15 and 20 people, including Fletcher Henderson1 as a pianist, song-plugger and demonstrator,
William Grant Still as head arranger, J. Russell Robinson as business manager, and also Daniel Haynes as chief bookkeeper.
Pace left Handy in early 1921 to form his own recording company, taking with him ex-Handy employees Still, who kept his previous
function; Henderson, who became musical director; and Haynes, who signed as Notary Public on Black Swan's trademark registrations
and was secretary of the firm (Allen, 1973, p. 10).
The Pace Phonograph Corporation's initial capital stock was $30,000
(Ottley & Weatherby, 1967, p.233). The company was incorporated under Delaware law and Pace borrowed another $110,000
to assist in establishing the company (Weusi, 1996). This is equivalent to somewhat more than one million US dollars in today's
When Pace started Black Swan, setting up a record company as a completely independent business was unusual.
In the late 1910s and early 1920s most record companies were started as subsidiaries of furniture factories which, since they
already produced phonographs, decided to press records to play on them (Calt, 1988, p.14). The Pace Phonograph Corporation
filed a patent application for its trademark (a black swan) at the United States Patent Office on 23 June 1921. It was registered
on 30 May 1922 (Record Research, 1955, p.3). Black Swan was either the first (Weusi, 1996) or one of the first (Allen, 1973,
p.10; Thygesen, 2002) black-owned recording companies to be established. The black swan symbol was chosen because it was the
soubriquet of Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield (1809-1876), a talented black singer with a phenomenal vocal range, who Pace wished
About the emergence of his own phonograph corporation, Pace is attributed as stating (Ottley & Weatherby,
The organization was an outgrow of my observation as President of the Pace and Handy Company ... that
phonograph companies were not recording the voices of Negro singers and musicians ... . I ran up against a color line that
was very severe ... . I therefore determined to form my own company and make recordings as I believed would sell.
Lewis Howard Latimer - Inventor, Engineer:
Lewis Howard Latimer
Born: September 4, 1848
Died: December 11, 1928
Birthplace: Chelsea, Massachusetts
Howard Latimer: Inventor, Engineer (Mechanical and Electrical)
Lewis Howard Latimer was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts
on September 4, 1848. He learned mechanical drawing in the patent attorney office of Crosby and Gould, Boston, Massachusetts.
He invented a toilet system for railroad cars in 1873, referred to as water closet for railroad cars. He also invented an
electric lamp with an inexpensive carbon filament and a threaded wooden socket for light bulbs. He supervised the installation
of carbon filament electric lighting in New York City, Philadelphia, Montreal, and London. He was responsible for preparing
the mechanical drawings for Alexander Graham Bell s patent application for his telephone design. Lewis Latimer had the distinction
of being the only African American member of the Edison Pioneers, a member of Thomas Edison s engineering division of the
Edison Company. He joined the Edison Electric Light Company in 1884 and conducted research on electrical lighting. In 1890
he published Incandescent Electric Lighting, a technical engineering book which became a guide for lighting engineers. For
years he served as an expert witness in the court battles over Thomas Edison s patents. At the time of Latimer s death in
1928, the Edison Pioneers attributed his "important inventions" to a "keen perception of the potential of the electric light
and kindred industries."
In 1968, the Lewis H. Latimer Public School in Brooklyn was named for him.
Process of manufacturing carbons
Patent Number 252,386
Date: Tuesday, January 17, 1882
for cooling and disinfecting
Patent Number 334,078
Date: Tuesday, January 12, 1886
Locking rack for hats,
coats, and umbrellas
Patent Number 557, 076
Date: Tuesday, March 24, 1896
Patent Number 968,787
Date: Tuesday, August 30, 1910 Latimer, Lewis Howard and Brown, Charles W.
Water closets for railway cars
Date: Tuesday, February 10, 1874
Latimer, Lewis Howard and Nichols, Joseph V.
Date: Tuesday, September 13, 1881
Latimer, Lewis Howard and Tregoning, John
supporter for electric lamps
Patent Number 255,212
Date: Tuesday, March 21, 1882
Source: African-American Inventors
Great Lakes Patent and Trademark Center's African-American Inventors Database,
Great Lakes Patent and
Trademark Center of the Detroit Public Library
URL: http://www.detroit.lib.mi.us/glptc/aaid/ [Sources used in developing
the searchable database]
At Last Recognition in America: A Reference Handbook of Unknown Black Inventors
and Their Contributors to America. v. 1
James C. Williams, compiler. (Chicago, IL: B.C.A. Publishing Corp.), 1978. p.
Black Pioneers of Science and Invention.
Louis Haber. (New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace & World), 1970. p.49-60.
Blacks in Science: Ancient and Modern.
Ivan Van Sertima. (New Brunswick: Transition Books), 1984. p. 229-237.
Dictionary of American Negro Biography.
Rayfor W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, eds. (New York, NY: Norton), 1982.
Eight Black American Inventors.
Robert C. Hayden. (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley), 1972. p. 78-92.
of Black America. 1985
Augustus Low and Virgil A. Clift, eds. (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill), 1981. p. 497.
Contributors: Black Scientists and Inventors in America.
Aaron E. Klein. (Garden City, NY: Doubleday), 1971. p. 97-108.
Negro Year Book, 1931
(Tuskegee, AL : Negro Year Book Pub. Co.), p. 185-186.
Who's Who of the Colored
Race: A General Biographical Dictionary of Men and Women of African Descent. 1915
Frank Lincoln Mather, ed. (Detroit,
MI: Gale Research Co.), 1976. p. 172.
(Chicago, IL: Johnson Publishing Co.), (July,
1967) p. 57. Includes a photograph.
(New York, NY: Crisis Publishing Co.).
June 1924, p. 76.
1929, p. 52.
December 1929, p. 424. Biography.
(Born April 15, 1889, Crescent City, Fla., U.S.—Died May 16, 1979, New York, N.Y.):
unionist and civil-rights leader who was a dedicated and persistent leader in the struggle for justice and parity for the
black American community.
The son of a Methodist minister, Randolph moved to the Harlem district of New York City in
1911. He attended City College at night and, with Chandler Owen, founded (1912) an employment agency, attempting, through
it, to organize black workers. In 1917, following the entry of the United States in World War I, the two men founded a magazine,
The Messenger (after 1929, Black Worker), that called for more positions in the war industry and the armed forces for blacks.
After the war, Randolph lectured at New York's Rand School of Social Science and ran unsuccessfully for offices on the Socialist
In 1925, as founding president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, Randolph began organizing
that group of black workers and, at a time when half the affiliates of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) barred blacks
from membership, took his union into the AFL. Despite opposition, he built the first successful black trade union; the brotherhood
won its first major contract with the Pullman Company in 1937. The following year, Randolph removed his union from the AFL
in protest against its failure to fight discrimination in its ranks and took the brotherhood into the newly formed Congress
of Industrial Organizations (CIO). He then returned to the question of black employment in the federal government and in industries
with federal contracts. He warned President Franklin D. Roosevelt that he would lead thousands of blacks in a protest march
on Washington, D.C.; Roosevelt, on June 25, 1941, issued Executive Order 8802, barring discrimination in defense industries
and federal bureaus and creating the Fair Employment Practices Committee. After World War II, Randolph founded the League
for Nonviolent Civil Disobedience Against Military Segregation, resulting in the issue by President Harry S. Truman on July
26, 1948, of Executive Order 9981, banning segregation in the armed forces.
When the AFL merged with the CIO in 1955,
Randolph was made a vice president and member of the executive council of the combined organization. He was the first president
(1960–66) of the Negro American Labor Council, formed by Randolph and others to fight discrimination within the AFL-CIO.
an echo of his activities of 1941, Randolph was a director of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which brought
more than 200,000 persons to the capital on Aug. 28, 1963, to demonstrate support for civil-rights policies for blacks. Two
years later, he formed the A. Philip Randolph Institute for community leaders to study the causes of poverty. Suffering chronic
illness, he resigned his presidency of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1968 and retired from public life.
Dr. Charles Drew:
Virtually any person who received a lifesaving transfusion in the past
50 years owes a debt of gratitude to Dr. Charles Drew, eminent surgeon, teacher and scientist who helped devise the now-universal
blood-bank process to store large amounts of plasma.
A stand out four-sport athlete at Amherst College in the mid-1920's
(his football coach called him "the best player I have ever coached"), Drew earned his medical degree at McGill University
in Canada; was an instructor in pathology at Howard University, and served a residency in surgery at Freedmen's Hospital in
his hometown of Washington, DC, before undertaking research at Columbia University Presbyterian Hospital in New York in 1938.
experiments in the use of plasma transfusion -- blood with the cells removed -- demonstrated the longer life of liquid plasma
than of whole blood, which often spoiled or became contaminaned.
He published his doctoral dissertation, Banked Blood:
A Study in Blood Preservation, in 1940, which led to a request that he start the "Blood for Britain" project. The program
he developed is credited with saving the lives of many wounded at the Battle of Dunkirk in World War II. In recognition of
his achievements abroad, Drew was awarded an honorary degree by Columbia. And the American Red Cross in 1941 appointed Drew
as director of its plasma storage program for the U.S. armed forces.
Drew was known for his jovial, amiable personality,
but military directive to segregate plasma supplies for whites and blacks drew his angry accurate rebuttal that there was
no scientific basis indicating differences in blood according to race.
Resigning to return to teaching, he developed
a modern, first-class surgical training program at Howard University. At one time, 8 of the 21 black specialists in surgery
in America had been his students.
In a tragic irony, Drew then only 45, was so badly injured in a 1950 automobile wreck
in North Carolina that a transfusion was useless. Said his traveling companion, Dr. John Ford, "All the blood in the world
could not have saved him."
Surgeon and blood researcher
Charles R. Drew was a renowned surgeon, teacher, and
researcher. He was responsible for founding two of the world's largest blood banks. Because of his research into the storage
and shipment of blood plasmablood without cellshe is credited with saving the lives of hundreds of Britains during World War
II. He was director of the first American Red Cross effort to collect and bank blood on a large scale. In 1942, a year after
he was made a diplomat of surgery by the American Board of Surgery at Johns Hopkins University, he became the first African
American surgeon to serve as an examiner on the board.
Charles Richard Drew was the eldest of five children. He was
born on June 3, 1904, in Washington, D.C., to Richard T. Drew, a carpet layer, and Nora (Burrell) Drew, a school teacher and
graduate of Miner Teachers College. As a student, Drew excelled in academics and sports, winning four swimming medals by the
age of eight. In 1922 he graduated from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, where he received the James E. Walker Memorial Medal
in his junior and senior years for his athletic performance in several sports, including football, basketball, baseball, and
Drew attended Amherst College in Western Massachusetts on an athletic scholarship. He would be one of 16 black
students to graduate from Amherst during the years 1920 to 1929. He served as captain of the track team; he was enormously
popular and was awarded several honors, including the Thomas W. Ashley Memorial Trophy for being the football team's most
Although Drew was a gifted athlete, he worked hard in school to keep high grades. By the time he
graduated in 1926, he had decided to apply to medical school. However, his funds were severely limited. Before he could go
to medical school, he had to work for a couple of years. He accepted a job at Morgan State College in Baltimore, Maryland,
as a professor of chemistry and biology, as well as director of the college's sports program. During the next two years, he
paid off his undergraduate loans and put some money aside for medical school.
In 1928 he was finally able to apply
to medical school. However, African Americans who wished to become doctors at that time did not have many opportunities. There
were two colleges open to them. Drew applied to Howard University and was rejected because he did not have enough credits
in English. Harvard University accepted him for the following year, but he did not want to wait so he applied to and was immediately
accepted to McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
|The Brilliant DuBois
|Martin Luther King
Member of the nation's first Black paratroopers.
When Clarence Beavers
arrived in Georgia, a young black recruit from New York, the soldier who drove him to the Army camp was shocked at the sight
"Every time we came past one of them streetlights, he would glare over and look at me," Beavers recalled. "I
said, 'I'm colored. Now, will you please drive this damn Jeep before you kill us both?'"
It was just a taste of what
Beavers, who grew up in Harlem, would face as he strove to become one of the nation's first black paratroopers.
now 79, earned his wings at Fort Benning in February 1944 and served as a member of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion,
a historic unit whose tale, after decades of obscurity, is finally being told.
"I feel it's about time," says retired
paratrooper Kenneth Smith, 69, a member of a national group that celebrates the men of the "Triple Nickles." "There were blacks
that served in military units other than support units," Smith says. "That's the important thing, for the history to get out,
for people to know that blacks were there."
But the Triple Nickles never were sent into battle.
In the early
war years, according to a study by Morris MacGregor of the U.S. Army Center of Military History, some foreign governments
and even American commanders feared setting off a race-relations powder keg by mingling troops. Some places overseas had "national
Although some white units also never saw battle, members of the Triple Nickles believed they were
kept home because they were black.
Instead, as the war was drawing to a close, they went west to fight fires in a secret
military operation. They leapt from planes not over Europe or Japan, but as smokejumpers fighting blazes in the American West.
a sense," says Robert Wright of the History Center, "you can say they were in combat — they just weren't under fire."
Beavers had been drafted in 1941 and immediately was thrown into the turbulent racism of the segregated South.
these kids tell me about what's going on today, I stop and think about what used to go on," said Beavers, who now lives in
The black recruits entered the mess hall through the side door, while whites entered through the
front. White enemy prisoners of war could enter the PX, but black soldiers were kept out.
And on the training field,
the white soldiers doubted their bravery.
"They were betting that we wouldn't jump — and we showed them that
we weren't afraid to jump," he said. "There was so much prejudice you could cut it with a knife. The more they showed it to
us, the more we were going to prove that we were equal or better than what they were."
Once Beavers earned his wings,
he, like his fellows, hoped to see combat. Instead, they were sent west to battle Operation Firefly.
most Americans, Japanese forces had launched a stealthy attack on the American Northwest. They released hundreds of balloons
carrying incendiary bombs over the Pacific, and at least one family was killed when they found a bomb that reached shore.
The black paratroopers were trained to fight the forest fires and disarm the explosives.
Just getting there was a tense
Heading west by train toward their base in Pendleton, Ore., "there were some places where we had to pull
the shades," said Beavers, recalling how the Army didn't want civilians to see the black soldiers.
Pendleton had just
two Chinese-run restaurants and two bars that would serve blacks.
On base, the paratroopers were given flight jackets
and pants, "and a football helmet, and over the football helmet they had a fencing mask. That's what we jumped in," Beavers
said. "We were sent to jump down where neither man nor mule could jump."
They fought fires with picks and shovels,
dug firebreaks and hoped the food drops would be successful.
When they were done, "We climbed down to where there
was a trail, and mules took us down to where the vehicles were," Beavers remembered. "That's how we got out."
men took their jobs seriously, Beavers says, and "these were no easy jumps. The purpose of the jump was landing in a tree,
because if you didn't land on a tree and you landed on the ground, God knows what you were going to hit," he said. "We had
one man killed. There was never a jump made that we didn't have someone hurt."
Beavers said that belonging to such
an elite outfit gave the men an enduring sense of pride. But it didn't cancel out the racism of the day. "You can't make up
for insults and being disrespected," he said. "You can't make up for that, no matter what outfit you belong to."
Tupac Shakur's mother, Afeni Shakur activist, Black Panther, poet, actress, NY 21 political prisoner, addicted to freedom
and liberation The Black Panther Party, life addicted to the assessment of Amerikkka's idea of her: helpless Black woman without
a clue to what life is/was about. Being born Black in the 1960's-1970's was a struggle for dignity and power. A time to challenge
prejudice and edicts, sexism etc. Corporate and institutionalized deaths, her language is fierce and loving hard and soft
her words are lullabies and martial songs. Her words, so untold full of secrets waiting to reveal themselves, Tupac and Afeni
are two miracles! two individuals daring to live and create and love. Both cross color, class and gender. Afeni is indeed
the miracle woman wonder. Afeni comes from a very closed world, from Lumberton, North Carolina. She moved to New York when
she was in the sixth grade, she was 11 and lived in the Bronx. she went to the Performing Arts High School in Manhattan. She
wanted to be an actress. When she was in her late teens she would go to Manny's Bar on 169th St. in the Bronx. This guy use
to come in there named Shaheed. At the time I was a greasy short haired little colored girl, skinny, with no breasts and never
had no butt, she wasn't the one men would look at but she was smart and had a nice smile. Shaheed introduced her to the lessons
given by the Nation of Islam.
As she listened to Brother Shaheed, she began to like herself, because of
what she was, this little Black girl with short hair. He introduced her into MalcolmX, At 19 she got a job working at the
post office, she met a brother there, and they became lover, she was with him when she first saw the Black Panther Party,
they found their Blackness together, She had gone to the Black Power Conference in Philadelphia and that singular event affected
her like no other even in her life. She had seen the pictures of the Black Panthers in Sacramento. What a wonderful sight
that was to her, A black woman who was unapologetic, told her if she wanted to be a revolutionary she didn't have to do anything
but walk through the supermarket with a razor blade and run her hands across the flour and the sugar An act of resistance
She saw Elderige Cleaver, you have to have heard him to know how wonderful and beautiful he was and what a motivator he was
for those of us who didn't go to college or who were dropouts from college, she explains. His words became like food, hope
and dreams in her brain, her name Afeni was given to her by the brother who built the Yoruba village in South Carolina, Afeni
means "dear one" or "lover of the people". Harlem Time It was the first time Afeni heard the Ten Point Program of the Black
Panther Party and she was truly hooked. She heard Bobby Seale recite the Ten Point Program. He could recruit a town full of
Black people just by saying it. Meetings for the Black Panther Party, were held at L.I.U. on Saturdays at 1:00 p.m. Afeni
was there every Saturday.
The Panthers got involved in the
school strike. She was now part of the Black
Panthers Party and Lumumba Shakur's wife. Lumumba later got arrested and one other member was beaten up, two were killed in
L.A. And the trigger was allegedly pulled by members of the Ron Karenga Led, United Slaves (US) Organization. There was a
party rally the next morning, At 5:00a.m. there was banging at Afeni's apartment door, Lumumba ran to the door and looked
out the peak hole, there was a fire and a whole bunch of people yelling. He opened the door and police came in with shotguns
at his head, one at his stomach and one on my stomach. Brother Lumumba was a polygamist. Sister Sayeeda was his first wife,
Afeni at first disrespected her, She thought Sayeeda wasn't bad enough to be the wife of this revolutionary brother. Afeni
now feels it was cruel and insensitive, but she didn't understand that then. But she accepted Afeni into her home, All I did
was make her life miserable and i was with her husband, which we were sharing. Earlier the police took Lumumba and Afeni in
a caravan, to the D.A.'s office, there she saw everybody in the party. Her sister and her sisters husband scraped together
all the money they could to bail me out of jail. They raised 1000 dollars. But when they go into the courtroom the first name
they call is Lumumba Abdul Shakur. They announce his bail at 100,000 dollars, they got to my name and said the same. She thought
they were mistaken. They didn't misspell her new name. So she went to jail and there she sat for eleven months while George
Jackson, Jonathan Jackson and Fred Hampton were killed. While in jail She was about organizing the jail, anybody and anything
she could. Finally woman from the church raised her bail The Dickersons (Charlotte and Angela) and their friends. Black and
White women raised 64,000 dollars in cash and then the church put up 36,000 dollars in church property. They weren't even
party members! Young and older woman, Black and White Leftist lawyers Church going mommas. She was amazed by that. Bail revoked,
she was imprisoned in the Women's House of Detention in Greenwich Village. In her cell she patted her belly and said, "This
is my prince. He is going to save the black nation. "By the time Tupac was born on June 16, 1971, Afeni had already defended
herself in court and been acquitted on 156 counts. Living in the Bronx, she found steady work as a paralegal and tried to
raise her son to respect the value of an education. From childhood, everyone called him the "Black Prince". I named him Tupac
Amaru Shakur (Shining, Serpent, Blessed One). I wanted him to have the name of revolutionary, indigenous people in the world.
I wanted him to know he was part of a world culture and not just from a neighborhood...When he was two years old and did something
wrong, I would say to him, an independent Black man wouldn't do that. He was always an independent Black man! I wasn't by
myself when my son Tupac died: a lot of mommas have lost their sons to this country's violence. I AM NOT ALONE. So don't try
to isolate me, If you do, it will relieve ordinary people of assuming their important roles. We all have important roles to
assume before we leave this planet."
Peter Tosh was born into this world without a father or mother with the responsibility,
or the time to raise young Peter. He was raised by his aunt, although Peter's personality would have you believe that he raised
himself. An extremely self-reliant, self-dependent entity, Tosh fought for those who could not fight themselves. He was a
voice for those who had not the means, nor the ability to speak to a worldwide audience. While those with power on the island
of Jamaica saw Peter as a threat to the existing regime (A regime comprised of corrupt 'politricksters' who ally with Jamaica's
small, wealthy, land owning class), the people saw Peter as a rebel hero. A champion of human rights, throughout his life
Peter fought against the vampires and the duppies and all evil spirits, the spirits which Peter himself feared more than anything.
Peter Tosh was a saint. Not a saint in the conventional, religious definition, but insofar as that he was put on this earth
with a purpose. He was to expose the filth and corruption and expunge the wickedness of the ghosts which haunted him his entire
life. Peter was a savior, sent to liberate the people of Jamaica, both physically and mentally.
As for the majority
of Jamaicans, life was spent scrounging for a dollar, struggling to put food on their children's table, and a roof over their
head; That was if you can find some brush or metal with which to build one. It was difficult to find employment, and many
of those that were employed were done so temporarily. Peter had greater visions for the Island of Jamaica. He was upset with
the treatment of his people, and he did nothing to hide his feelings. It is believed by many that this is the very character
trait which led to Tosh's murder. The voice of the people was eliminated by three supposed robbers who stole not one material
object. At the tender age of forty three, Peter Tosh was silenced, as were the hopes of many Jamaicans.
ninth, 1944 Winston Hubert McIntosh was born into this world. The only child of Alvera Coke, a resident of Church Lincoln,
Westmoreland on the island of Jamaica. Winston's father, James McIntosh was the preacher at the local church in Savanna-la-Mar,
which Alvera attended. However, Winston was just one of the many children which James McIntosh fathered and neglected to help
care for. He played no role in Winston's life, refusing even to acknowledge that he was the father. In fact, Winston did not
even meet his father until he was ten years of age. When asked about his father Winston had this to say:"My father, James
McIntosh, is a bad boy, a rascal. That's what him do for a living. He just go around and have a million-and-one children!
Right now me have many brothers that me don't know" (Chang and Chen, Reggae Routes 142). Neither his father nor his mother
had the responsibility to care for Winston. Instead, Winston was raised by his aunt, in Savanna-la-Mar. Once Peter was asked
if his aunt who raised him had a lot of influence in his life, to which Tosh responded: "No. No. Never (Holmes and Steffens,
Reasoning With Tosh 3)."Tosh continued on to say this:
"See, I was three years in size, but fifty years old in the
mind, seen? Because I was born with matured mind, and born with a concept of creativity, and any time there's a controversy
within me, it create an inner conflict, seen? And any time that inner conflict is created, something is wrong, so you must
internally investigate it. And with that mind, I grew up with that mind. I like, and I love everything that is right. seen?
I was born, raised in righteousness, not to say that my parents was righteous, because they did not know righteousness. They
were being led away to a shitstem, or being deceived by deceivers, you see, because they wanted to know what was righteousness
(Holmes and Steffens, Reasoning With Tosh 3)."
Peter began playing musical instruments at a young age, although
the only lessons he received was six months worth of piano lessons when he was in fifth grade. Nevertheless, this would not
stop him from becoming one of the most adept, prodigious musicians in the entire Island of Jamaica. When later asked if he
recalled the first time he learned to play guitar, the instrument which he would later become notoriously known for brandishing,
Tosh had this to say:
"Me just one time see a mon in the country play guitar and say 'My that mon play geetar nice'.
It just attract me so much that me just sat there taking it in for about a half-day and when him done-he was playin' one tune
for the whole half-day-he had hypnotized me so much that my eyes extracted everything he had done with his fingers. I picked
up the guitar and played the tune he had just played with him showin' me a t'ing. And when he asked me who taught me I tell
him it was him! "(White, In the Path of the Stepping Razor 143).
In 1956, After living in Savanna-la-Mar for a period
of time, Winston and his aunt moved to Denham Town in Kingston, the capital city of Jamaica. When Winston was fifteen-years-old
his aunt died, and he moved in with an uncle on West Road in Trench Town.
Trench Town, at that time, was an area composed
of housing projects which provided inadequate, yet much needed shelter for the indigent people of the city. Trench Town was
the place where Winston would first meet Robert Nesta Marley and Neville O'Reilly Livingston, who would later be known as
Bunny Wailer. Winston Hubert McIntosh decided to change his name as well, and became Peter Tosh. Together, these three individuals,
known as the Wailin' Wailers, would change the face of music in Jamaica, and throughout the world.
Joe Higgs, the
group's first mentor, remembers the band's earliest days: "Peter came from the country when we were living in Trench Town.
He had some family that were cabinet makers and they used to sell syrup, that's how I first saw him. He was introduced to
me by Bob Marley, because they wanted to form a new group. They practiced and became perfect (Steffens, The Peter Tosh Biography
44)."According to Tosh, the three began singing together in 1962, and formed the Wailing Wailers around 1964-65. Peter asserts
that he was the beginning of the group, as he was the only one who played an instrument, and that he was the one who taught
Bob Marley to play the guitar.
Under Joe Higgs' tutelage, the newly formed Wailers passed their audition for Clement
'Coxsone' Dodd who was the owner and producer of a local record company named Studio One. The day after the audition the Wailers
were once again at Studio One, this time cutting their first release, Simmer Down. The song was an immediate number one hit
on the Jamaican music charts, and the group went forward from there. The Wailers immediately became the most successful group
in Jamaica, yet all the while unbeknownst to them, they were being mistreated and betrayed by their producer. Tosh recalls
that the Wailers were being paid a mere three pounds a week, while their songs were topping the Jamaican music charts. While
this was the Wailers first encounter with ill willed producers it certainly was not going to be the last.
all this adversity the Wailers survived, as they bounced around from one producer to another. Around 1970 the Wailers decided
to leave Studio One, and signed on to work with perhaps the most famous Jamaican producer of all, Lee 'Scratch' Perry. This
deal proved no better for the Wailers, though, as they released three albums in the United Kingdom under the Trojan label,
none of which they received payment for.
There were also instances where producers would record rehearsal sessions
that Peter himself did, and then release these recordings without Tosh even knowing. Most of these secret releases occurred
in England, many of them under the pseudonym Peter Touch.
Undaunted, Peter and the Wailers trod on until 1972
when they were introduced to the producer who would change their lives forever. Chris Blackwell was the producer of the up
and coming Island Records label, and the Wailers were going to be his ticket to stardom. The deal seemed great for everyone
involved. The Wailers were finally going to get the exposure and acclaim which they had toiled so long to attain, and Blackwell
was going to take them there.
The group's first collaboration, Catch A Fire, served as an introduction for many people
to reggae music. This album contains many classic reggae tunes, including 400 years and Stop That Train, both of which featured
Peter Tosh on lead vocals. These songs introduced people to the militant, outspoken, candid approach of Peter Tosh, qualities
which would remain with him to his grave. These characteristics elevated Peter from his peers. Unlike most musicians in Jamaica,
Peter always let his feelings be known. He cared more about principals and morals, than popularity and fame.
second album, Burnin', was a progression of the first, serving both as a launching pad for the group's career, while still
reflecting the band's sense of awareness concerning social injustice. No tune embodied this ideal more than Get Up, Stand
Up, a song which once again featured Tosh on lead vocals. In this song, Peter led the charge to freedom as he called for people
to "Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, don't give up the fight ."Everything was going great, or
so it seemed. As it turned out, Burnin' would be the group's final collaboration.
In 1974 the trinity of the Wailers,
Peter, Bunny, and Bob was no longer. No longer a harmony of three, the group carried on as one, now known as Bob Marley and
The Wailers; The Wailers being the name of his backing band. Many attribute this disintegration directly to Chris Blackwell.
Blackwell saw the group's success resting in the voice of Bob Marley, and wanted to shift the focus solely onto Bob. Another
reason for the band's breakup is that both Bunny and Peter were unwilling to suffer through the physically taxing tours like
the one the band had just embarked on to promote the release of Catch A Fire. As for Chris Blackwell, Peter did not hold his
one time producer in very high regard, as evidenced here in one of Tosh's interviews: "Chris Whiteworst. You talk about Blackwell,
what was well with him? (much laughter) So me call him every time me see him, 'what happen whitewell, what happen Blackwell?'
(Holmes and Steffens, Reasoning With Tosh 12)."
As for his take on the Wailers' breakup, Peter had this to say: "Well
was not a breakup you know...Is just going in three different ways and sending the music in three different directions...was
just that my inspiration was growing and my cup filled and runneth over (Holmes and Steffens, Reasoning With Tosh 13)."After
the separation, though, Marley and Tosh were not on such good terms. Peter was angry at Bob for continuing to use the name
of the Wailers, and he had this to say about it: "When we left as 'the Wailers,' Bob Marley took unto himself some other people
and called them 'the Wailers.' And that is what is now causing the animosities (Walker, Tough Tosh 3).". When Tosh was asked
if he had a feeling of loss when Bob died he replied: "No, I never lose NOTHING. When my woman die, I never lose nothing,
so when my brother die, I lose nothing. I don't fret about it. (Walker, Tough Tosh 3)."Peter felt no sense of loss when his
brother Bob died. On one occasion Peter was asked if he would see Bob in heaven to which Tosh replied that he would not go
to heaven, that he had already been there many times. Peter believed that those who act rightly and justly receive the gift
of eternal life, and thus he felt no loss when Bob Marley left this world. He just continued on the work which he had pledged
to do, to fight for his people's rights. While the Wailers as a group was no longer, Peter Tosh had a bright future ahead
When Peter was asked about his future as a solo artist he replied: "Now, today in this September of 1976,
I am a new mon again-as I have jus' recently come to realize it (White, In the Path of the Steppin' Razor 1)."Peter was heading
in a different direction than Bob, and he had this to say about it:
"Bob do his work and leave, I have my work to
do. The three hands that symbolize " Tuff Gong" on the label each symbolize one of us, the original Wailers. We did pledge
as a group to continue the work of Rastafari, whatever happen. So I just continue the work, I not replacing no other worker.
Bob use his style to give his message, I have to continue with mine (Brown, High Times magazine 1983 1)."
so the work of Peter Tosh continued. It blossomed into a brilliant solo career, a career which allowed Peter to impart his
messages of equality and justice through his spirited, uplifting music. His first solo project, Legalize it, came to fruition
in 1976. The album's title track, Legalize it, called for the legalization of Marijuana in Jamaica. Tosh believed that marijuana,
or herb, was the healing of the nation. Peter felt that herb gave the small man a brief solace from the problems of everyday
life. To Peter, herb was a source of inspiration. He wrote all of his songs after he smoked herb because it gave him spiritual
enlightenment. He felt that this was why the government had declared it illegal, as a means of keeping the people down. The
song caused such a great controversy that it was banned in Jamaica. As a result, Peter was now seen as an outlaw and a threat
to Jamaica's old, established system, or 'shitstem' as Tosh would put it. Peter was a revolutionary, a freedom fighter who
always spoke his mind, and was not afraid to seize an opportunity to expose the inequities of Jamaican society. This conduct
culminated in his performance at the One Love Peace Concert. At the time, Jamaica was experiencing a political civil war.
Kingston was the sight for the battle, which pitted Prime Minister Michael Manley, of the People's National Party, against
Edward Seaga and his Jamaican Labor Party. In hopes of resolving this problem plaguing Jamaican society a concert was arranged.
The concept behind the concert was that instead of all the "fussin' and fightin' "there should be one love for all brethren,
and peace on the island of Jamaica. The organizers of this event got the biggest acts in reggae music to agree to perform.
Included in this group was Peter Tosh, as well as Bob Marley and the Wailers, who were the headline band. It was at this concert
that Peter took the opportunity to lecture the audience, which included Mr. Michael Manley himself, about the injustice of
the Jamaican 'shitstem'. This 'livatribe', as Peter liked to refer to his speeches, or diatribes, that he gave including the
following statements directed at both the Manley and Seaga:
"Me glad all the Prime Minister is here and the Minister
of Opposition and members of Parliament. We can't make the little pirate dem come here and rob up the resources for the country.
Because that is what dem been doing a long bloodbath time...I am not a politician but I suffer the consequences (Steffens,
The Peter Tosh Biography 48)."
Never before had such a public figure openly insulted and contested the Jamaican regime.
That is what separated Peter from the rest of his peers in the Jamaican music industry. While Bob Marley decided to go more
mainstream, and easygoing, and Bunny became somewhat reclusive and unnoticed, Peter continued on in his same staunch, militant
manner. This gave the people of Jamaica a strong leader whom they could trust to hold his morals steadfast in the face of
adversity. It is not a coincidence that just four short months after Peter's verbal assault on the powers that be in Jamaica,
that he was beaten to within an inch of death by as many as ten police officers. This, however, was just one of many cases
of police brutality involving Peter Tosh. These attacks did not stop Peter, though, as they seemed to just make him madder
and stronger. Peter loved the limelight, not because of the attention he got, but because of the issues it allowed him to
bring attention to. While these physical attacks did little to censor Peter, it was the ethereal attacks which put fear into
"in the middle of the night, before daylight, I was attacked by evil forces, seen? Spiritual evil forces
that cause my mouth to cease from function, cause my hands and legs to cease from moving. Is only my mind that was in function,
and my two eyes. As close as four of my friends was to me, which was about 12 inches away, I could not tell a man nothing,
or ask a man to do anything to help me; and I was on the brink of what you call "death. "Seen?...it started with these three
(?) man here. Seen? Coming from the hospital I saw ghosts, three ghosts (Steffens, Rebel With a Cause 4)."
taken to the hospital after an incident with a drunken man who attacked him with a bar stool left his hand severely lacerated.
That night something very strange occurred.
"Coming from the hospital I saw ghosts, three ghosts...Is what
they call duppies. Ghosts. 'Cause I can see them. Seen? I saw three of them. And I was the only person out of about 400 that
saw them. And they become terrified because they don't like to know that people are, you know, interfering in their business.
Seen? So after I left the hospital every night--which I was there for three days, trying to get these things stitch up (Steffens,
Rebel With a Cause 4)."
Peter's experiences with ghosts caused him to compose and release the song 'Bumbo Klaat'.
The phrase bumbo klaat is one of the most coarse expressions in Jamaica. If used publicly it is a jailable offense. This,
however, did not stop Peter from entitling his song 'Bumbo Klaat' , a phrase which he saw as one of the secret passwords of
Jamaica to fight against evil spirits. Tosh believed that the power which this phrase wielded was the very reason it was outlawed
by Jamaica's government. During his aforementioned late night encounter with duppies, Peter found that the only thing that
could free him from his paralysis was to say "Move yuh bumbo Klaat!! (Pierson and Steffens. Discography 18)"From that day
forth, Peter vowed never to stop saying bumbo klaat.
The next chapter in Peter Tosh's life served to expose the world
to his struggle for equity. Mystified by Tosh's performance at the One Love Peace Concert, Mick Jagger, who was in the audience
that evening, signed Peter to The Rolling Stones own record label. Peter was optimistic about this deal, a deal which would
get him worldwide acclaim. What followed was just one more instance of Peter not harmonizing with his producer. He felt that,
for reasons unknown to him, his records were under-promoted and poorly marketed. Many of Tosh's critics felt that the work
he did with The Rolling Stones was the worst of his career. During this tenure, he released two albums, Bush Doctor and Mystic
Man. The most successful tune from either of these albums was (You Gotta Walk and) Don't Look Back, which featured Mick Jagger
on backup vocals. While this song was wildly successful and had great commercial appeal, teaming Jagger and Tosh together,
it would be the two's only successful collaboration. Nevertheless, it was a business deal, a deal fetched him international
acclaim and allowed Peter to reach a much wider audience. This was important because he was not under such scrutiny outside
of Jamaica. He could not be censored internationally the way he could be censored in Jamaica. In a later interview Peter expressed
this saying that he enjoyed the spotlight in America, where he felt much more free.
This is not to say that he liked
America, because America embodied many of the evils which Peter frequently combated, such as discrimination, deception, technology,
and politics. One song which criticized the political structure of the United States was No Nuclear War. This song is referring
to the cold war situation between the United States and The Soviet Union, a situation which Peter likens to a ransom. Ultimately,
though, Peter warns that there are much greater forces than any earthly power, and that as much destruction as people can
create, these forces can create more.
After his short-lived stint with The Rolling Stones, Peter got his solo career
back on track. During his 1983 tour of Europe Peter unveiled a new instrument to fight against injustice. That instrument
happened to be a guitar which he requested to be shaped like an M-16 rifle. Concerning his newly fashioned guitar, Peter had
this to say: "This guitar is firing shots at all them devil disciples. Music is my weapon to fight against apartheid, nuclear
war and those gang-jah criminals (Steffens, The Peter Tosh Biography 52)."It was at this time that Peter was in his prime.
He released Mama Africa in 1983, two years after the release of Wanted: Dread and Alive. Both albums are vintage Tosh and
feature some of his greatest work as a solo artist. The tune Bumbo Klaat, first debuted on Wanted, the European edition, as
well as perhaps Peter's most famous song, Reggae-Mylitis, which tells of him coming down with some kind of musical flu which
he can not shake. Mama Africa contained many classic cuts, including Glasshouse which warned that if a person lives in a glass
house he should not throw stones, and in the same fashion that if one can not take a blow one should not throw a blow. The
heart of this album, much like the heart of its creator, is comprised of revolutionary tunes like Not Gonna Give It Up, which
calls for people to continue the fight until Africa and Africans are free, Where You Gonna Run, which says that the world
is faced with problems and many illusions, to which love is the only solution. Also debuting on this album was a track entitled
Peace Treaty, which details the deception that occurs in the city of Kill-Some, or Kingston. After Mama Africa came Captured
Live, which was nothing more than an album of a show he did in Los Angeles, or Hell-A as Peter liked to refer to it. It is
on this album that one can witness Tosh's incredible power and presence live. Peter was a remarkable performer. His concerts
were moving, not just musically, but spiritually as well. Often times on stage he seized the opportunity to speak to his people
about the wickedness of society, and the people listened, keying on his every word.
Peter Tosh was unhappy
with the world, and wanted things to change. He saw evil, and wickedness, and destruction lurking. It came to him in his sleep,
and in visions. On one occasion Tosh recalled a terrible vision where he:
"see the pit of destruction and seen millions
of people inside of the pit going down. And I went to the side of the pit, and stand up like this, say "Blood Bath, where
so much people come from?" And looking in the pit, man, it the biggest pit...people going down in the pit, but the way the
people was crying, it was awful (Holmes and Steffens, Reasoning With Tosh 18-19)."
Peter knew of the evils which prowled,
laying hidden, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. He was a saint sent to save the world from the duppies and the
vampires, whom the devil had sent to create mayhem and destruction. When Peter was once asked who the biggest vampire in Jamaica
was, he replied,"Lucifer". Wielding more power than any of the mortals whom he had sent to spread badness, Lucifer was the
one whom Tosh feared more than any. In one interview that he gave Peter forewarned that one must be careful of his friends
because a friend is easiest to deceive, for you already have his trust. This statement was all too prophetic.
11, 1987 Peter Tosh was murdered by three intruders. The leader was a man named Dennis 'Leppo' Lobban, a man whom Peter had
befriended and tried to help find work after a long jail sentence. The three came in demanding money and when Tosh told them
that he did not have any with him they simply shot him. Dennis Lebbo turned himself over to the authorities, and was tried
and convicted in the shortest jury deliberation in Jamaican history, eleven minutes. As for the other two assailants, neither
were found, although the rumor is that both were gunned down in the streets. Whether this was purely a robbery, or an assassination
plot is yet to be determined. Many believe that there were ulterior motives to the killing, citing that nothing was taken
from the house. Peter neither resisted, nor did he cause commotion. The government had been trying for years to eliminate
Tosh, a feat which was finally accomplished at the hands of his friend. The vampires which had been haunting Peter throughout
his life finally caught up with him. In one interview he gave the year that he died he had this to say: "Vampires don't come
out and bite your neck anymore. They cause...something destructive to happen that blood will spill and those invisible vampires
will get their meals (Boyle, Word, Sound and Power 4)."Peter Tosh was martyred at the age of 43.
"I'm on my way to
happiness. Where I can find some peace and rest", Peter Tosh: No Sympathy
Professor James Small:
James Small - Transformational Speaker & Consultant
James Small was born in 1945, on Arcadia plantation, located on the banks of the Waccamaw River. This Lowland rice plantation
is located where the Waccamaw, Peedee, and Black Rivers converge to meet the Atlantic Ocean, on the shores of historic Georgetown,
South Carolina. Prof. Small was born to a family that traces their descent from enslaved Africans, to the Yoruba, Akan, and
Ewe people of West Africa. Prof. Small's heritage also stems from the Native American ancestors that inhabited these South
Carolinian shores. Both his maternal great-grandmother and his paternal great-grandmother were members of the Chicora Nation,
and made their home along the mighty Waccamaw River.
Prof. Small graduated from the all Black Howard High School in Georgetown, South Carolina in 1964. He then served
in the U.S. Navy for two years during the Vietnam era. Upon his release from military service, Prof. Small moved to New York
City where he joined the organization of Afro-American Unity founded by the legendary Malcolm X. In 1967, Prof. Small became
Imam (minister) of the Muslim Mosque Incorporated, also founded by Malcolm X. In 1975 Prof. Small traveled to the Holy City
of Mecca in Saudi Arabia to make his holy pilgrimage, the Hajjah.
For eleven years Prof. Small served as principal
bodyguard to the late Ella L. Collins, the sister of Malcolm X, the then President of the Organization of Afro-American Unity
(O.A.A.U.) Between the years of 1966 and 1980, Prof. Small held membership in the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee
(S.N.C.C.), the N.A.A.C.P, Uhuru fighters and O.A.A.U. During this period Prof. Small had the opportunity to interact with
such historical giants as Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Kwame Ture, H. Rap Brown of S.N.C.C, Eldridge Cleaver, Zaid
Shakur, and Lumumba Shakur of the Black Panther Party (B.P.P.) in which he served as a liaison between the B.P.P. and the
Prof. Small has been a member of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilization (A.S.C.A.C.)
for 14 years. He served as President of A.S.C.A.C. Eastern Region for two years, where he worked and studied with Dr. John
Henrik Clarke, Dr. Yosef A. A. ben Jochannan, Dr. Leonard Jeffries, Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, Dr. Asa Hilliard, Dr. Wade Nobles,
Dr. Amos Wilson and Dr. Francis Cress Welsing, just to name a few.
Prof. Small taught for fifteen years at the City
University of New York, including 13 years at the City College of New York's Black Studies Department and two years at New
York City Technical College. Prof. Small has taught courses on Malcolm X, Traditional African Religion (Prof. Small is a priest
in the Yoruba religion), Pan Africanism, Crime in the Urban Community, Urban Crisis and Issues, and African Folklore. Prof.
Small has also appeared on a number of network talk shows and newsmagazines. These include the Phil Donahue Show, The Rolanda
Watts Show, The Geraldo Rivera Show, Matt Lauer Nine Broadcast Plaza Show, The Charlie Rose Show, Tony Brown's Journal, Like
it Is with Gil Noble as well as numerous cable programs and local, national and international television and radio shows.
Small has lectured at some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the world. Among the many colleges and universities
where Prof. Small has lectured at are the University of Manchester, Manchester England. University of the Virgin Islands,
St. Thomas, V.I. University of the West Indies Porte-Spain, Trinidad; University of West Indies; Kingston Jamaica, Princeton
University Princeton, N.J., Harvard University Boston, Mass., Yale University, New Haven, Conn., Columbia University and New
York University of New York, N.Y. to mention a few.
Prof. Small is currently conducting educational and cultural tours
throughout Africa and the United States and he is also working on two books, one a collection of his lectures on Malcolm X
and the other on the topic of "Post Slavery Trauma Syndrome."
"My name is Sekou Mgobogi Abdullah Odinga. I am a Muslim and a POW. I was born in Queens, N.Y.,
on June 17, 1944. I was raised in a family of nine — Father, Mother, three brothers, and three sisters. I was kicked
out of school in the tenth grade for defending myself against an attack by a teacher.
"At age 16 I was busted for robbery
and sentenced to three years as a 'Youthful Offender.' I spent 32 months at Great Meadows Correctional Institution (Comstock)
in upstate New York, where I finished my high school education. In 1961-63 Comstock was very racist. No Blacks worked in any
capacity at the prison. One of the sergeants working at Comstock was the head of the kkk. My first political education came
at Comstock. In 1963, I was caught in a serious race riot at Comstock.
"The teachings of Malcolm X, who was then with
the Nation of Islam, became a big influence on me at that time. After my release, I became involved in Black political activity
in New York, especially revolutionary, nationalist politics. In 1964, I also became involved in the Cultural Nationalist movement.
By 1965, I had joined the organization of African American Unity, founded by El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X). I began
to move with and among many young African Nationalists. My political consciousness was growing daily. I was reading and listening
to many Afrikan Nationalists from Africa and the U.S. and became convinced that only after a successful armed struggle would
New Afrikans gain freedom and self-determination. I also became convinced that integration would never solve the problems
faced by New Afrikans.
"After Malcolm's death, the OAAU never seemed to me to be going in the direction I desired.
By late '65 or early '66 I hooked up with other young Revolutionary Nationalists to organize ourselves for the purpose of
implementing what we felt was Malcolm's program. We organized the Grassroot Advisory Council, in South Jamaica, New York.
We were all very young and inexperienced and got caught up in a local anti-poverty program.
"By 1967 I was thoroughly
disillusioned with that, when I heard about the Black Panther Party (BPP) in Oakland, California. Myself, along with some
of my closest comrades, decided this was the type of organization we wanted to be a part of. We decided that some of us would
go to California, investigate, and join the BPP if it was what it claimed to be. By the spring of 1968, we heard that representatives
from the BPP were coming to New York and there was a possibility of organizing a chapter. I attended the meeting and decided
to join and help build the BPP in New York. I became the section leader of the Bronx section, sharing an office with the Harlem
"On January 17, 1969, the day Bunchy Carter and John Huggins were murdered in Los Angeles, I went underground.
I was told that Joan Bird, a sister in the party, had been busted and severely brutalized by the police and that the police
were looking for me in connection with a police shooting. On April 22, 1969, I awoke at 5:30 AM to the sound of wood splitting
around my door. When I investigated, I found that my house was completely surrounded with pigs on my roof, fire escape, in
the halls, on the street, etc. I was fortunate enough to evade them and go deeper into hiding.
In 1970, I was asked
to go to Algeria to help set up the International section of the BPP. After the split in the Party, caused by the COINTELPRO
program, I decided to come back to the U.S. to continue the struggle. I continued to work until my capture in October of 1981.
"In 1970, I was asked to go to Algeria to help set up the International section of the BPP. After the split in the Party,
caused by the COINTELPRO program, I decided to come back to the U.S. to continue the struggle. I continued to work until my
capture in October of 1981. I was charged with six counts of attempted murder of police, for shooting over my shoulder while
being chased and shot at by police. I was also charged with nine predicate acts of a RICO indictment. I was convicted of the
attempted murders and given twenty-five years-to-life for it. I was convicted of two counts of the RICO indictment (the liberation
of Assata Shakur and expropriation of an armored truck) and given twenty years and $25,000 fine for each RICO charge. All
sentences run consecutively. " – Sekou Odinga, in Can't Jail the Spirit, 4th edition, March 1998
is imprisoned for actions carried out in the fight for Black Liberation. He is also a New Afrikan POW. In 1965 Sekou joined
the Organization for Afro-American Unity (OAAU), founded by Malcolm X. After Malcolm's death the OAAU was not going in the
direction he wanted and in 1967 he was looking at the BPP. In early 1968 he helped build the Bronx BPP. On January 17, 1969
the police killed two Black Panthers, and a fellow NY Panther, who was in police custody, was brutally beaten. Sekou was informed
police were searching for him in connection with a police shooting. Rather than face possible death as many of his comrades
had in custody, Sekou joined the Black underground with the BLA. He remained underground partaking in revolutionary clandestine
activity for 12 years until his capture. Upon being captured he was charged with 6 counts of attempted murder of police, among
a litany of other charges that included the liberation of Assata Shakur from prison and expropriation of an armored truck.
He is serving consecutive 25 life state time and a 40 year federal sentence. Currently in Lompoc, CA, Sekou is continually
harassed by prison administration with mail and visiting regulations.
Sekou Odinga ..05228-054
USP Lompoc 3901
Lompoc, CA 93436
Minister Khallid Abdul Muhammad:
born Harold Moore, Jr. by his parents, blessed this earth on January 12th, 1948 in Houston, Texas. He was the second? of
six children to the late Harold Moore, Sr. and Lottie B. Moore. His Aunt Momma Carrie Moore Vann in Houston, Texas reared
him. Minister Khallid Muhammad, affectionately known as "butch" by the family attended Bruce Elementary School, E.O.Smith
Junior High School and all Black Phyllis Wheatley High School in Texas. At Phyllis Wheatley, Brother Khallid was an esteemed
member of Stagecrafters, a group of exceptional students where he developed debate and drama skills under direction of Ms.
Vernell Lillie. Minister Khallid as a young man would preach to cars from his porch as they passed by on the highway and was
president of Houston Methodist Youth Fellowship. Khallid was a star quarterback, team captain of his high school football
team, an eagle scout, a class officer and a star debater.
Upon graduating high school, our bold
and shining Black prince won a scholarship Dillard University in Louisiana to pursue his degree in theological studies. At
this time he ministered at Sloan Memorial Methodist Church. While at Dillard University young Khallid first heard Minister
Louis Farrahkan, the National Representative of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He had a big Afro and a huge medallion of Malcolm
X around his neck. After hearing Minister Farrakhan speak Khallid Abdul Muhammad joined the Nation of Islam under the leadership
of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Immediately Brother Harold X, as he was known at that time became renown as a top recruiter
in the south for the Black Muslims. Dr. Khallid continued his studies and graduated from Pepperdine University in Los Angeles
California. He then was the recipient of an academic fellowship, and matriculated to do "Intensive Studies" at Harvard, Yale,
and Columbia Universities. The skills of higher education as well as his fighting spirit made Minister Khallid a valuable
weapon to the Nation of Islam and the Black Nation in general.
When the Messenger of Allah, the
Honorable Elijah Muhammad departed from amongst us in 1975, Minister Khallid Abdul Muhammad kept on fighting. At this time
he was known as Dr. Malik Rushaddin. He traveled throughout Africa and trained in revolutionary movements with a focus on
freeing apartheid ridden South Africa (Azania) from white oppression. When Minister Farrakhan decided to rebuild the Nation
of Islam in 1978. Minister Khallid was right there with him when there were just a few. Minister Khallid Muhammad served as
western regional minister of the Nation of Islam and leader of Mosque ..27, which made lightning progress under his leadership.
In 1983 Minister Louis Farrakhan named him Khallid, which has the historical interpretation of "great warrior" after the great
follower of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Khallid ibn Walid. Like this great Islamic general Khallid Muhammad was called the "sword
Minister Khallid Abdul Muhammad was soon appointed as Supreme Captain over the military in the Nation of
Islam. In 1985 Minister Khallid Abdul Muhammad was appointed National Spokesman and Representative of Minister Louis Farrakhan,
following in the footsteps of Minister Farrakhan and Malcolm X. At other points he also served the posts of Southern Regional
Minister, Minister of Mosque ..7 in Harlem, New York City, and National Assistant.
A true Pan Afrikanist, Minister
Khallid Muhammad has traveled on research and fact-finding missions to Kemet (Egypt) Jerusalem, South Afrika and throughout
the African sub continent. He made his sacred pilgrimage to the Holy City, Mecca, numerous times. He has earned the title
El Hajj Khallid Abdul Muhammad. Minister Khallid Abdul Muhammad was the creator and founder of The New African Cultural Holiday
alternative to Thanksgiving called "GYE NYAME (G-NY-MAY). Black youth and "gang" members loved Dr. Khallid. You have heard
this dynamic soldier on rap albums from Tupac Shakur, Ice Cube, Sista Souljah, X-Clan, Public Enemy, Scar-Face, Shaquille
O'Neill, Erica Badu, Lauren Hill, Dead Prez, Capone N' Noriega and the Black Lyrical Terrorist. Dynamic fiery, explosive,
electrifying, spellbinding! He has fired up and inspired audiences at over 100 universities in the United States, Africa,
Europe and the world. He spoke at many churches and served as a minister at the 1st Afrocentric Temple in Atlanta, Georgia
before his transition to the ancestors.
After his historic lecture on November 29, 1993
at Kean College in Union, New Jersey which shook the racist, Zionist, imperialist, white supremist foundation of the world,
the President of the United State and Vice President Gore condemned Dr. Khallid Muhammad. The United States Senate voted 97-0
to censure him. Minister Khallid and Minister Louis Farrahkan are the only two in history to be censured by the U.S. Senate.
And for the first time in history, The United States House of Representatives (The Full Congress) in a special session, passed
House Resolution 343 condemning a so called private citizen. At historic Howard University in 1994 Khallid Muhammad keynoted
the world wide-watched Black Holocaust conference with Dr. Leonard Jeffries, Dr. Tony Martin and convened by then student
organizer Malik Zulu Shabazz.
These events shook the world but Khallid Muhammad did not break under the pressure. In
May, 1994 an assassination attempt was made on his life. Khallid Muhammad was blessed to recover and fight with even more
vigor and intensity. He spoke at many churches and served as a minister at the 1st Afrocentric Temple in Atlanta, Georgia
before his transition to the ancestors.
THE FINAL VICTORIES
1998 Minister Khallid Abdul Muhammad led an armed
militant group of New Black Panther members into Jasper Texas to chase out the Klu Klux Klan who were making a mockery of
the beheading and dragging death of brother James Byrd. On Sept 5th, 1998 He was the convener of the Million Youth March Black
Power Rally, held on Malcolm X Blvd in New York. With the help of the December 12th Movement, the Million Youth March won
historic legal battles against the racist Guiliani administration over free speech "constitutional rights". The Million Youth
March went forward the streets of Harlem were flooded with throngs of Black youth and people who supported this massive Black
In 1998 Dr. Khallid Muhammad was chosen to serve as The National Chairman of The New Black Panther Party
for Self-Defense, chapters have sprouted nationwide. He leaves intact his National Spokesman- Attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz;
National Assistant-Hashim Nzinga; National Chief of Staff -Malikah Muhammad; National Minister of Defense- Brother David Foreman;
National Minister of Information-Minister Quannell X; National Southern Regional Representative-Sister Zoirada Higgenbothom;
National Field Marshall-Minister Malik Shabazz. The New Black Panther Party is alive and well with chapters thriving throughout
the country. Dr. Khallid's vision of a Black Power Movement shall live on!!!
THE TRANSITION AND LEGACY
Khallid Abdul Muhammad leaves to cherish his memories; his wife, Queen Nefertari Muhammad, three sisters; Gloria Glenn from
Los Angeles, Cynthia Moore Kelly from Los Angeles, KaShelia Moore Jackson from Houston, Texas; two brothers, Frank Moore Claybourne
from Los Angeles, Darington Moore Smith from Los Angeles; father-in-law, Mr. Thomas Ambush of Cedric Maryland; his children,
David and mother Mattie Morris Van, Khalfani and mother Mahasin Rushiddin, and Farrakhan Khallid, Malik, Kiki, Amir, Ali and
mother Khallidah Muhammad; four grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, friends, and comrades.
BLACK POWER OBITUARY
we gather to celebrate the courageous life, and fighting spirit of a true soldier and warrior. Minister Khallid Abdul Muhammad
was a general, a mentor, a teacher, and a strong Black man who epitomized the tenacity of our liberation struggle. Minister
Khallid Abdul Muhammad represented to many of us as a father, brother, comrade, trainer and uncompromising leader who lived
and gave his life for the liberation of African people all over the world. He stands in the great revolutionary line of divine
with courageous African Ancestors like Nat Turner, Sojourner Truth, Denmark Vessel, Kwame Nkrumah, Queen Nzingha, Marcus Garvey,
Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, Huey P. Newton, Kwame Toure', Louis Farrakhan and many others who organized to free our people
from a wicked and cruel enemy. He was proud, strong, dignified, and a man of great character, with a beautiful heart. He loved
his people and fought day and night to move us closer to victory over our enemies. He will be remembered as a great field
marshall, captain, trainer of men, and one who would not turn heels and run from our enemy- even when under fire.
LIVE OUR PAN-AFRICANIST GENERAL KHALLID ABDUL MUHAMMAD
A GREAT MIND IN HIP HOP Body: Initially regarded as one
of hip-hop's most promising newcomers in the late '90s, Mos Def expanded his reach in the years to come, establishing himself
as a serious actor and also making a bid to reshape the rap-rock genre. His artistic career began in the late '80s as a television
actor, a profession he began directly out of high school. By the mid-'90s though, Mos Def turned to rap music as his new profession,
frustrated by how little acting paid relative to rapping. Based in Brooklyn, he began affiliating himself with the local hip-hop
scene, appearing on tracks by such esteemed groups as De La Soul and da Bush Babees. Following these guest appearances and
some singles for Royalty (most notably "Universal Magnetic"), Mos Def began recording for the upstart Rawkus label. His first
full-length album, Black Star (1998), a collaboration with Talib Kweli and DJ Hi-Tek, shook the hip-hop community, which embraced
the album and spoke of a Native Tongue revival. His solo debut, Black on Both Sides (1999), did much the same a year later.
For the most part though, Mos Def maintained a low profile in successive years, rediscovering his passion for acting and forming
the rap-rock supergroup Black Jack Johnson.
Born in Brooklyn, Mos Def pursued the arts at a young age, excelling as a
performer. After high school, he began acting in a variety of television roles, most notably appearing on a short-lived Bill
Cosby series in 1994, The Cosby Mysteries. He soon grew frustrated with life as an actor and switched to rapping. Appearances
on songs by De La Soul ("Big Brother Beat") and da Bush Babees ("S.O.S.") -- both released in 1996 -- began Mos Def's rap
career with much propulsion. A year later, he released a single of his own for Royalty Records, "Universal Magnetic," and
it created quite a stir. Soon he moved to Rawkus Records, which was just getting off the ground at the time, and began working
on a full-length album with like-minded rapper Talib Kweli and beat maker DJ Hi-Tek. The resulting album, Black Star (1998),
became one of the most discussed rap albums of its time. A year later came Mos Def's solo album, Black on Both Sides, and
it inspired further attention and praise.
Rap groups such as De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, and Brand Nubian --
loosely known as the Native Tongue collective -- had set a precedent years earlier for socially conscious, thoughtful rap
music more likely to celebrate Afrocentricity than gangsta culture. Yet these artists had fallen out of favor by the late
'90s as they aged. Mos Def, on the other hand, was young and charismatic, an apparently capable and willing heir. Thus, listeners,
critics, and everyone else who had heard Mos Def's work for Rawkus championed him as a sort of savior, a genuine, important
MC in an age of flossin' gangstas and angry thugs. And Mos Def certainly fit the role as newly crowned king of the new-school
Native Tongue artists such as Common and Kweli. However, for whatever reason -- the hype, the pressure, the attention -- he
shied away from the recording studio after Black on Both Sides and began pursuing other interests.
During the early
2000s, he acted in several films (Monster's Ball, Bamboozled) and even spent some time on Broadway (the Pulitzer Prize-winning
Topdog/Underdog). He simultaneously worked on the Black Jack Johnson project with several iconic black musicians: keyboardist
Bernie Worrell (Parliament/Funkadelic), guitarist Dr. Know (Bad Brains), drummer Will Calhoun (Living Colour), and bassist
Doug Wimbish (the Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, Living Colour). This project aimed to reclaim rock music, especially
the rap-rock hybrid, from such artists as Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst, who Mos Def openly despised. What made Black Jack
Johnson so anticipated though was not so much the supergroup roster of musicians or even Mos Def himself, but rather the lack
of black rock bands. Following the demise of Living Colour, there were few, if any, that had attained substantial success.
Mos Def hoped to infuse the rock world with his all-black band and during the early 2000s, he performed several small shows
with his band around the New York area. In October of 2004, he finally delivered a second solo album (The New Danger), which
involved Black Jack Johnson on a few tracks. ~ Jason Birchmeier, All Music Guide
Friday, June 3, 2005
Def will release his last rap album with Geffen this August, which could also be the last rap album released by Mos Def period.
After his successful admission into acting he is looking to concentrate on the movie industry fulltime.
Also in August
is the 8th Annual Black August Hip Hop Benefit Concert in New York. Mos Def is set to headline the event and will follow in
the footsteps of previous headliners; Common, Talib Kweli, Erykah Badu and others.
The show is the largest annual
Hip Hop benefit concert and the proceeds will go towards benefiting HIV/AIDS awareness in Africa and within the Hip hop community.
"Black August consistently bridges the gap between Hip Hop communities all over the Diaspora and the world," Mos Def
said. "The rapid spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Hip Hop community is a serious issue and I am proud to be a part of
Black August’s efforts to help bring awareness to it."
The concert takes place on August 7th at the legendary
B.B. Kings Blues Club in Times Square, and will also feature events in Arusha and Dar El Salaam, Tanzania in East Africa.
- Darren Pitts /MOS DEF IN THE SOURCE
"Our priorities is gettin' fucked. Lil Jon-I love
his music. But why are
the East Side Boyz names Big Sam and Lil Bo? What the fuck? What's next,
Kunta and Kinte? The
South should know better. This is the same country
that ran up in Fred Hampton's crib and shot him in bed with his pregnant
You think the rules changed cause niggas got No. 1 records? What
are we supposed to tell our kids? After Malcolm, Martin
and Dubois we got
Sam-Bo? I'm supposed to be down with that 'cause it makes me dance?"
-"Jimmy Iovine, Lyor Cohen,
Doug Morris...all of these dudes were not
prepared in their schooling or in any of their social upbringing for a
where they have to deal face to face with, not only people who are
outside of their class, but people who in their minds
could very well be
their servants. Now you gotta deal with somebody you've been trained to
deal with as your underling
as your partner. It's a bitter fuckin pill to
swallow cause now you need this person. Jimmy Iovine is not your buddy.
is NOT happy about Jay Z being president of DJ. I dont give a fuck
what he say. If the dude could go from rhyming to being
a CEO in 10 years
or less, what is he going to be in 15 or 20? He might have Lyor's job at
Hilton don't really care about ya'll niggaz, man. She can't even
hear ya'll niggaz. I'm just keeping it real. THis shit
is entertainment to
them. We're adopting their morals like we them and we never been them. We
don't have the same struggle.
Dudes is no more than 20 years removed from
real poverty. For dudes to have this much access to money and it's not
to people power, its inexcusable"
-the mighty mos.
from recent source magazine
The Slave Who Defeated Napoleon:
by Jennifer Brainard
Napoleon was one of the greatest generals
who ever lived. But at the end of the 18th century a self-educated slave with no military training drove Napoleon out of Haiti
and led his country to independence. The remarkable leader of this slave revolt was Toussaint Breda (later called Toussaint
L'Ouverture, and sometimes the "black Napoleon"). Slave revolts from this time normally ended in executions and failure –
this story is the exception.
It began in 1791 in the French colony of Saint Dominique (later Haiti). Though born a
slave in Saint Dominique, Toussaint learned of Africa from his father, who had been born a free man there. He learned that
he was more than a slave, that he was a man with brains and dignity. He was fortunate in having a liberal master who had him
trained as a house servant and allowed him to learn to read and write. Toussaint took full advantage of this, reading every
book he could get his hands on. He particularly admired the writings of the French Enlightenment philosophers, who spoke of
individual rights and equality.
In 1789 the French Revolution rocked France. The sugar plantations of Saint Dominique,
though far away, would never be the same. Spurred on by such Enlightenment thinkers as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the early moderate
revolutionaries considered seriously the question of slavery. Those moderate revolutionaries were not willing to end slavery
but they did apply the "Rights of Man" to all Frenchmen, including free blacks and mulattoes (those of mixed race). Plantation
owners in the colonies were furious and fought the measure. Finally the revolutionaries gave in and retracted the measure
The news of this betrayal triggered mass slave revolts in Saint Dominique, and Toussaint became the leader
of the slave rebellion. He became known as Toussaint L'Ouverture (the one who finds an opening) and brilliantly led his rag-tag
slave army. He successfully fought the French (who helped by succumbing to yellow fever in large numbers) as well as invading
Spanish and British.
By 1793, the revolution in France was in the hands of the Jacobins, the most radical of the revolutionary
groups. This group, led by Maximilian Robespierre, was responsible for the Reign of Terror, a campaign to rid France of "enemies
of the revolution." Though the Jacobins brought indiscriminate death to France, they were also idealists who wanted to take
the revolution as far as it could go. So they again considered the issue of "equality" and voted to end slavery in the French
colonies, including what was now known as Haiti.
There was jubilation among the blacks in Haiti, and Toussaint agreed
to help the French army eject the British and Spanish. Toussaint proved to be a brilliant general, winning 7 battles in 7
days. He became a defacto governor of the colony.
In France the Jacobins lost power. People finally tired of blood
flowing in the streets and sent Maximilian Robespierre, the leader of the Jacobins, to the guillotine, ending the Reign of
Terror. A reaction set in. The French people wanted to get back to business. More moderate leaders came and went, eventually
replaced by Napoleon, who ruled France with dictatorial powers. He responded to the pleas of the plantation owners by reinstating
slavery in the French colonies, once again plunging Haiti into war.
By 1803 Napoleon was ready to get Haiti off his
back: he and Toussaint agreed to terms of peace. Napoleon agreed to recognize Haitian independence and Toussaint agreed to
retire from public life. A few months later, the French invited Toussaint to come to a negotiating meeting will full safe
conduct. When he arrived, the French (at Napoleon's orders) betrayed the safe conduct and arrested him, putting him on a ship
headed for France. Napoleon ordered that Toussaint be placed in a prison dungeon in the mountains, and murdered by means of
cold, starvation, and neglect. Toussaint died in prison, but others carried on the fight for freedom.
Six months later,
Napoleon decided to give up his possessions in the New World. He was busy in Europe and these far-away possessions were more
trouble than they were worth. He abandoned Haiti to independence and sold the French territory in North America to the United
States (the Louisiana purchase).
Years later, in exile at St. Helena, when asked about his dishonorable treatment of
Toussaint, Napoleon merely remarked, "What could the death of one wretched Negro mean to me?"
The Haitian Revolution:
Although the eighteenth century was experiencing
a widespread revolutionary situation, not all of it ended in full-blown, convulsing revolutions.6 But everywhere, the old
order was being challenged. New ideas, new circumstances, and new peoples combined to create a portentously "turbulent time."
Bryan Edwards, a sensitive English planter in Jamaica and articulate member of the British Parliament, lamented in a speech
to that body in 1798 that "a spirit of subversion had gone forth that set at naught the wisdom of our ancestors and the lessons
of experience." But if Edwards's lament was for the passing of his familiar, cruel, and constricted world of privileged planters
and exploited slaves, it was certainly not the only view.
For the vast majority of workers on the far-flung plantations
under the tropical sun of the Americas, the revolutionary situation presented an opportunity to change fundamentally their
personal world, and maybe the world of others equally unfortunate. Nowhere was the contrast sharper than in the productive
and extremely valuable French Caribbean colony of Saint Domingue between 1789 and 1804. The hundreds of thousands of African
slaves and tens of thousands of legally defined free coloreds found the hallowed wisdom and experiential "lessons" of Bryan
Edwards to be a despicably inconvenient barrier to their quest for individual and collective liberty. Their sentiments were
motivated not only by a difference of geography and culture but also by a difference of race and condition.
fifteen turbulent years, a colony of coerced and exploited slaves successfully liberated themselves and radically and permanently
transformed things. It was a unique case in the history of the Americas: a thorough revolution that resulted in a complete
metamorphosis in the social, political, intellectual, and economic life of the colony. Socially, the lowest order of the society—slaves—became
equal, free, and independent citizens. Politically, the new citizens created the second independent state in the Americas,
the first independent non-European state to be carved out of the European universal empires anywhere. The Haitian model of
state formation drove xenophobic fear into the hearts of all whites from Boston to Buenos Aires and shattered their complacency
about the unquestioned superiority of their own political models. To Simón Bolívar, himself of partial African ancestry, it
was the Euro-American model of revolution that was to be avoided by the Spanish-American states seeking their independence
after 1810, and he suggested the best way was to free all slaves. Intellectually, the ex-colonists gave themselves a new name—Haitians—and
defined all Haitians as "black," thereby giving a psychological blow to the emerging intellectual traditions of an increasingly
racist Europe and North America that saw a hierarchical world eternally dominated by types representative of their own somatic
images. In Haiti, all citizens were legally equal, regardless of color, race, or condition. Equally important, the example
of Haiti convincingly refuted the ridiculous notion that still endures among some social scientists at the end of the twentieth
century that slavery produced "social death" among slaves and persons of African descent. And in the economic sphere, the
Haitians dramatically transformed their conventional tropical plantation agriculture, especially in the north, from a structure
dominated by large estates (latifundia) into a society of minifundist, or small-scale, marginal self-sufficient producers,
who reoriented away from export dependency toward an internal marketing system supplemented by a minor export sector. These
changes, however, were not accomplished without extremely painful dislocations and severe long-term repercussions for both
the state and the society.
If the origins of the revolution in Saint Domingue lie in the broader changes of the Atlantic
world during the eighteenth century, the immediate precipitants must be found in the French Revolution. The symbiotic relationship
between the two were extremely strong and will be discussed later, but both resulted from the construction of a newly integrated
Atlantic community in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The broader movements of empire building in the Atlantic
world produced the dynamic catalyst for change that fomented political independence in the United States between 1776 and
1783. Even before that, ideas of the Enlightenment had agitated the political structures on both sides of the Atlantic, overtly
challenging the traditional mercantilist notions of imperial administration and appropriating and legitimating the unorthodox
free trading of previously defined interlopers and smugglers. The Enlightenment proposed a rational basis for reorganizing
state, society, and nation. The leading thinkers promoted and popularized new ideas of individual and collective liberty,
of political rights, and of class equality—and even, to a certain extent, of social democracy—that eventually
included some unconventional thoughts about slavery. But their concepts of the state remained rooted in the traditional western
European social experience, which did not accommodate itself easily to the current reality of the tropical American world,
as Peggy Liss shows in her insightful study Atlantic Empires.
Questions about the moral, religious, and economic justifications
for slavery and the slave society formed part of this range of innovative ideas. Eventually, these questions led to changes
in jurisprudence, such as the reluctantly delivered judgment by British Chief Justice Lord William Mansfield in 1772 that
the owner of the slave James Somerset could not return him to the West Indies, implying that, by being brought to England,
Somerset had indeed become a free man. In 1778, the courts of Scotland declared that slavery was illegal in that part of the
realm. Together with the Mansfield ruling in England, this meant that slavery could not be considered legal in the British
Isles. These legal rulings encouraged the formation of associations and groups designed to promote amelioration in the condition
of slaves, or even the eventual abolition of the slave trade and slavery.
Even before the declaration of political
independence on the part of the British North American colonies, slavery was under attack by a number of religious and political
leaders from, for example, the Quakers and Evangelicals, such as William Wilberforce (1759–1833), Thomas Clarkson (1760–1846),
and Granville Sharp (1735–1813). Antislavery movements flourished both in the metropolis and in the colonies. In 1787,
Abbé Grégoire (1750–1831), Abbé Raynal (1713–1796), the marquis de Lafayette (1757–1834), and others formed
an antislavery committee in France called the Société des Amis des Noirs, which took up the issue in the recently convened
Estates General in 1789 and later pushed for broadening the basis of citizenship in the National Assembly. Their benevolent
proposals, however, were overtaken by events.
The intellectual changes throughout the region cannot be separated from
changes in the Caribbean. During the eighteenth century, the Caribbean plantation slave societies reached their apogee. British
and French (mostly) absentee sugar producers made headlines in their respective imperial capitals, drawing the attention of
political economists and moral philosophers. The most influential voice among the latter was probably Adam Smith (1723–1790),
whose Wealth of Nations appeared in the auspicious year of 1776. Basing his arguments on the comparative costs of production,
Smith insisted that, "from the experience of all ages and nations, I believe, that the work done by free men comes cheaper
in the end than that performed by slaves." Slavery, Smith further stated, was both uneconomical and irrational not only because
the plantation system was a wasteful use of land but also because slaves cost more to maintain than free laborers.
plantation system had, by the middle of the eighteenth century, created some strange communities of production throughout
the Caribbean—highly artificial constructs involving labor inputs from Africa and managerial direction from Europe producing
largely imported staples for an overseas market. These were the plantation communities producing sugar, coffee, cotton, and
tobacco.26 Elsewhere, I have referred to this unintended consequence of the sugar revolutions as the development of exploitation
societies—a tiered system of interlocking castes and classes all determined by the necessities, structure, and rhythm
of the plantations.
French Saint Domingue prided itself, with considerable justification, on being the richest colony
in the world. According to David Geggus, Saint Domingue in the 1780s accounted for "some 40 percent of France's foreign trade,
its 7,000 or so plantations were absorbing by the 1790s also 10–15 percent of United States exports and had important
commercial links with the British and Spanish West Indies as well. On the coastal plains of this colony little larger than
Wales was grown about two-fifths of the world's sugar, while from its mountainous interior came over half the world's coffee."
The population was structured like a typical slave plantation exploitation society in tropical America. Approximately 25,000
white colonists, whom we might call psychological transients, dominated the social pyramid, which included an intermediate
subordinate stratum of approximately the same number of free, miscegenated persons referred to throughout the French Caribbean
colonies as gens de couleur, and a depressed, denigrated, servile, and exploited majority of some 500,000 workers from Africa
or of African descent. These demographic proportions would have been familiar to Jamaica, Barbados, or Cuba during the acme
of their slave plantation regimes. The centripetal cohesive force remained the plantations of sugar, coffee, cotton, and indigo
and the subsidiary activities associated with them. The plantations, therefore, joined the local society and the local economy
with a human umbilical cord—the transatlantic slave trade—that attached the colony to Africa. Economic viability
depended on the continuous replenishing of the labor force by importing African slaves. Nevertheless, the system was both
sophisticated and complex, with commercial marketing operations that extended to several continents.
If whites, free
colored, and slaves formed the three distinct castes in the French Caribbean colony, these caste divisions overshadowed a
complex system of class and corresponding internal class antagonisms, across all sectors of the society. Among the whites,
the class antagonism was between the successful so-called grands blancs, with their associated hirelings—plantation
overseers, artisans, and supervisors—and the so-called petits blancs—small merchants' representatives, small proprietors,
and various types of hangers-on. The antagonism was palpable. At the same time, all whites shared varying degrees of fear
and mistrust of the intermediate group of gens de couleur, but especially the economically upwardly mobile representatives
of wealth, education, and polished French culture.33 For their own part, the free non-whites had seen their political and
social abilities increasingly circumscribed during the two or so decades before the outbreak of revolution. Their wealth and
education certainly placed them socially above the petits blancs. Yet theirs was also an internally divided group, with a
division based as much on skin color as on genealogy. As for the slaves, all were distinguished—if that is the proper
terminology—by their legal condition as the lifetime property of their masters, and were occasionally subject to extraordinary
degrees of daily control and coercion. Within the slave sector, status divisions derived from a bewildering number of factors
applied in an equally bewildering number of ways: skills, gender, occupation, location (urban or rural, household or field),
relationship to production, or simply the arbitrary whim of the master.
The slave society was an extremely explosive
society, although the tensions could be, and were, carefully and constantly negotiated between and across the various castes.
While the common fact of owning slaves might have produced some mutual interest across caste lines, that occurrence was not
frequent enough or strong enough to establish a manifest class solidarity. White and free colored slaveowners were often insensitive
to the basic humanity and civil rights of the slaves, but they were forced nevertheless to negotiate continuously the way
in which they operated with their slaves in order to prevent the collapse of their world. Nor did similar race and color facilitate
an affinity between free non-whites and slaves. Slaves never accepted their legal condemnation, but perpetual military resistance
to the system of plantation slavery was inherent neither to Saint Domingue in particular nor to the Caribbean in general.
So when and where the system broke down resulted more from a combination of circumstances than from the inherent revolutionary
disposition of the individual artificial commercial construct.
Without the outbreak of the French Revolution, it is
unlikely that the system in Saint Domingue would have broken down in 1789. And while Haiti precipitated the collapse of the
system regionally, it seems fair to say that a system such as the Caribbean slave system bore within itself the seeds of its
own destruction and therefore could not last indefinitely. As David Geggus points out,
More than twenty [slave revolts]
occurred in the years 1789–1832, most of them in the Greater Caribbean. Coeval with the heyday of the abolitionist movement
in Europe and chiefly associated with Creole slaves, the phenomenon emerged well before the French abolition of slavery or
the Saint-Domingue uprising, even before the declaration of the Rights of Man. A few comparable examples occurred earlier
in the century, but the series in question began with an attempted rebellion in Martinique in August 1789. Slaves claimed
that the government in Europe had abolished slavery but that local slaveowners were preventing the island governor from implementing
the new law. The pattern would be repeated again and again across the region for the next forty years and would culminate
in the three large-scale insurrections in Barbados, 1816, Demerara, 1823, and Jamaica, 1831. Together with the Saint-Domingue
insurrection of 1791, these were the biggest slave rebellions in the history of the Americas.
In the case of Saint
Domingue—as later in the cases of Cuba and Puerto Rico—abolition came from an economically weakened and politically
The local bases of the society and the organization of political power could not have been more
different in France and its overseas colonies. In France in 1789, the political estates had a long tradition, and the social
hierarchy was closely related to genealogy and antiquity. In Saint Domingue, the political system was relatively new, and
the hierarchy was determined arbitrarily by race and the occupational relationship to the plantation. Yet the novelty of the
colonial situation did not produce a separate and particular language to describe its reality, and the limitations of a common
language (that of the metropolis) created a pathetic confusion with tragic consequences for metropolis and colony.
basic divisions of French society derived from socioeconomic class distinctions. The popular slogans generated by the revolution—Liberty,
Equality, Fraternity and the Rights of Man—did not express sentiments equally applicable in both metropolis and colony.
What is more, the Estates General, and later the National Assembly, simply could not understand how the French could be divided
by a common language. And yet they hopelessly were.
The confusion sprung from two foundations. In the first place,
the reports of grievances (cahiers de doléances) of the colonies represented overwhelmingly not the views of a cross-section
of the population but merely those of wealthy plantation owners and merchants, especially the absentee residents in France.
Moreover, as the French were to find out eventually, the colony was quite complex geographically. The wealthy, expatriate
planters of the Plain du Nord were a distinct numerical minority. The interests and preoccupations of the middling sorts of
West Province and South Province were vastly different. In the second place, each segment of the free population accepted
the slogans of the revolution to win acceptance in France, but they then particularized and emphasized only such portions
as applied to their individual causes. The grands blancs saw the Rights of Man as the rights and privileges of bourgeois man,
much as the framers of North American independence in Philadelphia in 1776. Moreover, grands blancs saw liberty not as a private
affair but rather as greater colonial autonomy, especially in economic matters. They also hoped that the metropolis would
authorize more free trade, thereby weakening the restrictive effects of the mercantilist commerce exclusif with the mother
country. Petits blancs wanted equality, that is, active citizenship for all white persons, not just the wealthy property owners,
and less bureaucratic control over the colonies. But they stressed a fraternity based on a whiteness of skin color that they
equated with being genuinely French. Gens de couleur also wanted equality and fraternity, but they based their claim on an
equality of all free regardless of skin color, since they fulfilled all other qualifications for active citizenship. Slaves
were not part of the initial discussion and sloganeering, but from their subsequent actions they clearly supported liberty.
It was not the liberty of the whites, however. Theirs was a personal freedom that undermined their relationship to their masters
and the plantation, and jeopardized the wealth of a considerable number of those who were already free.
In both France
and its Caribbean colonies, the course of the revolution took strangely parallel paths. The revolution truly began in both
with the calling of the Estates General to Versailles in the fateful year of 1789. Immediately, conflict over form and representation
developed, although it affected metropolis and colonies in different ways. In the metropolis, the Estates General, despite
not having met for 175 years, had an ancient history and tradition, albeit almost forgotten. The various overseas colonists
who assumed they were or aspired to be Frenchmen and to participate in the deliberations and the unfolding course of events
did not really share that history and that tradition. In many ways, they were new men created by a new type of society—the
plantation slave society. Their experience was quite distinct from that of the planters and slaveowners in the British Caribbean.
In Jamaica, Edward Long was an influential and wealthy member of British society as well as an established Jamaican planter.
Bryan Edwards was a long-serving member of the Jamaica Legislature and after 1796 a legitimate member of the British Parliament,
representing simultaneously a metropolitan constituency and overseas colonial interests.
At first, things seemed to
be going well for the French colonial representatives, as the Estates General declared itself a National Assembly in 1789
and the National Assembly proclaimed France to be a republic in August 1792. In France, as James Billington puts it, "the
subsequent history of armed rebellion reveals a seemingly irresistible drive toward a strong, central executive. Robespierre's
twelve-man Committee of Public Safety (1793–94), gave way to a five-man Directorate (1795–99), to a three-man
Consulate, to the designation of Napoleon as First Consul in 1799, and finally to Napoleon's coronation as emperor in 1804."
In the colonies, the same movement is discernible with a major difference—at least in Saint Domingue. The consolidation
of power during the period of armed rebellion gravitated toward non-whites and ended up in the hands of slaves and ex-slaves
or their descendants.
With the colonial situation far too confusing for the metropolitan legislators to resolve easily,
the armed revolt in the colonies started with an attempted coup by the grands blancs in the north who resented the petits
blancs–controlled Colonial Assembly of St. Marc (in West Province) writing a constitution for the entire colony in 1790.
Both white groups armed their slaves and prepared for war in the name of the revolution. When, however, the National Assembly
passed the May Decree enfranchising propertied mulattos, they temporarily forgot their class differences and forged an uneasy
alliance to forestall the revolutionary threat of racial equality. The determined desire of the free non-whites to make a
stand for their rights—also arming their slaves for war—made the impending civil war an inevitable racial war.
The precedent set by the superordinate free groups was not lost on the slaves, who comprised the overwhelming majority
of the population. If they could fight in separate causes for the antagonistic free sectors of the population, they could
fight on their own behalf. And so they did. Violence, first employed by the whites, became the common currency of political
change. Finally, in August 1791, after fighting for nearly two years on one or another side of free persons who claimed they
were fighting for liberty, the slaves of the Plain du Nord applied their fighting to their own cause. And once they had started,
they refused to settle for anything less than full freedom for themselves. When it became clear that their emancipation could
not be sustained within the colonial political system, they created an independent state in 1804 to secure it. It was the
logical extension of the collective slave revolt that began in 1791.
But before that could happen, Saint Domingue
experienced a period of chaos between 1792 and 1802. At one time, as many as six warring factions were in the field simultaneously:
slaves, free persons of color, petits blancs, grands blancs, and invading Spanish and English troops, as well as the French
vainly trying to restore order and control. Alliances were made and dissolved in opportunistic succession. As the killing
increased, power slowly gravitated to the overwhelming majority of the population—the former slaves no longer willing
to continue their servility. After 1793, under the control of Pierre-Dominique Toussaint Louverture, ex-slave and ex-slaveowner,
the tide of war turned inexorably, assuring the victory of the concept of liberty held by the slaves.44 It was duly, if temporarily,
ratified by the National Assembly. But that was neither the end of the fighting nor the end of slavery.
of the slaves in 1793 was, ironically, a victory for colonialism and the revolution in France. The leftward drift of the revolution
and the implacable zeal of its colonial administrators, especially the Jacobin commissioner Léger Félicité Sonthonax, to eradicate
all traces of counterrevolution and royalism—which he identified with the whites—in Saint Domingue facilitated
the ultimate victory of the blacks over the whites. Sonthonax's role, however, does not detract from the brilliant military
leadership and political astuteness provided by Toussaint Louverture. In 1797, he became governor general of the colony and
in the next four years expelled all invading forces (including the French) and gave it a remarkably modern and democratic
constitution. He also suppressed (but failed to eradicate) the revolt of the free coloreds led by André Rigaud and Alexander
Pétion in the south, captured the neighboring Spanish colony of Santo Domingo, and freed its small number of slaves. Saint
Domingue was a new society with a new political structure. As a reward, Toussaint Louverture made himself governor general
for life, much to the displeasure of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Why did the revolution follow such a unique course in Saint
Domingue and eventually culminate in the abolition of slavery? Carolyn Fick presents a plausible explanation:
be argued therefore that the abolition of slavery in Saint Domingue resulted from a combination of mutually reinforcing factors
that fell into place at a particular historical juncture. No single factor or even combination of factors—including
the beginning of the French Revolution with its catalytic ideology of equality and liberty, the colonial revolt of the planters
and the free coloreds, the context of imperial warfare, and the obtrusive role of a revolutionary abolitionist as civil commissioner—warranted
the termination of slavery in Saint Domingue in the absence of independent, militarily organized slave rebellion . . .
the vantage point of revolutionary France the abolition of slavery seems almost to have been a by-product of the revolution
and hardly an issue of pressing concerns to the nation. It was Sonthonax who initiated the abolition of slavery in Saint Domingue,
not the Convention. In fact, France only learned that slavery had been abolished in Saint Domingue when the colony's three
deputies, Dufay, Mills, and Jean-Baptiste Mars Bellay (respectively a white, a mulatto, and a former free black), arrived
in France in January, 1794 to take their seats and asked on February 3 that the Convention officially abolish slavery throughout
the colonies . . .
The crucial link then, between the metropolitan revolution and the black revolution in Saint Domingue
seems to reside in the conjunctural and complementary elements of a self-determined, massive slave rebellion, on the one hand,
and the presence in the colony of a practical abolitionist in the person of Sonthonax, on the other.
and complementary elements" did not appear elsewhere in the Americas—not even in the neighboring French colonies of
Martinique and Guadeloupe.
The reality of a semi-politically free Saint-Domingue with a free black population ran
counter to the grandiose dreams of Napoleon to reestablish a viable French-American empire. It also created what Anthony Maingot
has called a "terrified consciousness" among the rest of the slave masters in the Americas. Driven by his desire to restore
slavery and disregarding the local population and its leaders, Napoleon sent his brother-in-law General Charles Victor Emmanuel
Leclerc with about 10,000 of the finest French troops in 1802 to accomplish his aim. It was a disastrously futile effort.
Napoleon ultimately lost the colony, his brother-in-law, and most of the 44,000 troops eventually sent out to conduct the
savage and bitter campaign of reconquest. Although Touissant was treacherously spirited away to exile and premature death
in France, the independence of Haiti was declared by his former lieutenant, now the new governor general, Jean-Jacques Dessalines,
on January 1, 1804. Haiti, the Caribbean, and the Americas would never be the same as before the slave uprising of 1791.
impact of the Haitian Revolution was both immediate and widespread. The antislavery fighting immediately spawned unrest throughout
the region, especially in communities of Maroons in Jamaica, and among slaves in St. Kitts. It sent a wave of immigrants flooding
outward to the neighboring islands, and to the United States and Europe. It revitalized agricultural production in Cuba and
Puerto Rico. As Alfred Hunt has shown, Haitian emigrants also profoundly affected American language, religion, politics, culture,
cuisine, architecture, medicine, and the conflict over slavery, especially in Louisiana. Most of all, the revolution deeply
affected the psychology of the whites throughout the Atlantic world. The Haitian Revolution undoubtedly accentuated the sensitivity
to race, color, and status across the Caribbean.
Among the political and economic elites of the neighboring Caribbean
states, the example of a black independent state as a viable alternative to the Maroon complicated their domestic relations.
The predominantly non-white lower orders of society might have admired the achievement in Haiti, but they were conscious that
it could not be easily duplicated. "Haiti represented the living proof of the consequences of not just black freedom," wrote
Maingot, "but, indeed, black rule. It was the latter which was feared; therefore, the former had to be curtailed if not totally
prohibited." The favorable coincidence of time, place, and circumstances that produced a Haiti failed to materialize again.
For the rest of white America, the cry of "Remember Haiti" proved an effective way to restrain exuberant local desires for
political liberty, especially in slave societies. Indeed, the long delay in achieving Cuban political independence can largely
be attributed to astute Spanish metropolitan use of the "terrified consciousness" of the Cuban Creoles to a scenario like
that in Saint Domingue between 1789 and 1804. Nevertheless, after 1804, it would be difficult for the local political and
economic elites to continue the complacent status quo of the mid-eighteenth century. Haiti cast an inevitable shadow over
all slave societies. Antislavery movements grew stronger and bolder, especially in Great Britain, and the colonial slaves
themselves became increasingly more restless. Most important, in the Caribbean, whites lost the confidence that they had before
1789 to maintain the slave system indefinitely. In 1808, the British abolished their transatlantic slave trade, and they dismantled
the slave system between 1834 and 1838. During that time, free non-whites (and Jews) were given political equality with whites
in many colonies. The French abolished their slave trade in 1818, although their slave system, reconstituted by 1803 in Martinique
and Guadeloupe, limped on until 1848. Both British and French imperial slave systems—as well as the Dutch and the Danish—were
dismantled administratively. The same could be said for the mainland Spanish-American states and Brazil. In the United States,
slavery ended abruptly in a disastrous civil war. Spain abolished slavery in Puerto Rico (where it was not important) in 1873.
The Cuban case, where slavery was extremely important, proved far more difficult and also resulted in a long, destructive
civil war before emancipation was finally accomplished in 1886. By then, it was not the Haitian Revolution but Haiti itself
that evoked negative reactions among its neighbors.
By FRANKLIN W. KNIGHT
HISTORIAN, RESEARCH SPECIALIST, WRITER, PUBLIC
LECTURER & WORLD TRAVELER
--PROFILE OF A PAN-AFRICANIST SCHOLAR
is a light that illuminates the past, and a key that unlocks the door to the future."
Rashidi is a historian, research specialist, writer, world traveler, and public lecturer focusing on the African presence
globally and the African foundations of world civilizations. He is particularly drawn to the African presence in Asia, Australia,
and the Pacific Islands. In March 1999, he coordinated a historic tour to India called Looking at India through African Eyes.
In March 2000, he toured Viti Levu, Fiji, while in July 2000, he coordinated an educational tour to Aboriginal Australia titled
Looking at Australia through African Eyes.
In regards to the mass media, Runoko is much sought out for radio, television,
and newspaper interviews, having now been interviewed on more than 100 radio broadcasts and more than fifty television programs.
As a public lecturer, during the past twenty years he has made major presentations at more than 110 colleges and universities
and scores of public and private schools, libraries and book stores, churches and community centers. On the international
circuit, he has lectured in Australia, Barbados, Belize, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Columbia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Egypt,
England, Ethiopia, France, Fiji, Guyana, Honduras, India, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Myanmar, Namibia, the Netherlands, Panama,
Russia, Thailand, Trinidad, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe. Rashidi's presentations are customized and suitable for all
audiences and ages, and are lively, engaging, and vividly illustrated.
Runoko is the author of Introduction to the
Study of African Classical Civilizations (published by Karnak House in London in 1993), the editor, along with Dr. Ivan Van
Sertima of Rutgers University, of the African Presence in Early Asia, considered "the most comprehensive volume on the subject
yet produced" (published by Transaction Press, and now in its third edition), and a major pamphlet titled the Global African
Community: The African Presence in Asia, Australia and the South Pacific (published by the Institute of Independent Education
in 1994). In 1995, he completed editing Unchained African Voices, a collection of poetry and prose by Death Row inmates at
California's San Quentin maximum-security prison.
Runoko Rashidi is a prolific writer and essayist. As an essayist
and contributing writer, Runoko's articles have appeared in more than seventy-five publications. His historical essays have
been prominently featured in virtually all of the critically acclaimed Journal of Civilizations anthologies edited by Dr.
Ivan Van Sertima, and cover the broad spectrum of the African presence globally. Rashidi's Journal of African Civilizations
essays include: "African Goddesses: Mothers of Civilization," "Ancient and Modern Britons," "The African Presence in Prehistoric
America," "A Tribute to Dr. Chancellor James Williams," "Ramses the Great: The Life and Times of a Bold Black Egyptian King,"
"The Moors in Antiquity," "The Royal Ships of the Pharaohs," and the "Nile Valley Presence in Asian Antiquity."
among the notable African scholars that Runoko has worked with and been influenced by are: Dr. John Henrik Clarke, John G.
Jackson, Yosef ben-Jochannan, Dr. Chancellor James Williams, Dr. Charles B. Copher, Dr. Edward Vivian Scobie, Dr. Ivan Van
Sertima, Dr. Asa G. Hilliard III, Obadele Williams, Charles S. Finch, M.D., Dr. James E. Brunson, Wayne B. Chandler, Legrand
H. Clegg II, and Dr. Jan Carew. He believes that his principle missions in life are to help make Africans proud of themselves,
to help change the way Africa is viewed in the world, and to help reunite a family of people that has been separated far too
As a scholar, Runoko Rashidi has been called the world's leading authority on the African presence in Asia. Since
1986, he has worked actively with the Dalits (India's Black Untouchables). In 1987, he was a keynote speaker at the first
All-India Dalits Writer's Conference, held in Hyderabad, India, and spoke on the "Global Unity of African People." In 1998,
he returned to India to lecture, study and sojourn with the Dalits and Adivasis (the indigenous people of India). In 1999,
he led a group of seventeen African-Americans to India, and became the first ever non-Indian recipient of the prestigious
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Memorial Award. For twelve years he served as United States representative of Dalit Voice: The Voice of
the Persecuted Nationalities Denied Human Rights, published fortnightly from Bangalore, India.
On December 5, 2002
Runoko Rashidi was granted an honorary doctor of divinity degree by the Amen-Ra Theological Seminary in Los Angeles, California.
Rashidi has dedicated his entire adult life to African people, and is presently pursuing several major projects, including
a travel book called People and Places that I Have Seen: Off the Beaten Path with Runoko Rashidi, and a video series titled
African History for a New Generation. He is currently coordinating an educational tour of Fiji for November 2003.
additional information on educational tours, to schedule lectures, purchase audio and video tapes Runoko Rashidi can be easily
reached via the Internet at firstname.lastname@example.org , or call Runoko at (210) 648-5178. You may write Runoko at Runoko Rashidi, Box 201662, San Antonio, Texas 78220
Rashidi is very active online. His most comprehensive and popular web site, The Global African Presence, is brilliantly illustrated,
regularly updated, and designed and maintained by Kenneth Ritchards. The Global African Presence Web site may be visited at
African American abolitionist David Walker (1785-1830): wrote
urging slaves to resort to violence when necessary to win their freedom.
David Walker was born free, of a free mother and slave father,
in Wilmington, N.C., on Sept. 28, 1785. He early learned
to read and write, and
he read extensively on the subjects of revolution and resistance to oppression.
When he was
about 30, he left the South, because "If I remain in this bloody
land, I will not live long. As true as God reigns, I
will be avenged for the
sorrows which my people have suffered." In 1826 Walker settled in Boston, Mass.,
became the agent for Freedom's Journal, the black abolitionist
newspaper, and a leader in the Colored Association. For
a living he ran a
secondhand clothing store.
Walker published an antislavery article in September 1828; with
three others, it became the pamphlet Walker's Appeal
(1829). The articles
were articulate and militant in their bitter denunciation of slavery, those who
profited by it,
and those who willingly accepted it. Walker called for vengeance
against white men, but he also expressed the hope that
their cruel behavior
toward blacks would change, making vengeance unnecessary. His message to the
slaves was direct:
if liberty is not given you, rise in bloody rebellion.
Southern slave masters hated Walker and put a price on his head.
In 1829, 50 unsolicited copies of Walker's Appeal
were delivered to a
black minister in Savannah, Ga. The frightened minister, understandably
concerned for his welfare,
informed the police. The police, in turn, informed
the governor of Georgia. As a result, the state legislature met in
session and passed a bill making the circulation of materials that might incite
slaves to riot a capital offense.
The legislature also offered a reward for
Walker's capture, $10,000 alive and $1,000 dead.
Other Southern states took similar measures. Louisiana enacted a
bill ordering expulsion of all freed slaves who had
settled in the state after
1825. The slaveholding South was frightened by men like Walker, and their harsh
to the threat they saw in Walker's Appeal seemed justified when
black slave Nat Turner led his bloody rebellion in 1831.
Most abolitionists disagreed with Walker's advice to the slaves
to resort to violence to obtain freedom. White abolitionist
Garrison, who believed in immediate emancipation but thought it could be
accomplished through persuasion
and argument, did endorse the spirit of the
Appeal, however, and ran large portions of it, together with a review, in
his paper, the Liberator. On the other hand, Frederick Douglass accepted
a more activist position, probably due to
Walker's influence and that of Henry
H. Garnet, who also called for massive slave rebellions.
Walker died in Boston on June 28, 1830, under mysterious , not long
circumstances. His challenge to the slaves to free themselves
was an important
contribution to the assault on human slavery. In June
after publishing the third edition of his Appeal, David Walker was found
dead in his home. Many believe
although there is no evidence to support that allegation.
Walker's Appeal is available in recent editions: Walker's Appeal,
in Four Articles [by] David Walker; An Address to
the Slaves of the
United States of America [by] Henry Highland Garnet (1948; reprinted 1969
with an introduction by
W. L. Katz and a brief sketch of Walker's life);
David Walker's Appeal, edited by Charles M. Wiltse (1965); and One
Cry: David Walker's Appeal ... Its Setting and Its Meaning, edited
by Herbert Aptheker (1965). A brief biography of Walker
appears in Historical
Negro Biographies, edited by Wilhelmena S. Robinson (1968). Lerone Bennett,
Jr., Pioneers in
Protest (1968), contains a chapter on Walker. Walker
figures in the surveys by John Hope Franklin, From Slavery to Freedom:
History of American Negroes (1947; 3d rev. ed. 1968), and Lerone Bennett,
Jr., Before the Mayflower: A History of
the Negro in America, 1619-1962 (1962;
4th ed. 1969).
My dearly beloved Brethren and Fellow
Having traveled over a considerable portion of
these United States, and having, in the course of my travels, taken
accurate observations of things as they exist -- the result of my observations
has warranted the full and
unshaken conviction, that we, (coloured people of
these United States,) are the most degraded, wretched, and abject set
that ever lived since the world began; and I pray God that none like us ever may
live again until time shall
be no more. They tell us of the Israelites in Egypt,
the Helots in Sparta, and of the Roman Slaves, which last were made
almost every nation under heaven, whose sufferings under those ancient and
heathen nations, were, in comparison
with ours, under this enlightened and
Christian nation, no more than a cypher -- or, in other words, those heathen
of antiquity, had but little more among them than the name and form of
slavery; while wretchedness and endless miseries
were reserved, apparently in a
phial, to be poured out upon, our fathers ourselves and our children, by
... I call upon
the professing Christians, I call
upon the philanthropist, I call upon the very tyrant himself, to show me a page
history, either sacred or profane, on which a verse can be found, which
maintains, that the Egyptians heaped the insupportable
insult upon the
children of Israel, by telling them that they were not of the human family.
Can the whites deny this
charge? Have they not, after having reduced us to the
deplorable condition of slaves under their feet, held us up as descending
originally from the tribes of Monkeys or Orang-Outangs? O! my God!
I appeal to every man of feeling-is not this insupportable?
Is it not heaping
the most gross insult upon our miseries, because they have got us under their
feet and we cannot
help ourselves? Oh! pity us we pray thee, Lord Jesus, Master.
-- Has Mr. Jefferson declared to the world, that we are
inferior to the whites,
both in the endowments of our bodies and our minds? It is indeed surprising,
that a man of
such great learning, combined with such excellent natural parts,
should speak so of a set of men in chains. I do not know
what to compare it to,
unless, like putting one wild deer in an iron cage, where it will be secured,
and hold another
by the side of the same, then let it go, and expect the one in
the cage to run as fast as the one at liberty. So far,
my brethren, were the
Egyptians from heaping these insults upon their slaves, that Pharaoh's daughter
a son of Israel for her own, as will appear by the following.
The world knows, that slavery as it existed
mans, (which was the primary cause of their destruction) was, comparatively
speaking, no more than a cypher,
when compared with ours under the
Americans. Indeed I should not have noticed the Roman slaves, had not the very
and penetrating Mr. Jefferson said, "when a master was murdered, all his
slaves in the same house, or within hearing,
were condemned to death." -- Here
let me ask Mr. Jefferson, (but he is gone to answer at the bar of God, for the
done in his body while living,) I therefore ask the whole American people,
had I not rather die, or be put to death, than
to be a slave to any tyrant, who
takes not only my own, but my wife and children's lives by the inches? Yea,
I meet death with avidity far! far!! in preference to such servile
submission to the murderous hands of tyrants. Mr. Jefferson's
remarks on us have been so extensively argued upon by men whose attainments in
literature, I shall never
be able to reach, that I would not have meddled with
it, were it not to solicit each of my brethren, who has the spirit
of a man, to
buy a copy of Mr. Jefferson's "Notes on Virginia," and put it in the hand of his
But let us review Mr. Jefferson's remarks
us some further. Comparing our miserable fathers, with the learned philosophers
of Greece, he says: "Yet
notwithstanding these and other discouraging
circumstances among the Romans, their slaves were often their rarest artists.
They excelled too, in science, insomuch as to be usually employed as tutors to
their master's children; Epictetus,
Terence and Phaedrus, were slaves, -- but
they were of the race of whites. It is not their condition then, but
which has produced the distinction." See this, my brethren! ! Do you
believe that this assertion is swallowed by millions
of the whites? Do you know
that Mr. Jefferson was one of as great characters as ever lived among the
whites? See his
writings for the world, and public labours for the United States
of America. Do you believe that the assertions of such
a man, will pass away
into oblivion unobserved by this people and the world? If you do you are much
the American people treat us -- have we souls in our bodies?
Are we men who have any spirits at all? I know that there
swell-bellied fellows among us, whose greatest object is to fill their
stomachs. Such I do not mean -- I
am after those who know and feel, that we are
MEN, as well as other people; to them, I say, that unless we try to refute
Jefferson's arguments respecting us, we will only establish them.
...I must observe to my brethren that at
of the first Revolution in this country, with Great Britain, there were but
thirteen States in the Union,
now there are twenty-four, most of which are
slave-holding States, and the whites are dragging us around in chains and
handcuffs, to their new States and Territories to work their mines and farms, to
enrich them and their children-and
millions of them believing firmly that we
being a little darker than they, were made by our Creator to be an inheritance
to them and their children for ever-the same as a parcel of brutes.
Are we MEN! ! -- I ask you, 0 my brethren I are
we MEN? Did our Creator make us to be slaves to dust and ashes like
Are they not dying worms as well as we? Have they not to make their appearance
before the tribunal of Heaven,
to answer for the deeds done in the body, as well
as we? Have we any other Master but Jesus Christ alone? Is he not their
as well as ours? -- What right then, have we to obey and call any other Master,
but Himself? How we could be
so submissive to a gang of men, whom we
cannot tell whether they are as good as ourselves or not, I never could
However, this is shut up with the Lord, and we cannot precisely tell
-- but I declare, we judge men by their works.
The whites have always been an unjust, jealous,
unmerciful, avaricious and blood-thirsty set of beings, always seeking
power and authority.
my no ordinary astonishment, [a] Reverend
gentleman got up and told us (coloured people) that slaves must be obedient
their masters -- must do their duty to their masters or be whipped -- the whip
was made for the backs of fools,
&c. Here I pause for a moment, to give the
world time to consider what was my surprise, to hear such preaching from
minister of my Master, whose very gospel is that of peace and not of blood and
whips, as this pretended preacher
tried to make us believe. What the American
preachers can think of us, I aver this day before my God, I have never been
to define. They have newspapers and monthly periodicals, which they receive in
continual succession, but on the
pages of which, you will scarcely ever find a
paragraph respecting slavery, which is ten thousand times more injurious
country than all the other evils put together; and which will be the final
overthrow of its government, unless
something is very speedily done; for their
cup is nearly full.-Perhaps they will laugh at or make light of this; but I
you Americans! that unless you speedily alter your course, you and your
Country are gone! ! ! ! !
If any of us see fit to go away, go to those who have been for
and are now our greatest earthly friends and benefactors -- the
English. If not so, go to our brethren, the Haytians,
who, according to their
word, are bound to protect and comfort us. The Americans say, that we are
ask them for heaven's sake, what should we be grateful to them
for -- for murdering our fathers and mothers ? -- Or do
they wish us to return
thanks to them for chaining and handcuffing us, branding us, cramming fire down
or for keeping us in slavery, and beating us nearly or quite to
death to make us work in ignorance and miseries, to support
them and their
families. They certainly think that we are a gang of fools. Those among them,
who have volunteered
their services for our redemption, though we are unable to
compensate them for their labours, we nevertheless thank them
from the bottom of
our hearts, and have our eyes steadfastly fixed upon them, and their labours of
love for God and
man. -- But do slave-holders think that we thank them for
keeping us in miseries, and taking our lives by the inches?
Let no man of us budge one step, and let
slave-holders come to beat us from our country. America is more our country,
than it is the whites-we have enriched
it with our blood and tears. The
greatest riches in all America have arisen from our blood and tears: -- and will
drive us from our property and homes, which we have earned with our
blood? They must look sharp or this very thing will
bring swift destruction
upon them. The Americans have got so fat on our blood and groans, that they have
the God of armies. But let the go on.
Do the colonizationists think to send us
without first being reconciled to us? Do they think to bundle us up like brutes
and send us off, as they did our
brethren of the State of Ohio? Have they not to
be reconciled to us, or reconcile us to them, for the cruelties with which
have afflicted our fathers and us? Methinks colonizationists think they have a
set of brutes to deal with, sure
enough. Do they think to drive us from our
country and homes, after having enriched it with our blood and tears, and keep
back millions of our dear brethren, sunk in the most barbarous wretchedness, to
dig up gold and silver for them and
their children? Surely, the Americans must
think that we are brutes, as some of them have represented us to be. They think
that we do not feel for our brethren, whom they are murdering by the inches, but
they are dreadfully deceived.
nation under heaven, will be able to do any thing with us, unless God gives us
up into its hand? But Americans.
I declare to you, while you keep us and our
children in bondage, and treat us like brutes, to make us support you and
families, we cannot be your friends. You do not look for it do you? Treat us
then like men, and we will be your
friends. And there is not a doubt in my mind,
but that the whole of the past will be sunk into oblivion, and we yet, under
God, will become a united and happy people. The whites may say it is impossible,
but remember that nothing is impossible
...I count my
life not dear unto me, but I am ready to be offered at any moment, For what is
the use of living,
when in fact I am dead. But remember, Americans, that as
miserable, wretched, degraded and abject as you have made us
in preceding, and
in this generation, to support you and your families, that some of you, (whites)
on the continent
of America, will yet curse the day that you ever were born. You
want slaves, and want us for your slaves ! ! ! My colour
will yet, root some of
you out of the very face of the earth ! ! ! ! ! ! You may doubt it if you
please. I know that
thousands will doubt-they think they have us so well secured
in wretchedness, to them and their children, that it is impossible
things to occur.
See your Declaration
Americans! ! ! Do you
understand your won language? Hear your languages, proclaimed to the world, July
4th, 1776 --
"We hold these truths to be self evident -- that ALL MEN ARE
CREATED EQUAL! ! that they are endowed by their Creator with
unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness! !" Compare your own
language above, extracted from your
Declaration of Independence, with your cruelties and murders inflicted by your
and unmerciful fathers and yourselves on our fathers and on us -- men who
have never given your fathers or you the least
provocation! ! ! ! ! !
JOHN COLTRANE - One of the Greatest Musicians of the Twenties:
Real name: John William Coltrane
Born: Sep 23, 1926 in Hamlet, NC
Died: Jul 17, 1967 in New York
Avant-Garde Jazz, Modal Music, Free Jazz, Hard Bop, Post-Bop, Avant-Garde
Instruments: Sax (Tenor), Sax (Soprano), Leader,
Despite a relatively brief career (he first came to notice as a sideman at age 29 in 1955, formally launched
a solo career at 33 in 1960, and was dead at 40 in 1967), saxophonist
John Coltrane was among the most important,
and most controversial, figures in jazz. It seems amazing that his period of greatest activity was so short, not only because
he recorded prolifically, but also because, taking advantage of his fame, the record companies that recorded him as a sideman
in the 1950s frequently reissued those recordings under his name and there has been a wealth of posthumously released material
as well. Since Coltrane was a protean player who changed his style radically over the course of his career, this has made
for much confusion in his discography and in appreciations of his playing. There remains a critical divide between the adherents
of his earlier, more conventional (if still highly imaginative) work and his later, more experimental work. No one, however,
questions Coltrane's almost religious commitment to jazz or doubts his significance in the history of the music.
was the son of John R. Coltrane, a tailor and amateur musician, and Alice (Blair) Coltrane. Two months after his birth, his
maternal grandfather, the Reverend William Blair, was promoted to presiding elder in the A.M.E. Zion Church and moved his
family, including his infant grandson, to High Point, NC, where Coltrane grew up. Shortly after he graduated from grammar
school in 1939, his father, his grandparents, and his uncle died, leaving him to be raised in a family consisting of his mother,
his aunt, and his cousin. His mother worked as a domestic to support the family. The same year, he joined a community band
in which he played clarinet and E flat alto horn; he took up the alto saxophone in his high school band. During World War
II, his mother, aunt, and cousin moved north to New Jersey to seek work, leaving him with family friends; in 1943, when he
graduated from high school, he too headed north, settling in Philadelphia. Eventually, the family was reunited there.
taking jobs outside music, Coltrane briefly attended the Ornstein School of Music and studied at Granoff Studios. He also
began playing in local clubs. In 1945, he was drafted into the navy and stationed in Hawaii. He never saw combat, but he continued
to play music and, in fact, made his first recording with a quartet of other sailors on July 13, 1946. A performance of Tadd
Dameron's "Hot House," it was released in 1993 on the Rhino Records anthology The Last Giant. Coltrane was discharged in the
summer of 1946 and returned to Philadelphia. That fall, he began playing in the Joe Webb Band. In early 1947, he switched
to the King Kolax Band. During the year, he switched from alto to tenor saxophone. One account claims that this was as the
result of encountering alto saxophonist Charlie Parker and feeling the better-known musician had exhausted the possibilities
on the instrument; another says that the switch occurred simply because Coltrane next joined a band led by Eddie "Cleanhead"
Vinson, who was an alto player, forcing Coltrane to play tenor. He moved on to Jimmy Heath's band in mid-1948, staying with
the band, which evolved into the Howard McGhee All Stars until early 1949, when he returned to Philadelphia. That fall, he
joined a big band led by Dizzy Gillespie, remaining until the spring of 1951, by which time the band had been trimmed to a
septet. On March 1, 1951, he took his first solo on record during a performance of "We Love to Boogie" with Gillespie.
some point during this period, Coltrane became a heroin addict, which made him more difficult to employ. He played with various
bands, mostly around Philadelphia, during the early '50s, his next important job coming in the spring of 1954, when Johnny
Hodges, temporarily out of the Duke Ellington band, hired him. But he was fired because of his addiction in September 1954.
He returned to Philadelphia, where he was playing, when he was hired by Miles Davis a year later. His association with Davis
was the big break that finally established him as an important jazz musician. Davis, a former drug addict himself, had kicked
his habit and gained recognition at the Newport Jazz Festival in July 1955, resulting in a contract with Columbia Records
and the opportunity to organize a permanent band, which, in addition to him and Coltrane, consisted of pianist Red Garland,
bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer "Philly" Joe Jones. This unit immediately began to record extensively, not only because
of the Columbia contract, but also because Davis had signed with the major label before fulfilling a deal with jazz independent
Prestige Records that still had five albums to run. The trumpeter's Columbia debut, 'Round About Midnight, which he immediately
commenced recording, did not appear until March 1957. The first fruits of his association with Coltrane came in April 1956
with the release of The New Miles Davis Quintet (aka Miles), recorded for Prestige on November 16, 1955. During 1956, in addition
to his recordings for Columbia, Davis held two marathon sessions for Prestige to fulfill his obligation to the label, which
released the material over a period of time under the titles Cookin' (1957), Relaxin' (1957), Workin' (1958), and Steamin'
Coltrane's association with Davis inaugurated a period when he began to frequently record as a sideman. Davis
may have been trying to end his association Prestige, but Coltrane began appearing on many of the label's sessions. After
he became better known in the 1960s, Prestige and other labels began to repackage this work under his name, as if he had been
the leader, a process that has continued to the present day. (Prestige was acquired by Fantasy Records in 1972, and many of
the recordings in which Coltrane participated have been reissued on Fantasy's Original Jazz Classics [OJC] imprint.)
tried and failed to kick heroin in the summer of 1956, and in October, Davis fired him, though the trumpeter had relented
and taken him back by the end of November. Early in 1957, Coltrane formally signed with Prestige as a solo artist, though
he remained in the Davis band and also continued to record as a sideman for other labels. In April, Davis fired him again.
This may have given him the impetus finally to kick his drug habit, and freed of the necessity of playing gigs with Davis,
he began to record even more frequently. On May 31, 1957, he finally made his recording debut as a leader, putting together
a pickup band consisting of trumpeter Johnny Splawn, baritone saxophonist Sahib Shihab, pianists Mal Waldron and Red Garland
(on different tracks), bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Al "Tootie" Heath. They cut an album Prestige titled simply Coltrane
upon release in September 1957. (It has since been reissued under the title First Trane.)
In June 1957, Coltrane joined
the Thelonious Monk Quartet, consisting of Monk on piano, Wilbur Ware on bass, and Shadow Wilson on drums. During this period,
he developed a technique of playing several notes at once, and his solos began to go on longer. In August, he recorded material
belatedly released on the Prestige albums Lush Life (1960) and The Last Trane (1965), as well as the material for John Coltrane
With the Red Garland Trio, released later in the year. (It was later reissued under the title Traneing In.) But Coltrane's
second album to be recorded and released contemporaneously under his name alone was cut in September for Blue Note Records.
This was Blue Train, featuring trumpeter Lee Morgan, trombonist Curtis Fuller, pianist Kenny Drew, and the Miles Davis rhythm
section of Chambers and "Philly" Joe Jones; it was released in December 1957. That month, Coltrane rejoined Davis, playing
in what was now a sextet that also featured Cannonball Adderley. In January 1958, he led a recording session for Prestige
that produced tracks later released on Lush Life, The Last Trane, and The Believer (1964). In February and March, he recorded
Davis' album Milestones..., released later in 1958. In between the sessions, he cut his third album to be released under his
name alone, Soultrane, issued in September by Prestige. Also in March 1958, he cut tracks as a leader that would be released
later on the Prestige collection Settin' the Pace (1961). In May, he again recorded for Prestige as a leader, though the results
would not be heard until the release of Black Pearls in 1964.
Coltrane appeared as part of the Miles Davis group at
the Newport Jazz Festival in July 1958. The band's set was recorded and released in 1964 on an LP also featuring a performance
by Thelonious Monk as Miles & Monk at Newport. In 1988, Columbia reissued the material on an album called Miles &
Coltrane. The performance inspired a review in Down Beat, the leading jazz magazine, that was an early indication of the differing
opinions on Coltrane that would be expressed throughout the rest of his career and long after his death. The review referred
to his "angry tenor," which, it said, hampered the solidarity of the Davis band. The review led directly to an article published
in the magazine on October 16, 1958, in which critic Ira Gitler defended the saxophonist and coined the much-repeated phrase
"sheets of sound" to describe his playing.
Coltrane's next Prestige session as a leader occurred later in July 1958
and resulted in tracks later released on the albums Standard Coltrane (1962), Stardust (1963), and Bahia (1965). All of these
tracks were later compiled on a reissue called The Stardust Session. He did a final session for Prestige in December 1958,
recording tracks later released on The Believer, Stardust, and Bahia. This completed his commitment to the label, and he signed
to Atlantic Records, doing his first recording for his new employers on January 15, 1959, with a session on which he was co-billed
with vibes player Milt Jackson, though it did not appear until 1961 with the LP Bags and Trane.
In March and April
1959, Coltrane participated with the Davis group on the album Kind of Blue. Released on August 17, 1959, this landmark album
known for its "modal" playing (improvisations based on scales or "modes," rather than chords) became one of the best-selling
and most-acclaimed recordings in the history of jazz. In between the sessions for the album, Coltrane began recording what
would be his Atlantic Records debut, Giant Steps, released in early 1960. The album, consisting entirely of Coltrane compositions,
in a sense marked his real debut as a leading jazz performer, even though the 33-year-old musician had released three previous
solo albums and made numerous other recordings. His next Atlantic album, Coltrane Jazz, was mostly recorded in November and
December 1959 and released in February 1961. In April 1960, he finally left the Davis band and formally launched his solo
career, beginning an engagement at the Jazz Gallery in New York, accompanied by pianist Steve Kuhn (soon replaced by McCoy
Tyner), bassist Steve Davis, and drummer Pete La Roca (later replaced by Billy Higgins and then Elvin Jones). During this
period, he increasingly played soprano saxophone as well as tenor.
In October 1960, Coltrane recorded a series of
sessions for Atlantic that would produce material for several albums, including a final track used on Coltrane Jazz and tunes
used on My Favorite Things (March 1961), Coltrane Plays the Blues (July 1962), and Coltrane's Sound (June 1964). His soprano
version of "My Favorite Things," from the Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein II musical The Sound of Music, would become a
signature song for him. During the winter of 1960-1961, bassist Reggie Workman replaced Steve Davis in his band and saxophone
and flute player Eric Dolphy, gradually became a member of the group.
In the wake of the commercial success of "My
Favorite Things," Coltrane's star rose, and he was signed away from Atlantic as the flagship artist of the newly formed Impulse!
Records label, an imprint of ABC-Paramount, though in May he cut a final album for Atlantic, Olé (February 1962). The following
month, he completed his Impulse! debut, Africa/Brass. By this time, his playing was frequently in a style alternately dubbed
"avant-garde," "free," or "The New Thing." Like Ornette Coleman, he played seemingly formless, extended solos that some listeners
found tremendously impressive, and others decried as noise. In November 1961, John Tynan, writing in Down Beat, referred to
Coltrane's playing as "anti-jazz." That month, however, Coltrane recorded one of his most celebrated albums, Live at the Village
Vanguard, an LP paced by the 16-minute improvisation "Chasin' the Trane."
Between April and June 1962, Coltrane cut
his next Impulse! studio album, another release called simply Coltrane when it appeared later in the year. Working with producer
Bob Thiele, he began to do extensive studio sessions, far more than Impulse! could profitably release at the time, especially
with Prestige and Atlantic still putting out their own archival albums. But the material would serve the label well after
the saxophonist's untimely death. Thiele acknowledged that Coltrane's next three Impulse! albums to be released, Ballads,
Duke Ellington and John Coltrane, and John Coltrane with Johnny Hartman (all 1963), were recorded at his behest to quiet the
critics of Coltrane's more extreme playing. Impressions (1963), drawn from live and studio recordings made in 1962 and 1963,
was a more representative effort, as was 1964's Live at Birdland, also a combination of live and studio tracks, despite its
title. But Crescent, also released in 1964, seemed to find a middle ground between traditional and free playing, and was welcomed
by critics. This trend was continued with 1965's A Love Supreme, one of Coltrane's best-loved albums, which earned him two
Grammy nominations, for jazz composition and performance, and became his biggest-selling record. Also during the year, Impulse!
released the standards collection The John Coltrane Quartet Plays... and another album of "free" playing, Ascension, as well
as New Thing at Newport, a live album consisting of one side by Coltrane and the other by Archie Shepp.
1966 saw the
release of the albums Kulu Se Mama and Meditations, Coltrane's last recordings to appear during his lifetime, though he had
finished and approved release for his next album, Expression, the Friday before his death in July 1967. He died suddenly of
liver cancer, entering the hospital on a Sunday and expiring in the early morning hours of the next day. He had left behind
a considerable body of unreleased work that came out in subsequent years, including "Live" at the Village Vanguard Again!
(1967), Om (1967), Cosmic Music (1968), Selflessness (1969), Transition (1969), Sun Ship (1971), Africa/Brass, Vol. 2 (1974),
Interstellar Space (1974), and First Meditations (For Quartet) (1977), all on Impulse! Compilations and releases of archival
live recordings brought him a series of Grammy nominations, including Best Jazz Performance for the Atlantic album The Coltrane
Legacy in 1970; Best Jazz Performance, Group, and Best Jazz Performance, Soloist, for "Giant Steps" from the Atlantic album
Alternate Takes in 1974; and Best Jazz Performance, Group, and Best Jazz Performance, Soloist, for Afro Blue Impressions in
1977. He won the 1981 Grammy for Best Jazz Performance, Soloist, for Bye Bye Blackbird, an album of recordings made live in
Europe in 1962, and he was given the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992, 25 years after his death.
is sometimes described as one of jazz's most influential musicians, but one is hard put to find followers who actually play
in his style. Rather, he is influential by example, inspiring musicians to experiment, take chances, and devote themselves
to their craft. The controversy about his work has never died down, but partially as a result, his name lives on and his recordings
continue to remain available and to be reissued frequently. ~ William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide
Giant Steps (1959)
My Favorite Things (1960)
Coltrane Plays the Blues (1960)
Live! at the Village
Live at Birdland (1963)
Newport '63 (1963), (posthumous)
A Love Supreme
Live! at the Village Vanguard Again (1966)
Stellar Regions (1967,
Interstellar Space (1967, posthumous)
Download sample of "Giant Steps" from Giant Steps (1960)
Download sample of "Traneing In" from Traneing In
Birthdate : December 28, 1954
Birth Place : Mount Vernon, New York,
Education : Fordham University
Wife : Paulette Pearson
Kids : John David, Katia, Malcolm and Olivia
Best Known As : Star of Malcom X and Training Day
Fan Mail : C/O International Creative Management
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Born on December 28, 1954, in Mount Vernon, New York, his father,
Denzel Sr. was a preacher and his mother, Lennis a beautician. His parents divorced when he was 14 and in an effort to keep
her children from all that was going on, Denzel and his sister were sent to a private boarding school. After high school Denzel
attended Fordham University, although his original plans were to study medicine, he studied journalism instead. After receiving
his Bachelor's Degree, heattended Theater in San Francisco and later won a scholarship to the American Conservatory Theater.
In 1982 Denzel received his big break when he got the role of Dr. Phillip Chandler on the hit series St. Elsewhere.
1987 he recieved his first Oscar nomination for "best supporting actor" for the film "Cry Freedom" in which he played South
African activist, Steven Beeko. Two years later in 1989, he was nominated for his second Oscar as "best supporting actor",
which he won, for his role as Tripp, the run away slave in the film "Glory". Denzel would later be nominted three more times.
In 1992, "best actor" for his role as Malcolm X, in Spike Lee's "X", 1999 "best actor" for his portrayal as Ruben Carter in,
"The Hurricane". In 2001 "best actor" for his first vilan role Alonzo Harris, in "Training Day", which he won.
his first film role in the 1975 TV movie Wilma. While filming this movie he met actress Pauletta Pearson, whom he later married.
His big break came when he starred in the popular TV hospital drama St. Elsewhere.
Washington turned down roles in
several action films, in hopes for a more challenging role. In 1987 he starred as South African anti-apartheid campaigner
Steve Biko in Richard Attenborough's Cry Freedom. In 1989 Washington won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, after playing
a defiant self-possessed slave in the film Glory.
Washington played one of his most critically acclaimed roles in 1992's
Malcolm X, directed by Spike Lee, where his performance as the Black Nationalist leader earned him an Oscar nomination. Both
the influential film critic Roger Ebert and the highly-acclaimed film director Martin Scorsese called the film one of the
ten best films made during the 1990s.
Malcolm X transformed Washington's career, turning him, practically overnight,
into one of Hollywood's most respected actors. He turned down several similar roles, such as the chance to play Martin Luther
King, Jr., because he wanted to avoid being typecast by subject matter.
After being nominated several times before,
in 2002 Washington won an Oscar for Best Actor for his performance in the film Training Day in which he played a corrupt,
Washington made his debut as a director with Antwone Fisher (2002), a film about a man who confronts
his traumatic past with the support of a naval psychiatrist. Washington also co-starred in the film.
In 2004, Washington
announced that he would only be willing to play villains in films. The following year, he played Marcus Brutus in the Broadway
revival of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.
Washington earned a reputation for philanthropy when he donated money
for building a 'Fisher House' at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC)
Denzel Washington is one of today's most versatile
and sought after actors in Hollywood. It's now 30 films, 2 Oscar wins and 5 Academy Award nominations (along with other honorable
achievements) and over 20 years later. With his latest project as director for the film "Antwone Fisher Story", while some
are fading in the hit and miss of Hollywood, Denzel shows no signs of slowing down. Inspite of staying so busy in Hollywood,
Denzel has mananged to maintain his most challenging role as a husband and father. He lives in the Beverly Hills area of Los
Angeles, with his wife Pauletta Pearson, who he's been with for over 20 years and his four children, John David, (who now
attends Morehouse University and plays football there), Katia, Malcolm and Olivia (twins).
Chosen by Empire magazine
as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (..77). 
Children: John David (b. 1985), Katia (b. 1988), and twins
Malcolm and Olivia (b. 1991)
Son, Malcolm, was named in honor of Malcolm X
To prepare for his role as boxer Rubin
Carter in The Hurricane (1999), Washington worked out for a year with L.A. boxing trainer Terry Claybon.
University, receiving a B.A. in Journalism.
1996 Harvard Foundation Award
In a Newsweek cover story about the biological
basis of the perception of beauty, he was used as a key example in a scientific explanation why he is considered an extremely
Chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world 
According to a
1995 Premiere magazine article, Denzel confronted director Quentin Tarantino when he visted the set of Crimson Tide (1995).
Quentin had done an uncredited rewrite of the script. Denzel lambasted Tarantino about his use of racial slurs in his films.
Tarantino got embarrassed and wanted to move the conversation to a more private area. Denzel said, "No, if were going to discuss
it, let's discuss it now." Denzel later said he still felt that Quentin was "a fine artist".
Denzel is named after his
father who was in turn named after the doctor, Doctor Denzel, who had delivered him.
In the early 1980s, years before
he portrayed Malcolm X (1992) in the Spike Lee film, Denzel Washington portrayed Malcolm X in the off-Broadway production
of "When the Chickens Came Home to Roost", at the Henry Street Theatre in NYC.
Frequent collaborator of Spike Lee (3 films
Named one of E!'s "top 20 entertainers of 2001."
Supports charities such as the Nelson Mandela Children's
Fund, and the Gathering Place (an AIDS hospice).
Met his wife Pauletta in 1977 when both had small roles in the TV-movie
Wilma (1977) (TV), the story of runner Wilma Rudolph. They wed five years later.
His father was a Pentecostal minister;
his mother a beautician and former gospel singer. They divorced when he was 14.
Is a spokesperson for the Boys and Girls
Clubs of America, having been a member of the Boys Club once himself.
Only the second actor of color (after Sidney Poitier)
to win the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role (for Training Day (2001))
Was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful
People by People Magazine in 2002.
Father of actor John David Washington
Ranked ..28 in Premiere's 2003 annual Power
100 List. Had ranked ..40 in 2002.
Often works with director Edward Zwick.
Cousin is CBS anchorman Ukee Washington.
He and his family are members of the same church as actors Dwayne Winstead, Sy Richardson, Marvin Wright-Bey, and Fitz
Was awarded the title of "Police Chief for a Day" when he was a member of The Boys and Girls Club of America
as a child. The photo was shown during his latest appearance on Regis and Kelly (Apr. 2004).
Tom Hanks said working with
Washington on Philadelphia (1993) was like "going to film school". Hanks said he learned more about acting by watching Denzel
than from anyone else.
When he was very young he was at a barber's shop with his mother and a nice old lady sitting in
the corner asked his mother to write his full name down. When his mother asked why she said "Because he's going to entertain
millions one day". His mother gave the old lady his name and it wasn't until later that they found out she was rumored to
be some kind of local fortune teller.
Cites star-athletes like Jim Brown and Gale Sayers as the role models of his youth.
First studied Biology in hopes of becoming a doctor, then switched to Political Science then to a Journalism/Drama major
Has worn some kind of military uniform in at least six of his films.
Ranked ..59 on VH1's 100 Hottest
Because of his pay-or-play deal on the doomed 2005 "American Gangster" project (which was to be directed by Antoine
Fuqua), he was paid $20 million even though the film did not move ahead.
He was voted the 39th Greatest Movie Star of
all time by Premiere Magazine.
The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
Man on Fire (2004)
Out of Time (2003)
Fisher (2002)-as actor and director
John Q (2002)
Training Day (2001) - Academy Award, Best Actor
The Hurricane (1999)
The Bone Collector (1999)
The Siege (1998)
He Got Game (1998)
The Preacher's Wife (1996)
Courage Under Fire (1996)
Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)
Crimson Tide (1995)
The Pelican Brief (1993)
Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
X (1992) aka X
Mississippi Masala (1991)
Mo' Better Blues (1990)
Heart Condition (1990)
(1989) - Academy Award, Best Supporting Actor
The Mighty Quinn (1989)
For Queen and Country (1988)
A Soldier's Story (1984)
Carbon Copy (1981)
Inventors Home Security Systems - Marie Brown, Sidney Jacoby By Mary Bellis
The first video home security system was patented (patent ..3,482,037) on December 2, 1969 to Marie Brown. The system
used television surveillance.
. Marie Van Brittain Brown and Albert L. Brown co-patented (1969) an audio-visual door-monitor
/ home security system.
Sophia Stewart the Heroines of our time:
By Hannilie Zulu
The top world media will not
tell the people of the earth about a woman whose rights have been infringed in what is called: ‘The Most Oppressed Case
of the Century’. Most people do not know that there is a case going on behind Hollywood’s thick curtains, or that
this truth has been withheld from the people of the earth for a very long time.
Many including the Wachowski brothers’
fans have been disappointed to learn that the work in description does not belong to the brothers, but to a woman whose rights
have been infringed and that she has not received any recognition for her works.
I got interested in the whole Matrix
scandal after an invitation to witness a Matrix lecture. Before the lecture, I went on the Internet for a short research,
but things got weird, because I was discovering the other part of this most praised motion picture on the planet. I was motivated
to find out more. A friend said: "Of all people Hannilie, are you loosing it to be working on the Matrix?" I thought about
it for quite a while and told myself, this is also about sharing resources. Why should those that feel have the power to take
anything from others without asking, think they have the right to take everything by force, even what does not belong to them?
started looking for the man or woman that could have written the Matrix. By this I did not care colour or creed. After a long
search I found that a woman by the name of Sophia Stewart could have written the film the "Matrix". To satisfy my curiosity,
I wrote an email to Sophia Stewart. A few days later I got a reply from Ms. Stewart. She took me behind the scenes in this
rare interview by providing lots of information and even sent me the Matrix Scripts and a lot of documentation.
Stewart filed her case in 1999, after she saw the Matrix in the cinema. Which she was certain was based on her manuscripts.
"The Third Eye," which she wrote and copyrighted in 1981, 83, and 84. In 1986 Ms. Stewart sent her manuscript to an address
given by the Wachowski Brothers, who had requested for new science fiction works. But she never heard from them.
24, 2003, Sophia Stewart filed another federal lawsuit in the United States District Court of California against Hollywood
defendants Andy and Larry Wachowski, Joel Silver and Warner Brothers alleging copyright infringement of the movie "Matrix"
and "Terminator movies’ original scripts. The case finally came to court April 29th 2003.
As a film Scriptwriter
Ms. Stewart has written the Terminator trilogies and she is the Mother of The Matrix trilogies. SOPHIA STEWART IS THE REAL
AUTHOR OF THE MATRIX AND THE TERMINATOR MOVIES. In this case the whole world has been lied to and it seems people do not care
that we live in lies and will not do anything to fight against the injustice that is spreading everywhere like a wild fire.
Sophia Stewart own words: "The public has been lied to and they need to know the truth about who really wrote The Matrix and
On June 13th 2004. Sophia Stewart’s press release read: "The Matrix & Terminator movie franchises
have made world history and have ultimately changed the way people view movies and how Hollywood do business, yet the real
truth about the creator of these films continue to allude the masses because the hidden secret of the matter is that these
films were created and written by a Black woman... a Black woman named Sophia Stewart. But Hollywood does not want you to
know this fact simply because it would change history. Also it would encourage our Black children to realize a dream and that
is... nothing is impossible for them to achieve!"
Some angry Matrix fans have been writing: "When I heard that it was
a woman that wrote the Matrix, I thought, Hmmm?" But when I heard she was black, I said impossible."
"A black women writing the Matrix???"
There have been hundreds of racial comments on this case. One would think we
live in the year 2004. Its amazing how people still think that the colour of the skin matters more than what one has up in
the head. People haven’t learnt yet that intelligence does not lie in the colour of the skin. And that science has proved
that there is very little difference in all human beings. And that the difference is the way we look, everything else is the
same. Our four blood types are the same and instead of calling each other the human race, we sunk so low and call ourselves
the black race and white race etc. When a white man with blood O could save a black man with the same type of blood and vice
versa. How very primitive when we all know that women have been oppressed for centuries, yet women are just as clever as men.
many of us who struggle working alone and against mighty powers, Ms. Stewart knows all about these struggles. She questions
those who preach about ethics and moral. In Sophia Stewart’s own words: "…where are the Black support systems?
Where are the Jessie Jackson’s, Oprah’s, NAACPs, Al Sharpton’s, Martin Luther King Foundation’s, and
others? Others being Ebony, Jet, Tom Joyner, BET, Tavis Smiley, and all others who claim that they stand for justice and the
equality of Black Justice and history."
Though most African Americans have continued turning their backs on Sophia
Stewart’s claims, her voice has kept on. On the above list we could remove a few of these black enterprises, for they
have also woken up and are giving Sophia Stewart a voice.
Others argue that the Matrix is full of black people, thus there
is no oppression of any kind in this motion picture. We must not rush to close the case, some of the black people in the Matrix
are also there to earn hard cash. And money can buy even the very souls we breathe in. Example many do not stop to think twice,
that just because it is Africans running Africa then these Africans with a foreign education are able to save this continent.
people can be bought too. They have been bought for centuries and they have continued selling each other away. Furthermore,
we all know that it would have been a different story had Ms. Stewart’s works been recognised. We would have seen her
pictures on the screen again and again. On Opra Winfrey’s shows, Ebony magazines and other programs would have idolised
her. Sophia Stewart continues: "What is to become of our people as a race if they continue to use, exploit, and brainwash
our own children into believing that the all in life is money?"
I picked several interesting quotes from the Internet.
One read: "During an FBI investigation, key pieces of evidence were found establishing Sophia Stewart as writer/author of
"Matrix". Credible witnesses employed at Warner Brothers have come forward claiming company executives and lawyers had full
knowledge the work in question did not belong to the Wachowski brothers. Witnesses also stated the original work of Stewart
had been seen, and often used, during preparation."
It is also told that most people are unaware of Sophia’s
case, because the media world does not want people to know. Again in Sophia Stewart's own words "The reason you have not seen
any of this in the media is because Warner Brothers parent company is AOL-Time Warner... this GIANT owns 95 percent of the
media... let me give you a clue as to what they own in the media business... New York Times papers/magazines, LA Times papers/magazines,
People Magazine, CNN news, Extra, Celebrity Justice, Entertainment Tonight, HBO, New Line Cinema, DreamWorks, Newsweek, Village
Roadshow... many, many more! They are not going to report on themselves. They have been suppressing my case for years..."
Stewart’s case is history in the making. The Defendants have for years tried to dismiss this case. But through and through
Sophia Stewart has kept on fighting and behold this brave woman is slowly winning the battle.
In October 2004, it was
reported that the 6-year dispute involving Ms. Stewart, the Wochowski Brothers, Joel Silver and Warner Brothers was no longer
going to be fought behind closed doors, but was in the court's hands now. An act that relieved Ms. Stewart in her long up
hill climb to convince both the courts and the world citizens that she was indeed the true author of the Matrix and the Terminator.
global magazine reported: " Ms. Stewart's allegations, involving copyright infringement and racketeering, were received and
acknowledged by the Central District of California, Judge Margaret Morrow residing."
Ms. Stewart hopes to recover all
damages from the films, The Matrix I, II and III, as well as The Terminator I, II. And its sequels. It is obvious that when
this case is over Ms, Stewart will receive her share of a job well done.
African Origins of the Major "Western Religions":
By Yosef A. A. ben-Jochannan
by Black Classic Press (1970)
was over 25 years ago that I was first introduced to the works of our beloved "Dr. Ben." I was a grass roots organizer for
an anti-poverty program in Montgomery County (Dayton), Ohio. The late 60s and early 70s were turbulent times and many young
black "revolutionaries" (including myself) had become disillusioned with religion. We believed as did Karl Marx that "religion
was an opiate of the people" designed to anesthetize the minds of the many and line the pockets of the unscrupulous few. We
preached that the so-called major western religions were white folk’s religions and offered the historically incorrect
but universally accepted blond-haired, blue-eyed representation of Jesus Christ as proof that our enemy had become our deity.
We quoted Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who said in his book, The Mis-education of the Negro, that the European destruction of African
civilization was done under the guise of "saving souls." And we asked the rhetorical question, must one be dehumanized before
one’s soul is saved? In retrospect, we had allowed someone else to define our reality.
Yoruba priestess, Iyanla
Vanzant says your soul is saved when you accept that the spirit of God lives in you. She specifically says, "When you can
look at yourself, accept who and what you are and love yourself unconditionally, your soul is saved. Your spirit is empowered."
Dr. Ben’s African Origins of the Major "Western Religions" was one of the vehicles I used on my journey through Ifa
to Olodumare and the empowerment of my spirit.
"For more than five decades, Dr. Yosef ben-Jochannan, a master teacher,
researcher, author, lecturer, has led what has now become a mass effort to emphasize African contributions to the world."
African Origins of the Major "Western Religions,: first published in 1970, continues to be one of Dr. Ben’s most thought-provoking
works. "By highlighting the African influences and roots of these religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), Dr. Ben reveals
an untold history that many would prefer to forget."
His opening sentence sets the tone for the well-researched and
Dr. Ben says, "I shall show that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are as much African as they are
Asian in origin, and in no sense what-so-ever European as the title, "Western Religions" suggests;" Dr. Ben’s ultimate
goal in this work is to show the definite links between exclusively indigenous traditional African religions with these so-called
The first chapter is entitled, Shango: A Source of African Religions.
Dr. Ben shows how the
"Mysteries of Egypt" were developed from the ancient religious rites of the indigenous Africans who once occupied the lands
around the major great lakes of Central Africa and along the head-waters of the Nile River." And how the Mysteries of Egypt
through the Egyptian Book of the Coming Forth by Day (Book of the Dead) gave rise to the so-called revealed religions. According
to Dr. Ben, Olodumare , God of the Orishas was the brother of the God Ra (Egypt) the representative God of One who gave birth
to the Gods of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Chapter 2, St. Augustine: African Influence in Christianity (The "Christian
Church Fathers"). Dr. Ben says the death of St Augustine in 430 C.E. was the major event in Christendom’s history which
started the decline of power and control by the North African Church (the "Mother Church") In this chapter he discusses the
influence St. Augustine and other indigenous Africans had on the development of the early Christian Church.
3, Moses: African Influence on Judaism. In the introduction, Dr. Ben has warned that, "to say at this time that Moses of the
Hebrew (Jewish) religion and peoples, was an indigenous African (Black or Negro), would create a catastrophic consternation
among theological racists ……..This would not stop them from saying that "Moses was found floating down the Nile
River in a bulrush basket." Dr. Ben says many people conveniently forget that the Nile River’s source begins in Uganda.
In this chapter, Dr. Ben also juxtaposes works from the Egyptian Book of the Dead with the Holy Bible and writings attributed
to Solomon with those of Egyptian Pharaohs.
Chapter 4, Bilal: African Influence on Islam.
Hadzart Bilal ibn Rahab
know simply as Bilal to most Muslims was a "tall and skinny, frizzled-hair indigenous Black man (African) of Ethiopia, East
Africa." Bilal, a former slave in Arabia was the Holy Prophet’s most ardent supporter and was responsible for the creation
of much of what those of the Islamic faith believe about Heaven and also many of their original prayers and doctrines. Dr.
Ben refers to Bilal as another Augustine with respect to his influence on the early development of Islam.
King, Mohammed, Divine, Matthews and Garvey: Religious New Dimensions. Dr. Ben discusses the influence of Martin Luther King,
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Father Divine, Rabbi Wentworth Matthews, and Marcus Garvey on the religious scene in America.
He says that although most of them did not receive the "Good Negro Seal of Approval," from the allegedly white liberal middle-class
community of the United States, their influence cannot be denied.
Dr. Ben concludes that the term "Western
Religions" "is a misnomer and is as racist as it sounds." "Western Religions" like "Greek Philosophy," cannot escape its indigenous
African origin says Dr. Ben. His conclusion leads one back to his introduction where he poses what he calls the "first question:"
much longer are we to remain outside of the religions we originated in our "Mysteries" in Egypt and other High-Cultures along
Drag YOUR cursor Over the boxes to Explore the Inventions and Their Inventors Respectfully:
November 30, 1889
Curtain Rod Support
William S. Grant
August 4, 1896
December 10, 1878
Lawrence P. Ray
August 3, 1897
February 5, 1884
March 21, 1882
October 11, 1867
November 2, 1880
Fire Escape Ladder
May 7, 1878
July 18, 1899
Brody & Surgwar
June 11, 1889
January 7, 1890
October 13, 1914
December 12, 1899
Robert F. Flemming, Jr.
March 3, 1886
Lydia O. Newman
November 15, 18--
Walter B. Purvis
February 27, 1883
March 30, 1885
Ice Cream Scooper
February 2, 1897
Improv. Sugar Making
December 10, 1846
February 28, 1899
December 30, 1887
January 9, 1894
Michael c. Harvey
August 19, 1884
May 19, 1889
J. Thomas White
December 8, 1893
July 23, 18--
November 15, 1895
Paul L. Downing
October 27, 1891
Thomas W. Stewart
June 11, 1893
Federick M. Jones
June 27, 1939
George Washington Carver
November 23, 1897
Record Player Arm
Joseph Hunger Dickenson
January 8, 1819
June 14, 1891
Ocotber 6, 1895
John W. Reed
October 11, 1898
February 2, 1839
July 25, 1876
Madam C.J. Walker
Charles B. Brooks
March 17, 1890
Granville T. Woods
December 2, 1884
Frederick M. Jones
February 23, 1960
November 20, 1923
May 6, 1886
Burridge & Marshman
April 7, 1885
THE BLACK STAR LINE 1919:
The Black Star Line was a shipping line incorporated by Marcus Garvey, who organized the UNIA (United Negro Improvement
Association). It was one among many businesses which the UNIA originated such as the Universal Printing House, Negro Factories
Corporation, as well as, the widely distributed and highly successful Negro World newspaper. The Black Star Line and its successor,
the Black Cross Navigation and Trading Company, operated between 1919 and 1927. The Black Star Line stands today as a major
symbol for Garvey followers and African Americans in search of a way to get back to their homeland. It has been immortalized
in song by blues singers Hazel Meyers and Rosa Henderson, as well as the musical group Brand Nubian. The shipping line was
supposed to involve the transportation of goods and eventually African Americans throughout the African global economy.
Black Star Line started in Delaware on June 23, 1919. Having a maximum capitalization of $500,000, BSL stocks were sold at
UNIA conventions at five dollars each. The company’s losses were estimated to be between $630,000 and $1.25 million.
Black Star Line surprised all its critics when, only three months after being incorporated, the first of four ships. The "S.S.
Yarmouth" was purchased with the intention of it being rechristened the "Frederick Douglass." The Yarmouth was a coal boat
during the First World War, and was in poor condition when purchased by the Black Star Line. Once reconditioned, The Yarmouth
proceeded to sail for three years between the U.S. and the West Indies as the first Black Star Line ship with an all-black
crew and a black captain. Later Joshua Cockburn, the captain of the Yarmouth, was accused of receiving a "kick back from the
The Yarmouth wasn’t the only ship to be purchased in poor conditions and to be completely oversold.
Garvey spent another $200,000 dollars for more ships. One, the S.S. Shadyside, sailed the "cruise to nowhere" on the Hudson
River one summer and sank the next fall because of a leak many thought to be sabotage. Another, the Kanawha, was a steam yacht
once owned by Henry Huttleston Rogers. Booker T. Washington was an honored guest aboard the ship when it was owned by his
friend and confidant, Rogers. On the maiden voyage of "Kanawha" (previously the S.S. Antonio Maceo), it blew a boiler and
killed a man.
Besides oversold, poorly conditioned ships, Black Star Line was beset by corruption of management and
infiltration by agents of J. Edgar Hoover's Bureau of Investigation ( the forerunner to the FBI). The first commission for
the Yarmouth was to haul whiskey from the U.S. to Cuba before Prohibition. Although the ship made it in record time, it did
not have docking arrangements, so it lost money sitting in the docks of Cuba while longshoremen had a strike. A cargo-load
of coconuts rotted in the hull of a ship on another voyage because Garvey insisted on having the ships make ceremonial stops
at politically important ports.
The Black Star Line ceased sailing in February of 1922. It still serves as a considerable
accomplishment for African Americans of the time, up to today, despite the thievery by employees, engineers who overcharged,
and the Bureau of Investigation's deliberate acts of infiltration and sabotage.
The second volume of The Marcus Garvey
and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers covers a period of rapid growth in the Garvey movement: August 1919 through
August 1920. The volume begins with the aftermath of Garvey's successful meeting in Carnegie Hall on 25 August 1919 and ends
with the UNIA's First International Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World. With ample justification the Negro World,
official newspaper of the UNIA, pronounced the convention "a unique and glorious achievement" and called Garvey "this now
The convention met exactly two and one-half years after Garvey's February 1918 reorganization of
the depleted and splintered New York division of the UNIA. Between the spring of 1918 and the summer of 1919, Garvey and the
fledgling UNIA refined their message of African redemption in light of the changing world scene and the troubled state of
the black community. During the year before the convention, Garvey introduced his plan for establishing an African republic
by calling attention to Liberia's desperate financial state and the unsatisfactory progress of negotiations to secure a loan
from the United States. He also linked his plan to a growing sentiment within the UNIA rank and file in favor of a scheme
for Liberian colonization that would inaugurate a back-to-Africa program.
Garvey's many projects gained greater credibility
when he announced in September 1919 that the Black Star Line, the all-black merchant marine he had planned since early in
the year, was about to purchase its first vessel. Before the August 1920 convention the Black Star Line would gain control
of three vessels---a cargo ship, an excursion boat, and a converted yacht---and the largest of the three, the Yarmouth, would
make two voyages to the West Indies.
In spite of this, the Black Star Line acquired a growing cast of critics, who
doubted the company's claim to ownership of the Yarmouth. Garvey moved swiftly to refute their charges of fraud by mounting
a vigorous counterattack in the Negro World and subsequently launching a flurry of libel suits. Despite these efforts, an
angry investor in the UNIA's Harlem restaurant made an attempt on Garvey's life, an incident that, ironically, increased Garvey's
popularity. Within a week of the attack, Garvey made a series of spectacular public appearances before thousands of cheering
admirers who seemed to accept the assertion that his critics had plotted his assassination. Moreover, the incident inspired
a marked increase in public notice of Garvey, and whereas a recent stock-selling tour of several midwestern cities had been
less than successful, the sale of Black Star Line stock now made a significant jump. During October 1919 alone, over eleven
thousand shares of Black Star Line stock were purchased.
This volume also documents the broadening federal investigation
of the Garvey phenomenon. The United States Department of Justice, alerted that Garvey planned a trip to the Panama Canal
Zone, began an intensive search for evidence in Garvey's background that would identify him as an undesirable alien. J. Edgar
Hoover, then an assistant to the attorney general, continued his inquiry into grounds for bringing deportation proceedings
against Garvey, while Bureau of Investigation special employees, posing as UNIA sympathizers, reported on Garvey's meetings,
conducted interviews, and gathered evidence. To the extent that agents and informers rendered accurate accounts of what they
heard and observed, their reports offer a valuable portrait of day-to-day operations within UNIA headquarters, as well as
the official perception of the still largely anonymous UNIA rank and file. These investigative reports include the results
of interviews that constitute an extensive, if biased, collection of oral sources. They also reveal the various strategies
that officials contemplated for containing the movement.
Garvey's critics and opponents, however, did little to diminish
his personal popularity and the movement's momentum as the August convention approached. With more success than any previous
black leader in promoting a convocation, Garvey presented the UNIA convention as a turning point in the history of black-white
relations. His propaganda received, moreover, the welcome aid of national and international events. As racial conflicts spread
during the "Red Summer" of 1919, Garvey continued an unrelenting assault on white violence in his newspaper editorials and
speeches, repeatedly linking race riots in the United States with similar phenomena in England and with strikes and popular
disturbances in the West Indies, Central America, and Africa. The result was mounting official opposition in America and Europe
to the spread of the Garvey movement, which was seen as a major ideological force in the promotion of radical consciousness
among blacks in the United States and in colonized nations.
The UNIA's 1920 convention, therefore, offered far more
than the ceremonial pomp and oratory that dominated the formal proceedings. By the time the delegates started assembling,
Garvey's vision of racial greatness had already fired the popular imagination of blacks. With the successful launching in
November 1919 of the first ship of the Black Star Line, the boldness of Garvey's promise not only seemed to have been vindicated,
but his vision came to appear more and more attractive as the answer to the postwar problems blacks faced everywhere. During
the period of July 1919 to August 1920, UNIA members and sympathizers bought stock in the Black Star Line with such enthusiasm
that sales reached a total of 96,285 shares.
Under these circumstances, the primary task of the 1920 convention was
the formal ratification of Garveyism as the guiding doctrine of the movement. How it evolved as an ideology and how it was
able to influence the struggle for black rights in 1919 and 1920, while offering a program for African independence and racial
autonomy, form an essential part of the subject of this volume. At the same time, Garvey intended that the legislation and
elective offices created during the convention would form a veritable government in exile for Africa, marking a fulfillment
of his ambition to engage in the practice of statecraft and create the symbols of black nationhood and sovereignty. In this
context, the spectacular quality of the August 1920 convention announced a new watershed in black history.