Tag Archives: Assata Shakur

Warrior Princess Assata Shakur

007_1000There has been much talk about Cuba since the president changed the government’s policy and the normalizing relations. One of the misconceptions about Cuba or at least the faces we see are white; not true. Most of the island’s population is made up of the descendants of African slaves. One thing of great concern to some is that the agencies tasked with law enforcement will try to seek extradition for Assata Shakur exiled there for many years.

I lived through the 1960s and witnessed the excessive efforts government agencies used to destroy black leaders and organizations all over the country. When they talk about terrorism, the government failed to address militias or the KKK. In fact, every black person is a political prisoner because our forefathers were kidnapped from our native lands.

Yet, people like Fred Hampton, Bunche Carter, Malcolm X, and Dr. King who was known as men of peace were all targeted through what was called COINTELPRO. In my view, there have been a consistent and sustained assaults on the freedom of people of color though police shootings and abuse, which is a most pressing issue in the African American community. The might go back to Nate Turner when anyone trying to change the system must be destroyed and violently.

I won’t rant too much on the decision to list the exiled former Black Panther Assata Shakur as the first woman named to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list. So I will simply ask that you listen to legendary black activist, Angela Davis, as well as Shakur’s longtime attorney, Lennox Hinds. Davis, a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is the subject of the recent film, “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners.”

She argues that the FBI’s move much like its initial targeting of Shakur and other Black Panthers four decades ago is politically motivated. Listen to the facts and see if this is an effort to strike fear and retribution designed to frighten people who are involved in struggles today. Forty years ago may seem like it was a long time ago but slavery ended in 1865, and it took until 1965 for African American’s to use the same bathroom or drink from the same water fountain as whites.

We are now living in the 21st century, and we’re still fighting the very same issues — police violence, healthcare, education, people in prison, and poverty. A professor of criminal justice at Rutgers University, Mr. Hinds has represented Shakur since 1973 says that this is a political act pushed by the state of New Jersey, by some members of Congress from Miami; with the intent of putting pressure on the Cuban government and to inflame public opinion to capture her.

I say, let’s not forget this woman and hope the Cuban government will tell America to leave her alone. You be the judge. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

(Democracy Now)


Fidel Castro Was A Friend To Black And Brown People – RIP

193_160Condolences to the family and friends of longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro, the bearded, cigar-smoking Communist revolutionary who infuriated the United States, inspired both loyalty and loathing from his countrymen and maintained an iron grip on Cuban politics for almost 50 years, died Friday at the age of 90.

Castro, who was the only leader most of his countrymen ever knew, outlasted 11 US presidents since he first took power in 1959. All of these presidents have made him out to be the boogie man and a villain. With America’s record on foreign policy, it is nothing short of a shame to starve an entire nation economically because he did not submit to their will and that of white supremacy. For the record most of the Cuban population is black not what they show you of these living in Florida!

The lawyer, revolutionary and political leader who was viewed as a scoundrel triggered such visceral reactions from America, and its allies was born August 13, 1926, to a Cuban sugar plantation owner and a servant. He was not formally recognized by his father until he was seventeen when his surname was changed to Castro from Ruz, his mother’s name. Though he spent the better part of his life railing against capitalism and the rich, Castro enjoyed a wealthy and privileged childhood.

After his graduation and now becoming a revolutionary, he took up arms against the puppet government of President Batista, leading a failed 1953 attack on a military barracks in hopes of triggering a popular revolt. After spending time in prison, Castro went into exile in Mexico, where he met Che Guevara, who became his confidante. Castro established another guerrilla force and after several years of fighting, eventually defeated Batista in 1959, taking control of Cuba at the age of 32. His first official act was to throw out the white capitalist and mafia.

I wrote this piece because whatever America has told us about him; he gives everyone in Cuba free medical care and a free college education among other things. But more importantly, he was a friend many of the black and brown nation of the world. He also offered refuge for the hunted and many black revolutionaries; like members of the Black Panthers and Assata Shakur to this very day.

At the same time, Castro’s government began to establish relations with the Soviet Union. In April 1961 Castro formally declared Cuba a socialist state just days before the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion that saw 1,400 Cuban exiles trained by the CIA unsuccessfully attempt to invade and topple his government. In spite of this and the many attempts by America on his life, he stood the test of time against American imperialism.

Rumors of his death ran rampant in Cuban communities many times over the decades. And once said: “I think I hold the dubious record of having been the target of more assassination attempts than any politician, in any country, in any era.” Castro stood against Apartheid when Reagan did not which is good enough for me!

Castro served as prime minister until 1976, when he became president, serving in that position until 2008 when an ailing Fidel handed over power to his younger brother Raul. He remained as First Secretary of the Communist Party until April 2011. And even when officially out of office, he remained the best-known figure in Cuba. He was also noted as saying “Men do not shape destiny… Destiny produces the man for the hour.”

Although, Castro’s personal life was complicated and private. He was believed to have one son by a first marriage, an illegitimate daughter from another relationship, five sons from a second marriage and another son by an unnamed mother.

There is no doubt that his death will prompted celebrations among the country’s exiles in Miami but there are also expressions of sorrow from some leaders worldwide. Rest in power! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Castro and Black People


The Snake

sMy Granddaddy would tell me fascinating stories designed to develop and guide me into manhood. In fact, he would specifically use the phrase: “I raised you to be a man and as a man, you don’t know what you may have to do but when the time comes, you do it.” I heard this that even today it brings a warm smile – “when I have to do it”. He said it so often throughout my youth that to me it was more like a commandment.

I loved Granddaddy more than life itself. I knew, even then, his teachings were an inspired declaration of his celestial will or more simply put – his vision that shaped my destiny defining my purpose. Pop’s would teach me lessons, often times, like an Aesop Fables to make me think and it was my job to figure out the moral of the story.

This is my favorite:

The way the story was told to me, Granddaddy’s friend, Mr. Bob whose job was to offer a prayer every Sunday morning at church during the service prior to the preacher’s sermon, a job he had held for years. Sunday was a special day for the community, and for him to have a position where he would have the attention of everyone was a big deal. More accurately stated it was a platform for him to perform. He would have been a great entertainer.

Mr. Bob would walk to church every Sunday morning, rain or shine, from his home. The trip was several miles up and down hills and around curves, and he would be dressed in his best suit for the morning service. During the walk he would practice his part for the service, the prayer, with the intention of making it a show complete with screams and tears. This show would sometimes last thirty minutes. There were many Sundays one would wonder how one man could have so much to ask of the Lord and maybe say, please, let somebody else get a blessing.

On his way to church this particular Sunday, Mr. Bob came across an injured snake. In what he perceived as divine intervention, God said to him, help this poor creature. He realized he did not have a prayer for that day’s service, so he thought, wow, if I help the snake I can pray for us to have the strength to help all of God’s creatures. Since the snake is the lowliest of all creatures, this would really inspire the congregation and hopefully give them the encouragement to do the same at least until next Sunday’s message. So he picked up the badly injured snake and placed him in a safe place until he could return from church.

With great energy, and now inspired, Mr. Bob went on his way. He planned and practiced his prayer as he marched on to church. After he arrived and exchanged a few greetings, the service began with a joyful noise, as they say, meaning full of song. Then it was his turn to pray. He began to pray with a powerful tone, full of emotion. He asked God to give each person within the sound of his voice the strength to reach out and help all God’s creatures, from the loving dove to the lowly snake. His message had many in the tiny church standing with shouts of Amen. He felt he had done his job as he closed, asking God to bless the church and said Amen. In his usual style this took about a half hour.

To his surprise, the pastor also chose a sermon nearly identical to his message which took about another hour and a half, talking about helping all of God’s creatures. What a great day it was, Mr. Bob thought. Normally after the service ended everyone hung around and fellowshipped as it was one of the few chances they had to socialize. Mr. Bob would not hang around on this day – he had a mission and left church in a hurry. He rushed back to the spot where his injured snake was placed hoping it would still be there. He was very excited when he arrived to find it was where he left it. He put his snake in a burlap bag he had gotten from the church and took the snake home.

Over the next several weeks Mr. Bob cared for this creature, desperately trying to save the snake and nursing it back to health. About three weeks later he thought it was time to take his snake back to where he found it, thinking it was well enough to be set free. The following Sunday, he put on his best suit and started his journey to church with snake in hand. As he arrived at the spot where he had found it, he thought, what a wonderful thing he had done. He was sure to receive God’s blessing for this act of kindness.

He rubbed the snake gently and said goodbye. However, when he reached into the bag to grab it, suddenly the snake raised his head and bit him. Then bit him again and again. Mr. Bob cried out, “Why would you bite me after all I’ve done for you? My God why?” I guess he was expecting an answer from God, but none came. He repeated his cry once more. Then the snake stuck his head out of the bag and said, “I am a snake and that’s what we do.”After hearing this story over and over again, I finally figured out what it meant. It was a lesson that would prove to be invaluable.

Be careful in your dealings with people because people, just like the snake, will hurt you – that’s what they do. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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