Category Archives: Civil Rights

Well Said, Rachel Jeantel

Hail Mi Irieites,

Just saw the Piers Morgan CNN talk show, featuring Rachel Jeantel.  After watching her testimony for the second time, I have to say, it was a lot more impressive than when I initially saw it.  And as for the interview with Piers  Morgan, I found her to be a very straightforward and upright individual, though young and obviously inexperienced.

It is hard to comprehend that there are people that are still out there that cannot see that this case was about race.  Rachel pointed out that the mere fact that the jury was comprised of races contrary to Trayvon Martin’s ethnic background, made her understand that justice would not be served.  Rachel didn’t need an IQ of 200 to rationalise that.

And after listening to the Anderson Cooper’s interview with one of the jurors, it was evident that she (the juror) was biased from the beginning.   She believed what she wanted to believe. There was no blood on the hands of Trayvon Martin that belonged to Zimmerman, despite the fact that Zimmerman claimed that Trayvon was trying to smother him after he was punched on his “bloody nose.”  In other words, blood would definitely be on one’s hands if such an incident happened.  How did they – the jury – not see that? A no brainer.

Amazing… Where is  J U S T I C E ?

Aime Fernand David Cesaire: 100 Anniversaire

One more thing Mi Irieites,

afdcToday, June 26th 2013 is a special tribute to Aime Fernand David Cesaire, the Martinican poet, author, historian, politician and activist, who was born exactly 100 years ago, (26th June 1913 – 17th April 2008).

Aime Cesaire, who was also a teacher and strong influence on fellow native Frantz Fanon, was and still is Martinique’s pride and joy.

He has been noted to be the primary force that challenged the French authorities for Martinique to gain its cultural identity as black Africans subjected to colonialism.  At one point in the 1940′s Cesaire, like many others back in the day, aligned himself with the principles of Communist Russia, but later retracted these beliefs.

Some of his best written works have been “Discourse of Colonialism,” (1950), that denounced colonial racism, “Toussaint L’Ouverture,” (1960) a book based on the life of the Haitian Revolutionary Leader and “The Tempest,” an adaptation of the Shakespearean play, geared for a black audience (1968).

In 2001 Cesaire retired from his active duties.  He had held many positions including the Mayor of the capital, Fort De France as well as the President of the Regional Council of Martinique.

One of his last controversial stances was the snubbing of the President to be, Nicolas Sarkozy, in 2007.  Apparently, the French government was looking about imposing in the schools and textbooks, the ideology of ‘French colonialism’ being a “positive role.”    The Martinicans  protested intensely.  After a series of heart problems, Cesaire died on 17th April 2008 and was given an honorary State funeral.  Sarkozy, now President of France, attended but made no comment.

The national airport in the town of Lamentin has been renamed after this fearless individual.

Thank you Aime Cesaire, one of the greats of the Francophone Black Diaspora, for sustaining Martinique’s  heritage.  In other words, “You Big!!”

Medgar Evers: 50 Years After

Yes Mi Irieites,

Medgar_Evers

This is a tribute to one of the most legendary activists of all time, N.A.A.C.P. leader, Medgar Evers, who was assassinated this day June 12th, 1963.  This marks the 50th anniversary of his death.

Medgar was born in Decatur, Mississippi July 2nd 1925, (the same year as Malcolm X).  He became very active in the civil rights movement after being rejected from enrolling in the University of Mississippi, back in 1954.  The South had a fortress of opposition that limited and confined Afro Americans in regards to schooling, housing, work, public facilities and places of entertainment.  It was only a mere eight years previous to this assassination that Emmett Till got murdered.  So the state of Mississippi was already recognized as a bastion of racism.

Medgar was determined to be vocal and confrontational about this situation in so many ways.  As he had put it, “Jim Crow Laws Must Go,” which was the slogan that was written on the t-shirt he was wearing the day he died.

Many historical events were taking place throughout the year of 1963.  For example, the day before the shooting, Governor George Wallace of Alabama and also a (then) staunch advocate of segregation, made a desperate attempt to bar students, Vivian Malone and James Hood from a local auditorium; a place exclusive to whites.  Special officers of the law eventually intervened and overturned this.  President Kennedy also made a speech on national TV that day in support of the Civil Rights Movement.

The period leading up to Medgar Evers’ death was full of threats and reprisals.  This included a Molotov cocktail thrown into the parking area of his home and an attempt to run him over while he was leaving an N.A.A.C.P meeting, in Jackson.

Statue_of_Medgar_EversDuring my childhood, back in the UK, Evers’ name was not as predominant as Dr Martin Luther King, or Malcolm X.  It was during my adulthood that I realised the impact that this individual had on the Civil Rights Movement in the US at that time.  After analysing the events and his story I can honestly say, this individual takes the prize.   His environment was isolated and he was not one to be crowded with bodyguards.  Therefore he must have known within himself that the stance he was taking against society would cut his life short.

I continue my “Big Ups” to all the muzos’ that supported his cause during those tumultuous years:  Bob Dylan (Only a Pawn in their Game), Nina Simone (Mississippi Goddamn) and Phil Ochs (Too Many Martyrs), to name a few.

And a maximum respect to Myrlie Evers-Williams, his widow, who I saw for the first time, making a speech at the Obama Inauguration.  Previous to that Mrs. Evers-Williams was invited to christen a ship in honor of her “late” husband in 2011.  A statue of Medgar now stands erected outside a library in Jackson, MI.

Medgar, I don’t know why I use the word “late,” because as far as we are concerned, your “Greatness” came right on time.

Farewell, Sister Ayanna Ade

adehouston

Here’s a special tribute to my dearest friend and activist, Sister Ayanna Ade, whose memorial was held earlier this afternoon, at the SHAPE Community Center in Houston, Texas.

Although we had not met as often as we had in the past, Ayanna held a special place in my heart.  She was an honorable individual, serving the community as an activist and organizer. Until recently she was actively engaged in the movement to abolish the death penalty in Texas.

I will treasure the memories, Sister.

A word out to Samora; I know mom is happy right now for your moment of liberation and she will be counting on you to continue her positive influence and legacy. Peace Brother.  Hope to meet you again, soon….

D

Malcolm-X: X-Resurrection with Macka B

Bless up this special day, Malcolm X, we’ll never forget you:

 X-RESURRECTION by Steel Pulse
[Malcolm X]
Born in Omaha Nebraska
May 19 Year 25
Was the son of a Garvey teacher
We will keep his name alive
Youthful years were full of adventure
Drifted to a life of crime
In jail he learned to be our leader
Thank God he was released on time

Spoke out against Jim Crows injustice
And never turned the other cheek
There’s no room for non violent protest
Yes these words were what he preached
Taught us bout Pan Africanism
To put my people back on their feet
Take whats ours robbed by the system
He said by any means

Let Malcom live through us
Black liberation is a must

They have tried to rid his name
From history books and magazines
They even tried to criticize
His greatness and philosophy
Against all kinds of exploitation
For all of us he bore the pain
We won’t let him be forgotten
No he did not die in vain

Put away the misconception
That he came to teach us hate
So Wake up from your sleep and slumber
Wake up before its too late
We need to resurrect that spirit
A lease of life the people need
To fight resistance from the system
He said by any means

Live Malcom live through us
Black liberation is a must

By any means by any means
By any means necessary

461px-Malcolm-x

Raspect: Thanks to Malcolm X, we keep on growing, keep on learning.

National Day for the Abolition of Slavery and the Slave Trade (France)

Yes Mi Irieites,
Victor_Schoelcher

May 10th is also the National Day for the Abolition of Slavery and the Slave Trade in France.  This has been commemorated for the 7th year now, this year.

As a matter of fact, although slavery was abolished by the French in 1794 when it became a republic, the effect did not come into reality until some 54 years later, in 1848.  This came about after a series of uprisings throughout the colonies, especially in Guadeloupe.  One of the main characters was Victor Schoelcher, a French abolitionist writer and the main spokesman for an abolitionist group from Paris.  He formed an abolition society in 1834, working for the abolition of slavery on the Caribbean islands.   His program to continue publishing articles against such atrocities started in 1833 ’til 1847.

I and I are aware.

19 Years Ago: Nelson Mandela’s Inauguration

Nelson_Mandela-2008_(edit)

Exactly four years and two months after his release from Victor Verster prison, May 10th 1994, Nelson Mandela was sworn in as the first black African democratically elected President of South Africa.  This was the beginning of a “Government of National Unity.”

This eventful day was attended by over 4,000 guests and was witnessed across the world by at least a billion viewers.

These were trying times.  I never thought I would live to see the demolition of the Berlin Wall or the first Black president of the USA or even the release of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.   So this one is for the non-believers; “Faith DOES move mountains.”

Mr. Mandela, now 94, stay strong!!

Richie Havens: Rise in Eternal Glory!

Hail Mi Irieites -

As you know by now, Richie Havens passed away yesterday on Earth Day.

I had the good fortune to see him live for the first time at a club in Birmingham called Barbarellas. I must have been about 19 years old at the time.

Years later, Steel Pulse went on to be on an opening billing with him in D.C., in the early 80s. To this day I have yet to see anyone strum the acoustic guitar with the energy he had. Richie, you will never be forgotten!!

More about Richie here >>

Martin Luther King: “I Have Been to the Mountaintop”

Hail Mi Irietes,

This is of special interest.  Today, April 4th 2013, marks the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Here are a few excerpts from his last speech, given the day before he was killed in Memphis, Tennessee [full speech >>

Recently, in the United Nations General Assembly, we sang a song in honor of Dr. King. We all still have much to learn. Here are just a few select quotes that stand out as beacons in a world of injustice:

  •  “A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: ‘This is not just.’”
  • “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death”.
  • “I have not urged a mechanical fusion of the civil rights and peace movements. There are people who have come to see the moral imperative of equality, but who cannot yet see the moral imperative of world brotherhood. I would like to see the fervor of the civil-rights movement imbued into the peace movement to instill it with greater strength. And I believe everyone has a duty to be in both the civil-rights and peace movements. But for those who presently choose but one, I would hope they will finally come to see the moral roots common to both.”

More information on Dr. King.

Bless, D.