The letter is in response to the closing down of a successful Black History Program that Mafundi had created and lead at Donaldson with enthusiastic participation from the African inmates.
Mafundi is one of the many imprisoned African revolutionaries being held captive in U.S. Prisons on trumped up charges. Mafundi served as the National Organizer for the African National Prison Organization in the late seventies and early eighties. He was also a main organizer of the Atmore- Holman Brothers inside the Alabama prison system. He has been locked down for thirty years, and he should be set free.
The Burning Spear calls on all of its readers to support Mafundi’s effort to put the Black History Program back in place at the unit.
Write to Chaplains Eskelinen and Bucher voicing your support for the program and the African inmates to know their history. Please send a copy of your letters to Mafundi also. Letters of support should be mailed to:
Chaplains Eskelinen and Bucher, 100 Warrior Lane, Bessemer, Al 35023 -7299; Phone number: 205-436-3681
Send copy of letter to Richard Mafundi Lake #079972, 100 Warrior Lane #M-61, Bessemer, Al 35023 – 7299
BIRMINGHAM, AL—Dear Chaplains Eskelinen and Bucher: To my surprise, the black history class has been arbitrarily cancelled. Neither I, nor my class members, were given the courtesy of a warning that it would be cancelled. I think that there should have been some kind of discussion or consultation with the class members, be‐fore cancelling the class. What criteria and rationale were used to decide what classes would be cancelled and which classes would remain?
The black history class was created out of necessity, because there was an acute lack of diversity in the dorm’s educational programs. This lack of program diversity was brought to the attention of Chaplain Bill Lindsay and he recognized this deficiency—the interests, needs, and aspirations of the black residents were not being addressed.
There was absolutely no visible representation of black cultural values in the available programs or in the books, DVDs, CDs, and other material available to the dorm’s residents. Chaplain Lindsay addressed this deficiency honestly and honorably, and approved of the black history class to become one of the dorm’s regular programs.
From the very beginning, the black history class was fraught with critics, criticisms, and outright hostility from some of the dorm’s white residents and the Assistant Chaplain, David Bucher. It was an obvious and understandable reaction, since white peopled deem anything black negative, detrimental, and dangerous. In the American culture, most white people are still fighting the Ameri‐can Civil War! These same people can see no redemptive qualities in anything black. People who see black history as insignificant also see black peoples as insignificant.
White people embrace their history, promote their history, and celebrate their history, but they demand that black people forget their history! I am sure that black history can be embarrassing to a lot of white people, but black history is enlightening, uplifting, and inspiring to black people. black people are not going away, so why is it so important to white people to deny black people knowledge of their own history and culture? This denial is evident in the fact that black history classes have become necessary to compensate for the omission of black history in most history books in the American school system.
In an environment that consists of a majority of black people, it is an insult to deprive black people knowledge of themselves. It is not only an insult, but it also rank racist arrogance! Out of one’s history and culture evolves one’s values, principles, and perspective on life. People have the tendency to behave in accordance with what they value. If you want to destroy a people, destroy their history and culture. White racists have tried for over 400 years to destroy black peoples‘ history and culture, but they have never been successful!
It is a crime and a sin, before God, that in a predominately black prison, black inmates are not allowed to be taught their history. Although black history has been called “racist” and “irrelevant” by those ignorant of its true affect, it is unconscionable to cancel the Black History class. The Civil War is over! The slave culture lost the war! The South will never rise again! Let Jim Crow die!
I must mention that it seems like it is required to be a “snitcher” to live in “M” dorm—the Faithbased/Honor dorm. I am not a snitcher; I have never been a snitcher, and I never will be a snitcher. Where is the honor in being a snitcher? A snitcher is the most despicable person on earth. Even the people who use snitchers do not like snitchers.
Snitchers create a hostile and violent environment. It is a sin for a godly person to encourage snitching. I cannot recall the bible ever promoting snitching. In fact, in Leviticus 19:16 it states: Thou shall not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: Neither shall thou stand against the blood of thy neighbor: I am the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:11 states: And that you study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your hands, as we com‐manded you. The Faith/Honor dorm is supposed to be about teaching honor, values, and principles and not about advocating and promoting snitching and other decadent behavior.
I am a proud and principled black man, and I will never compromise my history and culture nor my dignity for anything or anybody. White folks just do not get it; they will compromise or destroy a people or program, simply to exalt the myth of white supremacy! I did not move into the Faith/Honor dorm to have my history/culture assaulted and distorted. I also did not move into the dorm to be a snitcher. I came into the dorm to enhance my spiritual growth, to strengthen my ethical resolve, and to sharpen my ethical perspective.
Stop the assault on black people! Stop the assault on black history and black culture! America has a shameful and criminal history of racism and racial injustice against black people. It seems that the only black people that white people are comfortable with are docile, obsequious and sniveling cravens—sycophants who put other black people down for the amusement of white people. Proud and dignified black people are considered undesirable and dangerous. Racism is against the law everywhere in America, yet it is still perpetuated and condoned.
It took a vicious and devastating Civil War to free black people from the ignominy and inhumanity of chattel slavery, and it took a very vigorous and sustained Civil Rights and Human Rights movement for black people to achieve a modicum of dignity and basic rights. White folks might wish for the “good ole days” of black peoples‘ enslavement and Jim Crowism, but black people are not going back to that!
Also, white residents in the dorm make up 50 percent of the dorm’s residents, but they make up about 15 percent of the total prisoner population at Donaldson. White prisoners are overrepresented in the dorm, while black prisoners’ votes are diluted by this undemocratic process. The same process determines who becomes the dorm’s representa‐tives: The representatives are not elected, they are selected; The reps are not chosen on merits, but by popularity.
I feel very strongly about the things I have written in this letter, and I hope this letter will be thought provoking and will not be cursorily dismissed.
Write to Richard Mafundi Lake at Richard Mafundi Lake 079972,100 Warrior Lane #M-61, Bessemer, AL 35023-7299. Also write to Chaplain Brian Eskelinen in support of Richard Mafundi Lake at 100 Warrior Lane, Bessemer Al 35023-7299.
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