December 31, 2014

Happy Kwanzaa: Kuumba ('Creativity')

Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah): Creativity - Using creativity and imagination to make your communities better than what you inherited.

December 25, 2014

OURstory: Michael Anderson, NASA African American Astronaut

OURstory must be shared at all times of the year, not just in February. I think it is important that our young people challenge themselves in K-12 with science and math classes. Perhaps it will help if this blog shares examples of African American role models who used their knowledge of science and math to create exciting futures for themselves.

For example, Did you know that a young brother named Michael Anderson was born December 25, 1959, in Plattsburgh, New York. He graduated from Cheney High School in Cheney, Washington in 1977. He received a bachelor of science degree in physics/astronomy from University of Washington in 1981. Later he earned a master of science degree in physics from Creighton University.

He successfully got a job with NASA in December 1994. Anderson flew for over 593 hours in space. One of his spaces flight was in January 1988 on the Shuttle Endeavor.

His last flight was in 2003. Anderson was part of a 7-member shuttle mission launched by NASA on January 16, 2003. Space Shuttle Columbia was on a 16-day mission to research microgravity and other Earth science related experiments.

The seven member crew, David Brown, Laurel Clark, Michael Anderson, Ilan Ramon, Rick Husband, Kalpana Chawla and William McCool died on February 1, 2003 when Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart during reentry.

It was later determined that a piece of foam broke free and struck the shuttles wing during launch, damaging the thermal heat tiles which protect the shuttle from extreme temperatures during reentry into the atmosphere.

Michael Anderson was a hero. He was a role model for all of us. May he rest in peace.

Rest In Peace: Eartha Kitt (1927-2008)

81-year old Eartha Kitt passed away on this date in 2008. She was an international superstar who performed in over 100 countries and sang songs in 10 different languages.

She performed on stage, film and television for six decades. I was introduced to Eartha Kitt when she played the role of 'Catwoman' in the weekly 'Batman' television series. There weren't many Black actresses on television back in the day. I'm hard pressed to think of anyone besides 'Julia' and one of the teachers in 'Room 222' ... and most villagers don't remember either one of those shows.

My kids are too young to realize that they were listening to Eartha Kitt whenever they watched the movie or cartoon series, 'The Emperor's New Groove'. She played the role of the villain, Yzma, in that show.

Later, I saw Eartha Kitt in a Eddie Murphy-Halle Berry film called 'Boomerang'. Admittedly, she scared me a little bit in that movie. I'm sad to learn of her death. It's fitting that she went to the other side on December 25th. After all, one of her most popular hits was 'Santa Baby'.

December 21, 2014

Happy Birthday: Florence Griffith-Joyner (1959-1998)

My favorite female athlete of all times is Florence Griffith-Joyner ... or Flo-Jo. Flo-Jo was born in Los Angeles on this date in 1959.

She was a dominant track star in the 1980s. In fact, the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul Korea is forever imprinted in my mind as the Games of Flo-Jo. In the 1988 Seoul Games, she won gold medals in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and in the 400-meter relay. For these accomplishments, she received the Jesse Owens Award, given to the year's top track and field athlete, and the Sullivan Award, given to the year's most outstanding amateur athlete.

Only us villagers from a certain generation can remember her flashy one-legged uniforms as well as her long and extravagantly painted fingernails. Check out this video to gain an appreciation of this powerful female athlete:

Flo-Jo retired from track in 1989 to devote more time to endorsement activities, modeling, writing, and coaching her husband. President Bill Clinton appointed Griffith-Joyner co-chairperson of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in 1993.

Some, like Marion Jones, tried to emulate her without success. Florence Griffith-Joyner died of an apparent heart seizure in 1998.

Do you remember Flo-Jo? What female athlete do you think can challenge her as the greatest of all times?

December 18, 2014

Happy Birthday: Ossie Davis (1917-2005)

Ossie Davis was born on this date in 1917. He was an African American actor, writer, producer, director, and a "giant of civil rights." It is hard to think of Ossie Davis without thinking of his wife, Ruby Dee. The two of them demonstrated the power of a committed love between a married couple.

Raiford Chatman Davis (his birth name) was the oldest of five children born to Laura Cooper and Kince Davis in Cogden, GA. He picked up his nickname others mistook his mother's articulation of his initials, "R.C” as "Ossie." He headed for Howard University, where he studied under drama critic Alain LeRoy Locke, the first Black Rhodes Scholar. Davis began his career as a writer and an actor with the Rose McClendon Players in Harlem in 1939.

Davis and Ruby Dee were married in 1948, and are the parents of three children. In 1961, Davis wrote and starred in the critically acclaimed “Purlie Victorious.”

He wrote and directed many films, including “Cotton Comes to Harlem” (1970) and “Countdown at Kusini” (co-produced with his wife, Ruby Dee, 1976), the first American feature film to be shot entirely in Africa by Black professionals.

Davis wrote a number of books and received many honors and citations, including the Hall of Fame Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement in 1989; the Theater Hall of Fame in 1994; the U.S. National Medal for the Arts in 1995; the New York Urban League Frederick Douglass Award; the NAACP Image Award and more. Dee and Davis were joint Kennedy Center honorees in December. They were cited not only for their "theatrical and film achievement," but because they opened "many a door previously shut tight to African American artists and planted the seed for the flowering of America's multicultural humanity."

Davis and Dee were eloquent voices and fundraisers for civil rights issues from the McCarthy era in the 1950s. They were blacklisted because of their activities, and well into the 1980s and '90s, Davis continued as a spokesman for numerous causes of equality.

Ossie Davis was found dead on February 4, 2005, in his hotel room in Miami Beach, FL, at the age of 87.

I enjoyed watching Ossie Davis whenever I could. I thought that he was great in two Spike Lee movies, 'Get on the Bus' and 'Do The Right Thing'. However, my most powerful memory of Ossie Davis comes from somthing that I heard many years after the fact ... his eulogy at the funeral of Malcolm X.

Villagers -- what is your favorite memory of Ossie Davis?

December 13, 2014

OURstory: Underground Railroad (1780-1862)

I believe in the Nguzo Saba, especially the Umoja (unity) principle. Umoja calls for us to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

One of the best examples of 'umoja' in American history is the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad, a vast network of people who helped fugitive slaves escape to the North and to Canada. This network was not run by any single organization or person. It effectively moved hundreds of slaves northward each year -- according to one estimate, the South lost 100,000 slaves between 1810 and 1850.

An organized system to assist runaway slaves seems to have begun towards the end of the 18th century. In 1786 George Washington complained about how one of his runaway slaves was helped by a "society of Quakers, formed for such purposes." The system grew, and around 1831 it was dubbed "The Underground Railroad," after the then emerging steam railroads. The system even used terms used in railroading: the homes and businesses where fugitives would rest and eat were called "stations" and "depots" and were run by "stationmasters," those who contributed money or goods were "stockholders," and the "conductor" was responsible for moving fugitives from one station to the next.

For the slave, running away to the North was anything but easy. After the initial escape for a slaveholde, the fugitives would move at night. They would generally travel between 10 and 20 miles to the next station, where they would rest and eat, hiding in barns and other out-of-the-way places. While they waited, a message would be sent to the next station to alert its stationmaster.

The Underground Railroad had many notable participants, including John Fairfield in Ohio, the son of a slaveholding family, who made many daring rescues, Levi Coffin, a Quaker who assisted more than 3,000 slaves, and Harriet Tubman, who made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom.

Ohio was crucial to the Underground Railroad saga. It has been estimated that 40,000 runaway slaves escaped to Canadian freedom through Ohio. A secret and successful network of over 700 safehouses and “depots” waited for those fugitives fortunate enough to make it to—and across—the Ohio River.

Although a “free state,” a designation indicating only that its residents could not own slaves, Ohio was a distinctly dangerous host to the escapees. Bounty hunters criss-crossed the state. Pro-slavery factions existed in many villages and cities. The Ohio Black Laws rewarded those who turned in or reported runaways. Lake Erie was a formidable obstacle to attaining Canadian freedom. Vigilante groups scoured the state, targeting all African-Americans. Law officers were aggressive, particularly following the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.

I live in greater Cincinnati area. We are home to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Museum. I hope that all villagers have a chance to visit this remarkable museum.

Also, the Cincinnati Museum Center hosted a world-class exhibit, America I AM: The African American Imprint in 2010. The Center for African American Decorative Arts lent them a book simply entitled The Underground Railroad to be displayed in the Underground Railroad gallery at the America I AM exhibit. In 1852, a group of Philadelphia abolitionists formed a General Vigilance Committee to assist escaped slaves along the Underground Railroad. William Still was part of this group and kept detailed records of the runaway slaves he encountered. First published in 1872, this book is used to this day in genealogy searches. Many of the stories include references to Cincinnati and the Ohio River.

What are your thoughts about the Underground Railroad?

December 8, 2014

Happy Birthday: Flip Wilson (1933-1998)

On this date in 1933, Flip Wilson was born. He was an African American entertainer and the most visible Black comedian of the early 1970s.

He was born in Jersey City, N.J., the tenth of 24 children. Clerow Wilson (his given name) was a troublesome and troubled child in his youth. His family was extremely poor, he ran away from several reform schools, and was ultimately raised in foster homes. His comedic talents first surfaced while he was serving in the Air Force overseas. While in the Pacific, Wilson entertained his buddies with preposterous routines. Upon his return to civilian life he had to settle for a day job as a bellhop along with part-time showmanship.

Opportunity found him in 1959 when a Miami businessman sponsored him for one year for $50 per week, enabling him to concentrate on the work he loved. For the next five years, Flip Wilson appeared regularly at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. The Tonight Show was his next stop. in 1965, he began a series of nationwide appearances, followed by long-term contracts and a number of hit records. With "The Flip Wilson Show" in the early 1970s, he became the first African American to have a weekly prime-time television show under his own name.

I remember watching Flip Wilson when I was a kid. The two catch phrases that stick with me are: "What you see is what you get!" and "The devil made me do it!" Could Tyler Perry have been successful with Madea without Flip Wilson's portrayal of Geraldine?

Wilson died November 25, 1998 at the age of 64. Rest in peace Mr. Wilson!

December 7, 2014

Rest In Peace: Elizabeth Edwards (1949-2010)

Elizabeth Edwards died of cancer on this date in 2010 at the age of 61. She was surrounded on her deathbed by friends and family, including her estranged husband, John Edwards.

From all accounts she was a strong woman and a powerful advocate for her husband when he ran for political office.  There was a time when I thought that she would be in the White House.  I voted for her husband whenever he was on the ballot.   He wasn't on the ballot when the 2008 Democratic Primary was held in my state.

She was a strong advocate for health care reform.  And she battled cancer for a number of years.   The shame of it all was that her personal triumphs were overshadowed in the end by the gigantic ego and irresponsible behavior of her husband.   Anyhow, I join with other villagers in saying 'Rest in Peace' to Elizabeth Edwards.

December 5, 2014

Rest In Peace: Nelson Mandela (1918 - 2013)

Today we mourn the death of international hero Nelson Mandela. His life personifies 'the heart of a lion'. He led the fight against apartheid with extraordinary vigor and resilience after spending nearly three decades of his life behind bars. He sacrificed his private life and his youth for his people, and remains South Africa's best known and loved hero.

Mandela was born July 18, 1918. He was jailed in November 1962 for leaving the country illegally and for incitement to strike. While serving the sentence he was charged with sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment.

In prison Mandela demonstrated his heart by never compromising his political principles. He was always a source of strength for the other prisoners. Nelson Mandela's reputation grew steadily. He was widely accepted as the most significant Black leader in South Africa and became a potent symbol of resistance as the anti-apartheid movement gathered strength. He consistently refused to compromise his political position to obtain his freedom.

More people watched his release from prison on February 11, 1990 than any other prisoner in the history of the world. Some even analyzed the details of his speech he gave on his release! He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He served as president of South Africa from 1994-1999.

Mandela has honorary degrees from more than 50 international universities. Nelson Mandela retired from public life in June 1999 and he currently resides in his birth place - Qunu, Transkei.

Here is my Pinterest board dedicated to Nelson Mandela

Villagers, do you remember your participating in protests against apartheid? Do you remember how you felt when Mandela was finally released from prison? Can you deny that this quite man of peace found a way into your heart?

Rest in peace, Madiba!

November 23, 2014

Author Carleen Brice Welcomes White Folks to the Black Section of the Bookstore

Soulclap to Black Threads in Kid's Lit for sharing this video with us!

Carleen Brice
You don't see many white folks perusing the Black Literature section of the book store. Perhaps they just need an invitation!

Carleen Brice is the author of the novel Orange Mint and Honey ... her debut novel is the basis for the NAACP Image Award-winning Lifetime TV movie "Sins of the Mother" starring Jill Scott and Nicole Beharie.

Carleen asks that in December everybody buy a book by a Black author and give it to somebody not Black.  The video is ironic in nature ... but, it doesn't hide the problem that Black authors may not be getting maximum revenue potential if their books are not being promoted to larger audiences. Something to consider next time you visit a local bookstore!

November 22, 2014

Black Moses Barbie (Harriet Tubman Commerical, 3-of-3)

This commercial for a Black Moses Barbie toy is the second in a series celebrating the legacy of Harriet Tubman. It is part of a larger series of paintings and films by Pierre Bennu that deconstruct and re-envision images of people of color in commercial and pop culture.

You can visit the first two Black Moses Barbie videos here and here!

October 27, 2014

Am I Not Human? The Right to Life

On the 27th of each month we plan to blog about human rights.  Every person is entitled to certain fundamental rights, simply by the fact of being human. These are called “human rights” rather than a privilege (which can be taken away at someone’s whim).

They are “rights” because they are things you are allowed to be, to do or to have. These rights are there for your protection against people who might want to harm or hurt you. They are also there to help us get along with each other and live in peace.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt Reviews UDHR
Born out of the atrocities and enormous loss of life during World War II, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in 1948 to provide a common understanding of what everyone’s rights are. It forms the basis for a world built on freedom, justice and peace. This declaration provided a list of 30 specific human rights.

Human right #3 is something we need to remind ourselves about more often ...

Right to Life!

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Just because the nations of the world signed a declaration that defined and respected 'human rights' doesn't mean that abuses don't occur. Human rights abuses are taking place in America and in most other nations of the world. On the 27th of each month we are going to shine our blogging spotlight on human rights abuse ... and our hope is that other bloggers will do so as well.

Roots of Humanity feels that each of us can fight against human rights abuses in the world. We simply need to do something. Protest. Meditate. Pray. In the case of bloggers ... we want you to blog on the 27th of each month. Just share information on behalf of our human siblings in all suffering areas who are either barred from communication by their governments, or lacking in technology to ask: Am I Not Human?

October 26, 2014

Sunday Inspiration: Be Still and Know (Psalm 46:10-11)

'Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!  The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge' ~ Psalm 46:10-11

BE - God, I say 'yes' to You. I choose to allow Your way to shape me and Your will to direct me in what is best.  I surrender instead of resist, I yield instead of fight, I believe instead of doubt.

STILL - Father, may Your rest abide and Your peace abound within me. Quiet all anxiety that troubles my thoughts and unsettles my emotions.  I bring my soul under the control of the Holy Spirit; I stand steady upon the unmovable foundations of Your kingdom;  I receive the sufficiency of Your grace and the encouragement of Your promises as you calm my soul.

AND KNOW - Lord, thank you that Your word is sure, unchanging, and indisputable. Your word is true. I am certain.  You have saved me from guessing, wondering, wishing, or pretending.
I know! I believe!

I AM GOD - You are who You say You are. You do what You say You do.  There is no other! You are the highest, the greatest, the best.  You have no weakness, no lack, and no equal.  You are my God, and my Heavenly Father. I find comfort in Your nearness, security in Your voice, courage in Your strength, hope in Your promises.  You are enough. More than enough! You are with me. You are my refuge. I am safe in Your care.

Meet Me In The Meadow ~ Roy Lessin

This blog will continue to seek out Sunday Inspirations, a meme inspired by Sojourner's Place. Sunday Inspirations is just one way to help get us through the week ahead, the trials we may face, and yes, to say 'Thank You Jesus' and testify! I invite you to participate in this weekly meme as your contribution might serve as an inspiration to someone in need.

October 24, 2014

Black Moses Barbie (Harriet Tubman Commerical, 2-of-3)

This commercial for a Black Moses Barbie toy is the second in a series celebrating the legacy of Harriet Tubman. It is part of a larger series of paintings and films by Pierre Bennu that deconstruct and re-envision images of people of color in commercial and pop culture.

October 23, 2014

Family of Daniel McConnell Win $2.25 Million Settlement in Taser-Torture Case

Daniel McConnell
I suspect that taser-related deaths should begin to fall if we keep having these large lawsuit settlements that go against law officials. The latest to pay the price for taser-happy police officers is Suffolk County (New York). County officials agreed to pay a $2.25 million settlement to the family of Daniel McDonnell. [SOURCE]

Mr. McConnell, 40, suffered with bipolar disorder and a heart condition when he as placed in police custody on May 5, 2011. He was arrested for violating an order of protection against a neighbor. The penalty for violating court order should not be death. However, the Suffolk County officers decided to play judge, jury and executioner. McConnell's mother came to the station to bring him his medication. The police refused to accept the medication ... and McConnell's mental condition deteriorated in the 18 hours that he was in police custody.

For some reason, the police thought that he would act better without the medication. Instead they came to his holding cell and repeatedly electrocuted him with their taser guns while beating him.

Two detectives decided to lie. They informed McDonnell’s family that he died of a heart attack. His death was later ruled a homicide. The state Commission on Correction concluded that McDonnell's death was preventable and criticized the medical examiner and the Suffolk County district attorney's office for failing to properly investigate his death.

A lawsuit brought by McDonnell's wife and young son was settled last spring on the second day of a civil trial in Brooklyn Federal Court. The settlement was approved by the Suffolk County Legislature and by U.S. District Judge William Kuntz in an order issued today.

A young man will never return to his family. The county will have to pay $2.25 million in the settlement. I wonder if the police officers who killed him will be fired?

October 21, 2014

What Happens When We Raise The Minimum Wage?

FACT: In January 2014, 13 states raised their minimum wage; since then these states added more jobs and have lower unemployment rates than the 36 states that did not raise the minimum wage.

FACT: The U.S. Government could save $7 billion dollars if companies just paid employees a higher minimum wage.

FACT: Federal minimum wage is $7.25 – and some states actually have a lower state wage of $6.25 an hour.

How can anyone, alone or with a family, survive on minimum wage?

FACT: They can’t.

But together we are fighting to change this. In two weeks, states like Arkansas, Alaska, South Dakota, Nebraska and cities like Eureka and Oakland are casting their votes to raise the wage. And Brave New Films is continuing to expose the Koch brothers' fight against increasing the minimum wage.

It's time to #RaiseTheWage, don't you think?

October 20, 2014

48th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party

This week is the anniversary of the formation of the Black Panther Party. That was 1966, 48 eight years ago. The original six members of the Black Panther Party are depicted in this photograph.

Standing (L-R): Elbert 'Big Man' Howard, Huey Newton, Sherwin Forte, Bobby Seale
Kneeling (L-R): Reggie Forte and Bobby Hutton

Former Black Panther Party member Eddie Conway shared his recollections of the founding of the organization.

Eddie Conway was a member of the Baltimore branch of the Black Panther Party.  He spent 44 years in prison for an alleged crime of killing a police officer, a crime that he did not commit as laid out in his book,  Marshall Law: The Life & Times of a Baltimore Black Panther.

October 19, 2014

Sunday Inspiration: Our Train Ride

At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel on our side. However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone. As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our lives. Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don't realize they vacated their seats. This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers requiring that we give the best of ourselves.

The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way, love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.

I wish you a joyful journey on the train of life. Reap success and give lots of love. More importantly, thank God for the journey. Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train.

This blog will continue to seek out Sunday Inspirations, a meme inspired by Sojourner's Place. Sunday Inspirations is just one way to help get us through the week ahead, the trials we may face, and yes, to say 'Thank You Jesus' and testify! I invite you to participate in this weekly meme as your contribution might serve as an inspiration to someone in need.

October 17, 2014

Black Moses Barbie (Harriet Tubman Commerical, 1-of-3)

This commercial for a Black Moses Barbie toy celebrating the legacy of Harriet Tubman is part of a larger series of paintings and films by Pierre Bennu that deconstruct and re-envision images of people of color in commercial and pop culture.

October 16, 2014

Rest In Peace: Andrea Ransom Jackson (1967-2011)

Andrea Ransom Jackson passed away on this date in 2011. She was the youngest daughter of my godparents. I'm using my blog to share an excerpt from the alumni newsletter of Stanford Women's Basketball. The article was called: 'In Loving Memory: Remembering Andy'.

Stanford Women's Basketball mourns the loss of one of our own, Andrea Ransom Jackson, '89. Andrea passed away on October 16, 2011 from breast cancer. An economics major at Stanford, Andrea was the dean of general education at DeVry University in Fremont and resided in Union City. Andrea's spirit lives on in the lives of her husband Philip Jackson and three children, Randi, Kendall, and Jalyn, and the lives of all whom she touched, including her Stanford teammates.

She was quiet but her laughter would fill a room. She worked so hard, you wanted her in your foxhole. She was so sweet, you didn't want to tease her but every now and then she would take a poke at someone with her sweet innocence and it was hysterical. She was a person you always felt comfortable around. She was a wise and considerate soul who helped you enjoy the moment and feel good about yourself. I do not know her husband but I am sure he fell in love with Andrea's sincerity and intellect as much as her incredible outward beauty. I do not know her children but I thank God for leaving us Andrea in them.

I think Andrea's time was short because she is one of God's Angels. She did unbelievable work in all of us and she is now watching over us in hopes we will continue to do good works. Quite simply, if you knew Andrea, she touched you in amazing ways.
Charli Turner Thorne, '87

Playing basketball at Stanford is a larger than life experience that we all take a great deal of pride in, so the conversation often gravitates to that period of our lives. Andrea and I shared this experience from roughly the Fall of 1986 through the Winter of 1987. It's just now registering with me that the time that we were actually on the Stanford team together was only a little over a year of elapsed time - but, just like many of our Stanford experiences, it was rich enough to lay the foundation for 25 years of friendship.

Finding your way through this life isn't always easy - and, those of you who know me understand that I need all of the help I can get. I don't ever remember having to ask, I just remember Andrea being there for me, from the beginning. Andy would always listen to what I had to say - quite often she would smile and shake her head. Then...she would focus on making sure I knew I was going to be all right in this world - Always.

She's always helped to show me the way. Back in the late 80s, it was everything from learning how to get through a college practice, to figuring out the layout of the dorm cafeteria, to knowing where the parties were at. She took care of me, on and off the court. Then, it was conversations about what it means to be a black woman, and about finding the courage to follow my heart in my life and in my work. Lately, it has been about how to make sure that her children (Randi, Kendall, and Jalyn) know that THEY will be all right in this world.

Another way that she showed me the way was by trusting me to support her at tough times - often, way before I felt like I was ready. Because I wanted to do the best I could for her, she helped me become a better friend and person. She modeled for me openness, excellence, gentleness, strength, persistence, courage, compassion, and how to not be afraid of the truth. And, we laughed - A LOT!

Andrea Dawn Jackson was my teammate on and off the court. She had a fiery determination to be better - everyday, in everything she did. Her enthusiasm and wonderful laughter was as vibrant as her favorite color red. She always moved toward the truth. She loved me like a sister. I am so grateful for the connection that I shared with this wonderful, wonderful woman. We have 25 years worth of shared stories; experiences that were created at all points along that 25-year continuum. I am so grateful that Stanford Basketball brought her into my life. 

I miss her deeply.
-Stacy Parson, '90

The 2014 Elections: What’s at Stake for African Americans

The 2014 elections are almost here, and the focus is whether the Republicans can gain control of the U.S. Senate, a first since 2006.

Thirty-six seats are being contested, and Republicans need only six gains to win a majority.

The stakes are extraordinarily high for the nation. But for African Americans in particular, the outcome of the midterm elections next month may not only be a game changer, but also a game ender.

First off, Republicans consistently oppose civil rights legislation. A GOP majority in the Senate would also likely put in jeopardy measures that help moderate and low-income Americans, including one essential initiative: an increase in the national minimum wage.

Click here to read the rest of this New Pittsburgh Courier article.

October 15, 2014

Jurors Award $4.65 Million in Taser-Torture Death of Marvin Booker

A federal jury found five Denver sheriff's deputies used excessive force against a homeless street preacher who died in the city's downtown jail and awarded his family a record $4.65 million in damages, a verdict an attorney said should send a message to law enforcement everywhere. [SOURCE]

Marvin Booker died in 2010 after deputies shocked him with a Taser while he was handcuffed, put him in a sleeper hold and lay on top of him, apparently in an effort to control him. The raw video of his killing is available online.

Inmates told investigators that the struggle began when he was ordered to sit down in the jail's booking area but instead moved to collect his shoes, which he had taken off for comfort. His family's attorneys said that was a zealous overreaction to the 56-year-old, who was frail and suffered a heart condition. The city had argued the deputies' actions were in line with the department's policies for subduing a combative inmate.
"He didn't deserve what these five sheriffs did to him that night," his brother, Spencer Booker, said, fighting tears after the verdict. "The jury spoke very, very, very clearly that they used excessive force against my brother. Your actions call for consequences."
Booker's family filed the federal lawsuit against the city and county of Denver as well as deputies Faun Gomez, James Grimes, Kyle Sharp and Kenneth Robinette and Sgt. Carrie Rodriguez. In a rare move on the eve of the trial, the city accepted liability for the actions of the deputies, meaning it is responsible for damages.

City Attorney Scott Martinez said the city was disappointed, but thanked the jurors for their work.
"The city remains committed to its ongoing efforts to improve the Denver Sheriff's Department," Martinez said in a statement.
I suspect that it will take more of these civil lawsuits before police departments around the nation change their taser-happy behavior. At least, we can be sure that police officers in the city of Denver will think twice before they engage in these taser-torture actions again! In fact, it seems that the police officers involved in the death of Mr. Booker should be prosecuted and fired from their jobs. They are definitely *not* public servants!

Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael), 'Black Power'

I was president of the student body during my college years at the University of California, Riverside. One of the great moments during that time of my life was a visit to our campus on March 16, 1979 by Kwame Ture ... known better to some of you as Stokely Carmichael.

I didn't know him personally. However, I have always been struck by his story. In 1998, at the age of 57, Kwame Ture died from complications of prostate cancer. To the end he answered the telephone, "ready for the revolution."

I smiled when I learned that American Rhetoric included Ture in their list of the Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century. Kwame Ture delivered Top Speech #65 in Berkley CA during a Black Power rally in October 1966. There is no available video of his speech, however, we do have an audio clip and text transcript [SOURCE].

Thank you very much. It’s a privilege and an honor to be in the white intellectual ghetto of the West. We wanted to do a couple of things before we started. The first is that, based on the fact that SNCC, through the articulation of its program by its chairman, has been able to win elections in Georgia, Alabama, Maryland, and by our appearance here will win an election in California, in 1968 I'm going to run for President of the United States. I just can't make it, 'cause I wasn't born in the United States. That's the only thing holding me back.

We wanted to say that this is a student conference, as it should be, held on a campus, and that we're not ever to be caught up in the intellectual masturbation of the question of Black Power. That’s a function of people who are advertisers that call themselves reporters. Oh, for my members and friends of the press, my self-appointed white critics, I was reading Mr. Bernard Shaw two days ago, and I came across a very important quote which I think is most apropos for you. He says, "All criticism is a[n] autobiography." Dig yourself. Okay.

The philosophers Camus and Sartre raise the question whether or not a man can condemn himself. The Black existentialist philosopher who is pragmatic, Frantz Fanon, answered the question. He said that man could not. Camus and Sartre was not. We in SNCC tend to agree with Camus and Sartre, that a man cannot condemn himself. Were he to condemn himself, he would then have to inflict punishment upon himself. An example would be the Nazis. Any prisoner who -- any of the Nazi prisoners who admitted, after he was caught and incarcerated, that he committed crimes, that he killed all the many people that he killed, he committed suicide. The only ones who were able to stay alive were the ones who never admitted that they committed a crimes [sic] against people -- that is, the ones who rationalized that Jews were not human beings and deserved to be killed, or that they were only following orders.

On a more immediate scene, the officials and the population -- the white population -- in Neshoba County, Mississippi -- that’s where Philadelphia is -- could not -- could not condemn [Sheriff] Rainey, his deputies, and the other fourteen men that killed three human beings. They could not because they elected Mr. Rainey to do precisely what he did; and that for them to condemn him will be for them to condemn themselves.

In a much larger view, SNCC says that white America cannot condemn herself. And since we are liberal, we have done it: You stand condemned. Now, a number of things that arises from that answer of how do you condemn yourselves. Seems to me that the institutions that function in this country are clearly racist, and that they're built upon racism. And the question, then, is how can Black people inside of this country move? And then how can white people who say they’re not a part of those institutions begin to move? And how then do we begin to clear away the obstacles that we have in this society, that make us live like human beings? How can we begin to build institutions that will allow people to relate with each other as human beings? This country has never done that, especially around the country of white or Black.

Now, several people have been upset because we’ve said that integration was irrelevant when initiated by Blacks, and that in fact it was a subterfuge, an insidious subterfuge, for the maintenance of white supremacy. Now we maintain that in the past six years or so, this country has been feeding us a "thalidomide drug of integration," and that some negroes have been walking down a dream street talking about sitting next to white people; and that that does not begin to solve the problem; that when we went to Mississippi we did not go to sit next to Ross Barnett; we did not go to sit next to Jim Clark; we went to get them out of our way; and that people ought to understand that; that we were never fighting for the right to integrate, we were fighting against white supremacy.

Now, then, in order to understand white supremacy we must dismiss the fallacious notion that white people can give anybody their freedom. No man can give anybody his freedom. A man is born free. You may enslave a man after he is born free, and that is in fact what this country does. It enslaves Black people after they’re born, so that the only acts that white people can do is to stop denying Black people their freedom; that is, they must stop denying freedom. They never give it to anyone.

Now we want to take that to its logical extension, so that we could understand, then, what its relevancy would be in terms of new civil rights bills. I maintain that every civil rights bill in this country was passed for white people, not for Black people. For example, I am Black. I know that. I also know that while I am Black I am a human being, and therefore I have the right to go into any public place. White people didn't know that. Every time I tried to go into a place they stopped me. So some boys had to write a bill to tell that white man, "He’s a human being; don’t stop him." That bill was for that white man, not for me. I knew it all the time. I knew it all the time.

I knew that I could vote and that that wasn’t a privilege; it was my right. Every time I tried I was shot, killed or jailed, beaten or economically deprived. So somebody had to write a bill for white people to tell them, "When a Black man comes to vote, don’t bother him." That bill, again, was for white people, not for Black people; so that when you talk about open occupancy, I know I can live anyplace I want to live. It is white people across this country who are incapable of allowing me to live where I want to live. You need a civil rights bill, not me. I know I can live where I want to live.

So that the failures to pass a civil rights bill isn’t because of Black Power, isn't because of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; it's not because of the rebellions that are occurring in the major cities. It is incapability of whites to deal with their own problems inside their own communities. That is the problem of the failure of the civil rights bill.

And so in a larger sense we must then ask, How is it that Black people move? And what do we do? But the question in a greater sense is, How can white people who are the majority -- and who are responsible for making democracy work -- make it work? They have miserably failed to this point. They have never made democracy work, be it inside the United States, Vietnam, South Africa, Philippines, South America, Puerto Rico. Wherever American has been, she has not been able to make democracy work; so that in a larger sense, we not only condemn the country for what it's done internally, but we must condemn it for what it does externally. We see this country trying to rule the world, and someone must stand up and start articulating that this country is not God, and cannot rule the world.

Now, then, before we move on we ought to develop the white supremacy attitudes that were either conscious or subconscious thought and how they run rampant through the society today. For example, the missionaries were sent to Africa. They went with the attitude that Blacks were automatically inferior. As a matter of fact, the first act the missionaries did, you know, when they got to Africa was to make us cover up our bodies, because they said it got them excited. We couldn’t go bare-breasted any more because they got excited.

Now when the missionaries came to civilize us because we were uncivilized, educate us because we were uneducated, and give us some -- some literate studies because we were illiterate, they charged a price. The missionaries came with the Bible, and we had the land. When they left, they had the land, and we still have the Bible. And that has been the rationalization for Western civilization as it moves across the world and stealing and plundering and raping everybody in its path. Their one rationalization is that the rest of the world is uncivilized and they are in fact civilized. And they are un-civil-ized.

And that runs on today, you see, because what we have today is we have what we call "modern-day Peace Corps missionaries," and they come into our ghettos and they Head Start, Upward Lift, Bootstrap, and Upward Bound us into white society, 'cause they don’t want to face the real problem which is a man is poor for one reason and one reason only: 'cause he does not have money -- period. If you want to get rid of poverty, you give people money -- period.

And you ought not to tell me about people who don’t work, and you can’t give people money without working, 'cause if that were true, you’d have to start stopping Rockefeller, Bobby Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Lady Bird Johnson, the whole of Standard Oil, the Gulf Corp, all of them, including probably a large number of the Board of Trustees of this university. So the question, then, clearly, is not whether or not one can work; it’s Who has power? Who has power to make his or her acts legitimate? That is all. And that this country, that power is invested in the hands of white people, and they make their acts legitimate. It is now, therefore, for Black people to make our acts legitimate.

Now we are now engaged in a psychological struggle in this country, and that is whether or not Black people will have the right to use the words they want to use without white people giving their sanction to it; and that we maintain, whether they like it or not, we gonna use the word "Black Power" -- and let them address themselves to that; but that we are not going to wait for white people to sanction Black Power. We’re tired waiting; every time Black people move in this country, they’re forced to defend their position before they move. It’s time that the people who are supposed to be defending their position do that. That's white people. They ought to start defending themselves as to why they have oppressed and exploited us.

Now it is clear that when this country started to move in terms of slavery, the reason for a man being picked as a slave was one reason -- because of the color of his skin. If one was Black one was automatically inferior, inhuman, and therefore fit for slavery; so that the question of whether or not we are individually suppressed is nonsensical, and it’s a downright lie. We are oppressed as a group because we are Black, not because we are lazy, not because we're apathetic, not because we’re stupid, not because we smell, not because we eat watermelon and have good rhythm. We are oppressed because we are Black.

And in order to get out of that oppression one must wield the group power that one has, not the individual power which this country then sets the criteria under which a man may come into it. That is what is called in this country as integration: "You do what I tell you to do and then we’ll let you sit at the table with us." And that we are saying that we have to be opposed to that. We must now set up criteria and that if there's going to be any integration, it's going to be a two-way thing. If you believe in integration, you can come live in Watts. You can send your children to the ghetto schools. Let’s talk about that. If you believe in integration, then we’re going to start adopting us some white people to live in our neighborhood.

So it is clear that the question is not one of integration or segregation. Integration is a man's ability to want to move in there by himself. If someone wants to live in a white neighborhood and he is Black, that is his choice. It should be his rights. It is not because white people will not allow him. So vice versa: If a Black man wants to live in the slums, that should be his right. Black people will let him. That is the difference. And it's a difference on which this country makes a number of logical mistakes when they begin to try to criticize the program articulated by SNCC.

Now we maintain that we cannot be afford to be concerned about 6 percent of the children in this country, Black children, who you allow to come into white schools. We have 94 percent who still live in shacks. We are going to be concerned about those 94 percent. You ought to be concerned about them too. The question is, Are we willing to be concerned about those 94 percent? Are we willing to be concerned about the Black people who will never get to Berkeley, who will never get to Harvard, and cannot get an education, so you’ll never get a chance to rub shoulders with them and say, "Well, he’s almost as good as we are; he’s not like the others"? The question is, How can white society begin to move to see Black people as human beings? I am Black, therefore I am; not that I am Black and I must go to college to prove myself. I am Black, therefore I am. And don’t deprive me of anything and say to me that you must go to college before you gain access to X, Y, and Z. It is only a rationalization for one's oppression.

The -- The political parties in this country do not meet the needs of people on a day-to-day basis. The question is, How can we build new political institutions that will become the political expressions of people on a day-to-day basis? The question is, How can you build political institutions that will begin to meet the needs of Oakland, California? And the needs of Oakland, California, is not 1,000 policemen with submachine guns. They don't need that. They need that least of all. The question is, How can we build institutions where those people can begin to function on a day-to-day basis, where they can get decent jobs, where they can get decent houses, and where they can begin to participate in the policy and major decisions that affect their lives? That’s what they need, not Gestapo troops, because this is not 1942, and if you play like Nazis, we playing back with you this time around. Get hip to that.

The question then is, How can white people move to start making the major institutions that they have in this country function the way it is supposed to function? That is the real question. And can white people move inside their own community and start tearing down racism where in fact it does exist? Where it exists. It is you who live in Cicero and stop us from living there. It is white people who stop us from moving into Grenada. It is white people who make sure that we live in the ghettos of this country. it is white institutions that do that. They must change. In order -- In order for America to really live on a basic principle of human relationships, a new society must be born. Racism must die, and the economic exploitation of this country of non-white peoples around the world must also die -- must also die.

Now there are several programs that we have in the South, most in poor white communities. We're trying to organize poor whites on a base where they can begin to move around the question of economic exploitation and political disfranchisement. We know -- we've heard the theory several times -- but few people are willing to go into there. The question is, Can the white activist not try to be a Pepsi generation who comes alive in the Black community, but can he be a man who’s willing to move into the white community and start organizing where the organization is needed? Can he do that? The question is, Can the white society or the white activist disassociate himself with two clowns who waste time parrying with each other rather than talking about the problems that are facing people in this state? Can you dissociate yourself with those clowns and start to build new institutions that will eliminate all idiots like them.

And the question is, If we are going to do that when and where do we start, and how do we start? We maintain that we must start doing that inside the white community. Our own personal position politically is that we don't think the Democratic Party represents the needs of Black people. We know it don't. And that if, in fact, white people really believe that, the question is, if they’re going to move inside that structure, how are they going to organize around a concept of whiteness based on true brotherhood and based on stopping exploitation, economic exploitation, so that there will be a coalition base for Black people to hook up with? You cannot form a coalition based on national sentiment. That is not a coalition. If you need a coalition to redress itself to real changes in this country, white people must start building those institutions inside the white community. And that is the real question, I think, facing the white activists today. Can they, in fact, begin to move into and tear down the institutions which have put us all in a trick bag that we’ve been into for the last hundred years?

I don't think that we should follow what many people say that we should fight to be leaders of tomorrow. Frederick Douglass said that the youth should fight to be leaders today. And God knows we need to be leaders today, 'cause the men who run this country are sick, are sick. So that can we on a larger sense begin now, today, to start building those institutions and to fight to articulate our position, to fight to be able to control our universities -- We need to be able to do that -- and to fight to control the basic institutions which perpetuate racism by destroying them and building new ones? That’s the real question that face us today, and it is a dilemma because most of us do not know how to work, and that the excuse that most white activists find is to run into the Black community.

Now we maintain that we cannot have white people working in the Black community, and we mean it on a psychological ground. The fact is that all Black people often question whether or not they are equal to whites, because every time they start to do something, white people are around showing them how to do it. If we are going to eliminate that for the generation that comes after us, then Black people must be seen in positions of power, doing and articulating for themselves, for themselves.

That is not to say that one is a reverse racist; it is to say that one is moving in a healthy ground; it is to say what the philosopher Sartre says: One is becoming an "antiracist racist." And this country can’t understand that. Maybe it's because it's all caught up in racism. But I think what you have in SNCC is an anti-racist racism. We are against racists. Now if everybody who is white see themself [sic] as a racist and then see us against him, they're speaking from their own guilt position, not ours, not ours.

Now then, the question is, How can we move to begin to change what's going on in this country. I maintain, as we have in SNCC, that the war in Vietnam is an illegal and immoral war. And the question is, What can we do to stop that war? What can we do to stop the people who, in the name of our country, are killing babies, women, and children? What can we do to stop that? And I maintain that we do not have the power in our hands to change that institution, to begin to recreate it, so that they learn to leave the Vietnamese people alone, and that the only power we have is the power to say, "Hell no!" to the draft.

We have to say -- We have to say to ourselves that there is a higher law than the law of a racist named McNamara. There is a higher law than the law of a fool named Rusk. And there's a higher law than the law of a buffoon named Johnson. It’s the law of each of us. It's the law of each of us. It is the law of each of us saying that we will not allow them to make us hired killers. We will stand pat. We will not kill anybody that they say kill. And if we decide to kill, we're going to decide who we going to kill. And this country will only be able to stop the war in Vietnam when the young men who are made to fight it begin to say, "Hell, no, we ain’t going."

Now then, there's a failure because the Peace Movement has been unable to get off the college campuses where everybody has a 2S and not going to get drafted anyway. And the question is, How can you move out of that into the white ghettos of this country and begin to articulate a position for those white students who do not want to go. We cannot do that. It is something -- sometimes ironic that many of the peace groups have beginning to call us violent and say they can no longer support us, and we are in fact the most militant organization [for] peace or civil rights or human rights against the war in Vietnam in this country today. There isn’t one organization that has begun to meet our stance on the war in Vietnam, 'cause we not only say we are against the war in Vietnam; we are against the draft. We are against the draft. No man has the right to take a man for two years and train him to be a killer. A man should decide what he wants to do with his life.

So the question then is it becomes crystal clear for Black people because we can easily say that anyone fighting in the war in Vietnam is nothing but a Black mercenary, and that's all he is. Any time a Black man leaves the country where he can’t vote to supposedly deliver the vote for somebody else, he’s a Black mercenary. Any time a -- Any time a Black man leaves this country, gets shot in Vietnam on foreign ground, and returns home and you won’t give him a burial in his own homeland, he’s a Black mercenary, a Black mercenary.

And that even if I were to believe the lies of Johnson, if I were to believe his lies that we're fighting to give democracy to the people in Vietnam, as a Black man living in this country I wouldn’t fight to give this to anybody. I wouldn't give it to anybody. So that we have to use our bodies and our minds in the only way that we see fit. We must begin like the philosopher Camus to come alive by saying "No!" That is the only act in which we begin to come alive, and we have to say "No!" to many, many things in this country.

This country is a nation of thieves. It has stole everything it has, beginning with Black people, beginning with Black people. And that the question is, How can we move to start changing this country from what it is -- a nation of thieves. This country cannot justify any longer its existence. We have become the policeman of the world. The marines are at our disposal to always bring democracy, and if the Vietnamese don’t want democracy, well dammit, "We’ll just wipe them the hell out, 'cause they don’t deserve to live if they won’t have our way of life."

There is then in a larger sense, What do you do on your university campus? Do you raise questions about the hundred Black students who were kicked off campus a couple of weeks ago? Eight hundred? Eight hundred? And how does that question begin to move? Do you begin to relate to people outside of the ivory tower and university wall? Do you think you’re capable of building those human relationships, as the country now stands? You're fooling yourself. It is impossible for white and Black people to talk about building a relationship based on humanity when the country is the way it is, when the institutions are clearly against us.

We have taken all the myths of this country and we've found them to be nothing but downright lies. This country told us that if we worked hard we would succeed, and if that were true we would own this country lock, stock, and barrel -- lock, stock, and barrel -- lock, stock, and barrel. It is we who have picked the cotton for nothing. It is we who are the maids in the kitchens of liberal white people. It is we who are the janitors, the porters, the elevator men; we who sweep up your college floors. Yes, it is we who are the hardest workers and the lowest paid, and the lowest paid.

And that it is nonsensical for people to start talking about human relationships until they're willing to build new institutions. Black people are economically insecure. White liberals are economically secure. Can you begin to build an economic coalition? Are the liberals willing to share their salaries with the economically insecure Black people they so much love? Then if you’re not, are you willing to start building new institutions that will provide economic security for Black people? That’s the question we want to deal with. That's the question we want to deal with.

We have to seriously examine the histories that we have been told. But we have something more to do than that. American students are perhaps the most politically unsophisticated students in the world, in the world, in the world. Across every country in this world, while we were growing up, students were leading the major revolutions of their countries. We have not been able to do that. They have been politically aware of their existence. In South America our neighbors down below the border have one every 24 hours just to remind us that they're politically aware.

And we have been unable to grasp it because we’ve always moved in the field of morality and love while people have been politically jiving with our lives. And the question is, How do we now move politically and stop trying to move morally? You can't move morally against a man like Brown and Reagan. You've got to move politically to put them out of business. You've got to move politically.

You can’t move morally against Lyndon Baines Johnson because he is an immoral man. He doesn’t know what it’s all about. So you’ve got to move politically. You've got to move politically. And that we have to begin to develop a political sophistication -- which is not to be a parrot: "The two-party system is the best party in the world." There is a difference between being a parrot and being politically sophisticated.

We have to raise questions about whether or not we do need new types of political institutions in this country, and we in SNCC maintain that we need them now. We need new political institutions in this country. Any time -- Any time Lyndon Baines Johnson can head a Party which has in it Bobby Kennedy, Wayne Morse, Eastland, Wallace, and all those other supposed-to-be-liberal cats, there’s something wrong with that Party. They’re moving politically, not morally. And that if that party refuses to seat Black people from Mississippi and goes ahead and seats racists like Eastland and his clique, it is clear to me that they’re moving politically, and that one cannot begin to talk morality to people like that.

We must begin to think politically and see if we can have the power to impose and keep the moral values that we hold high. We must question the values of this society, and I maintain that Black people are the best people to do that because we have been excluded from that society. And the question is, we ought to think whether or not we want to become a part of that society. That's what we want to do.

And that that is precisely what it seems to me that the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee is doing. We are raising questions about this country. I do not want to be a part of the American pie. The American pie means raping South Africa, beating Vietnam, beating South America, raping the Philippines, raping every country you’ve been in. I don’t want any of your blood money. I don’t want it -- don't want to be part of that system. And the question is, How do we raise those questions? How do we ....How do we begin to raise them?

We have grown up and we are the generation that has found this country to be a world power, that has found this country to be the wealthiest country in the world. We must question how she got her wealth? That's what we're questioning, and whether or not we want this country to continue being the wealthiest country in the world at the price of raping every -- everybody else across the world. That's what we must begin to question. And that because Black people are saying we do not now want to become a part of you, we are called reverse racists. Ain’t that a gas?

Now, then, we want to touch on nonviolence because we see that again as the failure of white society to make nonviolence work. I was always surprised at Quakers who came to Alabama and counseled me to be nonviolent, but didn’t have the guts to start talking to James Clark to be nonviolent. That is where nonviolence needs to be preached -- to Jim Clark, not to Black people. They have already been nonviolent too many years. The question is, Can white people conduct their nonviolent schools in Cicero where they belong to be conducted, not among Black people in Mississippi. Can they conduct it among the white people in Grenada?

Six-foot-two men who kick little Black children -- can you conduct nonviolent schools there? That is the question that we must raise, not that you conduct nonviolence among Black people. Can you name me one Black man today who's killed anybody white and is still alive? Even after rebellion, when some Black brothers throw some bricks and bottles, ten thousand of them has to pay the crime, 'cause when the white policeman comes in, anybody who’s Black is arrested, "'cause we all look alike."

So that we have to raise those questions. We, the youth of this country, must begin to raise those questions. And we must begin to move to build new institutions that's going to speak to the needs of people who need it. We are going to have to speak to change the foreign policy of this country. One of the problems with the peace movement is that it's just too caught up in Vietnam, and that if we pulled out the troops from Vietnam this week, next week you’d have to get another peace movement for Santo Domingo. And the question is, How do you begin to articulate the need to change the foreign policy of this country -- a policy that is decided upon race, a policy on which decisions are made upon getting economic wealth at any price, at any price.

Now we articulate that we therefore have to hook up with Black people around the world; and that that hookup is not only psychological, but becomes very real. If South America today were to rebel, and Black people were to shoot the hell out of all the white people there -- as they should, as they should -- then Standard Oil would crumble tomorrow. If South Africa were to go today, Chase Manhattan Bank would crumble tomorrow. If Zimbabwe, which is called Rhodesia by white people, were to go tomorrow, General Electric would cave in on the East Coast. The question is, How do we stop those institutions that are so willing to fight against "Communist aggression" but closes their eyes to racist oppression? That is the question that you raise. Can this country do that?

Now, many people talk about pulling out of Vietnam. What will happen? If we pull out of Vietnam, there will be one less aggressor in there -- we won't be there, we won't be there. And so the question is, How do we articulate those positions? And we cannot begin to articulate them from the same assumptions that the people in the country speak, 'cause they speak from different assumptions than I assume what the youth in this country are talking about.

That we're not talking about a policy or aid or sending Peace Corps people in to teach people how to read and write and build houses while we steal their raw materials from them. Is that what we're talking about? 'Cause that’s all we do. What underdeveloped countries needs -- information on how to become industrialized, so they can keep their raw materials where they have it, produce them and sell it to this country for the price it’s supposed to pay; not that we produce it and sell it back to them for a profit and keep sending our modern day missionaries in, calling them the sons of Kennedy. And that if the youth are going to participate in that program, how do you raise those questions where you begin to control that Peace Corps program? How do you begin to raise them?

How do we raise the questions of poverty? The assumptions of this country is that if someone is poor, they are poor because of their own individual blight, or they weren’t born on the right side of town; they had too many children; they went in the army too early; or their father was a drunk, or they didn’t care about school, or they made a mistake. That’s a lot of nonsense. Poverty is well calculated in this country. It is well calculated, and the reason why the poverty program won’t work is because the calculators of poverty are administering it. That's why it won't work.

So how can we, as the youth in the country, move to start tearing those things down? We must move into the white community. We are in the Black community. We have developed a movement in the Black community. The challenge is that the white activist has failed miserably to develop the movement inside of his community. And the question is, Can we find white people who are going to have the courage to go into white communities and start organizing them? Can we find them? Are they here and are they willing to do that? Those are the questions that we must raise for the white activist.

And we're never going to get caught up in questions about power. This country knows what power is. It knows it very well. And it knows what Black Power is 'cause it deprived Black people of it for 400 years. So it knows what Black Power is. That the question of, Why do Black people -- Why do white people in this country associate Black Power with violence? And the question is because of their own inability to deal with "blackness." If we had said "Negro power" nobody would get scared. Everybody would support it. Or if we said power for colored people, everybody’d be for that, but it is the word "Black" -- it is the word "Black" that bothers people in this country, and that’s their problem, not mine -- they're problem, they're problem.

Now there's one modern day lie that we want to attack and then move on very quickly and that is the lie that says anything all black is bad. Now, you’re all a college university crowd. You’ve taken your basic logic course. You know about a major premise and minor premise. So people have been telling me anything all black is bad. Let’s make that our major premise.

Major premise: Anything all black is bad.

Minor premise or particular premise: I am all black.


I’m never going to be put in that trick bag; I am all black and I’m all good, dig it. Anything all black is not necessarily bad. Anything all black is only bad when you use force to keep whites out. Now that’s what white people have done in this country, and they’re projecting their same fears and guilt on us, and we won’t have it, we won't have it. Let them handle their own fears and their own guilt. Let them find their own psychologists. We refuse to be the therapy for white society any longer. We have gone mad trying to do it. We have gone stark raving mad trying to do it.

I look at Dr. King on television every single day, and I say to myself: "Now there is a man who’s desperately needed in this country. There is a man full of love. There is a man full of mercy. There is a man full of compassion." But every time I see Lyndon on television, I said, "Martin, baby, you got a long way to go."

So that the question stands as to what we are willing to do, how we are willing to say "No" to withdraw from that system and begin within our community to start to function and to build new institutions that will speak to our needs. In Lowndes County, we developed something called the Lowndes County Freedom Organization. It is a political party. The Alabama law says that if you have a Party you must have an emblem. We chose for the emblem a black panther, a beautiful black animal which symbolizes the strength and dignity of Black people, an animal that never strikes back until he's back so far into the wall, he's got nothing to do but spring out. Yeah. And when he springs he does not stop.

Now there is a Party in Alabama called the Alabama Democratic Party. It is all white. It has as its emblem a white rooster and the words "white supremacy" for the write. Now the gentlemen of the Press, because they're advertisers, and because most of them are white, and because they're produced by that white institution, never called the Lowndes County Freedom Organization by its name, but rather they call it the Black Panther Party. Our question is, Why don't they call the Alabama Democratic Party the "White Cock Party"? (It's fair to us.....) It is clear to me that that just points out America's problem with sex and color, not our problem, not our problem. And it is now white America that is going to deal with those problems of sex and color.

If we were to be real and to be honest, we would have to admit -- we would have to admit that most people in this country see things black and white. We have to do that. All of us do. We live in a country that’s geared that way. White people would have to admit that they are afraid to go into a black ghetto at night. They are afraid. That's a fact. They're afraid because they’d be "beat up," "lynched," "looted," "cut up," etcetera, etcetera. It happens to Black people inside the ghetto every day, incidentally, and white people are afraid of that. So you get a man to do it for you -- a policeman. And now you figure his mentality, when he's afraid of Black people. The first time a Black man jumps, that white man going to shoot him. He's going to shoot him. So police brutality is going to exist on that level because of the incapability of that white man to see Black people come together and to live in the conditions. This country is too hypocritical and that we cannot adjust ourselves to its hypocrisy.

The only time I hear people talk about nonviolence is when Black people move to defend themselves against white people. Black people cut themselves every night in the ghetto -- Don't anybody talk about nonviolence. Lyndon Baines Johnson is busy bombing the hell of out Vietnam -- Don't nobody talk about nonviolence. White people beat up Black people every day -- Don't nobody talk about nonviolence. But as soon as Black people start to move, the double standard comes into being.

You can’t defend yourself. That's what you're saying, 'cause you show me a man who -- who would advocate aggressive violence that would be able to live in this country. Show him to me. The double standards again come into itself. Isn’t it ludicrous and hypocritical for the political chameleon who calls himself a Vice President in this country to -- to stand up before this country and say, "Looting never got anybody anywhere"? Isn't it hypocritical for Lyndon to talk about looting, that you can’t accomplish anything by looting and you must accomplish it by the legal ways? What does he know about legality? Ask Ho Chi Minh, he'll tell you.

So that in conclusion we want to say that number one, it is clear to me that we have to wage a psychological battle on the right for Black people to define their own terms, define themselves as they see fit, and organize themselves as they see it. Now the question is, How is the white community going to begin to allow for that organizing, because once they start to do that, they will also allow for the organizing that they want to do inside their community. It doesn’t make a difference, 'cause we’re going to organize our way anyway. We're going to do it. The question is, How are we going to facilitate those matters, whether it’s going to be done with a thousand policemen with submachine guns, or whether or not it’s going to be done in a context where it is allowed to be done by white people warding off those policemen. That is the question.

And the question is, How are white people who call themselves activists ready to start move into the white communities on two counts: on building new political institutions to destroy the old ones that we have? And to move around the concept of white youth refusing to go into the army? So that we can start, then, to build a new world. It is ironic to talk about civilization in this country. This country is uncivilized. It needs to be civilized. It needs to be civilized.

And that we must begin to raise those questions of civilization: What it is? And who do it? And so we must urge you to fight now to be the leaders of today, not tomorrow. We've got to be the leaders of today. This country -- This country is a nation of thieves. It stands on the brink of becoming a nation of murderers. We must stop it. We must stop it. We must stop it. We must stop it.

And then, therefore, in a larger sense there's the question of Black people. We are on the move for our liberation. We have been tired of trying to prove things to white people. We are tired of trying to explain to white people that we’re not going to hurt them. We are concerned with getting the things we want, the things that we have to have to be able to function. The question is, Can white people allow for that in this country? The question is, Will white people overcome their racism and allow for that to happen in this country? If that does not happen, brothers and sisters, we have no choice but to say very clearly, "Move over, or we’re going to move on over you."

Thank you.

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