Tag Archives: Reagan

Revolutionary Icon Angela Davis

1-There have been countless freedom fighters during the four hundred year fight for black liberation and the struggle for freedom. Unfortunately, not many would survive to tell their story nor do black people recognized how significant the black woman was in the struggle. In modern times, there was a woman who fought the power and won. Her name is synonymous with the struggle. Her name is Angela Davis. She is an activist, educator, author, and a world-renowned icon who has authored many books and lectured throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America.

Davis gained her international reputation in the early 1970s when she was tried for conspiracy and imprisoned. She was later fully acquitted after being implicated in a shootout in front of a California courthouse. As a member of the Advisory Board of the Prison Activist Resource Center, Davis focused on exposing the racism that is endemic to the America’s prison system and exploring new ways to deconstruct oppression and race hatred.

Angela Davis was born in Birmingham, Alabama, January 26, 1944, in an area known as Dynamite Hill because of the large number of African American homes bombed by the Ku Klux Klan. She attended the segregated Carrie A. Tuggle Elementary School, and Parker Annex, a middle-school branch of Parker High School in Birmingham.

By her junior year, she had applied to and was accepted at an American Friends Service Committee program that placed black students from the South in integrated schools in the North. She chose Elisabeth Irwin High School in Greenwich Village in New York City. There she was introduced to socialism and communism where she was recruited by a Communist youth group, meeting children of some of the leaders of the Communist Party, including her lifelong friend, Bettina Aptheker.

Davis was awarded a scholarship to Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, where she was one of three black students in her freshman class. Feeling alienated by the isolation of the campus; Angela Davis worked part-time to earn enough money to travel to France and Switzerland before she went on to attend the eighth World Festival of Youth and Students in Helsinki, Finland.

She returned home in 1963 to an FBI interview about her attendance at the Communist-sponsored festival. Angela Davis would go on to study at the Sorbonne in Paris and later the University of Frankfurt. Finally, she earned a master’s degree from the University of California San Diego campus and her doctorate in philosophy from Humboldt University in East Berlin.

In 1969, Davis was known as a radical feminist and activist, a member of the Communist Party, and an associate of the Black Panther Party. She was working as an acting assistant professor in the philosophy department at UCLA. When the Federal Bureau of Investigation informed the California Board of Regents that Davis was a member of the American Communist Party, they terminated her contract in 1970.

Ms. Davis became active in the campaign to improve prison conditions. She became particularly interested in the case of George Jackson and W. L. Nolen, two African Americans who had established a chapter of the Black Panthers in California’s Soledad Prison. On the 13th of January 1970, Nolan and two other black prisoners were killed by a prison guard. A few days later the Monterey County Grand Jury ruled that the guard had committed “justifiable homicide.” When a guard was later found murdered, Jackson and two other prisoners were indicted for his murder. It was claimed that Jackson had sought revenge for the killing of his friend, W. L. Nolan.

On August 7, 1970, Superior Court Judge Harold Haley, along with several other hostages, was abducted from his Marin County, California, courtroom at gunpoint and murdered by 17-year-old Jonathon Jackson during his effort to free his brother George Jackson. The firearms used in the attack were purchased by Angela Davis, including the shotgun used to kill Haley, which had been purchased only two days prior and sawed-off.

Numerous letters written by Angela Davis were found in the prison cell of George Jackson, as well. The California warrant issued for Davis charged her as an accomplice to conspiracy, kidnapping, and homicide. On August 18, 1970, Davis became the third woman to appear on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List.

Davis became a fugitive and fled California. She evaded the police for more than two months before being captured in New York City. John Abt, general counsel of the Communist Party, was one of the first attorneys to represent Davis for her alleged involvement in the shootings. While being held in the Women’s Detention Center there she was initially segregated from the general population, but with the help of her legal team soon obtained a federal court order to get out of the segregated area.

In 1972, she was tried, and the jury returned a verdict of not guilty. The mere fact that she owned the guns used in the crime was not sufficient to establish her responsibility for the plot. John Lennon and Yoko Ono wrote the song “Angela” on their 1972 studio album “Some Time In New York City” to show their support. Mick Jagger, of the Rolling Stones, wrote the song “Sweet Black Angel” in her support. The song was released in 1972 on the album Exile on Main Street.

She achieved tenure at the University of California at Santa Cruz despite the fact that former Governor Ronald Reagan swore she would never teach again in the University of California system. She taught me that revolution was of the mind and knowledge is the power needed to fight the power! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

From the Angela Davis Bio


Ball Of Confusion

trumpI watched as white folk, mostly, pick their champion to be president of their movement to take back their country, which is little more than a revived edition of the Citizens Counsel of a day I thought had long past. If I can quote James Brown, all I have heard is a lot of “talking loud and saying nothing.” I think anything he say will be realized the day Jesus returns!

As I witness this disaster, I likened to the days of Richard Nixon, only on steroids, we will hear him say, I am sure, “I am not a crook.” This guy reminds me of the character from the Wizard of Oz – when you look behind the curtain; you find there is nothing there. Both of these comparisons are very appropriate moving into this new era of the Republican agendas and their efforts to make America White Again!

The Republicans want to go back to this mythical time of the past when they abused the lives of people and the system for their benefit. However, this time they envision was not a good period of time for most, particularly, black people! I will borrow some words from a hit song of the sixties Ball of Confusion; “Segregation, determination, demonstration, Integration, aggravation, Humiliation.” So where is the obligation to the nation?

As I thought more about the words of that song I recalled these words: “An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth. Vote for me, and I’ll set you free.” Am I the only one who heard a dog whistle – “Make America Great, ” and we know what that means! Coupled with their constant theme “take our country back” tells us that we will not be set free but rather enslaved sort of like what was do during Reconstruction. And we know how that turned out! So the band plays the same old tune.

Eve of destruction, tax deduction
City inspectors, bill collectors
Mod clothes in demand,
Population out of hand
Suicide, too many bills, hippies movin’
To the hills
People all over the world, are shoutin’
End the war

Air pollution, revolution, gun control,
Sound of soul
Shootin’ rockets to the moon
Kids growin’ up too soon
Politicians say more taxes will
Solve everything
And the band played on…

So round ‘n’ round ‘n’ round we go where the world’s headed, nobody knows. The Republicans are singing the same old tune – “take from the needy and give to the greedy”. So to Trump and the gang your platform is Just a Ball of Confusion. Oh yea, that’s what the world is today. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


The Second Amendment Truth

2There is alway talk about the Second Amendment, usually promoted largely by groups like the NRA. Do you know the real reason the Second Amendment was enacted? Did you know why it says, “State” instead of “Country”? Well, much like most early laws, it was for white citizens. The truth is it was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote. What was called militias initially; it was a reference to “slave patrols” regulated by the states. Slaves were not allowed guns or any weapons!

Laws were passed in Georgia, for example, that required all plantation owners and their male white employees to be members of the Georgia Militia, and for those armed militia members to make monthly inspections of the quarters of all slaves in the state. The Georgia statutes required patrols, under the direction of commissioned militia officers, to examine every plantation each month with authorization to search “all Negro Houses for offensive Weapons and Ammunition”. If weapons were found, the law authorized them to apprehend and give twenty lashes to any slave found in violation.

Let me add that this was not germane to Georgia alone, but most southern slave-holding states! Before and up to the signing of the Constitution hundreds of substantial slave uprisings had occurred across the South. Blacks outnumbered whites in many areas, and the state militias were used to both prevent and to put down slave uprisings. The fact is slavery could only exist in the context of a police state, and the enforcement of that police state was the explicit job of militias.

Think about it, if slaves had guns they could be emancipated, which would collapse the institution of slavery, which means the southern economic and social systems.

I am not going to expound upon this debate further because when black people, i.e., the Black Panthers, tried to exercise their right under the Second Amendment the rules of the game changed. Something called CONITEL was put into play, and the California Governor signed a bill to deny that right. The fact is that the Second Amendment was conceived largely to preserve the institution of slavery.

Actor and Activist Danny Glover said this recently: “I don’t know if you know the genesis of the right to bear arms… The Second Amendment comes from the right to protect themselves from slave revolts, and from uprisings by Native Americans. So, a revolt from people who were stolen from their land or a revolt from people whose land was stolen from, that’s what the genesis of the Second Amendment is.”

Anyone who has read the Constitution knows that it says nothing about the rights of people of color or women. Therefore to think that the Second Amendment had anything to do with the rights of all people are simply wrong.

There is a huge void between fact and fiction. I would suggest that we know the real history and not His-Story; more importantly be careful when those on the right preach propaganda as again fiction is far from fact. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


Huey P. Newton: Founder Of The Black Panther Party For Self-Defense

th (19)There were and are so many courageous black leaders throughout our history, unfortunately, unless they died for a white cause they were erased from the pages of time. This story is the last in a week long articles paying homage to a few of the bravest black revolutionary leaders of our time. In my opinion, what they did and the stand they took for black people is unmatched and profound.

Huey P. Newton was born in Monroe, Louisiana, on February 17, 1942. You may find this surprising, but he was named after former Louisiana Governor Huey P. Long. Brother Huey’s legacy began in 1966 with co-founder Bobby Seale when they founded the left-wing Black Panther Party for Self Defense.

The organization was central to the Black Power movement, making headlines with its inflammatory rhetoric and militaristic style, becoming a leading figure in the black power movement of the 1960s in Oakland, California. The most significant thing Newton did was the create of what became known as the Head Start Program that over the years has provide benefits to million of poverty stricken children. What a great legacy!

The Black Panthers mission was to improve life in black communities and established social programs to help those in need. They also fought against police brutality in black neighborhoods by white cops. Members of the group would go to arrests in progress and watch for abuse. Newton himself was arrested in 1967 for allegedly killing an Oakland police officer during a traffic stop.

The case was eventually dismissed after two retrials ended in hung juries. He was later convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 2 to 15 years in prison. But public pressure – “Free Huey” became a popular slogan of the day – helped Newton’s cause.

Despite his legal run-ins, Newton began to take his education seriously. Although he graduated high school in 1959, Newton barely knew how to read. He became his own teacher, learning to read by himself and eventually earned a Ph.D. In the mid-1960s, Newton decided to pursue his education at Merritt College where he met Bobby Seale. The two were briefly involved with political groups at the school before they set out to create one of their own.

The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was founded in 1966. Unlike many of the other social and political organizers of the time, they took a militant stance, advocating the ownership of guns by African Americans, and were often seen brandishing weapons. A famous photograph shows Newton – the group’s Minister of Defense – holding a gun in one hand and a spear in the other.

The group believed that violence – or the threat of violence – might be needed to bring about social change. They set forth their political goals in a document called the Ten-Point Program, which included better housing, jobs, and education for African Americans.

It also called for an end to the economic exploitation of black communities. Still the organization itself was not afraid to punctuate its message with a show of force. They vigorously protest a gun bill in 1967, Newton and other members of the Panthers entered the California Legislature fully armed. The action was a shocking one that made news across the country.

The Panthers became in disarray mainly because of efforts by the J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI and initiatives like COINTELPRO. Most don’t know that what we now know as Head Start was developed by the Black Panther Party. FBI Director Hoover said, “The biggest internal threat to the country’s internal security was the Panthers program to feed the children of the black community.”

During the Party’s existence, members of the group clashed with police many times. The party’s treasurer, Bobby Hutton, was killed during one of these encounters in 1968. In the 1970s, the Black Panthers began to fall apart key members left the group. During this time Newton faced more criminal charges and to avoid prosecution, he fled to Cuba in 1971, but he returned three years later.

Despite his legal run-ins, Newton began to take his education seriously and returned to school, earning a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1980. In his final years, however, it is believed that he suffered from a drug problem. The once popular revolutionary died on August 22, 1989, in Oakland, California, supposedly after being shot on the street for what “they” said was a failed drug deal gone badly. However, it smelled of a COINTELPRO plot by most.

Huey Newton was a man of profound stature and, in my opinion, had the courage to make selfless sacrifices for the benefit of a people at a time when the community needed it most. He once said, “You can jail a Revolutionary, but you can’t jail the Revolution.” If you stop struggling, then you stop life. Black Power Movement in it purest form was simply about giving power to people who have not had the power to determine their destiny.” And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

JUST A SEASON

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Gil Scott-Heron The Messenger

12

The genius and the legend of Brother Gil Scott Heron’s prophetic analyst of black life, politics, and the world resonates as profoundly today as the day he first delivered his messages. Not long ago, we lived through the “Bush Administration” which was not that much different than his father’s or the Regan and Nixon Administrations. I won’t go so far as to call them racist but the policies they but forth sure as hell were. All were commanders of the war on black people.

Having lived through each, I’ve seen how their policies negated African Americans, subjecting nearly an entire race to irrelevant status, as invisible creatures unnecessary and not wanted. During their time of power and even now, the system of survival is as difficult as it ever was – poverty, unemployment, education, no justice, and all of which simply means “Separate but Unequal”.

Often, through this blog, try to resurrect the spirits of those who sacrificed and laid the foundation for this generation that in many ways have forgotten or never understood that we stand on the shoulders of giants and the knowledge of our rich history. If you are someone that missed the message, understand that each of us, ultimately, have a responsibility to continue the species. In spite of a system that has continually denied African Americans the most basic of human rights or at least those rights prescribed in the Constitution. It is time to come together and address the systematic problems we face.

Throughout the 1970s, Gil Scott-Heron and his musical collaborator Brain Jackson had a profound impact on my life. It was his message that caused me to think critically about the world around me that was not for me. They did it through the music that reflected the turbulence, uncertainty and increasing pessimism of the times, merging soul and jazz traditions that reached my conscienceless.

Gil’s message to me said the whole world is a stage, and black people will not be nominated for anything. This brother is the most unsung hero of our time, and therefore I want pay homage to his long lasting spirit. He explained, correctly, that the revolution is not necessarily a physical confrontation; rather it is a battle of the mind. He said, “the revolution will not be televised” which at the time seemed to make sense.

However, fast forward to 2014 we see a war inflicted upon use far more devastating than what took place in his day. Nonetheless, in today’s time the revolution is televised. Therefore, I say, “free your mind and your ass will follow.”And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Watch the video and open your mind and see that the war is all around you!


An American Shame

“Disclaimer: This piece is long but it is knowledge everyone should know.”

2There have been many ways to suppress people over time; unfortunately, African Americans have endured the brunt of these efforts. As we know, the history of America reports that it was not only African American’s who were subjected or affected by these efforts. What I can report is that it was always a minority affected by these laws meant to ensure a permanent underclass.

This ideology began as indentured servants, then slavery, segregation, and now could it be conservatism. In each of these classifications there was a design called laws Black Codes, which I suppose make these immoral sanctions sound gentler. The truth is the sole purpose was to suppression rights. Kinda like the agenda behind the States Rights dog-whistles we hear today.

Black Codes were laws passed designed specifically to take away civil rights and civil liberties of African American on the state and local levels. This is the reason Conservatives desire a return to “States Rights” and speak of taking back their country because at the state level they can be unimpeded in turning back the hands of time.

Although, most of the discriminatory legislation, in terms of Black Codes, were used more often by Southern states to control the labor, movements and activities of newly freed slaves at the end of the Civil War. But as Malcolm X once said, “Anywhere south of Canada was south” meaning wherever you were in America you were subjected to discrimination in terms of the “separate but equal” laws, which was the law of the land.

The Black Codes of the 1860’s are not the same as the Jim Crow laws. The Black Codes were in reaction to the abolition of slavery and the South’s defeat in the Civil War. Southern legislatures enacted them during Reconstruction. The Jim Crow era began later, nearer to the end of the 19th century after Reconstruction, with its unwritten laws.

Then there were sundown laws, which meant Blacks, could not live or be caught in certain towns after dark. In some cases, signs were placed at the town’s borders with statements similar to the one posted in Hawthorne California that read “Nigger, Don’t Let The Sun Set On YOU In Hawthorne” in the 1930’s. In some cases, exclusions were official town policy, restrictive covenants, or the policy was enforced through intimidation.

After the abolition of slavery by the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which prior to that African Americans were considered 3/5’s human. Therefore, all former slave states adopted Black Codes. During 1865 every Southern state passed Black Codes that restricted the Freemen, who were emancipated but not yet full citizens. While they pursued re-admission to the Union, the Southern states provided freedmen with limited second-class civil rights and no voting rights. Southern plantation owners feared that they would lose their land. Having convinced themselves that slavery was justified, planters feared African Americans wouldn’t work without coercion. The Black Codes were an attempt to control them and to ensure they did not claim social equality.

The Black Codes outraged public opinion in the North because it seemed the South was creating a form of quasi-slavery to evade the results of the war. After winning large majorities in the 1866 elections, the Republicans put the South under military rule. They held new elections in which the Freedmen could vote. Suffrage was also expanded to poor whites. The new governments repealed all the Black Codes; they were never reenacted – OFFICALLY.

Many of these things are unknown to the generations of today because these injustices have been erased from our history and very little of it is taught in today’s classroom. For example, a sundown town was a town that was all white on purpose. The term was widely used in the United States and Canada in areas from Ohio to Oregon and well into the South. Even in Canada many towns in Southern Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec, were sundown towns prior to 1982, when it was outlawed. The term came from signs that were allegedly posted stating that people of color had to leave the town by sundown. They were also sometimes known as “sunset towns” or “gray towns”. Let me ask if you have ever been to a million dollar community – sound familiar.

The black codes that were enacted immediately after the Civil War, though varying from state to state, were all intended to secure a steady supply of cheap labor and all continued to assume the inferiority of the freed slaves. The black codes had their roots in the slave codes that had formerly been in effect. The premise behind chattel slavery in America was that slaves were property, and, as such, they had few or no legal rights. The slave codes, in their many loosely defined forms, were seen as effective tools against slave unrest, particularly as a hedge against uprisings and runaways. Enforcement of slave codes also varied, but corporal punishment was widely and harshly employed.

Let me highlight this example: In Texas, the Eleventh Legislature produced these codes in 1866. The intent of the legislation was to reaffirm the inferior position that slaves and free blacks had held in antebellum Texas and to regulate black labor. The codes reflected the unwillingness of white Texans to accept blacks as equals. You do remember “Juneteenth”? In addition, the Texans also feared that freedmen would not work unless coerced. Thus the codes continued legal discrimination between whites and blacks. The legislature, when it amended the 1856 penal code, emphasized the continuing line between whites and blacks by defining all individuals with one-eighth or more African blood as persons of color, subject to special provisions in the law.

Minorities were systematically excluded from living in or sometimes even passing through these communities after the sun went down. This allowed maids and workmen to provide unskilled labor during the day. Sociologists have described this as the nadir of American race relations. Sundown towns existed throughout the nation, but most often were located in the northern states that were not pre-Civil War slave states. There have not been any de jure sundown towns in the country since legislation in the 1960’s was inspired by the Civil Rights Movement, although de facto sundown towns and counties, where no black family lives – still exist.

Therefore, we see hints of it in the racism that has raised its ugly head and risen to the surface of society’s consciousness, particularly in this political climate. Since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and especially since the Civil Rights Act of 1968 prohibited racial discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing, the number of sundown towns has decreased.

However, as sociologist suggest it is impossible to precisely count the number of sundown towns at any given time, because most towns have not kept records of the ordinances or signs that marked the town’s sundown status. It is important to note that sundown status meant more than just African Americans not being able to live in these towns. Essentially any African Americans or other groups who came into sundown towns after sundown were subject to harassment, threats, and violent acts; up to and including lynching.

As one historian has noted, “Racial segregation was hardly a new phenomenon because slavery had fixed the status of most blacks, no need was felt for statutory measures segregating the races. These restrictive Black Codes have morphed in one form or another to achieve its desired effect to maintain a superior status by the powers that be. I am only suggesting that we know and understand history for it will open the mind to what the future may present.

Frankly, if you don’t know where you came from you will never get to where you are going. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective!!!


JUST US!

jail

My message for today comes from a powerful video that you should be sure to WATCH. Every single thing the speaker is saying can be proven without a shadow of a doubt. Just look at the power of the prison lobby and the massive increase in prison population since the 1980’s.

America has MORE prisoners in jail than China or any other country on the planet. How is it possible that we have a higher prison population than China who is extremely oppressive and has four times our total population? The overwhelming proportion of the population are people of color. How can this be when we represent such a small portion of the overall population?

I’m sharing this message with hopes that it is food for thought. Stop dancing to the tomb!!! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


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