Tag Archives: riot

Happy Birthday H. Rap Brown

3In the 1960s, during civil rights movement, there were several leaders of note. Most fell into two very distinct factions; there were the non-violent faction and the more aggressive revolutionary wing of the movement. As we all know, it did not matter which faction the leader participated in “they all were either killed or jailed.” One of the more aggressive and outspoken leaders from the revolutionary side was H. Rap Brown! He is famously known for statements like “Burn Baby Burn.”

His government name was Hubert Gerold Brown before changing it to H. Rap Brown and one of the most outspoken faces of the Black Power Movement. He served as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and as their Minister of Justice during the short-lived alliance between SNCC and the Black Panther Party. He became famous for his proclamations during that period saying “violence is as American as cherry pie,” as well as once stating that “If America don’t come around, we’re gonna burn it down”. He is also the author of his autobiography “Die Nigga Die!”

Brown like most of the so-called black radicals appeared on Hoover’s Ten Most Wanted list and was added after avoiding trial on charges of inciting a riot and of carrying a gun across state lines. Brown disappeared for 18 months and arrested after a reported shootout with officers. The shootout occurred after what was said to be an attempted robbery of a bar in 1971 in New York. His attorneys in the gun violation case were civil rights advocate Murphy Bell of Baton Rouge, and the self-described “radical lawyer” William Kunstler. Brown was scheduled to be tried in Cambridge, but the trial was moved to Bel Air, Maryland on a change of venue.

On March 9, 1970, two SNCC officials, Ralph Featherstone and William (“Che”) Payne, died on U.S. Route 1 south of Bel Air, Maryland, when a bomb on the front floorboard of their car exploded, completely destroying the car and dismembering both occupants. Theories of the origin of the bomb were disputed. Some say it was planted in an assassination attempt, others say it was intentionally carried by Payne to be used at the courthouse where Brown was to be tried. The next night the Cambridge courthouse was bombed.

He spent five years in Attica Prison after a robbery conviction. While in prison, Brown converted to Islam and changed his name from Hubert Gerold Brown to Jamil Abdullah al-Amin. After his release, he opened a grocery store in Atlanta, Georgia. He became a Muslim spiritual leader and community activist preaching against drugs and gambling in Atlanta’s West End neighborhood.

He is currently serving a life sentence for murder following the 2000 shooting of two Fulton County Sheriff’s deputies, both black, who were trying to serve a warrant on him. One deputy, Ricky Kinchen, died in the shooting. On March 9, 2002, nearly two years after the shooting took place, al-Amin was convicted of 13 criminal charges, including the murder of Deputy Kinchen. Four days later, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He was sent to Georgia State Prison, the state’s maximum security facility later transferred to ADX Florence Supermax prison in Colorado.

He believed “there is no in between, you’re either free or you’re a slave”. I agree!!! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Did You Know About The Elaine Massacre

6On September 30, 1919, a horrific act of terror happened in the town of Elaine in Phillips County, Arkansas, in the Arkansas Delta; it was called the Elaine Massacre took. Most of us have learned about Black Wall Street and other act of terror inflicted upon black American citizens but few know about this act of terror done by whites. This incident was by far the deadliest racial confrontation in Arkansas history and possibly the bloodiest racial conflict in the history of the United States since the early days of the KKK.

At the time many African-American sharecroppers had not received their share of wages, and they wanted to join the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America. Also, the early years of the twentieth century were the time of “Red Summers,” violent years after reconstruction.

The white citizens of the town thought the society was trying to persuade the sharecroppers to create violence. That month union members met near Elaine under armed guards. Two armed white men, one a deputy sheriff, the other a railroad worker showed up, and a fight developed. Both men were shot, and a railroad worker was killed. For two days, several African-Americans and white citizens of the area were killed in the fighting. The fighting ended when Arkansas Gov. Charles Brough brought in United States soldiers to contain the violence. At the end of the violence, 65 African-Americans were brought to trial.

Twelve were sentenced to death and the others appealed to higher courts. Scipio Jones, an African-American lawyer from Little Rock, helped to fight for justice for the accused at Elaine. He received assistance from the (then) newly formed National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). As a result, the rest of the condemned men were set free, and the governor brought African-American and white citizens together for discussions on problems between the races. No clear-cut answer for the violence was ever found.

Presently attempts to come to terms with what truly occurred have led to efforts to pay reparations to the victims. No one at this point is leading an effort for reparations in Elaine. Robert Miller, who last year became the first Black mayor of nearby Helena, grew up hearing the stories because he is related to one of the four black men who were killed in custody. Because of the riots, his grandmother sent his father to Boston to attend school. Currently, race relations in the county are particularly strained.

The West Helena mayor’s office and City Council are divided along racial lines, and so is the County Quorum Court. Last week, an Oklahoma state commission recommended reparations for Black survivors of a 1921 rampage by white mobs in Tulsa. Historians say as many as 300 blacks were killed. In 1994, Florida approved $2 million in compensation for nine survivors and dozens of descendants of a 1923 attack on Blacks in Rosewood, Fla.

White folk should never talk about terror because of the atrocities done by their fathers. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Commentary: The Hate That Hate Produced

290_10000One of the last things Dr. King said before he was murdered – “We have some difficult days ahead.” If last years disturbance in Baltimore is any indication; that is a very true statement because the language of the unheard was loud and clear. Over my lifetime, I have seen civil disobedience at both ends of the spectrum. From extremes, such as kneeling peacefully and praying at the Edmund Pettis Bridge on Bloody Sunday to Watts and Detroit – all happened fifty years ago. In Watts, the cry was not hands up don’t shot. It was “Burn Baby Burn” and “kill the pigs”. The cry directed at the police today is “you started this”!

The question is – how far have we really come? If you asked black people they will say we have not come very far at all. Most black folk will say just as it was fifty years ago, and beyond, as sure as things change they remain the same. The reason the police were born was to be slave catchers who were violent and immoral people who killed and maimed as directed in the course of their duty capturing runaway slaves. They watched as white folk lynched, dismembered, and burned black people for entertainment and today as the kill unarmed black men they claim to be the victim.

What I found interesting or maybe disturbing is that the machine continues to operate from the same playbook after each horrible event. First, they put a black face in the picture, even though people from the black community know these people are likely bought and paid for. Honestly, those folk do not have the interest of black people at heart. Next, they will parade every black member of the clergy before the camera’s to give the same message of “peace” and nonviolence. This generation can see through this ploy like Superman with his X-ray vision. This is not your grandfather’s kind of Negro. They see their parents and grandparent in the same hopeless position as they have been all of their lives and frankly see no hope for their future.

After violence and death have been inflicted upon black people the chant’s of American values and the Constitution is brought into the conversation. Therefore, it is very interesting that the treatment of the least of thee result in protest and rage, which is because the system has been purposely derelict in their duties. Then, they ask the question why are these folks angry? The answer is, and Ray Charles can see it, the system disenfranchises them, occupy communities where they live with overbearing oppression and get away with murder; while blaming the people. Take note; every riot has come from a situation where the police murdered someone or an act of police brutality.

Last year as I watched the violence on the streets of Baltimore it reminded me of how the Palestinians react to Israel, who throws rocks at that occupying force. In fifty years, since the devastating riots of the 1960s nothing has changed. Therefore, I say, and we all know, the bottom line is “We have not overcome” and they know it. Poverty is up; unemployment is up, and racism is at an all-time high, and white folk continue to ask the same question – what is the problem? They use the same terms except today the language is coded. For example, they use thugs instead of nigger, as their forefathers did.

Nearly every day there is a police killing of an unarmed man or some extreme act of brutal that goes unpunished as a result of the blue wall of silence, cover-ups, and lies. However, now they face a dilemma. The populous have video cameras and have caught these acts of lawlessness and crimes on camera, and a reasonable person will find it hard to dispute the wretchedness of the brutality. Yesterday, the police repeatedly talked about street gangs have come together against them, when the community says they are the more brutal gang. They have been caught lying, filing false reports, supposedly losing documents to cover up their crimes, and always claim to be in fear of their lives as justification for their actions.

In the Gray case in Baltimore that is the flash point. This young man had 80% of his neck broken, and they want people to believe that while handcuffed and under their control; he broke his own back. Let’s be honest, “nobody is dumb enough to believe that lie”, but they continue to use their favorite talking point; “the victim caused his own death.” I guess the logic is, as history shows if you repeat the same lie long enough people will believe it.

I find it troubling that there are those who dig up Dr. King during all of these troubling situations. So I will do the same with one of his profound quotes:

“It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard”.

All of this results in the hate that hate produces. Let us not forget that slaves have always rebelled. This is merely a manifestation of that deeply embedded conditioning. Now, I do not profess to be a prophet, but I will say this if the killings and brutality don’t not stop. It is going to be a long hot summer. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


YOU MUST LISTEN A Powerful Speech By Tim Wise On Racism And Police Killings

007_1000This is clear and powerful speech that exposes the truth about Systematic Racism in today’s dangerous and hostile racial environment. The truth spoken on the outrageous killings of unarmed black men; Eric Gardner, Mike Brown, and Ferguson. They system and the police hired to protect and serve who are nothing more than “oppressors” used to enforce white supremacy.

White supremacy is a form of racism centered upon the belief and promotion of the belief, that white people are superior to people of other racial background, particularly black people, and therefore whites should politically, economically and socially dominate non-whites. After listening to the lecture and you are not awake or continue to believe the false narrative presented – shame on you! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

This speech will open your eyes.

A Killing Season

There have been many atrocities involving the story of the African American struggle. One of the most horrifying of such was a dreadful wave of lynching and anti-Negro violence that permeated the very fiber of America during the year 1919.

Lynching was so pervasive that James Weldon Johnson labeled it the “Red Summer”. During this year, race riots started by whites, inflicted devastation upon blacks across the nation. Let’s be clear there were many race riots but the difference this time was that blacks fought back!

Red Summer refers to the summer and fall of 1919, in which race riots exploded in a number of cities in both the North and South. The three most violent episodes occurred in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Elaine, Arkansas. On the afternoon of July 27, 1919, a stone throwing melee between blacks and whites began after a black youth mistakenly swam into territory claimed by whites off the 29th Street beach in Chicago. Amidst the mayhem, Eugene Williams, a black youth, drowned.

When a white police officer refused to arrest the white men involved in the death, and instead arrested a black man, racial tensions escalated. Fighting broke out between gangs and mobs of both races with violence escalating with each incident, and for 13 days Chicago was in a state of turmoil. By the time the riot ended, 23 blacks and 15 whites were dead, 537 injured, and 1,000 black families were left homeless. The Chicago riot was part of a national racial frenzy of clashes, massacres, and lynching’s. All of the incidents were initiated by whites.

In Washington, D.C., from July 19 to 23, four whites and two blacks were killed; whites were astonished that blacks dared to fight back. The NEW YORK TIMES lamented the new black militancy: “There had been no trouble with the Negro before the war when most admitted the superiority of the white race.”

A “Southern black woman,” as she identified herself, wrote a letter to THE CRISIS, praising blacks for fighting back. “The Washington riot gave me a thrill that comes once in a life time … at last our men had stood up like men. … I stood up alone in my room … and exclaimed aloud, ‘Oh I thank God, thank God.’ The pent up horror, grief and humiliation of a life time — half a century — was being stripped from me.”

From October 1-3, a race war exploded in Phillips County, Arkansas. On the night of September 30, a small group of black men and women were gathering a rural church to organize a sharecroppers’ and tenant farmers’ union — the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America. When two white law enforcement officers arrived at the church, one later claiming they were looking for a bootlegger, shots were exchanged. One white officer was killed and the other wounded.

As word of the shootings spread throughout the county, the local sheriff sent out a call for men “to hunt Mr. Nigger in his lair.” The call went out to Mississippi to come to the aid of white men in Phillips County. Hundreds of armed men jumped into trains, trucks, and cars and, crossing into Arkansas, fired out of windows at every black they saw. Some said that if it was black and moving, it was target practice.

Frank Moore, one of the farmers at the church, saw the massacre as it unfolded: “The whites sent word that they was comin down here and kill every nigger they found. There were 300 or 400 more white men with guns, shooting and killing women and children.” Soldiers from the United States Army eventually restored order, although some claimed the military participated in the killings. By the time the shooting ended, 25 blacks and five whites were listed as officially dead.

Many blacks believed that perhaps as many as 200 were killed, their bodies dumped in the Mississippi River or left to rot in the canebrake. The white establishment charged that blacks had formed a secret conspiracy to rise up and overthrow the white planters, take their land and rape their women. No evidence was ever produced to substantiate the charge.

This inhumane treatment was so blatant that civic and religious organizations began to speak out against lawless groups. One of the main opponents of lynching was the Federated Black Catholics under the guidance of Thomas Wyatt Turner. Turner was a supporter of civil rights and a devout Catholic born in Charles County, Maryland, Turner was a graduate of Howard University. Before he accepted the teaching position at Howard, he was the secretary of Baltimore’s NAACP. However, his voice was not heard.

I could go on until all of the ink in the world is gone but what would be the point! Because history has recorded that the American Dream was more like a nightmare for people of color and minorities. So I will stop here and simply ask that you look into your soul and ask it: If you or I can see history lived which is known to be true – changed? How can you, we, or anyone believe anything history has ever told us?

And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective!

“Just a Season”
Visit: http://johntwills.com/
Legacy – A New Season is Coming!
Listen to the author’s interview!

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