Category Archives: Civil Rights

Remembering Marcus Mosiah Garvey

Hail Mi Irieites,

Marcus Mosiah Garvey was born this day in 1887. Here’s a short clip from our upcoming documentary that’s relevant today:

Garvey was unique in advancing a Pan-African philosophy to inspire a global mass movement and economic empowerment focusing on Africa known as Garveyism. Promoted by the UNIA as a movement of African Redemption, Garveyism would eventually inspire others, including the Nation of Islam. In fact, some Rastas even view Garvey as a prophet. The intent 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 entitled “African Fundamentalism”, where he wrote: “Our union must know no clime, boundary, or nationality… to let us hold together under all climes and in every country.”

Although Garvey promoted Pan Africanism and the Back to Africa movement, one point does need clarification.  It was Reverend James Morris Web, a clergyman from Chicago and an associate of Garvey who said “look to Africa where a Black king shall be crowned he shall be the redeemer.” This prediction of H.I.M. Haile Selassie’s ascent to the throne of Ethiopia is often wrongfully attributed to Marcus Garvey.

In 1965, during a trip to Jamaica, Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King laid a wreath at Garvey’s shrine. It was MLK who said that Garvey “was the first man of color to lead and develop a mass movement. He was the first man on a mass scale and level to give millions of Negroes a sense of dignity and destiny. And make the Negro feel he was somebody.”

Two other interesting historical points:

Malcolm X‘s parents, Earl and Louise Little, met at a UNIA convention in Montreal. Earl was the president of the UNIA division in Omaha, Nebraska and sold the Negro World newspaper, for which Louise covered UNIA activities.FlagGhana

Kwame Nkrumah named the national shipping line of Ghana the Black Star Line in honor of Garvey and the UNIA. Nkrumah also named the national soccer team the Black Stars as well. The black star at the center of Ghana’s flag is also inspired by the Black Star.

The UNIA red, black, and green flag has also been adopted as the universal Black Liberation Flag.

Garvey’s message of unity lives on:

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

“Liberate the minds of men and ultimately you will liberate the bodies of men.”

“There shall be no solution to this race problem until you, yourselves, strike the blow for liberty.”

“I know no national boundary where the Negro is concerned. The whole world is my province until Africa is free.”

“The Black skin is not a badge of shame, but rather a glorious symbol of national greatness.”

“Intelligence rules the world, ignorance carries the burden.”

“If you haven’t confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence, you have won even before you have started.”

“The ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself but the ends you serve that are for all, in common, will take you into eternity.”

As Marcus Say: “Rally Round the Flag!” Check the opening song at 2:09 >>

Juror B29: “George Zimmerman got away with murder”

One of the first comments I made in regards to the Trayvon Martin shooting, was within days of the incident.  I stated that American justice will be in the balance, whatever the decision.  I was also hoping that what ever decision made was based on “truth and rights,” as oppose to the cunningness of lawyers.

As the story unravels itself, another juror has come forward now saying that “Zimmerman got away with murder.”  She went on to say that she held on to her decision as long as she could for a second degree murder conviction.

Amazing…

Happy 95th, Nelson Mandela!


Yes Mi Irieites,

I did promise that I would get back to you on this.  Time has ticked away, but no second has passed without us having thoughts for Nelson Mandela in our hearts.

At the beginning of the month, I received a few phone calls pertaining to Mandela being in hospital and his condition on “being hopeless.”  At that time I was asked by a few close friends to put something together for him before he goes.  I made reference of getting back to them on the issue but never did.  My reason? I had this deep belief that if Nelson survived all the turmoil the way he did for all those years, there was no reason why he would not be unable to gather that well known inner energy he has to be around for his 95th birthday.

My instincts paid off and I feel good about that.  So here is one more tribute to Madiba himself; Nelson, you served us well.  We are honoured to be witnesses and beneficiaries of your achievements in life.

Neither will we forget Winnie.

As the struggle continues, we wish you all the best on this special day, 18th July 2013.

Bless!

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.