New Afrikan Political Prisoners & Prisoners Of War Addresses

Sanyika Shakur/ Kody Scott # BD5778
Palm Hall
PO BOX 441
Chino, CA 91708

Abdul Olugbala Shakur (s/n J. Harvey), C-48884, KVSP B2-117  P.O. Box 5102 Delano,CA 93216

Heshima Denham, J-38283,KVSP B2-117, P.O. Box 5102 Delano,CA 93216

Kijana Tashiri Askari, s/n Marcus Harrison, H-54077, KVSP B2-101, P.O. Box 5102, Delano, CA 93216

Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, s/n R.N. Dewberry C35671
SVSP
C1-118
P.O. BOX 1050
Soledad, CA 93960-1050
U.S.A. Email: Prisonerhumanrightsmovement @ gmail.com

Kwame Shakur (Michael Joyner)  149677, Pendleton CF, 4490 W. Reformatory Rd., Pendleton IN 46064.

Mutope Duguma (s/n J. Crawford), D-05996, CSP Calipatria B-5, C-246 – P.O. Box 5005, Calipatria, CA 92233-5005

 

Kevin Rashid Johnson #158039
Florida State Prison
P.O. Box 800
Raiford, FL 32083

Abdul Azeez – VIRGIN ISLAND 5
Contact Information
Prison Address
Warren Ballantine #16-047
Central Arizon Florence Corr Complex, P.O. Bo 6300
Florence, AZ 85132
United States

Mumia Abu Jamal – Black Panther Party – Move
Contact Information
Prison Address
#AM 8335 SCI- Mahanoy
Frackville, PA 17932
United States

Acoli-Sundiata (Squire) – Black Panther Party-New African
Contact Information
Prison Address
#39794-066 FCI Cumberland,
P.O.Box 1000
Cumberland, MD 21501
United States

CHARLES SIMS AFRICA – MOVE POLITICAL PRISONER
Contact Information
Prison Address
##AM4975–SCI Dallas, Follies Road,
Drawer -K
Dallas, PA 18612-0286
United States

DEBBIE SIMS AFRICA – MOVE POLITICAL PRISONER
Contact Information
Prison Address
#006307–451 Fullerton Ave,
Cambridge Springs,, PA 16403-1238
United States

DELBERT ORR AFRICA – MOVE POLITICAL PRISONER
Contact Information
Prison Address
#AM4985–SCI Dallas, Follies Road,
Drawer K,
Dallas, PA 18612-0286
United States

EDWARD GOODMAN AFRICA – MOVE POLITICAL PRISONER
Contact Information
Prison Address
#AM4974–301 Morea Road,
Frackville, PA 17932
United States

JANET HOLLOWAY AFRICA -MOVE POLITICAL PRISONER
AFRICA, JANET HOLLOWAY
#006308–451 Fullerton Ave,
Cambridge Springs, PA 16403-1238

MICHAEL DAVIS AFRICA – MOVE POLITICAL PRISONER
Contact Information
Prison Address
#AM4973–SCI Graterford,
Box 244 Grateford, PA 19426-0244
United States

AL-AMIN JAMIL ABDULLAH – Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee
Contact Information
Prison Address
#99974-555 USP Tucson,
P.O. Box 24550,
Tucson, AZ 85734
United States

Herman Bell – Black Panther Party
Contact Information
Prison Address
#79C0262 Shawangunk Correctional Facility
P.O.Box 700
Wallkill, NY 12589
United States

Jalil Anthony Bottom Muntaqim – BLACK PANTHER PARTY-BLACK LIBERATION ARMY
Contact Information
Prison Address
#77A4283 Sullivan Correctional Facility,
P.O. Box 116
Fallsburg, NY 12733-0116
United States

BOWERS, VERONZA – BLACK PANTHER PARTY
Contact Information
Prison Address
#35316-136–FMC Butner
Box 1600
Butner, NC 27509
United States

BROWN, GRAILING KOJO – BLACK LIBERATION ARMY
Contact Information
Prison Address
#39384-066 USP Canaan,
P. O. Box 300
Waymart,, PA 18472
United States

Romaine Chip Fitzgerald – Contact Information
Prison Address
#B-27527 CSP-LAC
P.O.Box 4490 B-4-150
Lancaster,, CA 93539
United States
Birthday: April 11, 1949
Affiliation: Black Panther Party- Longest held Black Panther Political Prisoner

FORD, PATRICE LUMUMBA – PORTLAND 7
Contact Information
Prison Address
#96639-011 Residential Reentry Office
P.O. Box 13901
Seattle, WA 98198
United States

HANIF SHABAZZ BEY* – VIRGIN ISLAND 5
Contact Information
Prison Address
Central Arizona Florence Corr Complex
P.O. Box 6300
Florence, AZ 85132
United States
Address envelope Beaumont Gereu

HAYES, ROBERT SETH – BLACK LIBERATION ARMY POLITICAL PRISONER
Contact Information
Prison Address
#74-A-2280–Sullivan Correctional Facility,
P.O. Box 116,
Fallsburg, NY 12733-0116
United States
Birthday: October 15, 1948
Affiliation: Black Panther Party & Black Liberation Army

HILTON FREDDIE (KAMAU SADIKI)
Contact Information
Prison Address
#0001150688 -Augusta State Medical Prison,
Bldg 23A-2, 3001 Gordon Highway,
Grovetown,, GA 30813
United States
Birthday: February 19
Affilition: Black Panther Party

HOOVER, LARRY – Political Prisoner
Contact Information
Prison Address
#86063-024-Florence ADMAX,
P.O. Box 8500,
Florence, CO 81226
United States
Birthday: November 30, 1950
Captured: 1973 –150 year
IN PRISON 43 YEARS

KA’BAH, ABDULLAH MALIK (AKA JEFF FORT) – Muslim
Contact Information
Prison Address
#92298-024 USP Florence ADMAX,
P.O. Box 8500
Florence, CO 81226
United States
Birthday: February 20, 1947
Affiliation: El Rukin
Captured: 1987: Setenced to 80 years
IN PRISON 28 YEARS

KHABIR, MAUMIN (MELVIN MAYES) – Muslim- Republic of New Afrika
Contact Information
Prison Address
#09891-000–Federal Medical Center Rochester
P.O. Box 4000
Rochester, MN 55903
United States
Birthday: September 15
Affiliation:El Rukin- Republic of New Afrika
Captured:1986: In Exile 9yrs. Captured 1995: Life sentence
IN PRISON 20 YEARS

LAKE, RICHARD MAFUNDI – African Peoples Survival Committee & Afrikan National Prison Organization (ANPO)
Contact Information
Prison Address
#079972–Donaldson Correctional Facility
100 Warrior Lane
Bessemer, AL 35023-7299
United States
Birthday: March 1, 1940
Affilition:African Peoples Survival Committee & Afrikan National Prison Organization (ANPO)
Captured: 1983: Life without parole
IN PRISON 31 YEARS

MAGEE, RUCHELL CINQUE – Political Prisoner
Contact Information
Prison Address
#A92051–B3-138 California Men’s Colony State Prison
P.O. Box 8101
San Luis Obispo,, CA 93409-8101
United States
Birthday: March 17
Capture: August 7, 1970
IN PRISON 51 YEARS

MALIK SMITH* – VIRGIN ISLAND 5
Contact Information
Prison Address
Central Arizona Florence Corr Complex
P.O. Box 6300
Florence, AZ 85132
United States
Address envelope to Merel Smith #16-024

POINDEXTER, ED – BLACK PANTHER PARTY
Contact Information
Prison Address
#27767–Nebraska State Penitentiary
P.O. Box 2500
Lincoln, NE 68542
United States

Native Political Prisoner Of War
Peltier, Leonard – American Indian Movement -ANISHINAABE/LAKOTA
Contact Information
Prison Address
#89637-132 USP Coleman I
P.O. Box 1033
Coleman, FL 33521
United States
@LeonardPeltier
Birthday: September 12, 1944
Affiliation: Americam Indian Movemet
Captured: Feb. 6, 1976- 2 life sentences
IN PRISON 38 YEARS

POWELL, REV. JOY – COMMUNITY ACTIVIST
Contact Information
Prison Address
#07G0632–Bedford Hills CF
P.O. Box 1000
Bedford Hills, NY 10507-2499
United States
Affiliation: Community Activists
Captured: 2007 – life plus 16 years.
IN PRISON 9 YEARS

SHAKUR, MUTULU – REPUBLIC OF NEW AFRICA POLITICAL PRISONER
Contact Information
Prison Address
#83205-012 Federal Correctional Complex
P.O. Box 3900
Adelanto, CA 92301
United States
Birthday: August 8, 1950
Affiliation: Republic of New Afrika
Captured: 1986: Sentenced to 60 years.
IN PRISON 31 YEARS

SHOATS, RUSSELL MAROON – Black Unity Council-Black Liberation Army
Contact Information
Prison Address
#AF-3855–SCI Graterford
P.O. Box 2440
Graterford, PA P19426-0246
United States
Birthday: August 23, 1943
Affiliation: Black Unity Council-Back Panther Party, Black Liberation Army
Captured: 1970-Life.
IN PRISON 45 YEARS

Who are New Afrikan Political Prisoners And Prisoners Of War – Haki Kweli Shakur August Third Collective NAPLA NAIM MOI

 

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The Wilmington North Carolina Massacre 1898 60-100 Black Murdered and Ran Out Of a Predominately Black City

Domestic Terrorism Wilmington Massacre A politically motivated attack by whites against the city’s leading African American citizens, the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 On November 10th, Alfred Moore Waddell, a former Confederate officer and a white supremacist, led a group of 500-1,500 White townsmen to force the ouster of Wilmington’s city officials. By this time, the crowd had swelled to nearly 2,000 men. Whites rioted and shot guns, attacking blacks throughout Wilmington but especially in Brooklyn, the majority-black neighborhood. The small patrols were spread out over the city and continued until nightfall. Walker Taylor, of the Secret Nine, was authorized by Governor Russell to command the Wilmington Light Infantry (WLI) troops, newly returned from the Spanish-American War, and the federal Naval Reserves, taking them into Brooklyn to quell the “riot”. They intimidated both black and white crowds with rapid-fire weapons, but the WLI killed several black men. Whites drove the opposing political and business leaders from the town. 2,100 blacks left Wilmington permanently abandoning their businesses and properties, the town became white majority. An eyewitness later wrote that African Americans fled to the swamps, or hid in the African American cemetery at the edge of town. When their criminal behavior resulted in neither Federal sanctions nor condemnation from the state, Waddell and his men formalized their control of Wilmington. The posse forced the Republican members of the city council and the mayor to resign and Waddell assumed the mayoral seat. Over the next two years North Carolina passed the “grandfather clause,” as one in a series of laws designed to limit the voting rights of African Americans.

Haki Kweli Shakur Conversation Reparations The Historical Chronology and Struggle , ATC NAPLA NAIM 11-10-52ADM

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The Prehistoric Site of Lejja, Enugu Predates Israel By 500 Years: The Iron Influence – Pamela Eze Uzomaka

Woman Scholarship Must Be Respected Igbo Land The 4000 year old iron site in Alaigbo The main village square in Lejja, Enugu State, in the northern Igbo area of Nigeria near Nsukka, contains over 800 slag blocks weighing between 34 and 57 kg from iron smelting furnaces dating as far back as 2000 BCE. Archaeological investigations at the prehistoric iron smelting site of Lejja, Nigeria, made possible the study of some large scale iron smelting debris – evidence of a once thriving iron smelting community. The main village square in Lejja, contains over 800 slag blocks weighing between 34 and 57 kg. Furnaces, tuyères and slag are visible on the surface in many places. The site has been radiocarbon dated to approximately 2000 BC. [Over 500 years older than ancient Israel by the way for reference ]. See: Pamela Eze–Uzomaka, Iron and its influence on the prehistoric site of Lejja

http://www.academia.edu/4103707/Iron_and_its_influence_on_the_prehistoric_site_of_Lejja

Haki Kweli Shakur The Ogam/Igbo Ukwu / Kwa Ancestors ( Catherine Acholonu R.I.P.)

 

November 5th Lynchings 1900-1931 We Charge Genocide , Conversation Reparations

Conversation Reparations November 5 1912 Lynching Sixty-One Blacks reported lynched The yellowed map remains so heart-breaking as to seem what may be a foreign country in the openness of racially motivated violence, to be sure: the image that maps all lynchings that were recorded in US states and counties from 1900-1931 record a widespread dehumanization in the fairly recent past, but seems a landscape of hatred–and racial animosity–that has receded into the past, and that few could imagine or acknowledge any social proximity. The national map, based on research of the Tennessee-Based Tuskegee Institute for the early twentieth century, or just years after the journalist Ida B. Wells in 1895 had tabulated the widespread phenomenon of lynching blacks in the 1890s, pictures a nation so consumed with hatred and vigilante violence to seem far removed from our world–as if truly foreign country, the widespread frequency of lynching over three decades that it maps suggests a terrible if tacit sanctioning of public violence and violent dehumanization directed largely against blacks. The barbaric dehumanization may appear confined to certain region that one would want to demonize as different, but the breadth of its generality from Louisiana to Arkansas to Texas to Georgia to Florida and to Virginia is truly terrible and mind-boggling to comprehend–and only based on the availability of data. Must must have been lost, or hard to confirm.

 

 

 

 

Black Solidarity Day November 5 1979 We Charge Genocide , Assata Shakur’s Statement

Statement From Assata November 1979 Black Solidarity Day We Charge Genocide

Three days after Assata Shakur was liberated from prison, the National Black Human Rights Coalition, (NBHRC), predecessor to the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, organized over 5,000 Hey New Afrikans (Black people) to the United Nations to charge the USA with Genocide against Our people inside the USA. It was there that the Black Liberation Army (BLA) announced that Assata had been liberated in solidarity with and to support the NBHRC mass mobilization! – A historic example of the people organized to Free the Land!

Assata Shakur

UHURU SISTERS AND BROTHERS,REVOLUTIONARY GREETINGS
_
November 1979 and crosses burn the face of Amerika. November 1979 and hundreds of Ku KluxKlan march all over the country carrying clubs andchains and machine guns. 1979 and Black families are fire bombed. 1979 — and over forty per cent of Black youth are unemployed. 1979 and a white policeman shoots a hand cuffed Black man in the head and is acquitted. 1979 — and five policemen shoot a PuertoRican man armed only with a pair of scissors twenty-four times. 1979 — and Philadelphia, the fourth largest city in the country, is sued by the Justice Department for systematically condoning and encouraging widespread police brutality, especially against Blacks and Puerto Ricans. We are on the threshold of the 80s entering into a new decade and we have got to take a look and seewhat Amerika has in store for us. This country is on the decline. The sun is setting on the Amerikan Empire because of Liberation movements around theworld. The softness of cheap labor and stolen raw materials are rapidly drying up. Amerika is a vampire, experiencing a blood shortage for the first time.The national trade deficit is about thirty billion dollars a year. The Joint Economics Committee of Congress announced in August that the standard of living of the average Amerikan would be drastically reduced in the 1980s. Blacks and Hispanics, thereport said, would be hit the hardest. Now what, I askyou, can be harder than drastic? Unemployment, ac-cording to the report, would remain at seven percentor higher. The Committee came to the conclusionthat the labor force had to be dramatically reduced in order to minimize the problem.

_

What does that mean— reduce the labor force dramatically? What does that mean? In a country that has had a history ofusing racism to perpetuate capitalism and oppression,who is going to be the scapegoat? In a country thathas historically used Blacks, Hispanics, Orientals, and Native Americans as scapegoats, what do Black and Third World people have to look forward to inthe 80s? And what does all this have to do with political prisoners and the Prison Movement? Every Black leader in this country with the potential of being a Black Messiah has gone to prison, even Black leaders without the potential of being the BlackMessiah has gone to prison. Marcus Garvey, MartinLuther King, Malcolm X and countless others who spoke out for Human Rights went to Prison. What does that tell us? Out of the 400,000 people in United States prisons, 300,000 are Black. 275,000 prison cells are being built or are in the planning stages and every state in this country is trying to implement or reinstatethe death penalty. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? I’ve been in prison six-and-a-half years and I canfeel what’s coming in the air. Prisons are becoming more brutal and repressive. Behavior Modification Programs are booming.
_
People are receiving longer sentences with fewer chances of being paroled. Thirteen-year-old children are being sentenced to life in prison. The government has stepped up its musical Jail policy by shipping prisoners all over the country,away from their lawyers, from their families, andfrom their community. Sundiata Acoli has been transferred three times in the last two months. He’sbeen transferred — first they transferred him from Trenton State Prison in New Jersey; and from Trenton he went to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania; and from Lewisburg he went to Leavenworth, Kansas; and from Leavenworth he was just shipped to Marion,Illinois — and all this is under the Interstate Compact Agreement. Now, Sundiata has never been convicted of a federal crime, but Lewisburg and Leavenworthand Marion are Federal prisons. Under the Interstate Compact Agreement, it is possible for any prisoner tobe transferred anywhere in the united states and that prisoner has no say-so in the matter, his lawyerdoesn’t have any say-so in the matter, his family doesn’t have any say so in the matter.

_

But what will happen as more and more prisoners are transferred from prison to prison to prison? Soon their families won’t be able to keep contact with them; they won’t know where they are and that will make them easier and easier to kill and to brutalize. Under the same Interstate Compact Agreement, I was shipped to Maximum Security Unit in Alderson,West Virginia, and I stayed there until that unit was closed and then I was shipped back to Clinton Institution for Women. Here at Clinton, two women have died in the last two months under suspicious circumstances. The prisons of Amerika are rapidly becoming replicas of Nazi or South Afrikan Koncentration Kamps; and with the reinstitution of the death penalty, prisons will shortly become extermination kamps. I know I’m not painting a pretty picture, but this is not a pretty world and we can’t make it pretty by sticking our head in the sand. Amerika has been committing genocide against poor Black and Third World People for hundreds of years and in recent years, racism and repression, in this country, has been accelerated and if we don’t wake up to what’s going on, we might find ourselves victims to a second Holocaust.

_

We already know what we’re fighting against, Now we’ve got to determine and decide among ourselves, what we are fighting for. How can twenty-five or thirty million Black people in Amerika win our liberation, how can we win? Marcus Garvey — he had a Dream and his dream was that we go back to Afrika. Martin Luther King had his dream and his dream was that we integrate into Amerikan society, and I don’t think that dream was a reality. Amerikan society has told us time and time again that they don’t want us. And now looking at Amerikan society, looking at its capitalist, racist system, I don’t want to in-tegrate into Amerika. Amerika is a dying country anyway. Malcolm X had his dream, and his dream was LAND, NATIONHOOD, And his dream has become my dream. When I would hear the words NATIONHOOD and LAND and I would listen to Malcolm’s speeches before, I’d say, “Yeah” to myself, “but where?” And then they would talk about five states down South, but that — it didn’t seem real I’d say, “Well shoot, we go move down there and they’ll drop a bomb on us.” BUT, they’re dropping bombs and killing us right now. And there’s another side to that: once a people start struggling-for land, start struggling for sovereignty — startst ruggling for nationhood — then the whole world can become part of that fight and can take up, and say, “Look what you’re doing, you’re killing those people, you’re making genocide — those people want a homeland. “Amerika doesn’t have any wind internationally, talking about we don’t have a right to have our home land.

_
They oppressed us for four hundred years.They haven’t let us live in Amerika. They haven’t let us be citizens. They haven’t let us have justice, equality. And we can prove it. So if they don’t want to let us be free as Amerikans — then we’ll be free as New Afrikans. In Vietnam, there was something like nineteen million Vietnamese in SouthVietnam. And they kicked Amerika’s ass — the VietCong WON! There are twenty-five million or thirty million Black people in Amerika. Are you saying that we can’t win? I think we can. We are twenty-six million — thirty million people. We’re the second largest aggregation of Blacks within the world. A nation that borders on the face of this globe. If we were a nation, we’d be the twenty-sixth largest nation, andthere would be 145 nations in the world that would be smaller than Black Amerika. Of fifty-six nation’s in Afrika, only two would be bigger than Black Amerika — Egypt and Nigeria. We have the technology to start a nation and if we don’t have it right now, we can soon begin to get that technology once we understand what our purpose is, our goal and our direction. There are seven thousand Black physicians in Amerika, four thousand lawyers, about four thousand Black people in law schools, three thousand dentists, tens of thousands of academia sand hundreds of thousands of public school teachers. We have the natural resources to build a nation. I have come through the struggle, and I’ve been in the struggle for a little while, and I’m tired of everybody else’s dream — I want my own and nobody’s going to tell me which way I have to go to be a free Blackwoman on this earth. We’ve got to stop having a minority mentality.

White people might be the majority in Amerika, but we’re the majority in the world. And when people start talking about well this isn’t possible and that it’s impossible for us to have a Black nation — well, in that case, was Israel impossible? Was South Vietnam impossible, South Korea? These nations came about as a result of a split and if it’s possible in Israel, it’s possible here. And if the Palestine Liberation Organization can go up before the UN and talk about their right to land, then the Black Liberation Organization can go before the UN too. We cannot afford to depend on the White Left. The White Left comprises a tiny portion of white Amerika and they’re so factionalized to the point where they’re just — almost totally in effective.There’s an old joke about you put two people on the White Left in a room and you sit ’em in front of a-clock and they’ll get into an argument about what time it is. That seems like a joke to a lot of people,but it’s true. They are so factionalized ’til they argue about everything. And their arrogance, white supremacist arrogance, leads them to believe that THEY are the only ones in the world that have thatright answer. THEY are the only ones that can lead the poor and oppressed people to liberation — and that’s just not true.

_

We couldn’t depend on the White Left in the 30s, we couldn’t depend on the White Left-in the 50s, what in the world would make us think that we can depend on the White Left now? I’m not saying that we shouldn’t work with White people on whatever level that we want to that suits our interest— but we can’t just keep our heads in the sand and we can’t build our movement depending on the White Left. We’ve got to build our own movement and our struggle has got to be able to stand if the White Left pulls out and the White Liberals pull out and whatever — if we have to stand on our own two feet,by ourselves — that’s how we’ve got to build our foundation, that’s how we’ve got to build our movement.We’ve got to build a strong Human Rights Movement. We’ve got to build a strong Prison Movement. We’ve got to build a strong Black Liberation Movement and we’ve got to struggle for liberation. Free all political prisoners. Free Leonard Peltier,Sundiata Acoli, Ruchell Magee, Ben Chavis, George Merritt, Gary Tyler, Geronimo Pratt, Dessie Woods, the RNA-11, and the BLA-25.

We must be free
Assata Shakur
Political Prisoner
Clinton, New Jersey

 

Haki Kweli Shakur ATC NAPLA NAIM MOI 11-5-52ADM The Struggle iz For Land PT II

 

November is Fet Gede The Sacred Ancestors Festival, Haiti 🇭🇹 , Feed The Ancestors

Fet Gede, the Feast of the Dead, is a time when Vodouisants celebrate the ancestral dead, typically held during either or both of the first two days in November. Known as the Festival of the Ancestors, Fet Gede (Fet = Festival, Gede = The Sacred Dead) is the Vodou equivalent of Mardi Gras, the Mexican Day of the Dead, and Halloween, all in one.

1. People dress up, take to the streets, dance their communion with the ancestors, and walk in processions to the graveyards where they feed their ancestral dead with the gifts of their own table. In this way, spirits are honored and their protection is gained for the coming year.

Fete GedeFete Gede
2. In peristyles (churches) up and down the country, there is music, dancing and feasting. The priests and the people come together, and there is enough drumming, singing, and laughter to – literally! – raise the dead. It is a time for celebration, for reconnecting with the past, and preparing for the future, with music, processions, sacred rituals and spiritual observances taking place throughout.

3. Fet Gede is also a traditional vodou feast which celebrates the lwa (spirits) of death and fertility. Though it shares calendar space and ideology with the Roman Catholic Day of the Dead, or All Souls Day, Fet Gede can be more accurately said to derive from African traditions preserved largely unchanged through the centuries.

4. Vodouists come in a spiritual pilgrimage to the cemetery to pay their respect to the dead, but first, permission of passage has to be obtained. The grave of the Papa Gede, the first man who ever died. Ancestral services are held at this ‘crossroad’, considered to be the bridge between life and death. Kwa Baron is the Lwa guardian of the cemetery and head of the Gedes.

5. Rituals take place throughout November but are most concentrated at the beginning of the month. Voodoo believers converge on the Haitian capital’s main cemetery to honor the Gede and the father of them all, Baron Samedi. They lay out gifts such as homemade beeswax candles, flowers, food and, to warm the Gede’s bones, bottles of rum stuffed with chilli peppers.

Haki Kweli Shakur 11-2-52ADM ATC NAPLA NAIM MOI

 

6. Fet Gede can be described as the Vodou equivalent of Mardi Gras, the Mexican Day of the Dead, and Halloween, all rolled into one incredible ritual with enough drumming, singing, alcohol and laughter to quite literally raise the dead. The Fet Gede celebrations are unique to Haiti, a blend of traditions brought over from Africa during the slave trade, mixed with colonial Christianity and a dash of ritual from the original Taino inhabitants of the island.

7. Haitians believe that the frisky Vodou spirits helped them win independence and become the world’s first black republic. Tradition marks the beginning of the revolution at a vodou ceremony at Bois Caïman, where the call to arms was issued by a Houngan (Vodou priest), and within hours, the northern plantations were in flames. The rebellion spread through the entire colony and the rest is history as they say.

8. Who is Papa Gede? The corpse of the ‘first man’ can in many ways be compared to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier who is revered at memorials throughout the world – he may not necessarily be Haitian – just like the Baron is not Haitian nor African, he may be ‘other’ (foreign). Papa Gede is a psychopomp who waits at the crossroads to take departed souls into the afterlife, although he does not take a life before its time. Papa Gede has a very crude sense of humour, and a cunning ability to read people’s minds, knowing everything that happens in the worlds of the living and the dead.

9. In Haiti, the Guédé (also spelled Gede or Ghede, pronounced [ɡede] in Haitian Creole) are the family of Loa that embody the powers of death and fertility. Guédé spirits include Ghede Doubye, Ghede Linto, Ghede Loraj, Guédé Nibo and Guédé Ti Malis. All are known for the drum rhythm and dance called the “banda”. In possession, they will drink or rub themselves with a mixture of clairin (raw rum) and twenty-one habanero or goat peppers.

10. Vodou is a religion that can trace its roots back at least 6,000 years; some sources claim 10,000. It is freely practiced in West Africa, and was in fact accepted as the state religion of Benin in 1996 where 80% of the population is followers. It is believed that over 60 million people practice vodou worldwide, 30 million of which are thought to be in West Africa. Vodou is widespread throughout the Caribbean, notably on Haiti where vodou was proclaimed the state religion in 2003 where is is popularly stated that the people are 80% Catholics and 110% vodouists. It is also found in Brazil, the Guianas, Dominican Republic and parts of USA, introduced by the slaves.

Feeding the dead should not just be a once a year practice. In a place like Haiti where food can be problematic at best, feeding the ancestors is a routinely engaged gesture, one that is so normal it is done automatically. At dinner tables all over the country, a tiny bite is set aside for the ancestors, so that they can also eat with the family. A tip of a cup offers liquid refreshment and no one would dare begin a meal without making this inclusive and universal gesture of greeting.

Including the ancestors is so strong and prevalent, that during our Kanzo, one of the houngans was instructed to offer food and drink to his dead godmother from a Santeria tradition, so that she would look kindly on his making the passage into Haitian Vodou. The godmother was installed with all the pomp and circumstance she would have received, had she been alive. A govi was produced and with blessings, songs, and offerings, her ti-Bon Ange was invited to sit within it. A tiny chair was set up on the pe (the circular altar at the foot of the poto mitan) where the govi was reverently seated, and a tiny kolye placed around the neck of her clay vessel. With a ring side seat, she got to view up close and personal all the rituals being performed for her godchild.. It would have been unthinkable to kanzo her godchild without her direct consent. The presence of the Govi was significant in this circumstance as a stand-in for the deceased godmother. When we ate, the govi was fed bits of the meal. When we slept, the govi was covered to signal the spirit within that it was a time of rest. And when we processed out of the djevo on our batem day, the govi was decked out in white satin and beads, just like her godson. The inclusiveness of the govi during Kanzo was just one of many rites that Vodou provides to keep the ancestors close by.

Here in America, we put our ancestors away, locking their physical remains up in strange places with people they don’t know. We buy land in tiny plots, symbolic of larger domains that are no longer the available to the ancestor. We interr their remains in vaults of concrete or marble, lock iron gates to keep out strangers (and family) or lock in the dead. Sometimes, they are not laid to rest at all. More often than not, due to rising land cost or the lack of available land, Cremation has become the norm. Cremains are placed in govi-like vessels that are then installed in large mausoleums, alongside strangers. And again, when the iron gates closed, our beloved family members are left lying in strange ground. No wonder we love zombies so much these days – they are our own ancestors rising, looking for sustenance and family to keep them company.

The forgotten dead trouble us all the time – we just don’t know how to interpret the signs. I get calls about family troubles all the time. The story is almost universally the same. The father / mother is upset or having trouble sleeping/working/having relations with the spouse. They’ve tried everything (they say) and to no avail. Nothing they do seem to help or abate the signs and symptoms they are experiencing. But when we talk further, it is revealed that the ancestors are hungry. I interpret this from the conversations which go something like this:

“I can’t sleep! My legs are heavy and restless.”
“I feel like someone is sitting on my chest.”
“My mind won’t stop running,” or “I can’t shut off my mind.”
“The house feels ‘hot,’ ‘cold,’ ‘weird,’ ‘unusual.”

All these statements are indications that the Ancestors are on the prowl. Restless legs are indicative of walking spirits. Feeling heavy pressure on the chest, legs or face is ancestrally based energies, vying for your attention. A busy mind or unusual energy in a home is also a sign that the family is troubled, and like any family issue, when the elders are rumbling, we all feel it on the earth plane.
The simplest solution is to pay attention when these things occur. Ancestors are the heart and soul of our work as Vodouisants. Keeping the family running smooth requires effort, but nothing that is difficult. Repetition of the following gestures will make ensure you do it often and regularly, thus keep the spirits happy.

Most months, on Monday night, offer a small coffee saucer with a single bite from your meal and a shot glass of water or coffee is the simplest way to feed the spirits. They really don’t require much – just your continual devotion to their spiritual amelioration. For the month of November, when the entire month is devoted to the Ancestors, you would do best to make a plate each night. This card indicates that they are really hungry this year. Have you been to the cemetery lately, to clean and clear their gravesites? It is traditional to do so, and you can gain mucho respect from them for the gesture. Consider it a pilgrimage. Make a gravestone rubbing of their headstone. Plant flowers like mums and winter cabbage to keep it looking great. At home, use the gravestone rubbing as a centerpiece for your altar. Set out purple and black candles. Place ancestral foods they liked on white china plates. I usually buy Italian cookies for Dad’s side, maple candies for Mom and set out two cups of coffee – one black, one with cream and sugar.. I change the coffee daily and keep the altar fresh. I also use flowers, incense and perfume that my mother loved. The dead are rising and want their time with you. Spend it well with them, to ensure a solid year going forward for you and yours.

Spatial Deconcentration The Assassination of Yulanda Ward November 2nd 1980, Black Liberation Army & Anti-Imperialist Respond

This article is based on material that is publicly available, especially the “Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civic Disturbances,” known as the Kerner Commission Report. However, it is also based on materials not publicly available, specifically a number of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) files which Ms. Ward and her collaborators apparently stole from the HUD office in Washington, D.C.

Spatial Deconcentration was first published as part of a collection of notes for a national housing activists’ conference held in Washington, D.C. No more than 500 copies were made at that time. Shortly after this first publication, Ms. Ward and two associates were accosted on a Washington street one night by two well-dressed white men, who singled out Ms. Ward from her two friends, ordered her at gunpoint to lie face down in the street, and then shot her in the back of the head. The documents she and her friends allegedly stole from HUD have never been published, nor are they included here.

1981 article about a US Government housing policy – conceived in the aftermath of the 1960s ghetto riots – arguing that the policy was aimed at removing concentrations of potentially rebellious blacks and other poor people from the inner city and disperse them in small groups to the suburbs. Serious issues have been raised about some of the facts of this article, which are discussed here, but we reproduce it for reference.

Although there have been historical differences between Black Revolutionary Freedom Fighters and North American Anti-Imperialists, there were overriding events that called for this significant alliance. These events were:

1. The killing of Black men in Buffalo.

2. The collaboration of the Ku Klux Klan and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in North Carolina, and the subsequent disclosure of Bill Wilkinson as an FBI informant.

3. Fourteen unsolved murders of Black women in Boston.

4. The on-going murders of children in Georgia.

5. The shooting of four Black women in Alabama.

6. The stabbing deaths of Black men in New York City.

7. The use of KKK, Police and the United States Army as mercenaries in the Dominica invasion.

8. The KKK use of the Department of Parks for its war re-enactment of para-military training. This is a clear indication of government support for right wing fascist military training.

9. The government assassination of Black activist Yulanda Ward in Washington, D.C.

10. The consistent use of mercenary forces in putting down the Miami Rebellion.

BASED UPON AN evaluation of these events, a decentralized intelligence strategy was embarked upon by the revolutionary forces to determine the capability to separate rhetoric from real military action, especially concerning the capability of vigilante armies, and armies outside the United States military complex, that can implement urban terror on the Black and Third World population, and to assess the McCarthy-like period we are in—and to devise a response.

Haki Kweli Shakur ATC-NAPLA NAIM MOI 11-2-52ADM

 

Published in ‘Midnight Notes’, Vol. II, #2, July 1981, MA, USA
Original article first published by the Yulanda Ward Memorial Fund, Washington, 1981(?).

Article Source:  https://libcom.org/library/spatial-deconcentration-d-c

We begin with a murder – that of Yulanda Ward in Washington, D.C. at 2 A.M., November 2, 1980. She was shot to death in what now appears as an assassination dis­guised as a street robbery. She was not robbed but her head was pushed over the edge of a car and shot; her three companions were robbed but not otherwise harmed. The weapon of murder appears to have been a .357 Magnum, not exactly a street-crime weapon. According to the Yulanda Ward Memorial Fund and other groups, her murder has been followed by either thorough police incompetence or a systematic cover-up and non-investigation. Moreover, the police have attempted to stop the independent investigation of her murder, even though “grapevine” inquiries report that she was murdered by “out of town” hired killers.

Why be concerned with this one murder? Who was Yulanda Ward? She was a 22 year old black community activist involved with the Washington, D.C. Rape Crisis Center, the Black United Front and other community groups, most notably the Citywide Housing Coalition. It is this last activity that could have led to her death, for she was a key activist in uncovering a U.S. government plan labelled “spatial deconcentration.”

We reprint the following article on spatial deconcentration for two reasons. First, its information is valuable while its analysis begins to uncover many important political points about the organization of space under capitalism. Second, if Yulanda Ward was assassinated, we wish to alert others about it and urge them to assist the Yulanda Ward Memorial Fund in investigating the reasons for and perpetraters of the murder. In this way we hope that our increased vigilance will help stop any violent state repression of the type suspected in this case.

This article focusses on Washington, D.C. but the spatial deconcentration program is nationwide. The precise patterns and plans may vary from place to place, the essential operation is constant: to remove the treat posed to concentrated capital by concentrated masses of urban poor.

Yulanda Ward was murdered in D.C. In other cities local organizers for the Grassroots Unity Conference, of which Yulanda was a member and which has been combatting spatial deconcentration, have been attacked physically and verbally – ­burglaries, false arrests, threatening phone calls, verbal attacks by government officials. Nonetheless, and necessarily, the struggle continues.

* * * *

SPATIAL DECONCENTRATION
by
The Yulanda Ward Memorial Fund
Housing activists in Washington have long battled with indifferent city officials, in­dividual and organized, and the Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade as we sought to halt the displacement of masses of Blacks and other poor or working class minorities from the inner cities to the suburbs. Since 1972 campaigns have centered around rent con­trol, condominium and hotel conversions, land speculators, and government bureaucracy. We clearly understood the process of gentrifica­tion (replacing poor inner city residents with middle and upper class “gentry”), and perceived the underlying economic basis on which the process rested with land speculators vigorously exploiting inner city neighborhoods. The displacement of Blacks and other minorities from the inner city was thought to be a product of the capitalist housing market, which provides housing only for those who can afford it. It was not until 1979 that we dis­covered and began to research a Federal gov­ernment program called “spatial deconcentra­tion”, the hidden agenda behind the pheno­menon of displacement. We discovered that displacement had an economic base to be sure, but more importantly, it was a means of social control–a means to break up large concentra­tions of Blacks and other inner city minor­ities from their communities. We have witnessed the forced evacuation of more than 50,000 poor inner city residents from the city each year and their subsequent replacement by an affluent class. We understood the role of thegovernment and its officials as it aided this process by creating laws that benefitted land­lords and speculators while impoverishing tenants, but it wasn’t until Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) documents began to surface using the words “housing mobility” and “fair housing” that we began to understand the magnitude of the masterplan to rid the city of its inner city poor and working classes. To fully understand this program we had to examine its history, the atmosphere out of which it developed, and its objectives. After this, we had concrete answers for why 50,000 poor people a year are being driven into Prince Georges, Mont­gomery, Prince William, and other suburban jurisdictions increasingly further away from the inner city, while central city neighbor­hoods are allowed to decay until speculators and middle class whites move in to take them over.

The riots that rocked American cities in the 1960’s provoked lengthy govermental studies to investigate the riots and to make recom­mendations on what could be done to prevent civil disturbances by oppressed minorities. President Lyndon Johnson appointed a special commission, the National Advisory Committee on Civil Disorders (Kerner Commission) in 1968, composed of police and army specialists, FBI and CIA agents, and civilian consultants who worked at “thinktank” institutions like the Brookings Institute, the Rand Corporation, and the Urban Institute. The commissions, clearly connected with the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA and the FBI, felt that large concentrations of Blacks in the inner cities represented a threat to the security of the United States and had to be removed from the cities immediately. Thus, the Kerner Commission’s recommendation was that low income housing projects and the Blacks that lived in them, should be relocated from inner city neighborhoods to sites outside the central city. This would break up the concentrations of Blacks within the central city and thus disrupt their potential to erupt into violence in response to their economic conditions. The commission recommended that Blacks be systematically placed in outlying suburban counties and dispersed, so that the counties themselves remained white dominated, but the Blacks would be isolated and broken up, neutralizing their violent potential. The death this same year of Martin Luther King and the subsequent riots hastened the govern­ment’s determination to control Black people in the innter city. The Federal government acted on the Commission’s recommendations and began, in 1969, a program called “spatial deconcentration” which to date, has received a Federal investment of over 5 billion dollars.

The enactment of the program required the coodination and cooperation of many government officials and capitalists, and due to the large sums of money being offered by the government, received widespread development and support. Metropolitan areas in America have witnessed how banks and insurance companies have red­lined central city neighborhoods while real estate speculators have milked what profits they could from these communities, further hastening the deterioration as thousands of housing units were demolished, abandoned, or taken off the market for any number of reasons. As the artificially created energy crisis worsened, the inner city became an attractive option to the middle class that fled to the suburbs in the 50’s and 60’s. Redevelopers and banks began redevelopment or “urban renewal” projects which have caused the displacement of hundreds of thousands of inner city residents of Washington and other urban cities over the past ten years. Due to a housing shortage as artificially created as the energy crisis)the victims of urban renewal are forced to relocate in the suburbs, thereby eliminating their political presence within the central city.

The workings of the spatial deconcentration program are simple. First, the Blacks have to be driven out of a neighborhood and placed in suburban jurisdictions that are forced to take them, or co-opted with bribes of large Federal grants. In Washington D.C., in order to drive people out of a particular inner city neighborhood, the Federal government, along with the D.C. City Council and the Mayor, eliminated the housing in neighborhoods by giving landlords incentives to abandon their buildings, or remove rental units from the market by specially designed rent control and conversion laws. We witness this practice in action by the continuous loopholes found in all of our rent control legislation that allow landlords to abandon their buildings, convert them to condominiums, or generally remove them from the market. Second, the gov­ernment closes down all of the public housing it has sponsored since the 1930’s, thus forcing the displacement of the poor people living in them. For low or fixed income homeowners in the community, property taxes are escalated and housing services are de­creased, thus also impoverishing this group of people. Once the housing is eliminated, then other services that support the com­munity are cut back – the public transportation is rerouted or a subway is built that totally bypasses the community. Available schools for the children are closed down in the name of budget cuts; hospitals are relocated to ‘improve health delivery systems’; jobs are taken away as businesses are offered inducements to relocate in other areas. The entire community is de­stabilized to force the people of that com­munity to want to move as their lifestyle deteriorates. Yet, poor people can’t just pick up and move just because a neighborhood has gone down. Moving takes money, and this is where the government plays its most visible role.

In 1974 Congress enacted the Housing and Community Development Act, which revamped the Revenue Sharing and Urban Renewal programs. One section of the Act specifies that one of its main purposes is “spatial deconcentration” of impacted neighborhoods in the inner cities. The next year, the Federal subsidy program, Section 8, was enacted by Congress. The creator of the Section 8 program was a civilian member of the Kerner Commission called Anthony Downs who also developed the entire theory of spatial deconcentration for social control in his 1973 book entitled Opening Up the Suburbs. Section 8 was specifically aimed at the poorest of the poor and was a rent subsidy program that allows tenants to pay a maximum of 25% of their monthly income for rent with the government picking up the tab for the rest. Of course, like most subsidies, the real estate interests are guaranteed profits while the tenants have to wait on long waiting lists to register for the privilege of guaranteeing these profits for landlords.

So when poor people are forced into a position of having to move, they are granted Section 8 certificates which appear to ease the burden of not having a place to stay. However, the catch to the Section 8 program is that by using it, you no longer have a choice in where you can live. The new “housing mobility” created through Federal subsidies actually eliminated freedom of housing choice because at the same time HUD is giving Section 8 certificates to the suburbs, they claim there is not enough money available to keep people in D.C. They will give Section 8 certificates to families in D.C. but allow them to use them only in specifically selected suburban counties, not allowing the people to stay in D.C. to be close to the jobs, the Metro, the culture or the human services. This forces them out to the suburbs where there is no way to join together to struggle. Of course, the people become even more impoverished as welfare assistance programs, like AFDC, provide even less income than allotted in D.C. This entire process paves the way for the upper classes to replace poor people in inner city communities, under the guise of increasing the tax base of the city to provide more services to the poor residents of the city. The whole program of physically moving the poor and working class population out of D.C. which is actually spatial deconcentration is disguised as a “Fair Housing Program” called Areawide Housing Opportunities Program (AHOP). Simply put, you disperse the concentrations of Black and poor people in D.C. where they could erupt into a dangerous force to chal­lenge the ruling class of the city and form a political base to threaten indifferent and sold-out officials. The program creates small pockets of poor people, isolated in the sub­urbs, available to work when the economy needs them, but separated and alienated, like the South African Blacks who are forced to live in Bantustans that surround rich white settler cities.

The spatial deconcentration program has played a major role in the transformation of Washington, D.C. from a riot-torn, abandoned inner city to a fast growing executives’ para­dise. Since Washington’s primary industry has always been the Federal government, now more so than ever, a large executive class is being drawn into Washington by attractive real estate, the energy crisis, and the cooperation of Federal and city officials. Meanwhile, unemployment for the poor and working class escalates; the few of them who receive train­ing and jobs are limited to clerical or blue collar jobs with little or no upward mobility. Fewer and fewer jobs are available to the poor in the inner city, and to counter the effects of the program, the city government must create job programs (designed to fail) in order to pacify the remaining population. In addition, we have a city which is experien­cing record-breaking commercial construction (office buildings, the Civic Center, etc.) yet has a critical shortage in that basic human necessity, shelter. This condition was created by the fact that Washington was one of the original cities targeted for imple­menting the spatial deconcentration program in 1969. The program has been operating here for eleven years and is the concrete basis for the advanced stage of displacement we are experiencing.

The implementation of the spatial deconcentration program for the Washington area (AHOP) required the authority and financing of the Federal government, the participation of private industry, and the cooperation of local governing bodies. The application of the program to Washington was undertaken by the Washington Council of Governments (WashCog) which is the inter­jurisdictional body for the metropolitan area, composed of elected officials from Washington, Virginia and Maryland and, again, consultants from thinktanks like the Brookings Institute and the Urban Institute. WashCog began administration of the program by enlisting the support of the District officials to create the inner city conditions that would force people to move. These officials ensured that neigh­borhoods that were already devastated by the riots were left to decay and support services were cut. Next, WashCog had to per­suade suburban officials to accept the flow of Blacks who would be forced into their communi­ties. Most of the persuasion was accomplished through Federal bribes in the form of Community Development monies. The impetus for the persuasion come with the Fair Housing Laws passed by Congress. They ensured that under the mask of “integration” white suburban neighborhoods would have to accept poor Blacks from the inner city. Suburban com­munities were also granted other bonuses as they received more public transportation (the Metro), increased social services (from the Federal payments) and were assured that there would always be white dominance in the suburbs since the Blacks would be dispersed over large areas. Prince Georges’ county was the first area country to buy into the program. We now see the county government moving to halt the flood of Blacks into the county, fearing Black dominance.

The next phase of the program requires the persuading of the poor people in the inner city that life is better in the suburbs. The Section 8 certificates now come into play, as housing counselors, usually springing from government-sponsored community groups, urge people to relocate wherever their Section 8 certificate placed them, which is always in the suburbs. Apparent community groups, like Metropolitan Washington Planning and Housing Association, support the object­ives of the program by assisting tenants in obtaining Section 8 certificates, and omitting to warn them of their loss off housing choice. In fact, MWPHA sponsored a HUD workshop entitled “Increasing Housing Opportunities in the Suburbs” in May 1980. The hidden punch line to the workshop was that to increase housing opportunities in the suburbs, you must first decrease them in the city, which is the essence of spatial decon­centration. The government has made increasing­ly larger grants available to train community housing organizers, so that they may learn to properly administer Section 8 programs. Many of the grassroots housing groups in Washington are dependent on Section 8 contracts for their survival, and will refuse to recognize and discontinue the role they play in the program.

The monetary benefittors of the spatial deconcentration program are the real estate interests. Land values in the inner city sky­rocketed, while suburban developers made tremendous profits from developing the com­munities which will house the Blacks being driven out. Owners of buildings who have Section 8 tenants are guaranteed profits that will be paid by the Federal government, and usually can obtain loans for renovation from the government at interest rates 5-8% lower than the regular market. For example, a large, sprawling apartment complex in Silver Spring, Montgomery County, Maryland recently accepted a large number of Section 8 tenants from Washington D.C. In return, the owners of the property were granted large loans to renovate the property. The owners only have to allow Section 8 tenants to stay in the building for five years. After that, they can convert to condominium, luxury apartments, or whatever they want, because they’ve tripled the value of the property with the renovations paid for by the government How­ever, after the five years are up, the poor tenants who moved into the building will have to move again. They will not ultimately benefit from the renovations, and furthermore, will be forced even further away from the inner city.

An investigation is proceeding into Yulanda Ward’s death. Assistance, inquiries and contributions to the investigation should be addressed to:
The Yulanda Ward Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 21005
Washington, D.C. 20009
[Address obsolete]

Posted By
Red Marriott
May 16 2007 23:13
Tags
North America Midnight Notes Collective military and law enforcement USA Yulanda Ward gentrification race urban planning Washington housing
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Attached files

9th Annual Freedom Dance 38th Year of Freedom Since Assata Shakur’s Liberation November 4 2017

The Fifth Annual FREEDOM DANCE will celebrate the 38th year of freedom since Assata Shakur’s liberation. Come dance and celebrate to Free All Political Prisoners. All proceeds go to the political prisoners.

The National Black Theater, 2031 Fifth Avenue, Harlem
(at 126th Street)
Saturday, November 4 2017
9:00pm – 1:00am
$20

Music by DJ Lumumba aka Revolution

Food and beverages available for purchase

Celebrate a great victory and get some extra energy to Free All Political Prisoners!

On May 2, 2013, the FBI placed Assata Shakur, now living in Cuba, on its Most Wanted Terrorists list, which has included the likes of Osama Bin Laden and other Al Quaeda figures, some of whom were executed by drones. This was the day after the State Department was due to release its list of terrorist countries from which Cuba was widely expected to be removed, as even the Miami Herald reported. Release of that list has been postponed and the State Department has asserted Cuba will remain on it, handing a victory to the exiled Cuban plantocracy and the half century campaign to restore their rule over Cuba. This has also been experienced as an assault on African Americans — see the trending use of the Twitter tag #HandsOffAssata, with many links that people are putting up. Assata Shakur has been living in Cuba since 1986, after escaping from prison where she was serving a life sentence imposed in a highly disputed trial. Assata was a Black Panther then a Black Liberation Army (BLA) leader in the early ’70s, so she was a target of the FBI’s COINTELPRO. Assata was captured in a shoot-out resulting from resistance to yet another “driving while black” police action in 1973 on the New Jersey State Turnpike. This time a State Trooper was killed. Zayd Shakur, traveling in the car with Assata, was also killed.

The third person in the car, Sundiata Acoli, is still serving time over 30 years later and has recently been denied parole for another 20 years. According to one of Sundiata’ attorney, Joan P. Gibbs, “Assata, at the time of her arrest, was ‘wanted’ on federal and state charges in New York, all of which juries subsequently found her not guilty of or were dismissed.” As was later proved through medical forensics, Assata was wounded at the time of her capture by a cowardly shot from the rear, while she had her hands up. This fact is frequently the subject of lies by law enforcement as is the fact that she was given a paraffin test, which failed to reveal any gunpowder residue, meaning it would have been hard for her to have fired a gun. While recovering from her wounds, she was tortured at the hands of the State Police Nazis (no hyperbole here, they were WWII Nazis brought to America). She was convicted by an all white jury in 1977 and sentenced to life in prison. Before her daring escape from prison in 1979, Assata Shakur served a total of six years behind bars where she would also give birth to her daughter Kakuya.Click here to get this Assata poster

The following passage is excerpted from Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur and was originally delivered by Assata Shakur as part of her opening statement while acting as co-counsel in her own defense for charges stemming from the New Jersey Turnpike incident:

“The idea of the Black Liberation Army emerged from conditions in Black communities: conditions of poverty, indecent housing, massive unemployment, poor medical care, and inferior education. The idea came about because Black people are not free or equal in this country. Because ninety percent of the men and women in this country’s prisons are Black and Third World. Because ten-year-old children are shot down in our streets. Because dope has saturated our communities, preying on the disillusionment and frustrations of our children. The concept of the BLA arose because of the political, social, and economic oppression of Black people in this country. And where there is oppression, there will be resistance. The BLA is part of that resistance movement. The Black Liberation Army stands for freedom and justice for all people.

 

Rev. Albert Cleage – Myths About Malcolm X

Rev. Albert Cleage, chairman of the Detroit Inner City Organizing Committee, gave this speech at a memorial meeting for Malcolm X at the Friday Night Socialist Forum in Detroit, February 24, 1967.

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You were very kind to ask me to be here.
I am not a Marxist – I don’t pretend to be, I don’t even pretend to know anything about it. I am a black man in a world dominated by white oppression, and that is my total philosophy. I would like to get rid of that oppression, and that is my total objective. So I bring to this occasion rather a simple approach – personal reflections on the significance of Malcolm X. I can remember a number of occasions when I talked to him, when I was with him, when I spoke on platforms with him; and so I am not indebted to printed material for my impressions of Malcolm X. I remember the last time he was in the city – not so much the speech, which was not one of his best by any means; it reflected, I think, much of the tension that he was under, much of the confusion, the constant living on the brink of violence. But I can remember him backstage, in the Gold Room I think they call it, of Ford Auditorium. Recently he had suffered smoke inhalation, the doctor had given him an injection, he was trying to sleep, he was irritable. But he was here because he had promised to be here, because he thought some people were concerned about what he had to say.

_
I remember him at the King Solomon Baptist Church on one of the occasions he spoke there – sort of in concealment backstage, constantly harassed with the danger of assassination. And I can remember the occasion at the King Solomon Baptist Church when he gave the Message to the Grass Roots, which I think is his best speech, his most typical statement, and which I personally think is his last will and testament. I remember him, I talked to him, I agreed with him. He was a Muslim, I am a Christian, and yet I can think of no basic matter upon which we disagreed. Two years after his death Brother Malcolm is more important to more people than he was at any time during his lifetime. I think this is true. Young people who never saw him, who never heard him, speak of him with reverence and say, “I love Malcolm.” This is a tremendous thing. Older people who heard and saw him select from the things they heard and saw the things they want to remember, or even the things it suits their purpose to remember. This too is quite a thing – that an individual should be important enough to be remembered even with distortions or for reasons not quite only of love.

Malcolm X Model of Personal Transformation ( Atiba Shanna / Owusu Yaki Yakubu ) – Haki Kweli Shakur ATC NAPLA NAIM MOI

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Brother Malcolm has become a symbol, a dream, a hope, a nostalgia for the past, a mystique, a shadow sometimes without substance, “our shining black prince,” to whom we do obeisance, about whom we write heroic poems. But I think Brother Malcolm the man is in danger of being lost in a vast tissue of distortions which now constitute the Malcolm myth. The Malcolm myth or the Malcolm myths, the complex of myths which more and more tend to cluster about Brother Malcolm, remind us of what happened to Jesus Christ. I think I understand much more now the things that are written and said about Jesus, because I can understand how the life of a man dedicated to people can so easily become a focal point for the things people want to make that life mean.

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The Malcolm myth or myths depend for substance upon the last chaotic and confusing year or two of his life – fragmentary statements growing out of his trip to Mecca and his efforts to bring the problems of black people in America to the attention of African leaders. Out of this period of his life comes the confusing complex of myths. According to the myth, his pilgrimage to Mecca turned Brother Malcolm into an integrationist. I’ve heard that seriously stated by people who claim to be scholars and students of the life of Brother Malcolm. In Mecca, they say, he saw blue-eyed whites and blacks worshipping and living together, in love, for the first time in his 39 years – and his whole concept of white people changed. This is the myth. And he rejected his former position that the white man is the enemy and that separation is inescapable This is the myth.

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The implication here is that this new insight changed his orientation; that with this new insight he was now free to join the NAACP, or to sing We Shall Overcome with Martin Luther King, or to become a Marxist and join the Socialist Workers Party. And certainly, if we accept this basic myth as being true, as being fact, if his experience in Mecca changed his conception of white people, then all the implications certainly follow logically. If in terms of his experience in Mecca he came to believe that there is no enmity between black and white, that blacks and whites can march together in unity and brotherhood, then why shouldn’t he join the NAACP, or sing We Shall Overcome, or become a Marxist in the Socialist Workers Party? I say that is the myth, and from my personal point of view, realizing that we are in the position of the blind man who inspected the elephant and tried to describe what an elephant is, I say I do not believe this myth. I reject it completely, totally and absolutely. I say if Malcolm X, Brother Malcolm, had undergone this kind of transformation, if in Mecca he had decided that blacks and whites can unite, then his life at that moment would have become meaningless in terms of the world struggle of black people, and we would not have any occasion to be here this evening. So I say I do not believe it.

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Brother Malcolm knew history and he was guided by his interpretation of history. He interpreted the things that happened to him in terms of his knowledge and his understanding of the past. He would not have been taken in by what happened in Mecca. Brother Malcolm knew that the Arab Muslims had been the backbone of the slave trade. Those of you who have a sentimental attachment to the “Black Muslims” in America, or the Muslims that happen to be black, might not like to remember that the slave trade with black Africans in Africa was fostered, encouraged and carried on by the Arab Muslims in Africa. Brother Malcolm knew this. He would not have been taken in by the window dressing in Mecca. He would not have forgotten this important fact – that blacks and whites do not unite above the basic fact of race, of color. He would not have forgotten this in Mecca any more than in New York or Chicago or San Francisco. He knew that in Saudi Arabia they are still selling black Africans into slavery, they still make forays into Black Africa and bring back black slaves for sale in Arab Muslim countries. Brother Malcolm knew this. And to me it is preposterous to say that in Mecca he became an integrationist.

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Also, according to the myth, Brother Malcolm tried to internationalize the black man’s struggle in America. Certainly he brought the black man’s struggle to the attention of African leaders. The implication is that Brother Malcolm felt that the black man in Africa could help us through the United Nations and that we would be better off before the white man’s World Court than before the white man’s Supreme Court. I do not believe it. Malcolm knew that one cracker court is just like another cracker court. He knew it, I know it and you know it. And to say now that he came to the conclusion that, if he could get the black man’s problem in America before the World Court, it would somehow mysteriously be changed and transformed is ridiculous. To take it before the World Court would have been interesting – but certainly no solution. We are no more apt to get justice before the World Court than before the Recorder’s Court downtown here in the city of Detroit. Crackers run both of them. Don’t be afraid, brothers, don’t be afraid – I am not hurting the image of Malcolm. I am just’trying to save it, because you are about to lose it, you are about to forget what Malcolm said. By taking the last moments of confusion, when he was getting ready to be assassinated, and saying that the confused little statements he made in those last moments were his life – that’s a lie, that wasn’t his life. I heard him, I talked to him, I know what his life was, and he understood the relationship between blacks and whites.

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Certainly Brother Malcolm wanted to relate our struggle, the struggle of black people in America, to the struggle of black people everywhere. I say to the struggle of black people everywhere, because that is a struggle that he understood, that I understand and that you understand. I am not talking about relating it to the struggle of oppressed people everywhere, but relating it to the struggle of black people everywhere. But he expected little help from the Africans and the African nations. Malcolm wasn’t running around Africa thinking that the African nations were going to free us. Malcolm wasn’t that kind of an idiotic idealist. He went to our black brothers because they were our brothers. He talked to them about our problems because their problems are our problems, and we are as concerned about their problems as we want them to be about our problems. But he didn’t go to Africa expecting them to free us. Sometimes we forget that, and we sit around waiting for somebody in Africa to send somebody over here to free us – “like Malcolm said they were going to.” He never said it and they are never going to do it. If you are going to be free, you are going to free yourself, and that is what Malcolm told us. The African nations can’t free us, they can’t save us. They couldn’t save Lumumba in Africa, they couldn’t wreak vengeance upon those who perpetrated his death in Africa. They couldn’t save the Congo; they couldn’t save the black people of Rhodesia; they couldn’t free the black people of South Africa. Then why should we sit here in our own oppression, our own suffering, our own brutality, waiting for some mysterious transformation when black armies from Africa are coming over here and free us? They could use some black armies from over here to free them.

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Malcolm never said it, and don’t be misled by the statement that Malcolm tried to internationalize the black man’s struggle. He tried to tell us quite simply that the white man has given you hell here in the United States and he is giving black men hell all over the world. It is one struggle – black men fighting for freedom everywhere, in every country, in the United States, in Africa, in Vietnam, everywhere. Black men fighting against white men for freedom. He tried to tell you that the white man is not going to free you. I don’t care what persuasion or philosophy he has, he is not going to free you, because if he frees you, he must take something away from himself to give it to you. Funny how we can so easily forget what Malcolm said. I don’t believe it. Certainly he wanted to relate it to the black man’s struggle throughout the world. He knew we were struggling against the same enemy. He knew that we could expect no more justice from the World Court than from a Supreme Court. So much for the Malcolm myth. Brother Malcolm’s contribution is tremendous. What Brother Malcolm contributed to the black man’s struggle in America and throughout the world cannot be equaled or surpassed by the life of any man. Oh, we can think of individuals like Marcus Garvey. When he looked at the world and said, “Where is the black man’s government?” it was tremendous. Because he understood that the black man was engaged in a struggle against an enemy, and that if he was engaged in a struggle there were certain things that were necessary – he had to have power, he had to have a government, he had to have economies, he had to have certain things. Marcus Garvey understood it. But no man surpasses Malcolm in his understanding of the meaning of the struggle in which black people are engaged everywhere in the world. And there was no subterfuge or confusion or weak-kneed pussyfooting in Malcolm as long as he lived.

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I want to tell you this: we get all confused because we don’t know who assassinated him. I don’t believe that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad assassinated him. You believe whatever you want to, I do not believe it. And because we get confused about who assassinated him, we say there was never any good in Elijah Muhammad or the “Black Muslims.” I don’t believe that either. I believe that the basic truths that Malcolm X taught came from the basic philosophy and teachings of Elijah Muhammad. I believe that the basic contribution which he made, the basic philosophy which he taught, stems directly from the teachings of Elijah Muhammad and the “Black Muslims.” I do not accept all the teachings of Elijah Muhammad or the “Black Muslims,” but I understand what Malcolm X did to those teachings. He took the teachings of a cult, with all the mythology of the “Black Muslims,” and universalized them so that black people everywhere, no matter what their religion, could understand them and could accept them. I can accept the teachings which he abstracted from the cult philosophy and mythology of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. I do not believe in the story about Yacub and creating the white man as the devil in 6,000 years, but that has nothing to do with the essential truth. I do not believe that the white man is the devil. He does devilish things, but I don’t believe that he is a devil. Because to say that he is a devil is to say that he is more than human, and I don’t believe that. You know that in the Christian religion the devil was flung out of heaven; he was an angel, he was more than a man, and to believe that the white man is a devil is to attribute to him supernatural powers. That is a cult mystique. There is nothing about the white man that is supernatural. He is just exactly like we are – that’s why we can understand him so well. There is nothing mysterious about what he does. He wasn’t condemned to be a devil for 6,000 years – he just acts like a devil because it suits his purpose, and he mistreats us, he oppresses us, he’s brutal to us, because it’s in his interest – not because he is a devil.

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It is closer to the truth to say that he is a beast, and that is what Malcolm said. You would like to forget that now, but every time I talked to him, he referred to the white man as a beast. And those of you who are white here will agree with him that most white people are beasts – you can’t deny it. On the basis of the way the white man has treated black men in America and throughout the world for 400 years, you cannot deny that he certainly had a truth there when he said that the white man is a beast. But not a devil. A beast is lower than a man, a devil is higher than a man. Certainly the white man is not a devil, but he is in many instances a beast. Malcolm was different when he was in the “Black Muslims.” You have got to remember that too – he had a power base then. You know, as quiet as it is kept, it is one thing to operate out of something, to talk out of something, to have something behind you when you go into a town or a city – to go knowing that there are people there who are preparing things for you. It is another thing to step out by yourself and try to go around the country without a power base, without any protection, without any organization in front. And that was the difference when Malcolm X stepped out of the Muslim movement and became an individual. Then he faced the harassment, the danger, the confusion and everything in these last years that those who want to distort Malcolm X want to make so much out of. At the beginning, when he was with the Muslims, there was a power base from which he operated, a philosophical foundation upon which he could build. And he built well and he operated well in terms of a power base. He abstracted the general truths that we still remember. And these things we have got to preserve – we have got to preserve, brothers, I’m telling you, we have got to preserve.

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We have a great tendency to turn our leaders over to somebody else. Who is the custodian of Malcolm’s tradition? Who is the custodian? (Voice from audience: “We are.”) But we aren’t acting like it. You know who the custodian is, don’t you? – there he sits, right there. If Mr. Breitman stopped writing, nobody would write anything. And he’s doing it in terms of what he believes is a proper interpretation. If we want to preserve our heroes, we have to become the custodians of that tradition. Who is the custodian of DuBois? Black people? No, we don’t have one thing that he wrote. The Communist Party has it, and they will let us read what they want us to read. I’m talking to you black brothers, I don’t care what the rest of these people think. We have got to become the custodians of our own heroes and save them and interpret them the way we want them interpreted. And if you don’t do it, then you have to accept what somebody else says they said. Who is the custodian of Paul Robeson? (Voice from audience: “The Communists.”) All right, we don’t have it. The great things he said, all of the things – where are they? The CIA has taken over perhaps all of the African Encyclopedia that DuBois was working on in Ghana. Nobody knows where it is. We don’t protect these things. We are careless and we get caught up in the myths that other people spin for us.

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In another five years our children won’t know what Malcolm X was really like. Because we won’t write it down, and everything that is written that they can put their hands on will be saying that Malcolm X said something he never said, that Malcolm X meant something he never meant. I say Malcolm X was tremendously important, beyond even our comprehension today, because Malcolm changed the whole course of the black man’s freedom struggle – the whole course of that freedom struggle not only in America but throughout the world. Black people everywhere in Africa, in the United States, everywhere, black people are fighting today a different battle than they fought before Malcolm began to talk. A different battle because Malcolm laid down certain basic principles that we can never forget. He changed the whole course. The first basic principle that Malcolm laid down that we can’t forget is this: The white man is your enemy. That is a basic principle, we can’t forget it. I don’t care what else they drag in from wherever they drag it – remember one thing, Malcolm X taught one truth: The white man is our enemy. We can’t get away from it, and if we accept and understand that one basic truth, his life was not lived in vain. Because upon that one basic truth we can build a total philosophy, a total course of action for struggle.

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Because that was the basic confusion which distorted the lives of black people, which corrupted the movements of black people. That was the basic area of our confusion, and Malcolm X straightened that out. The white man is an enemy – he said it. We must break our identification with him, and that was his basic contribution. He didn’t just say it, he didn’t sit off someplace and just write it – he went out and he lived it. He asked for moments of confrontation. He said we have got to break our identification, we can’t go through life identifying with the white man or his government. You remember what he said down there at King Solomon Baptist Church: You talk about “your” navy and “your” astronauts. He said forget it, we don’t identify with these people, they are the enemy. And that is the basic truth. We must break our identification with the enemy, we must confront him, and we must realize that conflict and violence are necessary parts of a struggle against an enemy – that is what he taught. Conflict, struggle and violence are not to be avoided. Don’t be afraid of them – you heard what he said. There has got to be some bloodshed, he said, if black men want to be free – that is what he taught. Now you can’t take that and say that he believed in blacks and whites marching together. He said black men have got to be willing to shed their blood because they believe that they can be free. The white man is an enemy.

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We must take pride in ourselves – you know that is what he said. But he didn’t make a mystique out of Africa. He didn’t sit down in a corner and contemplate his navel and think about the wonders of Africa. He said we have a history that we can be proud of. Africa is our history, African blood is our blood, African soil is our soil. We can take pride in our past – not by sitting down and contemplating it, but by using it as the basis for a course of action in today’s world, as a basis for confrontation with the enemy, as a basis for struggle, for conflict, and even for violence, if necessary. We fight because we are proud; and because we are proud, we are not going to lie down and crawl like snakes on our bellies. We are not going to take second-class citizenship sitting down, saying, “Well, in a few years maybe things will change.” We want to change it now. That is what Malcolm told us, that is what we believe, and that is the basis of our struggle today.

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A corollary of that, which you must understand and which is essentially Malcolm’s contribution, is that integration is impossible and undesirable. Integration is impossible – he said it time and time and time again, under all kinds of circumstances – integration is impossible and undesirable. Now this was harder for black people to take than for white people. Because white people never wanted it in the first place, and were determined that it would never come to pass in the second place. But black people had been led to believe that it was a possibility, always just around the corner. So black people had pegged all of their organizational efforts toward integration. We sang We Shall Overcome Someday, believing that overcoming meant integrating. The NAACP pegged its whole program on the possibilities of integration. We are going to build an integrated world, we are going to build a world in which black people and white people live together, we are going to build an integrated world – that is what Dr. Martin Luther King said. “I’ve got a dream for America tonight, a dream when the children of slaves shall walk hand-in-hand with the children of slavemasters.” And we believed it until Malcolm X told us it is a lie. And that is a genuine contribution – it is a lie. You will never walk hand-in-hand with anybody but black people, let me tell you. If you do, it is just a moment of mutual hypocrisy in which you are both engaged, for some purpose best known to yourselves.

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You may build a position of strength, a position of power from which you can negotiate with strength instead of weakness, and if you are willing to negotiate, then you can talk to the white man as an equal. That is as close to brotherhood as there is – there is no other brotherhood. If you talk to a man as an equal, he is your brother. But there is no other kind of equal. You cannot get down on your knees and talk up to a man and talk about brotherhood. Because you stopped being a brother when you got down on your knees. And if you are afraid to get up and look him in the eye and take a chance of getting killed if necessary, then there is no hope of brotherhood for you. Integration is impossible and undesirable – Malcolm taught it We have our own communities. The white man “gave” them to us. He forced us into them. He separated himself from us. And white people went all around the country all the time Malcolm was alive, saying, “He wants separation.” They had separated themselves from us in every area of life, and yet they said, “He is bad, he is wicked, he wants separation.” And if he had asked for integration seriously, they would have killed him more quickly.

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He said we are going to control these separate communities. We have them, the white man “gave” them to us, and we are going to stop being ashamed of them. We are going to live in them and we are going to make them the best communities in the world. We are going to make the schools in them black schools and good schools. We are going to make our housing black housing and good housing. We are no longer going to believe that a block is no good till a white man comes and buys a house on it. We are no longer going to believe that if we can move into a community where half of the people on the street are white, that that is a better community. We are going to take our separate communities, we are going to work with them, we are going to control them, we are going to control their politics, we are going to control their economy we are going to control our community Malcolm X laid the entire foundation for everything Stokely Carmichael says. Stokely hasn’t said one word that was not completely implicit in everything that Malcolm X taught. He is just a voice carrying on upon the basic foundation that Malcolm X put down. Integration is impossible and undesirable. We are going to control our own communities. We are going to stop worrying about being separate. We are not worried about busing black children into white neighborhoods. We are not worried about open occupancy, except that we want the right to live any place, and unless we are given that right, we will take it. And when we take it, we will still live together, because we do not want to live with you. That is a philosophy, that is Malcolm X’s philosophy. We have learned it, we still remember it, and there is nothing you can do today to take it away from us. But I’m telling you, brothers, we have got to write it down because they are about to mess it up so we won’t recognize it next year.

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The whole civil rights movement has changed. The NAACP is washed up, through, finished. The Urban League is nothing but the social service agency it started out to be. The civil rights movement now is nothing but Stokely Carmichael and Floyd McKissick – that’s it. Because they got the message. They are building today on what Malcolm said yesterday. The civil rights movement, the freedom struggle, the revolution – call it what you will – black men fighting for freedom today are fighting in terms laid down by Brother Malcolm. No other terms. You can’t go out into the community – the brother here said “let’s go out into the community” – you can’t go out into the community with anything other than what Malcolm X taught. Because they won’t listen to you, they won’t hear you. The whole movement has changed. The last great picnic, as Floyd McKissick said, on the White House lawn, that “great freedom march” – that was the end, that was it. From here on in, black people are trying to build, to organize. Malcolm in his last days was trying to make the transition to organization, to structure; to fight not only in terms of words, of ideas, but to build the organizational structure. He didn’t do it. But he was making the transition because he realized that the next stage is an organizational stage – that if you want to be free, if you want power, you have got to organize to take it.
When you were just begging the white man to give you something, you didn’t need organization. All you needed was a kneeling pad so that you could kneel down and look humble. But if you want power, you have got to organize to get it – you have got to have political power, you have got to have economic power, you have got to organize. Malcolm realized that, and the feeble beginnings he made in the area of organization were pointing the way. Today we have got to carry on that organizational struggle that Malcolm pointed out.

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I was in New York, I went to his headquarters while he was over in Africa, I talked with his lieutenants. They didn’t have the slightest idea of what was going on. They loved Malcolm, and they were sitting in the Hotel Theresa in a suite of rooms, but they didn’t have the slightest conception of how to organize. They were waiting for Brother Malcolm to come home so he could tell them what to do. I said, “My God, one man never carried such a load all by himself! He has men here who are supposed to be doing something and they are sitting there waiting for him to come back.” And they were carrying around his letters – he would write back a letter and they were carrying it around like it was the Bible: “Look, we’ve got a few words from Brother Malcolm.” He did not want reverence – he wanted people who could do something, who could organize, who believed in action, who were willing to go out and sacrifice; and he didn’t have them. And all of us today – black people, brothers from coast to coast – when we get together and do reverence to Malcolm, let us remember that the last message was organize. We didn’t do it and that is why he died. We didn’t have organization enough to protect him We didn’t have organization enough to give him funds to do what he had to do We let him die.

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The message is the same today, and still we are not organizing, we are not doing the work that has to be done. If you love Brother Malcolm, write your poems at night and organize and work in the daytime for power. Because until you get power, Malcolm X is just a memory. When we get power, we will put his statue in every city, because the cities will belong to us. Then we can do him reverence. But until we get power, let’s not play with images and myths. Let’s remember that he gave us certain principles, certain ideas, and we have got to do something with them. All of us have the task – to organize, to build, to fight, to get power. And as we get it, as we struggle for it, we will remember that we are struggling because we believe the things that he taught. That is the message of Malcolm, and don’t let anybody get you all mixed up. He never turned into an integrationist, never. He wasn’t fooled in Mecca, he wasn’t fooled in Africa. He told it like it was and he knew it like it was. That is our Malcolm. Some other folks may have another Malcolm – they are welcome to it. But brothers, don’t lose our Malcolm.

Reverend Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman aka Albert Cleage Jr, Preacher of Black Nationalism , A Black Nation , A Nation Within a Nation

Free Press mag 11-30-69

Reverend Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman aka Albert Cleage Jr. represented the more militant side of the pulpit in pre-riot Detroit. A highly skilled orator, Cleage was renowned for his blunt, separatist’s views and the desire to create what he coined a “Black Nation.” He was the ideological spokesman for Detroit’s black militancy and, despite the backlash against him, he was a voice that would not be silenced. As a result he became a very polarized figure. Whites viewed Cleage’s Sunday shock sermons as laced with racial invective, having the effect of further fracturing an already divided city. His black congregation pumped their fist with approval for a leader who aggressively took on the great white power structure they had long believed was the root of the problem in Detroit and for their perpetual, if not pre-fabricated, black plight.

Cleage grew up in Detroit, completing an undergraduate degree from Wayne State University and his theology degree from Oberlin College. He openly espoused a transfer of power from white to black in Detroit, a point of contention which rankled many of the city’s white business and civic leaders as well as right wing blacks who were followers of Dr. King’s non-violence philosophy and were desperately attempting to mend racial fences after the riots and thus keep Cleage at arm’s length, a feat they were never able to do. Cleage’s combative tirades were a unique strain of militant rhetoric, historical perspective and biblical prophecy. His points were fact based and, like Malcolm X, difficult to argue against. However, Cleage failed to realize that if he was successful in transferring “ownership” of the city from white to black, that when the whites left they would take their considerable resources with them, leaving behind an economic scorched earth for the black community to deal with.

 

A Black Nation

“What do we mean when we speak of a Black Revolution? I can remember an incident at the beginning of the Harlem Rebellion only a few short years ago when a news reporter snapped an unforgettable picture of a black girl who was present when a black boy was brutally killed by a white apartment house caretaker. She stood there on the sidewalk, her face contorted with anger and frustration, tears streaming down her cheeks, and she screamed at the cops who had rushed to the scene to keep their kind of law and order, “Kill me too! Kill me too!”
This was the absolute in frustration. “The problem of being black in a white man’s world is just too big. I don’t know what to do with it. So just kill me too and get it over with.” That was what she was saying.

Black brothers and sister all over the country felt a spontaneous identification with that girl because every black person has felt just this kind of frustration. We feel every day. At every meeting some young black man jumps to his feet screaming, “I can’t stand it any longer. Let’s take to the streets and get it over with!” We all know how he feels and why he feels that way. Each of us has felt that same sense of powerlessness that makes us ache with helplessness and hopelessness and drives us to seek death as an easy way out. Those of us who cry out think of ourselves as revolutionists and participants in the Black Revolution. But a revolution seeks to change conditions. So each day we must decide. Either we are trying to achieve the power to change conditions or we have turned from the struggle and are seeking a heroic moment when we can die in the streets.

As black people, we have entered a revolution rather than the evolution of gradual change which white folks like us to accept. We want to move fast enough to be able to see that we are moving. And four hundred years of standing still is a long time. We are trying to make the world over so that our children can have the power to live like human beings. We look at the world in which we live today and we are determined to turn the world upside down.

But when I hear cries of “Kill me too!” I know that that individual no longer has any hope. When he screams, “Let’s get together and die in the streets,” I know that in his desperate hopelessness this individual has put aside the revolution. Dying in the streets is not revolution. This is escapism. This is suicide. But it is not revolution. As long as there is the slightest possibility of victory, we are still engaged in a revolution. But when an individual sees no way to achieve power to change conditions, then the revolution is over. It doesn’t make any difference how he spends his remaining time, singing hymns, getting drunk or buying guns. For him the revolution is over.”

“Something has happened to black people in these United States. We are not as we were a few years ago, a few months ago, a few weeks ago. Something has happened to us: not to America but to us, to the way we think, the way we fight, the way we work together. This is the most important thing that has ever happened in America.

What is that something? It is that fear is gone. Just a few weeks ago we were so different. Down South we were afraid; up North we were afraid. The fear was a very elementary fear. It was not the fear of being brutalized, of be humiliated. Essentially, it was the fear of dying. When the white man in the South said, “Get of the sidewalk,” why did we get off? Because we were afraid of dying. We are not afraid any more. So the white man has stopped saying it. Now he is afraid. Now he must redefine his relationship with us.

Why is fear gone? Fear is gone essentially because we are in the process of becoming a Black Nation, a nation that is real as if it had a capital, a Congress and a president. We was a people are now dedicated to one purpose, freedom for black people. It is this which makes the difference. We didn’t understand what this was before because each of us functioned as an individual. We were afraid to fight because we felt that if we fought we would fight alone and we would die alone. It is hard to stand up and be a man when you are all by yourself. That is the way we were. The difference now is that we are coming together. We are no longer just individuals. We are becoming a Nation. If you fight back against oppression, we are not going to turn our backs and run away. When you know that, you feel different no matter how much Uncle Tom still remains in you. Now you are part of a nation so the fear is gone.

We are a Black Nation in a white man’s world. Increasingly the white man’s world has become an enemy world, an enemy world from which we have been systematically excluded and which we now despise and reject. They can’t exclude us anymore because we don’t want to be in their world. Now we are in our world, our own Nation, so much so that sometimes we feel uncomfortable because we have to go out into their enemy world to work and to shop.

We have become a Black Nation. You can see it everywhere. The white press doesn’t know what to make of it. White journalists are the most confused people in the world. Sometimes when you read the things they write you think you are reading a fairy tale. Hans Christian Anderson is much closer to reality than they are because they don’t have any key to understand what’s happening. This is because in their minds we are inferior. We can’t hate like they hate. We can’t believe like they believe. We can’t fight like they fight. So they have to make up some kind of story to explain why we do the things we do. Yet the answer is so simple. All they have to accept is the simple fact black people are black but in every other way there is no difference. If they could just accept this simple fact, they would realize why we cannot accept any more than they could the brutalization, the degradation, the indignities, and the criminalities to which we have been subjected. But they can’t see that, and so they can’t understand our Black Revolution.”

Haki Kweli Shakur 10-29-52ADM ATC NAPLA NAIM MOI