Posts Tagged ‘RACISM’
US government-funded groups exterminate black people: Randy Short
Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:18PM
Interview with Randy Short
So there is a total assault on us from Planned Parenthood which is a government-funded group that its mission is to exterminate our population and they are funded by the government and like I said, we have something live Depo-Provera which is killing women all over our country; remember Israel just outlawed on January 28 and yet 84 percent of the people … in the United States were black. So it is destroying us; we are being wiped out. He is just one publicized example of what is happening to us in this society.”
An American activist tells Press TV that the government-funded groups and the high rate of discrimination against black people in the United States is destroying them and wiping them out in the society.
People have taken to the streets in Sanford and New York City to mark the first anniversary of the killing of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager who was shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer. On February 26, 2012, the 17-year-old Martin was shot dead by George Zimmerman in Orlando, a suburb of the city of Sanford, Florida. People held a candlelight vigil and a moment of silence in memory of Martin in Sanford on Tuesday. In New York City’s Union Square, people also held a candlelight vigil.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Randy Short, with the Dignity, Human Rights and Peace Organization from Washington, to further discuss the issue. What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Now a year on, how far do you think the American public has come in solving its problem of racial profiling specifically ones that have been institutionalized in its law enforcement?
Short: Compare it to America’s advancement in dealing with Iran, considering the Oscar being given for the film ‘Argo’. It is analogous. Noting has changed. The power relationships that allowed this man to be killed and one killed in every 24 to 36 hours since he got shot a year ago.
So in reality, what would change the society? Certainly not the election of Obama who did not deal with it. So nothing has changed. Things are more or less the same. It has opened a season on black people and brown people and it is America. That is what we have been doing for 400 years, either killing or stealing from people of color.
Press TV: How many Trayvon Martins are we going to see before the American public as well as law enforcement injustices wake up and realize what is actually happening and what needs to be done to tackle it?
Short: I will answer it differently from how you have asked me. I am in a campaign to try to get Depo-Provera outlawed. It is a carcinogenic contraceptive that literally kills people and the government still pushes it although they have known it has been deadly since the 70s.
So they have not changed and in fact push it all over the world. So in relationship to the value of the lives of the people of African descendants in this country, I do not think we really matter. We have to make ourselves matter. The time is now for a movement, for self-determination, sovereignty and self-respect and a movement to enforce our human rights.
It will not come from the state and it certainly will not come from the police forces which are nothing but fascistic occupational gangs that terrorize our community.
Press TV: So you are saying that change needs to come from bottom up and that there is no political will per se to bring a change in reality?
Short: You have understood me. The black leadership is either bought off, corrupt, co-opted or behind bars. We need a new movement; we need a Black Spring; we need something that changes.
Our people have been on the lockdown since Martin the King’s assassination. 45 years ago, this April 4 made no substantive moves and the state have been repressing us for at least 50 years to covert actions like COINTELPRO operation marking group. We can go on and on.
So we have got over a million people in jail; drugs brought in here through intelligence agencies; we have got these crazy groups like Alec that made the Stand your Ground Law where they can shoot us all over the country and while this is happening, this gun control is really, if you ask me, a way to take weapons from us to prevent us from defending ourselves.
So there is a total assault on us from Planned Parenthood which is a government-funded group that its mission is to exterminate our population and they are funded by the government and like I said, we have something live Depo-Provera which is killing women all over our country; remember Israel just outlawed on January 28 and yet 84 percent of the people … in the United States were black.
So it is destroying us; we are being wiped out. He is just one publicized example of what is happening to us in this society
James Randall, Stead Family Professor of English
B.S., North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University
M.A., Carnegie Mellon University
Professor Randall’s offerings include courses in African-American and African literature; he also teaches African-American history. He has been a participant in the project of establishing the African American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa (opening in Cedar Rapids in September 2003)
Interviewed by Living Waters History Makers
Region: Central Iowa
Category: Civil Rights
The store people also didn’t want us there sitting in either, and they would try to do things to force us away like pretend that they were spraying for flies and insects and spray on us on that occasion. Some of the rowdy people in the crowd would threaten us, threaten to fight us in some ways, too. But, we had gone through some training before we actually did that. And so it was overall a very useful experience. — James Randall
James (Samm) Randall, Professor of English and African American Studies at Coe College, taught at Coe from 1969 to 2010. He grew up in Bolton, North Carolina, working in the fields and attending segregated schools. He has studied at North Carolina A&T State University, Carnegie-Mellon University, Indiana University, Washington State University, and he has participated in summer-study programs at other universities over the years. He holds a Master’s degree from Carnegie-Mellon and is a published author. He has also taught African American literature courses at the University of Iowa. His teaching areas include African American Literature, African Literature, American Literature, English Literature, Caribbean Literature, and African American History.
Shawndell: Hello my name is Shawndell Young and it is May 4th, 2009. And today I will be interviewing Professor Randall. So let’s get it started. So where were you born?
James Randall: I was born in North Carolina, a little town called Bolton, which is in the southeastern corner of the state of North Carolina. It’s about twenty miles up from the South Carolina border and about twenty-three miles in from the Atlantic Ocean, in an area that is known as the Green Swamp of North Carolina.
Shawndell: Where is home now?
James Randall: Home is here in Cedar Rapids.
Shawndell: How long have you lived in Cedar Rapids?
James Randall: I’ve lived in Cedar Rapids for forty years. I came here in 1969 to teach at Coe College. And I’ve been here for most of that time, although, I did take a leave at one point. I lived for a few years in Marion and now back in Cedar Rapids. Some years ago, I took a leave for three years and went out to the state of Washington, at Washington State, where I was doing some work at Washington State University.
Shawndell: So what brought you here?
James Randall: I came here to teach literature at Coe. My initial plan was to teach here for one year. So I came up here in 1969, I was going to be here for one year and it turned out that I was here just for one year on that first occasion. Then I went out and spent a year at University of Colorado working out there. And then following year I was invited to come back here to teach at Coe. So I’ve been here since that time.
Shawndell: Moving! So where did you go for school?
James Randall: Well, my school experiences have been varied. My, course my elementary school experience was in Bolton, North Carolina, which was at a sort of an ancient wooden school that had no running water and had outdoor toilets and had no central heating. But something began to happen, I am sure you and people of your generation have studied about the Brown Vs Board of Education school case which of course was finished in 1954. And around that time suddenly North Carolina began refurbishing schools for African Americans-it was a segregated system- because the idea, as I felt at the time and also felt later, was they, what they wanted to try to show that we did have separate but equal facilities. So we suddenly got a new school with central heating, with running water, built out of bricks, most of the, even a cafeteria, most of the amenities that were needed at that time. So I finished that school and then I went to high school, sort of a consolidated high school, also a segregated school for the black students. And I went to high school there and eventually I went to college at North Carolina A & E State University, which at that time was an all black school, too. All the teachers black, all the students black, all the administrators black, and I graduated from that, from that college. This was the college where the modern sit-in movement started. They started there a year before I became a student there. But when I went there, activity was still taking place.
Shawndell: So what did you do for entertainment back then?
James Randall: Well when I was very small. We did, I guess you would call it inexpensive games. We played a lot of stickball. We played softball. We played, when someone got a bicycle; we would ride the bicycle to death. In the winter we would make bows and arrows, and which we called ourselves hunting. And now it might not be considered not the nicest thing to do but our target would be birds which we would hunt and sometimes get and sometimes dress and have them prepared for eating. But, we did other kinds of things, too. One of the things that happened in that area was, we began to work at a very young age and so even small children had certain kinds of farm related jobs to do: hoeing crops, harvesting crops, chores that were assigned to us in a number of ways. So a lot of the summer activity and often after school activity was associated with work. When I was very small even attending my first grades, cotton was still grown in that area and after school we would sometimes pick cotton and turn it in and weigh it and get paid a certain amount, a certain, few cents per pound and so that took a good deal of the activity as well.
Shawndell: How was the Civil Rights Movement helped you and affected you?
James Randall: Well the Civil Rights Movement affected me a great deal. I say sometimes that people of my generation and a little bit after me, we were sort of born in the Civil Rights Movement, born in a civil rights situation. You have to remember that this was strict segregation at that time. And North Carolina was also a strict segregationist state which meant that African Americans did not have equal rights, which also meant that most of the politicians were against democracy for African Americans. So there was a lot of work to be done in order to get some things changed. Civil Rights Movement meant that I went to not equal schools, that our parents didn’t have equal job opportunities, that the state conspired to keep us poor and conspired to keep us not as well educated. We couldn’t attend University of North Carolina, nor Duke University, nor Wake Forrest University, nor North Carolina State for which our tax money supported in a lot of ways. So we were really being done in a very bad way by the authorities at the time. So the Civil Rights Movement meant a lot to me. When we began to get wind of how things were changing and needed to be changed. I mentioned the Brown versus Board of Education case. I remember when the public buses were integrated in North Carolina for the first time, for example. I remember, when of course, I remember, people my age remember, too, the presidential election of 1960, between President Kennedy and the challenger, and the other candidate for the Republicans, Richard Nixon and in the introduction of Civil Rights support becomes more common in the political sphere of things. So it meant a great deal. It meant a lot.
Shawndell: Can you explain what was segregation for the African American person back then?
James Randall: Well, the situation was really based on a Supreme Court case that took place much earlier, in 1896, the so-called Plessy vs Ferguson case, which the Supreme Court ruled that segregation was OK as long as there were equal facilities for African Americans-the so-called separate but equal doctrine. And we saw very quickly that things were separate, but they never were equal. Equal facilities were not really provided for and it meant that by law, African Americans got a raw deal from the state government and also from the national government because the national government supported the state governments in their discrimination against us in many ways. And again, education-didn’t have equal education opportunity, for jobs- couldn’t have equal jobs opportunity. In my home county, I couldn’t even go to the county library because it was only for whites. Blacks could not go the county library. And so that’s a blatant example of this discrimination in that way as well, which meant that we couldn’t get certain kinds of jobs, even state jobs we could not get. There were some more menial jobs that were designated for African Americans, but top flight jobs were out of the question at that time. And it meant that therefore, more people were waiting for these changes to occur and we were increasingly aware of them, and that made us more determined to become active, too. And for example the students, the college students who lead and who began the sit-in movement, they were also fed up with a good deal of this activity and they were motivated to do something about it and other students in other places and an increasing number of adults also began to participate directly as well.
Shawndell: So can you describe the role of the African American church back in your day?
James Randell: When I was small, I was involved in church activity especially. My parents were active in the church, especially my father, who was a very active churchman in the AME Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, in my hometown. My hometown was very small, about 600 people. But as I think about it there were a lot of churches in that town a lot of African American Churches, maybe seven or eight African American Churches in a very small town. So I participated in Sunday School. When I was very young I became Sunday School secretary, state Sunday School secretary, I guess until I finished high school and went away to college. I remember attending Sunday School conventions that took place yearly. One of my cousins was the pianist. She had a talent for playing piano. And she became the director of the junior choir. So naturally I was a member of junior choir for a number of years as well. There were some other activities that took place, too, some special holiday activities that occurred in the church as well. I remember also some Vacation Bible School experiences began and it was a new idea at the time for our area of the country. But nevertheless, that took place as well.
Shawndell: Have you been involved in any Civil Rights organizations or any like of the NAACP stuff or anything like that?
James Randall: Yes again, because of the area of the country where I lived, practically it couldn’t be avoided just out of natural behavior. But when the sit-in movements began, I was still in high school. And so we decided that, some people in my town decided, that we should participate directly in some of these activates. Well, maybe I was a junior in high school at that time. Our town was so small, that we didn’t have any real facilities to integrate because we just had a little regular General Store. But we did most of our shopping in a town about twenty-five miles away, the town of Wilmington, North Carolina. Most of our big shopping occurred there. So we decided to organize and to join the demonstrations that were taking place in Wilmington. So we organized and we decided that we needed a formal organization. So it was formal organized and I was elected president of the group. So before dinner time each Saturday we would go to Wilmington and we would join in the sit-ins that were taking place in Wilmington. We had some varied experiences there, some not so nice experiences, of course some people in the crowd didn’t want us there. The store people also didn’t want us there sitting in either and they would try to do things to force us away like pretend that they were spraying for flies and insects and spray on us on that occasion. Some of the rowdy people in the crowd would threaten us, threaten to fight us in some ways, too. But, we had gone through some training before we actually did that. And so it was overall a very useful experience. Later in college, I also participated in some civil rights demonstrations. And even after I finished my undergraduate work at North Carolina A&T, I moved to Pittsburgh to attend a college there. And activity was taking place in that city. Even in that northern industrial city, some things needed to be changed there as well. And James King had even later, for example when I went to another university, ____University, and later to Washington State University, one organization that I became involved with was the organization concerned with liberation in South Africa, so in effect, civil rights for South Africa on more of a global scale. And so I think that part of that interest and activity generated in my case early from participating in the sit-ins back in North Carolina.
Shawndell: What would you say is one of your best…like your best accomplishments?
James Randall: Well I think working in education for forty years. I think that, to endure that and still fill enthused about it. And I’ve had some good students who have come through the process. And so I think very, very, very positively on that. Sometimes I hear from former students and they are doing progressive things. And so I count that as one of the best things.
Shawndell: What has been one of your happiest time, memories?
James Randall: Happiest memories. I guess there are some standard ones, such as some of my memories with my wife, with my family, with my North Carolina relatives, with visiting some other places. Living in Colorado was nice for a year. Visiting the West Indies was also good. Taking a trip to Africa was good. And so those are fond memories.
Shawndell: What would you change about the outcome of your life right now?
James Randall: That’s a big question. I’m not sure what I would change about the outcome of my life. I think that in so many ways, of course, life is still being engaged. And so we go through it, and try to do positive things that we can. But sometimes in finagling with the past a little bit it would change so many other things as well. In some ways, I think I would, I would have liked to have been more productive, more steadily at some times. I think I have been relatively productive over time. But maybe if I had gotten, maybe even started earlier, maybe if I had been able to, I don’t know, get though college a couple of years earlier then so much more might have been done. But this is, you know, fantasy. I would like to have traveled in more places than I have. I‘ve done a lot of travel across the states. I would like to have done more world travel.
Shawndell: I also have one more question. You’ve talked about one of your happiest times. Which would be one of your worst times of your life?
James Randall: A very painful time would have been the year 1972. In that year my father died in February; my grandmother died in May; my mother died in September. So within a relatively short period of time, these are the people who have sort of molded me, and that was naturally a painful time not just for me, but for my brothers and sisters as well. So that stands out.
Shawndell: So do you have any questions that you think I have not answered that you think we should know?
James Randall: I suppose we could ramble a long time about a lot of different things. I think that over my years, I’ve seen a lot of positive changes occur in society in general. And now which gives me some, more than just hope, but some belief that things are likely to continue to improve in some positive ways. As a world and as a society we have dirtied our hands with a lot of things. I’m glad to see now that we seem to be more determined to clean up behind ourselves more than we have done in the past, more accountably, than we have done the past. So, I hope that that trend will continue.
Shawndell: Alright, well, thank you for letting me interview you.
James Randall: Alright, thank you.
BLACK SEXTUPLETS FINALLY GET SUPPORT AFTER PROTEST CAMPAIGN IS LAUNCHED BY BLACKS-1998-THE FIRST BLACK SEXTUPLETS IN AMERIKKKA!December 11, 2012
First Black Sextuplets Belatedly Win Public Notice
Published: January 08, 1998
(Page 2 of 2)
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Speaking to the President at that meeting, Thaddeus Garrett Jr., former board chairman at Howard University here, said of the Thompsons: ”Never got mentioned anywhere. Didn’t get a dime from any corporation, diapers or anything. Then this woman out in Iowa has seven, and she’s in more magazines than you are.
And it wasn’t until some of us ministers kicked up a fuss that now some of the corporations are starting.”
Whether it was the ministers or the radio show, many of those who had ignored the Thompsons rushed to their side in the newly warm glow of the spotlight.
The Procter & Gamble Company offered diapers. The General Motors Corporation provided a van. Howard promised scholarships for all five children. Toys, clothes and swings piled up. Gerber Products gave coupons for food. The Washington law firm of Wiley, Rein & Fielding is providing free legal advice. The Freddie Mac Foundation, established by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, said it would give the family a house and is on the verge of announcing that it has found a big one with a yard.
Univ. Gives Sextuplets Scholarships
AP , Associated Press
AP News Archive Dec. 22, 1997 5:16 PM ET
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Add a paid college education to the list of gifts for the five surviving sextuplets in Washington.
Howard University offered four-year scholarships Monday to each of the seven-month-old Thompson babies: Emily Elizabeth, Richard Linden, Octavia Daniela, Stella Kimberly and AnnMarie Amanda.
“It’s our turn now,” father Linden Thompson told WRC-TV. “Howard has done the job. It’s time for mom and dad to do their job.”
The babies were decked out in blue and white Howard University sweatsuits and bonnets for Monday’s announcement. By the time the babies enter college the scholarships will be worth $314,000.
Linden and Jacqueline Thompson were the first black parents in the United States to have sextuplets but they and their newborns were virtually ignored until last month’s birth of the McCaughey septuplets in Iowa.
The Iowa births sparked stories about the lack of attention given to the Thompson family.
Since then, the baby shower for the infants has been ongoing. First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, making her annual visit to Children’s Hospital, recently posed for photos with the Thompson family.
The National Political Congress of Black Women, based in nearby Silver Spring, Md., announced last week it was “adopting” the family and helping make some of their wishes come true.
The Freddie Mac Foundation has already promised the family a house, and Chevrolet has donated an Astro minivan.
Local students and employees have also presented gifts. About 30 students from Moravian Academy in Bethlehem, Pa., even took a four-hour bus ride to present their .
WHITEMAIL! (INSTEAD OF BLACKMAIL!)-THE WHITE HOMOSEXUAL SLAVEMASTER HAS SPOKEN! -BLACKS ARE STILL SLAVES IN AMERIKKKA AND MUST OBEY! – SO OBAMA MUST OBEY! -A JOURNALIST IN NIGERIA PINPOINTS HOW OBAMA WAS FORCED TO DO IT!-FROM PUNCH NEWSPAPERS,NIGERIAMay 22, 2012
Of principles, politics and Obama’s gay gamble
May 20, 2012 by Minabere Ibelema 7 Comments
When the United States President Barack Obama stunned the world by declaring his support for same-sex marriage, he explained that it was a matter of principle. He believes in equality for all people and that extending marriage rights to gays was an extension of that principle.
But there’s more to it.
The announcement was stunning, not so much for what Obama said but when he said it.
That Obama has been sympathetic to the gay community has been quite evident. Among other things, he saw to it that the Pentagon lifted the don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy that forbade gay military personnel from making public their homosexuality.
And his Justice Department refrained from representing the Federal Government in cases related to the Defence of Marriage Act, a law that forbade the recognition of same-sex marriages by federal departments and agencies.
For an administration to blatantly refuse to enforce a law that was duly passed by Congress and signed by a previous President is a rather serious matter. Though it is not without precedent, in some circumstances it could be impeachable.
Therefore,as a matter of law and politics, that stance was even more consequential than Obama’s declaration of support for same-sex marriage.
What was truly stunning then was Obama’s timing. Earlier in his political career, he had unequivocally opposed same-sex marriage. Then, as President, he had responded to a related question by saying that his personal view on the matter was still evolving.
That was, of course, the kind of answer that politicians give on issues of which they fear the consequences irrespective of the side they took. So, with about six months to go before the general elections, why would Obama risk it all by taking a stance now?
Well, it is a matter of blackmail and being backed into the wall. First, the latter.
When Vice-President Joseph Biden was asked recently about same-sex marriage, he said he was “comfortable” with it. It was inevitable that Obama would be called upon again to comment on the matter.
Obama was in a political quandary. He couldn’t afford to equivocate on a matter about which his vice-president had given a pointed response. He had to declare.
And then, there was the dimension of blackmail. No, not by any gay lover. Actually, the trending news before Obama’s same-sex marriage declaration had been about the release of love letters he wrote to his girlfriend in his earlier years.
The blackmail reportedly came from Hollywood, where some big wigs were planning a major campaign fundraiser for Obama. In case you are wondering the connection, Hollywood is a gay haven, perhaps second only to San Francisco.
According to the reports, some among the fundraisers pressured Obama to take a stand on same-sex marriage. The announcement, according to this thesis, was to appease that group.
Obama can use all the fund-raising help he can get. According to Bloomberg financial services, “The price tag on the 2012 presidential election is set to be the biggest ever.” That is higher than the combined price tag of more than $1bn for the 2008 election.
Even without a challenger in the primaries, Obama’s campaign has already expended more than $172m of the close to $197m it has raised so far. Yet the general elections campaign is merely in the warm-up stage.
Obama is set to duel it out with his enormously wealthy opponent, Mitt Romney. It is a circumstance in which even the most subtle blackmail can get it done.
Even then, the declaration of support for same-sex marriage is quite a gamble. If Obama were running for office anywhere in the world outside of Europe and North America, he is probably finished. Certainly, his stock has tumbled greatly in Nigeria.
Might the declaration cost Obama the election or help him? The best permutation at this time is, it all depends. Here’s what the political chessboard looks like.
Recent opinion polls show that a slight majority of Americans say that same sex marriage should be allowed.
The people who are most put off by Obama’s support of same-sex marriage are religious conservatives. But they vote solidly Republican, anyway. So, Obama has few votes to lose among them.
However, Obama’s staunchest supporters — blacks and Hispanics — are also overwhelmingly against same-sex marriage. Yet, he needs a heavy turnout by them — all voting predominantly for him — to win the election.
Obama knows this too well. His very next action after the announcement was to call the pastors of America’s largest and most influential black churches to explain himself. Predictably, he didn’t get many alleluias from them.
In fact, black pastors were already besieged with phone calls, texts and emails from dumbfounded members of their congregations seeking guidance. Many pastors had to address the issue in prayer meetings and Sunday sermons, with most disapproving but urging understanding.
“I believe the statement the president made and his decision was made in good faith. I am sure because the president is a good man,” Bishop Timothy Clark, of the First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio, told his congregation, according to USA Today.
In any case, African Americans’ support for Obama is so overwhelming and strong that it is unlikely that he will lose a lot of their votes in November. As would be predicted by the theory of cognitive dissonance, they are likely to find ways to rationalise away Obama’s decision.
The same may not be true of Hispanics, however. They are predominantly Catholic and, therefore, more conservative than African Americans in their view of social matters.
Independent voters, whose swings almost always determine the outcomes of presidential election, are another concern for Obama. Among them are people who are still sitting on the fence and for whom Obama’s position may be the tipping factor to the other side.
But the common wisdom is that independent voters tend to be swayed more by economic matters than social issues.
What is certain about all this is that Obama is an astute politician. He must have done the permutations and liked how the numbers turned out.
Echewe ozo May 20, 2012 at 7:37 am
If obama’s fada is a gay could he ve born obama d u.s president of today,when a man meets a woman during ovulation conception takes place nd dat is hw our mother’s bore us all,so dis unnatural method abi na shit una wan born,no bi shit fil d anus.to support stupidity or stupid gay is to make ve human extinction,b wise obama.
James May 20, 2012 at 9:00 am
A confused society indeed.
michael May 20, 2012 at 10:46 am
AGBEKE AYANTUGA May 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm
WHITEMAIL! (INSTEAD OF BLACK MAIL!) -THE WHITE HOMOSEXUAL SLAVEMASTER HAS SPOKEN! BLACKS ARE STILL SLAVES IN AMERIKKKA AND MUST OBEY! -SO OBAMA MUST DO AS THE SLAVEMASTER TOLD HIM! NO FREEDOM FOR THE BLACK MAN IN AMERIKKKA!
May 05, 2003
Fields of Dreams
By Pam Lambert
Dreaming of Africa, Jackie Robinson’s Son Found a Wife and Way of Life in Tanzania
First you ford the rushing river. Then you jounce down a rut-filled dirt road past what passes for a town this far into the boonies of Tanzania—a few brick houses and a single modest store. Thirty bone-jarring minutes later you’re there. “Welcome to my home,” says David Robinson, 50, youngest child of baseball legend and civil rights pioneer Jackie Robinson, as his Land Cruiser lurches to a stop amid a compound of faded brick buildings with rusted tin roofs. “If you had told me at 12 years old in Connecticut that I would end up growing coffee, or even living in Africa, I would have never believed you.”
Remarkable as it may seem, Robinson is doing just that. While his Hall of Famer father spent his life fighting for equal opportunities for blacks in the U.S., earning a place in history books as the first African-American to play in the majors, David chose a very different path. Since 1989 the son of this social trailblazer has become a literal one in Tanzania. Clearing away the forest with only hand tools, Robinson and his team of workers have managed to cultivate a 120-acre coffee farm. Other farmers have joined his now 700-family-strong Mshikamano cooperative, whose Sweet Unity Farms premium coffee is making its way into the U.S.—and boosting the area’s standard of living. “He came back to mother Africa to help,” says local official Darry Rwegasira. “He opened the way for others to come and see that there are opportunities here.”
The seeds for Robinson’s journey were planted when he was a teen, still living on his parents’ six-acre spread in Stamford, Conn. (where they were the only black family in the neighborhood). At 15, David went on a seminal trip to Africa with his mother, Rachel. Jackie, who had retired from baseball when David was 4, did not make the trek. “My father wasn’t big on Africa,” Robinson says. “He couldn’t look back to Africa, because the American reality was confronting him.”
But for his son it was another story. Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana—David was mesmerized. The trip “was life-altering for David,” says Rachel, 80. “He began to develop the notion that the destructiveness of slavery was that we were all torn apart as a people, that we wouldn’t be whole until we reconnected with our African roots.”
Although Robinson spent several months in Africa at 19 after dropping out of Stanford, family concerns drew him home. Earlier that year his brother Jackie Jr., 24, who had struggled with drugs, fell asleep at the wheel of David’s MG and died in the crash. The blow, Robinson believes, worsened his father’s heart problems and diabetes. In October 1972, Jackie suffered a fatal heart attack. He was 53. “I saw my brother, my father and grandmother dead in a three-year period,” Robinson says. “It made it clear to me that I couldn’t live a frivolous life.”
Robinson married. He also joined with other black activists to start a grassroots housing organization that rehabilitated brownstones for Harlem residents. But his eye remained on Africa. “I would spend three nights a week dreaming of getting back,” he says. “I had an emotional attachment.”
Robinson divorced and then, at age 32, made the move with his 4-year-old daughter Ayo in 1984. It was initially tough for him to decide which country to settle in since, “like 99 percent of African-Americans, we didn’t know where our ancestors had come from.” But because of its economic and political stability, he chose Tanzania.
After trying his hand at a variety of jobs, Robinson began looking at the coffee-growing Mbozi district in southern Tanzania, where it was traditional for a man to be given land in his village. “Because of the slave experience, I had lost my tribe,” Robinson says. “But I was back. I had chosen Tanzania.” After lengthy negotiations, the council elders took Robinson to the edge of the forest and told him that whatever he could clear away, he could have. The area, to say the least, was remote. “When I took my mother here the first time, she told me that she hoped we might run into some bandits. Anyone.” David and about 15 local workers began the difficult task of turning forest into farmland. At that point Robinson knew nothing about coffee cultivation. “Ignorance is one of the greatest facilitators of doing things,” he laughs. “You don’t know what you are really up against.”
Besides his 27,000 coffee plants, Robinson would put down other roots in his new community. Deciding to marry in the Wanyamwezi tribe (“They took heavy losses in the slave trade…and the women were reported to be very beautiful”), he embarked on a traditional bridal search. A friend in the tribe adopted Robinson as a brother, then later brought him to the house of a cattle farmer with three eligible daughters. As is customary, the women did brief cameo appearances in front of Robinson—after which he had to choose or risk insulting the family. “I pulled myself together,” he says, “and went with the tallest.”
Then Robinson had to do his own cameo in front of the chosen daughter, Ruti Mpunda, before leaving the house. To his surprise, her first answer was a no. “She told me later, ‘Would you agree the first time a stranger asked you?’ ” Robinson says. “She had a point.” But Ruti, then 18, quickly changed her answer. “I really liked him, he was very handsome, I wanted him,” she says. “It was a good decision. He is a very good husband.”
During their 13 years together, the pair have had six children, who range in age from 12-year-old twins Rachel and Racheli to Nubia, 13 months. (Son Jackie died at age 3, in 1997, from malaria.) The farm’s solar panels generate enough power for four lights and a radio, but Robinson prefers candle-light. Until recently, the nearest telephone was a l½-hour drive away. “I could have a more physically comfortable life,” he says. “But that would not be emotionally comfortable.”
About the only thing Robinson really misses is family. He tries to visit his mother, sister Sharon, 53, and nephew Jesse, 24, on frequent business trips to the U.S. to promote his coffee. “Both my and my father’s lives have really been about seeking out the road to freedom, equal rights and development,” muses Robinson as he surveys his plot in the sunset. “This,” he says, “is my Ebbets Field.”
Bryan Alexander in Tanzania
“Speak, Garvey, Speak!”A Follower Recalls a Garvey Rally
The Jamaican-born Marcus Garvey, a brilliant orator and black nationalist leader, turned his Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) into the most important black organization in the United States in the early 1920s. Garvey’s speeches often drew huge audiences, and stories of Garvey’s stubborn resistance in the face of white hostility proliferated among his supporters. In an oral history interview, devotee Audley Moore remembered the Jamaican’s defiant behavior at a rally in New Orleans caused “the [white] police [to] file out . . . like little puppy dogs with their tails behind them.” She proudly recalled the crowd intimidating the police by raising their guns and chanting “speak, Garvey, speak.”
Listen to Audio: Queen Mother Audley Moore: They didn’t want Garvey to speak in New Orleans. We had a delegation to go to the mayor, and the next night, they allowed him to come. And we all was armed. Everybody had bags of ammunition, too. So when Garvey came in, we applauded, and the police were lined man to man along the line of each bench. So Mr. Garvey said, “My friends, I want to apologize for not speaking to you last night. But the reason I didn’t was because the mayor of the city of New Orleans committed himself to act as a stooge for the police department to prevent me from speaking.” And the police jumped up and said, “I’ll run you in.”When he did this, everybody jumped up on the benches and pulled out their guns and just held the guns up in the air and said, “Speak, Garvey, speak.”And Garvey said, “As I was saying,” and he went on and repeated what he had said before, and the police filed out the hall like little puppy dogs with their tails behind them. So that was radical enough. I had two guns with me, one in my bosom and one in my pocketbook, little 38 specials.
Source: Interview done by the Oral History of the American Left, Tamiment Library, NYU for the public radio program Grandma Was An Activist, producers Charlie Potter and Beth Friend.
THE VIEWS OF AFRICAN SOCIALIST ABOUT GARVEY-
Marcus Garvey Lives! Legacy Carried Forward by the ASI
Posted by Enaemaehkiw Túpac Keshena
Today, August 17, is the birthday of Marcus Garvey, one of the most important anti-imperialist leaders of the last 150 years. In celebration I am reposting the following article from the August 2006 issue of The Burning Spear Newspaper, the organ of the African People’s Socialist Party.
Each August, growing numbers of Africans around the world celebrate the birth of Marcus Mosiah Garvey who was born on August 17, 1887 in St. Ann’s Bay, Saint Ann, Jamaica.
The celebration of Garvey’s birth date is due to the fact that since the attack on Africa that led to the capture, dispersal and enslavement of millions of Africans and the colonization and balkanization of Africa, no African has been more instrumental in creating the vision of a free and liberated Africa and African people. No African has been more successful in setting the example for organized resistance that would result in the liberation and unification of Africa and African people everywhere.
Garvey, more than anyone, contributed to the ideas advancing the existence of African people as a dispersed nation to be liberated from imperialism and served by our own all-African government in Africa.
In 1914, Garvey organized the Universal Negro Improvement Association in Jamaica. At the time, the UNIA was conceived as a fraternal reform association that would work for the upliftment of African people through the creation of educational institutions and industrial opportunities. However, it was only after his location to Harlem in 1916 that the organization began to achieve rapid growth.
By 1920, there were more than a thousand UNIA branches and divisions around the world. In August of 1920 at its first convention, held in Madison Square Garden in New York, more than 25,000 Africans from Africa and virtually everywhere else Africans had been forcibly dispersed, came together in a month-long display of unity and organization never before witnessed by Africans or anyone else.
The UNIA, which would become the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League, was comprised of members and followers who were mostly working class. This was one of the most important reasons for its strength, estimated at being from 6 to 11 million members and followers, and also one of the reasons it was greatly feared and hated by various imperialist governments and significant sectors of African middle class leadership, most of which saw assimilation into U.S. imperialist society as the only way to achieve their aspirations.
Garvey Makes Incredible Accomplishment in Building Steamship Line
In 1919, the UNIA founded the Black Star Line Steamship Corporation. This was one of several ventures that included the Universal Printing House, the Negro Factories Corporation, and the Negro World Newspaper, printed in three languages.
Marcus Garvey built a single internationl economic capacity for African people in the eraly 1900s that has not yet been duplicated. This was on of the many aspect of Garvey’s work to consolidate a single African nation.
All of these were among the efforts to create an economy around which the oppressed and dispersed African nation would be organized. Central to these efforts was the Black Star Line that was to initiate trade between Africans worldwide.
The Black Star Line venture failed because of a number of factors including inexperience on the part of Garvey and the UNIA. And, while the ineptitude of Garvey and the UNIA is something all his detractors, then and now, love to expound on as being the reason for the failure of the Black Star Line, this explanation overlooks the fact that this was not the primary reason for its failure. It also overlooks the significance of the creation of the Black Star Line.
The fact is that Garvey and the UNIA built a steam ship line in 1919 when almost the whole African world lived under white colonial domination, the exceptions being the nominal independence of Liberia and Ethiopia. Additionally, this was only a little more than 50 years after the formal emancipation of enslaved Africans in the U.S. and during the year that was the bloodiest in post-emancipation America in terms of anti-African terror launched by whites in the U.S.
Clearly, this was not a sign of ineptitude. If anything, it was miraculous.
Also, the hostility of the U.S. and white society to African economic advancement during the period is revealed in the fact that only two years after the launching of the Black Star Line, the Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma was attacked and bombed, destroying it. Today no one claims that the destruction in Tulsa was due to the ineptitude of the African business people there.
No. Ineptitude was not the primary factor in the failure of the Black Star Line. The most critical factor in its failure was the active opposition and sabotage by the U.S. government, the white left, and the African petty bourgeoisie. The Communist Party USA worked tirelessly to undermine Garvey while the NAACP and W.E.B. Du Bois actively sought the support of the U.S. attorney general to acquire a ship that could be used to destroy the Black Star Line.
Along with the white left and African petty bourgeois active opposition, the Bureau of Investigation (precursor to the FBI), launched its own vicious campaign to rid the imperialist world of Marcus Garvey and the UNIA. In 1922, Garvey would be indicted by the U.S. government on contrived charges of using the mail to defraud through sale of the Black Star Line stock.
Though the charge was politically motivated and facilitated by agents who worked within the Black Star Line for the U.S. government, Garvey was tried and imprisoned in 1925. He spent two years in prison before being released and deported to Jamaica.
The movement that Garvey led would never be the same after his imprisonment and deportation. Agents and opportunists within the organization and enemies without were finally able to render the UNIA ineffective. Garvey, from his location in Jamaica and separated from the connections and membership in the U.S. — which was then becoming a major imperialist center — was unable to effectively defend the organization. On June 10, 1940, Marcus Mosiah Garvey died in relative obscurity in London, England.
Garvey Initiated Process of Creating a United, Liberated Africa that Influenced Other Oppressed Peoples’ Struggles
However, the legacy of Marcus Garvey lives today. And it should, despite the barrage of slander that had been unleashed against him when alive and despite the efforts by U.S. and European imperialists and African petty bourgeois liberals to erase him from history.
Garvey was not only the man who moved toward constructing a unifying national economy and a vision for African liberation, unification and redemption. He was also voted by oppressed Africans from around the world as the provisional president of Africa when Africa suffered under the book of direct white power colonialism.
Garvey began creating all the organizations and symbols of State power to be exercised by an independent African people. He initiated a process in Liberia, where he bought land and sent a construction expedition there that would create a beachhead from which the struggle to free Africa could be launched.
The great meetings of the Garvey movement at its Liberty Halls, especially in New York, would become of major interest to all imperialists. Not only were Africans from throughout the world, especially seamen, constantly visiting these meetings, but also other oppressed people and their developing leaders, such as Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh who regularly attended Garvey meetings.
The Negro World also became a major irritant to imperialists. During the period of the resistance to U.S. imperialism in Nicaragua during the 1920s, the Negro World became a means through which followers of the anti-imperialist Nicaraguan revolutionary leader Augusto Sandino would communicate and advance their ideas.
On August 13, 1920, the UNIA adopted the Declaration of Rights of The Negro Peoples of the World. The significance of this declaration resonates today, some 86 years later. Among the complaints laid out in the declaration is Point 3 which declares, “That European nations have parceled out among them and taken possession of nearly all of the continent of Africa, and the natives are compelled to surrender their lands to aliens and are treated in most instances like slaves.”
Among the rights advanced by the declaration is this one that declares, “that Negroes, wheresoever they form a community among themselves should be given the right to elect their own representatives to represent them in Legislatures, courts of law, or such institutions as may exercise control over that particular community…
“…We believe that the Negro should adopt every means to protect himself against barbarous practices inflicted upon him because of color…
“…We believe in the freedom of Africa for the Negro people of the world…
“…We strongly condemn the cupidity of those nations of the world who, by open aggression or secret schemes, have seized the territories and inexhaustible natural wealth of Africa, and we place on record our most solemn determination to reclaim the treasures and possession of the vast continent of our forefathers…
“…We believe in the self-determination of all peoples…
“…We demand complete control of our social institutions without interference by any alien race or races…
“…That the colors, Red, Black and Green, be the colors of the Negro race…
“…We proclaim the 31st day of August of each year to be an international holiday to be observed by all Negroes…
“…We want all men to know that we shall maintain and contend for the freedom and equality of every man, woman and child of our race, with our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor…”
These select quotes from the extensive declaration helps us to understand the significance of the vision and the organizational efforts of the movement founded and led by Marcus Garvey. They also help to explain why the legacy of Garvey is eternal.
Political Movement of Pan Africanism Born in Opposition to Garvey
Today, with the crisis-ridden imperial white power groaning in response to the efforts of the oppressed peoples of the world to free ourselves from its domination, more and more of the African middle class or petty bourgeoisie are also looking toward Africa and some form of African unity.
In many ways, this is similar to the time of Garvey when for a time the imperialists were engaged in the first imperialist war to divide the world among themselves and oppressed peoples everywhere were attempting to forge their own path to freedom from colonial domination.
The power of the Garvey legacy has resulted in an effort by some, especially petty bourgeois African liberals, to lump Garvey and Du Bois together as founding fathers of practical, political, Pan Africanism. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Garvey was not a Pan Africanist. In fact, Pan Africanism, as a political movement, was formed by Du Bois and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). It was founded in opposition to the Garvey movement and as part of the overall imperialist-led struggle that led to its demise.
Both Du Bois and Garvey were always clear that they were opponents. In a June 20, 1921 letter to the New York Age and quoted in Volume III of the Marcus Garvey Papers edited by Robert Hill, Du Bois writes, “Bishop Smith mingles the Pan African Congress and the Garvey movement as practically one idea. This is a grave mistake. The Pan African Congress has nothing to do with any ‘Africa for the Africa[ns]’ movement. The object of the Pan African Congress is simply to bring representatives of the various people of African descent into knowledge and common acquaintanceship, so that out of such conferences general policies and actions can be evolved…
“Many colored persons know this, but have been restrained by the Garvey movement. Mr. Garvey’s African program has been dangerous, ill-considered[,] impracticable, and for that reason the Pan African Congress has not invited him to participate. On the other hand we must be generous enough to give Mr. Garvey the credit of having foreseen the necessity of union in business and social uplift between all the African people. He is not the man to carry this out because he lacks poise and business ability…”
Garvey, quoted in the same book on page 583, introduced this resolution during his opening address at the August 1921 UNIA convention:
“Be it resolved: That we, the duly elected representatives of the Negro peoples of the world, from North America, South America, Central America, West Indies, Asia, Europe, Australia and Africa, assembled in open conclave on this day of August, 1921, at the 12th Regiment Armory, New York City, United States of America…do hereby place on record our repudiation of a Pan African Congress to be held in London, England…
“Our repudiation of this Congress, as representatives of the Negro peoples of the world, is based on the fact that W.E.B. Du Bois, secretary of the so-called Pan African Congress, and those associated with him, are not representatives of the struggling peoples of the world, and that the men who have called the said Congress have not consulted with the Negro peoples of the world of their intention, and have received no mandate from the said people to call a Congress in their name…
“That we believe the motives of the Congress are to undermine the true feeling and sentiment of the Negro race for complete freedom in their own spheres, and for a higher social order among themselves, as against a desire among a certain class of Negroes for social contact, comradeship and companionship with the white race…”
There is no confusion here, by either Du Bois or Garvey. Moreover, a careful reading of the statements from both men will reveal the class bias of each.
Du Bois, with his concern for Garvey’s lack of poise and his begrudging and cynical praise for Garvey’s recognition for “union in business,” speaks volumes of his class sympathies as does Garvey’s complaint that Du Bois and his cohorts “are not representatives of the struggling peoples of the world.”
The imprisonment and deportation of Garvey were necessary for the development of the Pan Africanist movement which, up to then, was simply a gathering of a handful of African intellectuals, some of whom, like Blaise Diagne in France, actually worked for imperialist governments.
With Garvey’s forced removal from the scene, many people joined the Pan Africanist movement out of confusion while some others, like Garvey’s wife Amy Jaques Garvey, joined in 1945 in an effort to advance the work of her late husband.
Garvey’s Work Continues on in the Work to Build the African Socialist International
We, of the African People’s Socialist Party, are African Internationalists, followers of Garvey who continue to develop his ideas to make them consistent with the times in which we live.
Our opposition to Pan Africanism is not opposition to the literal translation of the words, which simply mean “all-African.” Our opposition is to what Pan Africanism is as a political expression.
People like Du Bois, and later George Padmore, created Pan Africanism as something petty bourgeoisie in outlook, pacifist and parliamentarian in tactics and strategy, anti-communist and neocolonialist in worldview.
However, for most people, Pan Africanism is whatever its advocates want it to be. It is not a theory, so much as it is a belief in the solidarity of African people worldwide, without regard for issues of class or practical program to liberate and unite Africa and African people in a revolutionary struggle against imperialism.
There have been many brilliant, heroic Pan Africanists. They include giants like Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Walter Rodney and Mangaliso Sobukwe. However, most of the difficulties and disasters that destroyed these courageous leaders and their movements, Rodney being a possible exception, came as a result of their adherence to the Pan African values that came from Du Bois and Padmore.
We believe that the efforts to build the African Socialist International, a single organization of African revolutionaries committed to the struggle to liberate and unite Africa and African people under the leadership of the African working class and to create a socialist United States of Africa is Garveyism in the era of imperialism in crisis.
For the African People’s Socialist Party the celebration of the legacy of Garvey means that we should live like him and fight to accomplish his vision in our lifetime. We call on all others who would be like Garvey and who go beyond the annual process of paying homage to a deceased Garvey, to join us in building the ASI, our greatest testimony to the fact that Garvey lives!
A black nationalist, Marcus Garvey immigrated to Harlem in 1916. There he established Liberty Hall as headquarters for a movement that would grow to almost 2 million members.
Marcus Garvey in full uniform
Thought by many blacks to be another Moses, Marcus Garvey rose from humble beginnings in Jamaica, West Indies, to become the number one advocate of the “Back to Africa movement.”
He left school at sixteen and went to work as an apprentice printer, organizing the printing workers in Kingston, Jamaica.
In 1917, he came to America and founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), whose major goal was to create a strong Negro Nation in Africa. By 1920, the UNIA claimed more than 1 million members. In August of that year, their International Convention was held in New York City, where 25,000 people gathered to hear Garvey speak.
In 1923, Garvey was charged with and found guilty of using the mail service to defraud in connection with his fundraising to buy ships for the return to Africa. While imprisoned he wrote his famous “First Message to the Negroes of the World from Atlanta Prison,” where he said: “Look to me in the whirlwind or the storm, look for me all around you, for, with God’s grace I shall come and bring with me countless millions of black slaves who have died in America and the West Indies and the millions in Africa to aid you in the fight for liberty, freedom and life.”
Garvey died in 1940 in London, England. He was named Jamaica’s first national hero and buried in the National Heroes Park in Jamaica. This entry contributed by Curriculum Concepts International
Kenneth Jackson discusses Marcus Garvey Park and the man for whom it was named
Columbia University Professor of History Kenneth Jackson talks about Marcus Garvey Park, and the man for whom it was named.
Kellie Jones discusses Marcus Garvey Park
Kellie Jones, Columbia University Professor of Art History and Archeology, describes New York’s Marcus Garvey Park.
Current view of Marcus Garvey Memorial Park
The Marcus Garvey Memorial Park interrupts Fifth Avenue between 120th and 124th Streets. Its 70-foot hill offers a view of the site of Garvey’s Liberty Hall on West 138th Street.
Marcus Garvey in full uniform
A black nationalist, Marcus Garvey immigrated to Harlem in 1916. There he established Liberty Hall as headquarters for a movement that would grow to almost 2 million members.
Envelope for Donations to UNIA
This envelope calls for joining and contributing to the Universal Negro Improvement Association.
Advertisement for a UNIA Convention
A 1924 UNIA flyer announces “Biggest Negro Convention in the History of the World: Program for Big Conclave Outlined.”
Marcus Garvey and the Rise of Black Nationalism
Marcus Garvey and the Rise of Black Nationalism – 4th Grade Adaptation
Posted by Mark Wells on December 20, 2009 at 1:22pm in KNOWLEDGE IS KING!!!!
Back to KNOWLEDGE IS KING!!!! Discussions
A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.
Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr., ONH (17 August 1887 – 10 June 1940), was a publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, Black Nationalist, Pan-Africanist, and orator. Marcus Garvey was founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL).
Prior to the twentieth century, leaders such as Prince Hall, Martin Delany, Edward Wilmot Blyden, and Henry Highland Garnet advocated the involvement of the African diaspora in African affairs. Garvey was unique in advancing a Pan-African philosophy to inspire a global mass movement focusing on Africa known as Garveyism. Promoted by the UNIA as a movement of African Redemption, Garveyism would eventually inspire others, ranging from the Nation of Islam, to the Rastafari movement (which proclaims Garvey as a prophet). The intention of the movement was for those of African ancestry to “redeem” Africa and for the European colonial powers to leave it. His essential ideas about Africa were stated in an editorial in the Negro World titled “African Fundamentalism” where he wrote:
“ Our union must know no clime, boundary, or nationality… let us hold together under all climes and in every country… ”
God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement.
Garvey was born in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica, on 17 August 1887, to Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Sr., a mason, and Sarah Jane Richards, a domestic worker and farmer. Of eleven siblings, only Marcus and his sister Indiana reached maturity. Garvey’s father was known to have a large library, and it was from his father that Marcus gained his love for reading. Sometime in the year 1900, Garvey entered into an apprenticeship with his uncle, Alfred Burrowes. Like Garvey Sr., Burrowes had an extensive library, of which young Garvey made good use.When he was about fourteen, Garvey left St. Ann’s Bay for Kingston, where he found employment as a compositor in the printing house of P. A. Benjamin, Limited. He was a master printer and foreman at Benjamin when, in November 1907, he was elected vice-president of the Kingston Union. However, he was fired when he joined a strike by printers in late 1908. Having been blacklisted for his stance in the strike, he later found work at the Government Printing Office. In 1909, his newspaper The Watchman began publication, but it only lasted for three issues.
In 1910 Garvey left Jamaica and began traveling throughout the Central American region. He lived in Costa Rica for several months, where he worked as a time-keeper on a banana plantation. He began work as editor for a daily newspaper titled La Nacionale in 1911. Later that year, he moved to Colón, Panama, where he edited a biweekly newspaper before returning to Jamaica in 1912.
After years of working on the Caribbean, Garvey left Jamaica to live in London from 1912 to 1914, where he attended Birkbeck College, worked for the African Times and Orient Review, published by Dusé Mohamed Ali, and sometimes spoke at Hyde Park’s Speakers’ Corner.
I have no desire to take all black people back to Africa; there are blacks who are no good here and will likewise be no good there.
Founding and Projects of the UNIA-ACL
During his travels, Garvey became convinced that uniting Blacks was the only way to improve their condition. Towards that end, he departed England on 14 June 1914 aboard the S.S. Trent, reaching Jamaica on 15 July 1914. He founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in August 1914 as a means of uniting all of Africa and its diaspora into “one grand racial hierarchy.” Amy Ashwood, who would later be Garvey’s first wife, was among the founders. As the group’s first President-General, Garvey’s goal was “to unite all people of African ancestry of the world to one great body to establish a country and absolute government of their own.”
Following much reflection the following day and night about what he learned, he named the organization the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities (Imperial) League.”
After corresponding with Booker T. Washington, Garvey arrived in the U.S. on 23 March 1916 aboard the S.S. Tallac to give a lecture tour and to raise funds to establish a school in Jamaica modeled after Washington’s Tuskegee Institute. Garvey visited Tuskegee, and afterward, visited with a number of Black leaders. After moving to New York, he found work as a printer by day. He was influenced by Hubert Harrison. At night he would speak on street corners, much like he did in London’s Hyde Park. It was then that Garvey perceived a leadership vacuum among people of African ancestry. On 9 May 1916, he held his first public lecture in New York City at St Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery and undertook a 38-state speaking tour.
In May 1917, Garvey and thirteen others formed the first UNIA division outside Jamaica and began advancing ideas to promote social, political, and economic freedom for Blacks. On 2 July, the East St. Louis riots broke out. On July 8, Garvey delivered an address, titled “The Conspiracy of the East St. Louis Riots,” at Lafayette Hall in Harlem. During the speech, he declared the riot was “one of the bloodiest outrages against mankind.” By October, rancor within the UNIA had begun to set in. A split occurred in the Harlem division, with Garvey enlisted to become its leader; although he technically held the same position in Jamaica.
Garvey next set about the business of developing a program to improve the conditions of those of African ancestry “at home and abroad” under UNIA auspices. On 17 August 1918, publication of the widely distributed Negro World newspaper began. Garvey worked as an editor without pay until November 1920. By June 1919 the membership of the organization had grown to over two million.
On 27 June 1919, the Black Star Line of Delaware, was incorporated by the members of the UNIA with Garvey as President. By September, it obtained its first ship. Much fanfare surrounded the inspection of the S.S. Yarmouth and its rechristening as the S.S. Frederick Douglass on 14 September 1919. Such a rapid accomplishment garnered attention from many.
One person who noticed was Edwin P. Kilroe, Assistant District Attorney in the District Attorney’s office of the County of New York. Kilroe began an investigation into the activities of the UNIA, without finding any evidence of wrongdoing or mismanagement. After being called to Kilroe’s office numerous times, Garvey wrote an editorial on Kilroe’s activities for the Negro World. Garvey was arrested and indicted for criminal libel in relation to the article, but charges were dismissed after Garvey published a retraction.
While in his Harlem office at 56 West 156th Street on 14 October 1919, Garvey received a visit from George Tyler, who told him that Kilroe “had sent him” to get Garvey. Tyler then pulled a .38-caliber revolver and fired four shots, wounding Garvey in the right leg and scalp. Garvey was taken to the hospital and Tyler arrested. The next day, it was let out that Tyler had committed suicide by leaping from the third tier of the Harlem jail as he was being taken to his arraignment.
By August 1920, the UNIA claimed four million members. That month, the International Convention of the UNIA was held. With delegates from all over the world in attendance, over 25,000 people filled Madison Square Garden on 1 August to hear Garvey speak.
Another of Garvey’s ventures was the Negro Factories Corporation. His plan called for creating the infrastructure to manufacture every marketable commodity in every big U.S. industrial center, as well as in Central America, the West Indies, and Africa. Related endeavors included a grocery chain, restaurant, publishing house, and other businesses.
Convinced that Blacks should have a permanent homeland in Africa, Garvey sought to develop Liberia.
The Liberia program, launched in 1920, was intended to build colleges, universities, industrial plants, and railroads as part of an industrial base from which to operate. However, it was abandoned in the mid-1920s after much opposition from European powers with interests in Liberia. In response to suggestions that he wanted to take all Americans of African ancestry back to Africa, he wrote, “We do not want all the Negroes in Africa. Some are no good here, and naturally will be no good there.”
Garvey has been credited with creating the biggest movement of people of African descent. This movement that took place in the 1920s is said to have had more participation from people of African descent than the Civil Rights Movement. In essence the UNIA was the largest Pan-African movement.
Our success educationally, industrially and politically is based upon the protection of a nation founded by ourselves. And the nation can be nowhere else but in Africa.
Charge of mail fraud
In a memorandum dated 11 October 1919, J. Edgar Hoover, special assistant to the Attorney General, and head of the General Intelligence Division (or “anti-radical division”) of The Bureau of Investigation or BOI (after 1935, the Federal Bureau of Investigation), wrote a memorandum to Special Agent Ridgely regarding Marcus Garvey. In the memo, Hoover wrote that:
“ Unfortunately, however, he [Garvey] has not as yet violated any federal law whereby he could be proceeded against on the grounds of being an undesirable alien, from the point of view of deportation. ”
Sometime around November 1919 an investigation by the BOI was begun into the activities of Garvey and the UNIA. Toward this end, the BOI hired James Edward Amos, Arthur Lowell Brent, Thomas Leon Jefferson, James Wormley Jones, and Earl E. Titus as its first five African-American agents. Although initial efforts by the BOI were to find grounds upon which to deport Garvey as “an undesirable alien”, a charge of mail fraud was brought against Garvey in connection with stock sales of the Black Star Line after the U.S. Post Office and the Attorney General joined the investigation.
The accusation centered on the fact that the corporation had not yet purchased a ship with the name “Phyllis Wheatley”.[clarification needed] Although one was pictured with that name emblazoned on its bow on one of the company’s stock brochures, it had not actually been purchased by the BSL and still had the name “Orion”. The prosecution produced as evidence a single empty envelope which it claimed contained the brochure. During the trial, a man by the name of Benny Dancy testified that he didn’t remember what was in the envelope, although he regularly received brochures from the Black Star Line. Another witness for the prosecution, Schuyler Cargill, perjured himself after admitting[ to having been told to mention certain dates in his testimony by Chief Prosecutor Maxwell S. Mattuck. Furthermore, he admitted that he could not remember the names of any coworkers in the office, including the timekeeper who punched employees' time cards. Ultimately, he acknowledged being told to lie by Postal Inspector F.E. Shea. He said Shea told him to state that he mailed letters containing the purportedly fraudulent brochures. The Black Star Line did own and operate several ships over the course of its history and was in the process of negotiating for the disputed ship at the time the charges were brought. Assistant District Attorney, Leo H. Healy, who was, before he became a District Attorney, attorney for Harris McGill and Co., the sellers of the first ship, the S. S. Yarmouth, to the Black Star Line Inc. was also a key witness for the government during the trial.
Of the four Black Star Line officers charged in connection with the enterprise, only Garvey was found guilty of using the mail service to defraud. His supporters called the trial fraudulent. While there were serious accounting irregularities within the Black Star Line and the claims he used to sell Black Star Line stock could be considered misleading, Garvey's supporters still contest that the prosecution was a politically motivated miscarriage of justice, given the above-mentioned false statement testimony and Hoover's explicit regret that Garvey had committed no crimes.
When the trial ended on 23 June 1923, Garvey had been sentenced to five years in prison. He initially spent three months in the Tombs Jail awaiting approval of bail. While on bail, he continued to maintain his innocence, travel, speak and organize the UNIA. After numerous attempts at appeal were unsuccessful, he was taken into custody and began serving his sentence at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary on 8 February 1925. Two days later, he penned his well known "First Message to the Negroes of the World From Atlanta Prison" wherein he makes his famous proclamation:
“ Look for me in the whirlwind or the storm, look for me all around you, for, with God's grace, I shall come and bring with me countless millions of black slaves who have died in America and the West Indies and the millions in Africa to aid you in the fight for Liberty, Freedom and Life. ”
Professor Judith Stein has stated, “his politics were on trial.”
Garvey's sentence was eventually commuted by President Calvin Coolidge. Upon his release in November 1927, Garvey was deported via New Orleans to Jamaica, where a large crowd met him at Orrett's Wharf in Kingston. A huge procession and band converged on UNIA headquarters.
The Black skin is not a badge of shame, but rather a glorious symbol of national greatness.
While W. E. B. Du Bois expressed the Black Star Line was “original and promising,” he also said: “Marcus Garvey is, without doubt, the most dangerous enemy of the Negro race in America and in the world. He is either a lunatic or a traitor.”Du Bois feared that Garvey's activities would undermine his efforts toward black rights.
Garvey suspected Du Bois was prejudiced against him because he was a Caribbean native with darker skin. Du Bois once described Marcus Garvey as "a little, fat black man; ugly, but with intelligent eyes and a big head." Garvey called Du Bois “purely and simply a white man's n*****" and "a little Dutch, a little French, a little Negro … a mulatto … a monstrosity.” This led to an acrimonious relationship between Garvey and the NAACP. Garvey accused Du Bois of paying conspirators to sabotage the Black Star Line to destroy his reputation.
At the National Conference of the Universal Negro Improvement Association in 1921 a Los Angeles delegate Noah Thompson spoke on the floor complaining on the lack of transparency in the group's financial accounts. When accounts were prepared Thompson highlighted several sections with what he felt were irregularities.
Garvey recognized the influence of the Ku Klux Klan, and in early 1922, he went to Atlanta, Georgia for a conference with KKK imperial giant Edward Young Clarke.
According to Garvey, “I regard the Klan, the Anglo-Saxon clubs and White American societies, as far as the Negro is concerned, as better friends of the race than all other groups of hypocritical whites put together. I like honesty and fair play. You may call me a Klansman if you will, but, potentially, every white man is a Klansman, as far as the Negro in competition with whites socially, economically and politically is concerned, and there is no use lying.” Leo H. Healy publicly accused Garvey of being a member of the Ku Klux Klan in his testimony during the mail fraud trial.
After Garvey’s entente with the Ku Klux Klan, a number of African American leaders appealed to U.S. Attorney General Harry M. Daugherty to have Garvey incarcerated.
Although historians tend to side with Du Bois, Theodore Vincent’s “Black Power and the Garvey Movement” contends that, “Cronon and most other scholars dealing with Garvey have misunderstood their subject, and have written off as unimportant a man who founded a most significant movement for black freedom.” This book is devoted to dispelling “militant” criticism of Garvey from people like W. E. B. Du Bois.
There shall be no solution to this race problem until you, yourselves, strike the blow for liberty.
1928, Garvey travelled to Geneva to present the Petition of the Negro Race. This petition outlined the worldwide abuse of Africans to the League of Nations. In September 1929, he founded the People’s Political Party (PPP), Jamaica’s first modern political party, which focused on workers’ rights, education, and aid to the poor.
Also in 1929, Garvey was elected councilor for the Allman Town Division of the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC). However, he lost his seat because of having to serve a prison sentence for contempt of court. But, in 1930, Garvey was re-elected, unopposed, along with two other PPP candidates.
In April 1931, Garvey launched the Edelweiss Amusement Company. He set the company up to help artists earn their livelihood from their craft. Several Jamaican entertainers — Kidd Harold, Ernest Cupidon, Bim & Bam, and Ranny Williams — went on to become popular after receiving initial exposure that the company gave them.
In 1935, Garvey left Jamaica for London. He lived and worked in London until his death in 1940. During these last five years, Garvey remained active and in touch with events in war-torn Ethiopia (then known as Abyssinia) and in the West Indies. In 1937, he wrote the poem Ras Nasibu Of Ogaden in honor of Ethiopian Army Commander (Ras) Nasibu Emmanual. In 1938, he gave evidence before the West Indian Royal Commission on conditions there. Also in 1938 he set up the School of African Philosophy in Toronto to train UNIA leaders. He continued to work on the magazine The Black Man.
In 1937, a group of Garvey’s American supporters called the Peace Movement of Ethiopia openly collaborated with Mississippi Senator Theodore Bilbo in the promotion of a repatriation scheme introduced in the US Congress as the Greater Liberia Act. In the Senate, Bilbo was a supporter of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Bilbo was an outspoken supporter of segregation and white supremacy and, attracted by the ideas of Black separatists like Garvey, Bilbo proposed an amendment to the federal work-relief bill on 6 June 1938, proposing to deport 12 million black Americans to Liberia at federal expense to relieve unemployment. He took the time to write a book titled Take Your Choice, Separation or Mongrelization, advocating the idea. Garvey praised him in return, saying that Bilbo had “done wonderfully well for the Negro”.
During this period, Evangeline Rondon Paterson the grandmother of the current (55th) Governor of New York, David Paterson served as his secretary.
n 10 June 1940, Garvey died after two strokes, putatively after reading a mistaken, and negative, obituary of himself in the Chicago Defender which stated, in part, that Garvey died “broke, alone and unpopular”. Because of travel conditions during World War II, he was interred at Kensal Green Cemetery in London. Rumours claimed that Garvey was in fact poisoned on a boat on which he was travelling and that was where and how he actually died.
In 1964, his remains were exhumed and taken to Jamaica. On 15 November 1964, the government of Jamaica, having proclaimed him Jamaica’s first national hero, re-interred him at a shrine in National Heroes Park.
The flag of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)
check OUT THE VIDEO ABOVE
“There was two kind of slaves. There was the house negro and the field negro. The house negro, they lived in the house, with master. They
dressed pretty good. They ate good, cause they ate his food, what he left.
They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near their
master, and they loved their master, more than their master loved
himself. They would give their life to save their masters house quicker
than their master would. The house negro, if the master said “we got a
good house here” the house negro say “yeah, we got a good house here”.
Whenever the master would said we, he’d say we. That’s how you can
tell a house negro. If the master’s house caught on fire, the house negro
would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would. If the
master got sick, the house negro would say “What’s the matter, boss, we
sick?” We sick! He identified himself with his master, more than the
master identified with himself. And if you came to the house negro and
said “Let’s run away, Let’s escape, Let’s separate” the house negro would
look at you and say “Man, you crazy. What you mean separate? Where
is there a better house than this? Where can I wear better clothes than
this? Where can I eat better food than this?” There was that house
negro. In those days, he was called a house nigger. And that’s what we
call him today, because we still got some house niggers runnin around
here. This modern house negro loves his master. He wants to live near
him. He’ll pay three times as much as the house is worth just to live near
his master, and then brag about “I’m the only negro out here. I’m the
only one on my job. I’m the only one in this school.” “You’re nothing but
a house negro. And if someone come to you right now and say “Let’s
separate.”, you say the same thing that the house negro said on the
plantation. “What you mean separate? From America? This good white
land? Where you gonna get a better job than you get here? I mean, this
is what you say! “I di-I ain’t left nothing in Africa” That’s what you say.
“Why, you left your mind in Africa”. On that same plantation, there was
the field negro. The field negro, those were the masses. There was
always more negros in the field as there were negros in the house. There
negro in the field caught hell. He ate leftovers. In the house, they ate
high up on the hog. The negro in the field didn’t get nothing but what
was left in the insides of the hog. They call them chit’lins nowaday. In
those days, they called them what they were, guts! That’s what you
were, a guteater. And some of you are still guteaters. The field negro
was beaten, from morning til night. He lived in a shack, in a hut. He
Malcolm X: Make It Plain / Full Documentary
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wore cast-off clothes. He hated his master. I say, he hated his master. He was intelligent. That house negro loved his master. But that field negro, remember, they were in the majority, and they hated their master. When the house caught on fire, he didn’t try to put it out, that
field negro prayed for a wind. For a breeze. When the master got sick, the field negro prayed that he died. If someone come to the field negro and said “Let’s separate, let’s run.” He didn’t say “Where we going?” he
said “Any place is better than here”. We got field negros in America
today. I’m a field negro.
Crowd: [shouting] Malcolm! Malcolm! We want Malcolm! We want Malcolm!
Malcolm X: You are not an American, you are the victim of America!
Malcolm X on Wealth of Africa
Excerpt from a speech given by Malcolm X at the University of Ghana, 13 May 1964
I intend for my talk to be very informal, because our position in America is an informal position, [Laughter] and I find that it is very difficult to use formal terms to describe a very informal position. No condition of any people on earth is more deplorable than the condition, or plight, of the twenty-two million Black people in America. And our condition is so deplorable because we are in a country that professes to be a democracy and professes to be striving to give justice and freedom and equality to everyone who is born under its constitution. If we were born in South Africa or in Angola or some part of this earth where they don’t profess to be for freedom,1 that would be another thing; but when we are born in a country that stands up and represents itself as the leader of the Free World, and you still have to beg and crawl just to get a chance to drink a cup of coffee, then the condition is very deplorable indeed.
‘A victim of Americanism’
So tonight, so that you will understand me and why I speak as I do, it should probably be pointed out at the outset that I am not a politician. I don’t know anything about politics. I’m from America but I’m not an American. I didn’t go there of my own free choice. [Applause] If I were an American there would be no problem, there’d be no need for legislation or civil rights or anything else. So I just try to face the fact as it actually is and come to this meeting as one of the victims of America, one of the victims of Americanism, one of the victims of democracy, one of the victims of a very hypocritical system that is going all over this earth today representing itself as being qualified to tell other people how to run their country when they can’t get the dirty things that are going on in their own country straightened out. [Applause]
So if someone else from America comes to you to speak, they’re probably speaking as Americans, and they speak as people who see America through the eyes of an American. And usually those types of persons refer to America, or that which exists in America, as the American Dream. But for the twenty million of us in America who are of African descent, it is not an American dream; it’s an American nightmare. [Laughter]
I don’t feel that I am a visitor in Ghana or in any part of Africa. I feel that I am at home. I’ve been away for four hundred years, [Laughter] but not of my own volition, not of my own will. Our people didn’t go to America on the Queen Mary, we didn’t go by Pan American, and we didn’t go to America on the Mayflower. We went in slave ships, we went in chains. We weren’t immigrants to America, we were cargo for purposes of a system that was bent upon making a profit. So this is the category or level of which I speak. I may not speak it in the language many of you would use, but I think you will understand the meaning of my terms.
When I was in Ibadan [in Nigeria] at the University of Ibadan last Friday night, the students there gave me a new name, which I go for—meaning I like it. [Laughter] “Omowale,” which they say means in Yoruba—if I am pronouncing that correctly, and if I am not pronouncing it correctly it’s because I haven’t had a chance to pronounce it for four hundred years [Laughter]—which means in that dialect, “The child has returned.” It was an honor for me to be referred to as a child who had sense enough to return to the land of his forefathers—to his fatherland and to his motherland. Not sent back here by the State Department, [Laughter] but come back here of my own free will. [Applause]
I am happy and I imagine, since it is the policy that whenever a Black man leaves America and travels in any part of Africa, or Asia, or Latin America and says things contrary to what the American propaganda machine turns out, usually he finds upon his return home that his passport is lifted.2 Well, if they had not wanted me to say the things I am saying, they should never have given me a passport in the first place. The policy usually is the lifting of the passport. Now I am not here to condemn America, I am not here to make America look bad, but I am here to tell you the truth about the situation that Black people in America find themselves confronted with. And if truth condemns America, then she stands condemned. [Applause]
This is the most beautiful continent that I’ve ever seen; it’s the richest continent I’ve ever seen, and strange as it may seem, I find many white Americans here smiling in the faces of our African brothers like they have been loving them all of the time. [Laughter and applause] The fact is, these same whites who in America spit in our faces, the same whites who in America club us brutally, the same whites who in America sic their dogs upon us, just because we want to be free human beings, the same whites who turn their water hoses upon our women and our babies because we want to integrate with them, are over here in Africa smiling in your face trying to integrate with you. [Laughter] I had to write a letter back home yesterday and tell some of my friends that if American Negroes want integration, they should come to Africa, because more white people over here—white Americans, that is—look like they are for integration than there is in the entire American country. [Laughter] But actually what it is, they want to integrate with the wealth that they know is here—the untapped natural resources which exceed the wealth of any continent on this earth today.
When I was coming from Lagos to Accra Sunday, I was riding on an airplane with a white man who represented some of the interests, you know, that are interested in Africa. And he admitted—at least it was his impression—that our people in Africa didn’t know how to measure wealth, that they worship wealth in terms of gold and silver, not in terms of the natural resources that are in the earth, and that as long as the Americans or other imperialists or twentieth-century colonialists could continue to make the Africans measure wealth in terms of gold and silver, they never would have an opportunity to really measure the value of the wealth that is in the soil, and would continue to think that it is they who need the Western powers instead of thinking that it is the Western powers who need the people and the continent that is known as Africa.
Are Black Folks Becoming Political Orphans?
Washington Informer, Commentary, Dr. Boyce Watkins, Posted: Feb 14, 2012
Prepping for another run for the White House, President Barack Obama recently launched an “African Americans for Obama” campaign to target Black voters.
“I don’t think there’s a better time than African-American History month to consider the tremendous progress we’ve made through the sacrifices of so many, or a better time to recommit to the challenges we face right now,” said Obama in a video to his supporters.
It is expected that the Democrats would work to shore up their Black base right before the president’s bid for re-election. The dampened enthusiasm among Black voters who are facing 15.8 percent unemployment and rapidly declining wealth levels is also expected. The Black unemployment number is more than double that of white Americans, which stands at 7.5 percent. Throughout the Obama presidency, White unemployment has improved, while Black unemployment has gotten markedly worse.
Ironically, the “African Americans for Obama” website says that the president has been fighting “to restore economic security that has been eroding for American families for a decade.”
President Obama won 96 percent of the Black vote in 2008. His approval rating today stands at 91 percent. The black community continues to be the strongest and most loyal base of the Obama Administration.
Political commentator, Yvette Carnell, has something to say about the issue:
“I have no problem with Obama targeting African-American voters. None. He needs us and he knows it,” said Carnell. “What I do have a problem with, however, is how most of the targeting begins during campaign season and ends on election day. We’re more than just a voting bloc. We’re real citizens with real needs, needs which I hope the President begins to acknowledge and address.”
Columbia University Professor Christopher Emdin doesn’t agree with Carnell’s assessment.
“I do not believe the ‘frustration and dampened enthusiasm’ cited within Af-American communities is as pervasive as we are led to believe. With that being said, these facts do not negate the fact that these communities are dealing with serious issues related to education and poverty,” said Dr. Emdin. “I do not believe that Obama’s campaigning in Af-American communities is reflective of some ulterior agenda to “use them when he needs them. It very well may be an effort to make a shift to explicitly focus on the needs of this community.”
The pending re-election of Barack Obama has put Black voters in a quandary. While many would agree that conditions have worsened for the Black community under Obama, the Republican Party provides no reasonable alternatives. In many cases, Black people have become the political orphans of America:
You can either live with the parents who abuse you or live with the child molester down the street. While one fate is clearly worse than the other, there is no end to the pain in sight.
It is actually logical for the Obama Administration to keep Black voters on the back-burner. When a group gives you 91 percent approval and asks for nothing in return, there is almost no political incentive to do anything for them. This calculation likely played a role in the statement that the “rising tide will lift all boats” made three years ago, when the president was asked about inequality in wealth and unemployment. The “lift all boats” policy was a clear and miserable failure, for most economic experts can tell you that racial inequality is not going to fix itself without targeted economic policy.
Right now, in the Black community, there are at least two types of people: those who are suffering and those who are not. The suffering group consists of the poor, unemployed, and those who live under the thumb of the criminal justice system. The rest of us have jobs, food to eat and are not impacted directly by mass incarceration. If you’re in the second group, it’s difficult to find fault with the Obama Administration, for a Black president grants the symbolic comfort that comes along with the “Mama I Made It” syndrome that justifies the trade-offs many of us make for the sake of economic and social progress in a White supremacist society. Being the first Black president is the granddaddy of all “proud mama” moments, so there are millions willing to forgive nearly any short-coming of the Obama White House to maintain access to the throne.
For those who care about the poor, there is almost no redemption when the president barely mentions poverty in his speeches. For the unemployed, it’s hard to imagine how your life will get better by supporting an administration that helped white folks find jobs while letting the Black numbers reach levels approaching those of the Great Depression. For those suffering with the effects of mass incarceration, it’s hard to get excited about a president who has not directly confronted the debilitating effects of the drug war, which has destroyed millions of families and an entire generation of children. All of these issues indicate a state of emergency in the Black community; but thus far, we’ve only given
White Americans the right to express dissatisfaction with their condition.
The implicit African American slogan for the Democratic Party is “You should just stop complaining, because the Republicans are even worse than we are.” The threat of political punishment is clearly enough to secure the Black vote without doing a thing. But at the same time, the Black political orphans of America do have a choice. WEB Dubois, when faced with few quality political options 50 years ago, simply said that he refused to vote at all. Rather than behaving like a teenage girl who shares her body with the first man who buys her a cheeseburger, Dubois advocated for the idea that we save our votes for politicians who have truly worked to earn them.
After a mass holdout from conscientious Black voters, perhaps the Democrats will then strive to honestly earn the Black vote instead of simply telling us that they are not as horrible as the Republicans. It should not be taboo to request that Black voters have enough self-respect to demand that all politicians give priority to the issues that lead to our suffering. There are no victims, just volunteers, and we don’t have to be political orphans forever.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University.