Archive for the ‘Black Power’ Category

In ‘Black Power!,’ Art’s Political Punch and Populist Reach – New York Times


New York Times
In 'Black Power!,' Art's Political Punch and Populist Reach
New York Times
A display in the Black Power! exhibition at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a branch of the New York Public Library in Harlem. Credit Jonathan Blanc//Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library.

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In ‘Black Power!,’ Art’s Political Punch and Populist Reach – New York Times

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One Scholar On The Future Of Black Lives Matter09:47 – Here And Now

wbur Neal Blair, of Augusta, Ga., wears a hoodie which reads, “Black Lives Matter” as stands on the lawn of the Capitol building during a rally to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, on Capitol Hill, on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Washington. Black men from around the nation returned to the capital calling for changes in policing and in black communities. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Black Lives Matter movement originated as an organization to combat police violence but has morphed into an organization for civil rights issues. How does it compare to the civil rights movement, and the Black Power movement of the 1960s?

Here & Now’s Robin Young speaks with Peniel Joseph(@penieljoseph), a scholar of African-American history and professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin,about his cover story for the New Republic, “Why Black Lives Matter Still Matters.”

On how Black Lives Matter compares tothe civil rights and Black Power movements

“I think it straddles really both movements, but it’s more comparable to Black Power than civil rights. That’s primarily because BLM movement has a structural criticism of racism. So, they’re not just criticizing the justice system. They’re making a claim that the justice system in the United States is connected to unemployment, public school segregation, environmental racism and inequality. So its just basically the police are the tip of a larger iceberg of systemic oppression. What makes them so interesting is this notion of intersectionality. The three cofounders of that hashtag were all black women, feminist and queer identified. When we think about BLM, they’re really the first movement coming out of that civil rights, Black Power, black liberation struggle that places gender, sexuality, youth, poverty at the core of that movement for social change.”

On women in historical black rights movements and Black Lives Matter

“The Panthers and the wider Black Power movement, and when we think about civil rights as well, deeply implicated in systems of patriarchy and sexism and misogyny against women. With that being said, black women were also key organizers of both the civil rights protests and also Black Power. Here, with BLM being so decentralized, you’ve had black women share the spotlight and take the lead in terms of both organizing the actions and disruptions of the BLM. So, it’s really a change for the better, I would argue, when you have black women at the forefront of the leadership, but also when we think about the theoretical foundations of the leadership. They’re thinking about black women being head of single-parent households in the United States. They’re thinking about black women and rates of incarceration, the wealth gap between black and white women and the income gap, which is very important because black women are the major voters within the African-American community. They’re the major breadwinners. They’re the major people who raise the young black boys and young black men who are often victims of police violence.”

“When we think about the BLM movement, they’re both taking the civil disobedience tactic nonviolently from that civil rights struggle, but they’re ratcheting up by calling for a systematic, wide change.”

On how Black Lives Matter is more closely related to Black Power than the civil rights movement

“King is initially a reformer, and he becomes a political revolutionary. And in a way, except for adhering to nonviolence, he really starts to have a structural criticism against Vietnam, militarism, racism, human rights violations. When we think about the BLM movement, they’re both taking the civil disobedience tactic nonviolently from that civil rights struggle, but they’re ratcheting up by calling for a systematic, wide change. Their tactics have also been very disruptive, in line with the Black Power period. When we think them shutting down highways, some people were very supportive of that, but it’s to the chagrin of others. There were Black Lives Matter rallies that were disrupting the status quo on college campuses. They were even disrupting people’s brunch in New York City and other cities to the chagrin of many yuppies and buppies and elites of all stripes. So when we think about the BLM, it’s really about both that structural critique and the robust, in-your-face tactics that they’re using.”

On the movements decentralization of leadership

“That’s a good thing in that they’re very similar civil rights organizing vis-a-vis the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Their nickname was SNCC, and when we think about SNCC, we associate them by 1966 with Stokely Carmichael and the call for Black Power. But initially, they were founded by Ella Jo Baker, whos an activist from North Carolina, a feminist, a trade unionist and really one of the most important organizers of the 1960s. And she tells the young people not to be hijacked or come under the thumb of any of the older leadership. Even though Ella Baker’s around 60 at this time, she’s making an argument that decentralized leadership is better than having one central political mobilizer like King, who the movement sort of rises and falls with. So, when we think about the BLM movement, what’s so great about the dozens of chapters that they have is that there isn’t one person who’s leading all of this. That makes it harder for media to identify and set up neat narratives with the movement. But I think that it means that the movement’s going to be much longer lasting because we actually have people doing work and organizing, and it’s not a top down hierarchical leadership structure.

“And we’ve seen that through BLM and the Movement for Black Lives policy agenda that was published last summer that talked about ending the war against black people, divesting from criminal justice institutions that incarcerate and lead to mass incarceration and investing in black youth in neighborhoods and communities. I would say we do have several young activists who people know who they are, including Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, DeRay McKesson and others, who are organizing and young people know who they are. But it’s just not the top-down celebrity culture that we saw in the context of the 1960s and ’70s. And remember that also it didn’t work. Very, very famous people didn’t lead to the kind of substantive transformation that people had hoped for because if it had, we wouldn’t have the need for BLM movement 50 years later in 2017.”

On what he’d say to people who think the pendulum has swung too far fromgovernment standing up for law enforcement

“Well, I’d say that’s absolutely the wrong perspective because the BLM movement really illustrated the depth and breadth of structural racism and state violence through law enforcement against African-American, against Latino and, at times, poor white communities in the United States. If anything, we need dramatic and radical reform that actually goes beyond what Obama’s Justice Department politically could achieve. We have to change and transform this whole society. And in that way, they do go back to Dr. King and when King talked about a bitter and beautiful struggle for social and political change.”

This segment aired on April 5, 2017.

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One Scholar On The Future Of Black Lives Matter09:47 – Here And Now

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John Ridley defends casting Indian actor Freida Pinto in British … – International Business Times UK

Oscar-winning director John Ridley has explained his decision to cast Indian actress Freida Pinto as the lead protagonist in his new drama, Guerrilla.

Speaking at the London premiere of the six-part series which explores what it meant to be an activist within the British Black Power movement of the 1970s Ridley, said that “people that are involved with this show are the most reflective cast and crew you will find anywhere.”

The 51-year-old filmmaker, who has been married to his Japanese wife Gayle for 17 years, faced strong questions about race during a post-screening Q&A, with some audience members raising their concerns about what they described as “the erasure of black women”.

In the London-based drama, Pinto, who rose to prominence after starring alongside Dev Patel in 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, plays Jas Mitra a nurse turned activist who along with her husband Marcus (Babou Ceesay) liberates a political prisoner and forms a radical underground cell. She is at the forefront of the struggle against a racist police force and the oppression faced by minorities.

Guerrilla explores what might have happened had the original Black Power movement used violence and also reminds viewers of the contribution the Asian community made to Britain’s ‘forgotten history’.

“It is a question that people have asked and perhaps a question I would have asked, and did, prior to educating myself on the circumstances that happened in this country,” said Ridley.

“I cannot entertain a dialogue about whether the lead character should have been black or Asian. The lead character for this show should be a strong woman of colour.”

Ridley, who took home the Best Screenplay award at the 2014 Academy awards for 12 Years a Slave, said the mini-series touches on issues of black oppression, police brutality and interracial dating, issues which still resonate till today. He believes it a very appropriate time to hark back to the movement’s routes.

Though fictional, Guerrilla is rooted in the realities of an era. “[If] you understand the struggles of that time period, those elements are not made up. Those are real. So if it’s difficult for anybody to understands or accepted easily then I feel I have done my job.”

Luther actor Idris Elba stars and also serves as an executive producer for the miniseries, which will air on Sky Atlantic from Thursday, 13 April 2017.

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John Ridley defends casting Indian actor Freida Pinto in British … – International Business Times UK

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One Scholar On The Future Of Black Lives Matter – WGCU News

The Black Lives Matter movement originated as an organization to combat police violence but has morphed into an organization for civil rights issues. How does it compare to the civil rights movement, and the Black Power movement of the 1960s?

Here & Nows Robin Young speaks with Peniel Joseph(@penieljoseph), a scholar of African-American history and professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin,about his cover story for the New Republic, Why Black Lives Matter Still Matters.

On how Black Lives Matter compares tothe civil rights and Black Power movements

I think it straddles really both movements, but its more comparable to Black Power than civil rights. Thats primarily because BLM movement has a structural criticism of racism. So, theyre not just criticizing the justice system. Theyre making a claim that the justice system in the United States is connected to unemployment, public school segregation, environmental racism and inequality. So its just basically the police are the tip of a larger iceberg of systemic oppression. What makes them so interesting is this notion of intersectionality. The three cofounders of that hashtag were all black women, feminist and queer identified. When we think about BLM, theyre really the first movement coming out of that civil rights, Black Power, black liberation struggle that places gender, sexuality, youth, poverty at the core of that movement for social change.

On women in historical black rights movements and Black Lives Matter

The Panthers and the wider Black Power movement, and when we think about civil rights as well, deeply implicated in systems of patriarchy and sexism and misogyny against women. With that being said, black women were also key organizers of both the civil rights protests and also Black Power. Here, with BLM being so decentralized, youve had black women share the spotlight and take the lead in terms of both organizing the actions and disruptions of the BLM. So, its really a change for the better, I would argue, when you have black women at the forefront of the leadership, but also when we think about the theoretical foundations of the leadership. Theyre thinking about black women being head of single-parent households in the United States. Theyre thinking about black women and rates of incarceration, the wealth gap between black and white women and the income gap, which is very important because black women are the major voters within the African-American community. Theyre the major breadwinners. Theyre the major people who raise the young black boys and young black men who are often victims of police violence.

Array

On how Black Lives Matter is more closely related to Black Power than the civil rights movement

King is initially a reformer, and he becomes a political revolutionary. And in a way, except for adhering to nonviolence, he really starts to have a structural criticism against Vietnam, militarism, racism, human rights violations. When we think about the BLM movement, theyre both taking the civil disobedience tactic nonviolently from that civil rights struggle, but theyre ratcheting up by calling for a systematic, wide change. Their tactics have also been very disruptive, in line with the Black Power period. When we think them shutting down highways, some people were very supportive of that, but its to the chagrin of others. There were Black Lives Matter rallies that were disrupting the status quo on college campuses. They were even disrupting peoples brunch in New York City and other cities to the chagrin of many yuppies and buppies and elites of all stripes. So when we think about the BLM, its really about both that structural critique and the robust, in-your-face tactics that theyre using.

On the movements decentralization of leadership

Thats a good thing in that theyre very similar civil rights organizing vis-a-vis the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Their nickname was SNCC, and when we think about SNCC, we associate them by 1966 with Stokely Carmichael and the call for Black Power. But initially, they were founded by Ella Jo Baker, whos an activist from North Carolina, a feminist, a trade unionist and really one of the most important organizers of the 1960s. And she tells the young people not to be hijacked or come under the thumb of any of the older leadership. Even though Ella Bakers around 60 at this time, shes making an argument that decentralized leadership is better than having one central political mobilizer like King, who the movement sort of rises and falls with. So, when we think about the BLM movement, whats so great about the dozens of chapters that they have is that there isnt one person whos leading all of this. That makes it harder for media to identify and set up neat narratives with the movement. But I think that it means that the movements going to be much longer lasting because we actually have people doing work and organizing, and its not a top down hierarchical leadership structure.

And weve seen that through BLM and the Movement for Black Lives policy agenda that was published last summer that talked about ending the war against black people, divesting from criminal justice institutions that incarcerate and lead to mass incarceration and investing in black youth in neighborhoods and communities. I would say we do have several young activists who people know who they are, including Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, DeRay McKesson and others, who are organizing and young people know who they are. But its just not the top-down celebrity culture that we saw in the context of the 1960s and 70s. And remember that also it didnt work. Very, very famous people didnt lead to the kind of substantive transformation that people had hoped for because if it had, we wouldnt have the need for BLM movement 50 years later in 2017.

On what hed say to people who think the pendulum has swung too far fromgovernment standing up for law enforcement

Well, Id say thats absolutely the wrong perspective because the BLM movement really illustrated the depth and breadth of structural racism and state violence through law enforcement against African-American, against Latino and, at times, poor white communities in the United States. If anything, we need dramatic and radical reform that actually goes beyond what Obamas Justice Department politically could achieve. We have to change and transform this whole society. And in that way, they do go back to Dr. King and when King talked about a bitter and beautiful struggle for social and political change.

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One Scholar On The Future Of Black Lives Matter – WGCU News

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Why Black Lives Matter Still Matters – New Republic

Black Power inspired sweeping changes in American literature, art, and poetry; created a new wave of black scholarship in higher education; and helped elect two generations of black officials at every level of government. Without the consciousness-raising of the Black Power movement, there would likely be no King holiday or Black History Month, no movements to end mass incarceration or apartheid, no free breakfasts in public schools (an outgrowth of hot-meal programs launched by the Black Panthers), no black studies programs at Harvard and other major universities, no Do the Right Thing or Lemonade, no Barack Obama.

Like BLM, which was born in the wake of widespread incidents of police brutality, Black Power came of age in the violent racial landscape confronted by civil rights activists. If Martin Luther King presented himself as a shield capable of defending the black community from the evils of racial segregation, Malcolm X entered the world stage as a sword capable of defeating a Jim Crow system that excluded and brutalized black Americans. Message to the Grassroots, Malcolms historic speech in Detroit in November 1963, offered a blueprint for a black revolution, one sophisticated enough to recognize white supremacy as a national issue, rather than a regional concern, and bold enough to deploy radical strategiesincluding armed self-defense and political self-determinationto defeat it.

The Fire Last Time

An elite police squad was supposed to clean up the streets of 1970s Detroit. Instead, it terrorized African Americans, and turned the city into a battleground.

By Mark Binelli

Professor Carnage

Dave Grossman teaches police officers to think like “warriors.” But is the rise of a militarized mindset turning black citizens into targets?

By Steve Featherstone

Publishing on April 17

The movement gained its name three years later when Stokely Carmichael (later Kwame Ture), a Trinidad-born student activist who became a leader among the Freedom Riders and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, gave a speech in Greenwood, Mississippi, calling for Black Power. To Carmichael, Black Power was a call for radical self-determination: social, political, economic, and cultural. Black people, he insisted, had the right to define the framework of racial oppressionand the tools to combat itfor themselves.

A new society must be born, Carmichael insisted in one of his most important and powerful speeches, before 10,000 people at the University of California in Berkeley. Racism must die, he said, and economic exploitation of nonwhites must end. He then posed a fundamental question that BLM activists implicitly continue to ask: How can white society move to see black people as human beings?

The Black Panther Party answered this question with a vengeance. Inspired by Malcolm X, anti-colonial movements in Africa and Latin America, and an eclectic reading of Marxist-Leninism and the literature of Third World revolution, the Panthers (whose leadership at times veered toward authoritarianism and violence) deliberately cut a combative posture to strike fear in white Americans. But like BLM, the group quickly expanded its initial focus on police brutality to embrace a ten-point program that called for the radical transformation of American democracy. Within a year of their founding, the Panthers ended their armed surveillance of white police officers, and created local chapters in poor black neighborhoods that provided free breakfasts, health care, legal and housing aid, drug rehab, and transportation to visit relatives in prison. Equally important, the groups revolutionary politics evolved into a full-blown anti-imperialist framework that connected racism and economic injustice at home with Americas wars in Vietnam and beyond.

Like the Panthers and others in the Black Power movement, BLM rose to prominence in a landscape of police violence and entrenched racism. The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter was created in 2013 by Opal Tometi, Patrice Cullors, and Alecia Garza, three queer, black activists who were outraged at the acquittal of the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed 17-year-old black Trayvon Martin. BLM evolved into a full-fledged movement during the urban rebellions in Ferguson in 2014 and Baltimore in 2015. Those political uprisings, like the larger conflagrations that spread throughout America during the long, hot summers from 1963 to 1969, represent a direct confrontation of institutional racism and economic injustice.

But BLM has moved beyond many of the blind spots and shortcomings of its predecessors, embracing the full complexity of black identity and forging a movement that is far more inclusive and democratic than either the Panthers or civil rights activists ever envisioned. Many of its most active leaders are queer women and feminists. Its decentralized structure fosters participation and power sharing. It makes direct links between the struggles of black Americans and the marginalization and oppression of women, those in LGBTQ communities, and other people of color. It has made full use of the power and potential of social media, but it has also organized local chapters and articulated a broader political agenda.

Last summer, following critiques that they had failed to put forth specific demands, BLM activists and affiliated organizations published The Movement for Black Lives, a detailed and ambitious agenda. Divided into six parts, it includes a host of interconnected demands: a shift of public resources away from policing and prisons and into jobs and health care, a progressive overhaul of the tax code to ensure a radical and sustainable redistribution of wealth, expanded rights to clean air and fair housing and union organizing, and greater community control over police and schools. More detailed than the ten-point program issued by the Black Panthers, the BLM policy agenda offers a remarkably pragmatic yet potentially revolutionary blueprintone that it aims to implement through the concerted use of both protest and politics.

Unlike the activists of the civil rights era, those in BLM do not feel forced to make an either/or choice about which model of black liberation struggle they follow. Instead, BLM has merged the nonviolent civil disobedience of the civil rights movement with the radical structural critique of white supremacy and capitalist inequality articulated by Black Power activists. Indeed, the decentralized organizational philosophy of BLM most closely mirrors that of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Founded in the aftermath of the sit-in movement that swept the South in 1960, SNCC became the most important grassroots social justice organization of the era. It served as a convergence point for several overlapping, at times contradictory, political tendencies. Christian pacifists, black nationalists, liberal integrationists, black and white feminists, and peace activists were all, at various points, a part of the group, which successfully straddled the competing models of black identity advocated by the civil rights and Black Power movements.

Like SNCC, BLM embraces what we now call the intersectional nature of black identity. By placing the lives of trans and queer black women, young people, and the poor at the center of its policy agenda, the group has enlarged our collective vision of what constitutes membership in the black community. In doing so, it has expanded the terrain of what it means to be human in a society that has, since its inception as a democratic republic founded in racial slavery, insisted that black lives were disposable. Whatever future success it achieves on the policy front, BLM recognizes that what Malcolm X called a struggle for black dignity has always traveled a path toward universal human rights. Freedom for black Americans, the group reminds us, ultimately means a better nation for all. Until the most marginalized among usthe trans teenagers traumatized by dehumanizing legislation, the Latina and queer youth with no access to HIV treatment, the single black women struggling to raise their children while holding down three jobsare recognized as part of our collective American family, we all remain imprisoned.

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Why Black Lives Matter Still Matters – New Republic

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The power of poetry – News-Press Now

Way Down South in Dixie, (Break the heart of me) They hung my black young lover To a crossroads tree.

Way Down South in Dixie (Bruised body high in air) I asked the white Lord Jesus What was the use of prayer. Way Down South in Dixie (Break the heart of me) Love is a naked shadow On a gnarled and naked tree.

I never knew poetry had power until I heard the above piece of work. Song for a Dark Girl by Langston Hughes, Strange Fruit, a poem song as sung by Nina Simone and Howl by Alan Ginsburg.

Before then, I didnt know poetry had power. It was the cutesy sing-song stuff teachers had you recite in grade school. Catchy phrasing that stuck in your head but didnt stick in your soul like this new poetry.

This new poetry spoke of the conditions of minorities, the underprivileged and the downtrodden in a way that no other medium could convey.

Long before Grandmaster Flash put out a street rap called The Message, which spoke of the ills in the inner city, Gil-Scott-Heron and the Last Poets put anger to rhyme.

Rhyme poems like The Revolution Will not be Televised, Winter in America, and Black People What Yall Gon Do? spoke to a burgeoning black consciousness in the 1960s.

Nikki Giovanni is born of that passion. The Tennessee-born poet, activist and educator is a living legend who was a huge part of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movement in the 1960s. Her poems like Balances, A poem for the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and Beautiful Black Men took on the issues of race and gender in a powerful and inspirational way.

Poetry seems more important during time of uncertainty and unrest. Its always necessary, but it might be even more necessary today.

Best-selling author, speaker and poet Roger Housden said in a recent Huffington Post essay that poetry calls forth our deep being. Its both necessary and dangerous. It opens our eyes and our doors and welcomes us to a bigger world.

Poetry is a way of rescuing the world from oblivion by the practice of attention. It is our attention that honors and gives value to living things, that gives them proper name and particularlity; that retrieves them from the obscurity of the general, Housden wrote.

April is National Poetry Month. Started by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world. Schools, publishers, libraries and poets themselves celebrate the mediums place in culture.

Missouri Western State University will do its part in helping citizens and students celebrate National Poetry Month tomorrow when Giovanni will be on campus to not only judge a poetry event but also speak on the craft. The event, called The Mochila Review Presents: In the Shadow of Nikki Giovanni, will take place at 7 p.m. tomorrow inside Missouri Western State Universitys Potter Hall theater. It is free and open to the public.

It could inspire others to make poetry a force once again.

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The power of poetry – News-Press Now

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Nu Black Power Movement of South Bend plans ‘Peace Week’ events – WNDU-TV

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) The Nu Black Power Movement of South Bend is addressing youth violence through multiple “Peace Week” events.

Leaders from the Nu Black Power Movement and the Fremont Park Youth Foundation met Monday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center. The groups are trying to be proactive and get to the root of the problem of youth violence.

They want to reduce violence by tackling poverty in the community. They say those two things are tied closely together.

‘We can learn, we can console each other, we can be angry, all of those things, but until we start getting to the root of the problem, we’re going to continue this cycle, and we know the problems really stem out of a deep need from our community,” explains Regina Williams-Preston, South Bend Common Council member from the 2nd district.

Events include a movie screening, lectures, and a youth conference, and it all culminates in a march on Saturday. (Originally scheduled for Wednesday, the march was moved due to weather.)

You can find more information at facebook.com/NuBlackPowerMovement

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SUNY Geneseo’s MLK Jr. commemoration to feature SNCC activists – The Livingston County News

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SUNY Geneseos annual April commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.s legacy will feature panel discussions with Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee activists Jennifer Lawson, Karen Spellman and Freddie Greene Biddle.

The Civil Rights era activists will take part in Black Lives Matter and the Civil Rights Movement: An Intergenerational Conversation of 50+ Years of Struggle, a panel with Shaketa Redden of Black Love Resists in the Rust, a Buffalo-based group that is influenced by the Black Lives Matter movement. The discussion takes place in MacVittie College Union Ball Room from 4 to 6 p.m. April 3.

On April 4 – the 49th anniversary of Kings assassination, the SNCC activists will take part in a second panel discussion, Civil Rights Movement, Black Power and Justice Today. The talk will be from 6 to 8 p.m. in Newton Hall, room 202, and will be followed by a reception.

Both discussions are free and open to the public.

SNCC was founded in 1960 by students and young leaders of the sit-in protest movement initiated earlier that year by four black college students in Greensboro, N.C. The group grew into a large organization with many supporters in the North who helped raise funds to support SNCCs work.

Emilye Crosby, professor of history and organizer of the events, says that at a young age, all of the SNCC women stood up for something. All three got involved in the movement as students and have retained a commitment to justice throughout their lives, even as they moved on to highly successful professional careers.

As part of SNCC, Crosby said, they were part of an organization of young people that was the cutting edge of the Civil Rights Movement (CRM). SNCC organized in the most dangerous parts of the South. They were creative and hardworking and learned extraordinary lessons about power and justice.

Jennifer Lawson was a SNCC field secretary and full-time organizer in Alabamas Black Belt before going on to work at the organizations headquarters in Atlanta. She later became the head of programming at PBS.

Karen Spellmans father was the head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Greensboro. As the daughter of a freedom fighter she got involved with SNCC at Howard University and eventually worked in Atlanta where she helped start the Aframerican News Service (ANS) to counter the distorted or unreported coverage of Black America in white-owned news media.

Freddie Greene Biddle was pushed into joining SNCC by a bullet that was shot into her familys Mississippi living room. Just out of high school, Biddle worked to register voters, helped in freedom schools, and distributed food and clothing to families-in-need.

Recently Lawson, Spellman, and Biddle have been involved with efforts to document and interpret their CRM work, but also how they are relevant today. Spellman serves on the SNCC Legacy Project board and all three are profiled on the SNCC Digital Gateway. Four Geneseo students and an alum are working on the project.

The Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration events are sponsored by the Office of the Provost, Black Studies Program, Department of History, Xerox Center for Multicultural Teacher Education, Department of Sociology, Womens and Gender Studies, Teaching and Learning Center, Office of Multicultural Programs and Services, and the Institute of Community Well-Being.

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SUNY Geneseo’s MLK Jr. commemoration to feature SNCC activists – The Livingston County News

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Darcus Howe obituary – The Guardian

Darcus Howe was influenced by the Black Power movement in the US and Caribbean. Photograph: Jane Bown for the Guardian

The broadcaster and writer Darcus Howe, who has died aged 74, once described himself as having come from Trinidad on a civilising mission, to teach Britons to live in a harmonious and diverse society. His aims were radical, and he brought them into the mainstream by articulating fundamental principles in a strikingly outspoken way.

After his initial experience of racial tension in Britain at the start of the 1960s, Howe became active in the Black Power movement in the US and the Caribbean. In August 1970, having returned to London, he organised, with Althea Jones-Lecointe and the British Black Panthers, a campaign in defence of the Mangrove restaurant. Established and run by Frank Crichlow, the Mangrove was a small piece of decolonised territory in Notting Hill, west London. When police attempted to close it, Howe came to his friends aid, organising a march. Entirely peaceful until the police intervened in overwhelming numbers, it led to a spontaneous melee, the melee to arrests, and the arrests to the biggest Black Power trial in British history.

For 55 days Howe and Jones-Lecointe led the defence of the Mangrove nine themselves, Crichlow and six others from the dock of the Old Bailey. Howe demanded an all-black jury, a claim he rooted in the Magna Carta. The judge rejected this, but the nine had stamped their authority on the case.

Howe subjected the prosecution to forensic scrutiny. Against the combined forces of Special Branch, the Metropolitan police, the judiciary and the Home Office, the nine prevailed, not only winning their acquittal on charges including incitement to riot, but forcing the first judicial acknowledgment that there was evidence of racial hatred on both sides. The verdict sent shockwaves through the political establishment. Senior figures in the Home Office manoeuvred behind the scenes to get the judge to retract his statement, but the verdict stuck.

In 1973 Howe established the Race Today Collective. Unlike a traditional political party, members were not trying to set the agenda or to win converts. Rather, they put out a magazine, Race Today, recording grassroots campaigns in Britain and abroad. Among their number were Leila Hassan, the deputy editor and later Howes wife, Linton Kwesi Johnson, the celebrated dub poet, Barbara Beese, one of the Mangrove nine, and Farrukh Dhondy, the writer and, from 1984, a commissioning editor for Channel 4 television.

When female Asian workers went on strike at the Grunwick film processing laboratories in Willesden, north-west London, in 1976, the collective provided support. When, the same year, the Bengali Housing Action Group provided an organisational basis for squatting in vacant properties in Tower Hamlets, the collective helped create the largest squat in Europe. This, in time, resulted in an entire community securing decenthousing.

Race Todays largest campaign followed the New Cross fire in 1981. The deaths of 13 black young people from a suspected racist attack in south-east London was met with indifference from Margaret Thatchers government, the mainstream press and the police. Howe set about organising a day of action, the largest ever political demonstration by black people in Britain, on a working Monday. In doing so, he applied the methods of organisation that he had learned from the US radicals H Rap Brown and Gwen Patton a quarter of a century earlier.

More than 20,000 people, the vast majority black, marched through London. It proved a powerful demonstration of resolve. Despite oppressive policing, scuffles were rare. But the backlash was swift. Swamp 81, a massive escalation of stop and search, attempted to reassert police control over Londons black community. Tensions eventually reached breaking point, leading to the three days of the Brixton riots described by Howe as an insurrection of the masses of the people. The Race Today office, in Railton Road, Brixton, was on the front line, and the collective monitored the battle, recorded events and, after the insurrection was over, debriefed the leading participants. From then on, Howe argued, no longer would black people simply complain about white power they would confront it head on.

Howes first TV series, The Bandung File (1985-91), was commissioned for Channel 4 by Dhondy, with Tariq Ali as co-editor. Howe reported on topics including pirate radio in London, the economic policies of Julius Nyerere in Tanzania and the overthrow of Baby Doc Duvalier in Haiti. In The Devils Advocate (1992-96), Howe subjected people in authority to public scrutiny. The series proved popular: as Howes producer colleague Narinder Minhas put it, he brought the intelligent discussions about race to primetime.

Born in Moruga, Trinidad, Rhett, nicknamed Darcus, was the son of Lucille (nee Rudder) and Cipriani Howe. He was immersed in Dickens, Shakespeare and the Book of Common Prayer by a mother and father who were, respectively, his first teacher and headteacher at Eckel Village primary school. Cipriani was also an Anglican priest, for whom the message of the scriptures was egalitarianism, the gospel of Christ the social revolutionary. Darcus won a scholarship to Queens Royal College, Port of Spain, one of the most elite schools in the Caribbean. He divided his time between learning Latin at QRC, attending mass rallies for Trinidadian independence and hanging out with The Renegades, the street gang of urban youth who coalesced around the steel band of the same name in East Dry River.

At the age of 18 he went to Britain with the intention of training as a barrister. However, unwilling to accept the status of second-class citizen, he gave up the law in favour of Black Power politics and radical journalism, and returned to Trinidad.

Meeting Malcolm X in 1965 and Stokely Carmichael two years later made a deep impression on him. In May 1968 he went to participate in the events in Paris. But he soon saw the shortcomings of the self-appointed vanguard parties among the Parisian students, and bore in mind the emphasis placed by his uncle, the Marxist historian CLR James, on the importance of the black working class as an agent of change.

Howe found a more effective model of political organisation in the Black Power movement, which was growing in the US and the Caribbean. In October 1968 he travelled to Montreal to participate in the Congress of Black Writers a Black Power international in all but name. There he discussed the philosophy of organisation with Walter Rodney, and then joined Brown and Patton in organising the Ocean Hill-Brownsville campaign in Brooklyn, aiming to promote black community control of education across New York.

Howes next major campaign took place in Trinidad. Working as a journalist for the Vanguard, the newspaper of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union, he galvanised support for the Black Power upheavals of February-April 1970. For a time, the revolt brought the government to its knees, and provided Howe with a glimpse of a new society. The squares of Port of Spain were full of black working people debating, reasoning together, organising themselves without the state or capitalism. Patriarchy was also in retreat. Howe took this as a proof of the revolutions success: for him, Black Power entailed womens liberation.

The path that Howe embarked on later that year in London continued into the new century. In his documentaries White Tribe (2000) and the three-part Slave Nation (2001), Howe played the anthropologist, examining Britishness and whiteness. With considerable foresight, these documentaries examined the rise of English nationalism and resentment against Polish migrants. In the 1990s he had a column in the Evening Standard, and for more than a decade he wrote for the New Statesman.

Diagnosed with prostate cancer in April 2007, Howe saw the political significance of the disease. Black men from the Caribbean, America and the west coast of Africa are three times more likely to suffer from it than white men. He worked with the NHS and Channel 4 to encourage black men to have checkups.

Weeks before the riots in English cities in August 2011 prompted by the fatal police shooting of Mark Duggan in Tottenham, north London, Howe wrote a piece for the Voice predicting unrest. He refused to condemn those who took part in it.

One of his last public engagements was the readthrough of Guerrilla, a political drama by John Ridley, to be shown on Sky Atlantic. Howe had spent time with the production team, advising them on the politics of the 1970s and the Black Power movement. They acknowledged the inspiration provided by his involvement in its British arm.

Howe directed his enormous intellectual energy and skill as a political organiser to bring reason to race. He rejected the politics of soundbites and prejudice, in favour of a politics based on faith in the creativity of migrant and working-class communities.

He is survived by Leila, three sons and four daughters.

Darcus (Rhett Radford Leighton) Howe, activist, writer and broadcaster, born 26February 1943; died 1 April 2017

The rest is here:

Darcus Howe obituary – The Guardian

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In ‘Black Power!,’ Art’s Political Punch and Populist Reach – New York Times

New York Times In ' Black Power !,' Art's Political Punch and Populist Reach New York Times A display in the Black Power ! exhibition at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a branch of the New York Public Library in Harlem. Credit Jonathan Blanc//Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library.

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One Scholar On The Future Of Black Lives Matter09:47 – Here And Now

wbur Neal Blair, of Augusta, Ga., wears a hoodie which reads, “Black Lives Matter” as stands on the lawn of the Capitol building during a rally to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, on Capitol Hill, on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Washington. Black men from around the nation returned to the capital calling for changes in policing and in black communities. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) The Black Lives Matter movement originated as an organization to combat police violence but has morphed into an organization for civil rights issues. How does it compare to the civil rights movement, and the Black Power movement of the 1960s? Here & Now’s Robin Young speaks with Peniel Joseph(@penieljoseph), a scholar of African-American history and professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin,about his cover story for the New Republic, “Why Black Lives Matter Still Matters.” On how Black Lives Matter compares tothe civil rights and Black Power movements “I think it straddles really both movements, but it’s more comparable to Black Power than civil rights. That’s primarily because BLM movement has a structural criticism of racism. So, they’re not just criticizing the justice system. They’re making a claim that the justice system in the United States is connected to unemployment, public school segregation, environmental racism and inequality. So its just basically the police are the tip of a larger iceberg of systemic oppression. What makes them so interesting is this notion of intersectionality. The three cofounders of that hashtag were all black women, feminist and queer identified. When we think about BLM, they’re really the first movement coming out of that civil rights, Black Power, black liberation struggle that places gender, sexuality, youth, poverty at the core of that movement for social change.” On women in historical black rights movements and Black Lives Matter “The Panthers and the wider Black Power movement, and when we think about civil rights as well, deeply implicated in systems of patriarchy and sexism and misogyny against women. With that being said, black women were also key organizers of both the civil rights protests and also Black Power. Here, with BLM being so decentralized, you’ve had black women share the spotlight and take the lead in terms of both organizing the actions and disruptions of the BLM. So, it’s really a change for the better, I would argue, when you have black women at the forefront of the leadership, but also when we think about the theoretical foundations of the leadership. They’re thinking about black women being head of single-parent households in the United States. They’re thinking about black women and rates of incarceration, the wealth gap between black and white women and the income gap, which is very important because black women are the major voters within the African-American community. They’re the major breadwinners. They’re the major people who raise the young black boys and young black men who are often victims of police violence.” “When we think about the BLM movement, they’re both taking the civil disobedience tactic nonviolently from that civil rights struggle, but they’re ratcheting up by calling for a systematic, wide change.” On how Black Lives Matter is more closely related to Black Power than the civil rights movement “King is initially a reformer, and he becomes a political revolutionary. And in a way, except for adhering to nonviolence, he really starts to have a structural criticism against Vietnam, militarism, racism, human rights violations. When we think about the BLM movement, they’re both taking the civil disobedience tactic nonviolently from that civil rights struggle, but they’re ratcheting up by calling for a systematic, wide change. Their tactics have also been very disruptive, in line with the Black Power period. When we think them shutting down highways, some people were very supportive of that, but it’s to the chagrin of others. There were Black Lives Matter rallies that were disrupting the status quo on college campuses. They were even disrupting people’s brunch in New York City and other cities to the chagrin of many yuppies and buppies and elites of all stripes. So when we think about the BLM, it’s really about both that structural critique and the robust, in-your-face tactics that they’re using.” On the movements decentralization of leadership “That’s a good thing in that they’re very similar civil rights organizing vis-a-vis the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Their nickname was SNCC, and when we think about SNCC, we associate them by 1966 with Stokely Carmichael and the call for Black Power. But initially, they were founded by Ella Jo Baker, whos an activist from North Carolina, a feminist, a trade unionist and really one of the most important organizers of the 1960s. And she tells the young people not to be hijacked or come under the thumb of any of the older leadership. Even though Ella Baker’s around 60 at this time, she’s making an argument that decentralized leadership is better than having one central political mobilizer like King, who the movement sort of rises and falls with. So, when we think about the BLM movement, what’s so great about the dozens of chapters that they have is that there isn’t one person who’s leading all of this. That makes it harder for media to identify and set up neat narratives with the movement. But I think that it means that the movement’s going to be much longer lasting because we actually have people doing work and organizing, and it’s not a top down hierarchical leadership structure. “And we’ve seen that through BLM and the Movement for Black Lives policy agenda that was published last summer that talked about ending the war against black people, divesting from criminal justice institutions that incarcerate and lead to mass incarceration and investing in black youth in neighborhoods and communities. I would say we do have several young activists who people know who they are, including Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, DeRay McKesson and others, who are organizing and young people know who they are. But it’s just not the top-down celebrity culture that we saw in the context of the 1960s and ’70s. And remember that also it didn’t work. Very, very famous people didn’t lead to the kind of substantive transformation that people had hoped for because if it had, we wouldn’t have the need for BLM movement 50 years later in 2017.” On what he’d say to people who think the pendulum has swung too far fromgovernment standing up for law enforcement “Well, I’d say that’s absolutely the wrong perspective because the BLM movement really illustrated the depth and breadth of structural racism and state violence through law enforcement against African-American, against Latino and, at times, poor white communities in the United States. If anything, we need dramatic and radical reform that actually goes beyond what Obama’s Justice Department politically could achieve. We have to change and transform this whole society. And in that way, they do go back to Dr. King and when King talked about a bitter and beautiful struggle for social and political change.” This segment aired on April 5, 2017.

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John Ridley defends casting Indian actor Freida Pinto in British … – International Business Times UK

Oscar-winning director John Ridley has explained his decision to cast Indian actress Freida Pinto as the lead protagonist in his new drama, Guerrilla. Speaking at the London premiere of the six-part series which explores what it meant to be an activist within the British Black Power movement of the 1970s Ridley, said that “people that are involved with this show are the most reflective cast and crew you will find anywhere.” The 51-year-old filmmaker, who has been married to his Japanese wife Gayle for 17 years, faced strong questions about race during a post-screening Q&A, with some audience members raising their concerns about what they described as “the erasure of black women”. In the London-based drama, Pinto, who rose to prominence after starring alongside Dev Patel in 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, plays Jas Mitra a nurse turned activist who along with her husband Marcus (Babou Ceesay) liberates a political prisoner and forms a radical underground cell. She is at the forefront of the struggle against a racist police force and the oppression faced by minorities. Guerrilla explores what might have happened had the original Black Power movement used violence and also reminds viewers of the contribution the Asian community made to Britain’s ‘forgotten history’. “It is a question that people have asked and perhaps a question I would have asked, and did, prior to educating myself on the circumstances that happened in this country,” said Ridley. “I cannot entertain a dialogue about whether the lead character should have been black or Asian. The lead character for this show should be a strong woman of colour.” Ridley, who took home the Best Screenplay award at the 2014 Academy awards for 12 Years a Slave, said the mini-series touches on issues of black oppression, police brutality and interracial dating, issues which still resonate till today. He believes it a very appropriate time to hark back to the movement’s routes. Though fictional, Guerrilla is rooted in the realities of an era. “[If] you understand the struggles of that time period, those elements are not made up. Those are real. So if it’s difficult for anybody to understands or accepted easily then I feel I have done my job.” Luther actor Idris Elba stars and also serves as an executive producer for the miniseries, which will air on Sky Atlantic from Thursday, 13 April 2017.

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One Scholar On The Future Of Black Lives Matter – WGCU News

The Black Lives Matter movement originated as an organization to combat police violence but has morphed into an organization for civil rights issues. How does it compare to the civil rights movement, and the Black Power movement of the 1960s? Here & Nows Robin Young speaks with Peniel Joseph(@penieljoseph), a scholar of African-American history and professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin,about his cover story for the New Republic, Why Black Lives Matter Still Matters. On how Black Lives Matter compares tothe civil rights and Black Power movements I think it straddles really both movements, but its more comparable to Black Power than civil rights. Thats primarily because BLM movement has a structural criticism of racism. So, theyre not just criticizing the justice system. Theyre making a claim that the justice system in the United States is connected to unemployment, public school segregation, environmental racism and inequality. So its just basically the police are the tip of a larger iceberg of systemic oppression. What makes them so interesting is this notion of intersectionality. The three cofounders of that hashtag were all black women, feminist and queer identified. When we think about BLM, theyre really the first movement coming out of that civil rights, Black Power, black liberation struggle that places gender, sexuality, youth, poverty at the core of that movement for social change. On women in historical black rights movements and Black Lives Matter The Panthers and the wider Black Power movement, and when we think about civil rights as well, deeply implicated in systems of patriarchy and sexism and misogyny against women. With that being said, black women were also key organizers of both the civil rights protests and also Black Power. Here, with BLM being so decentralized, youve had black women share the spotlight and take the lead in terms of both organizing the actions and disruptions of the BLM. So, its really a change for the better, I would argue, when you have black women at the forefront of the leadership, but also when we think about the theoretical foundations of the leadership. Theyre thinking about black women being head of single-parent households in the United States. Theyre thinking about black women and rates of incarceration, the wealth gap between black and white women and the income gap, which is very important because black women are the major voters within the African-American community. Theyre the major breadwinners. Theyre the major people who raise the young black boys and young black men who are often victims of police violence. Array On how Black Lives Matter is more closely related to Black Power than the civil rights movement King is initially a reformer, and he becomes a political revolutionary. And in a way, except for adhering to nonviolence, he really starts to have a structural criticism against Vietnam, militarism, racism, human rights violations. When we think about the BLM movement, theyre both taking the civil disobedience tactic nonviolently from that civil rights struggle, but theyre ratcheting up by calling for a systematic, wide change. Their tactics have also been very disruptive, in line with the Black Power period. When we think them shutting down highways, some people were very supportive of that, but its to the chagrin of others. There were Black Lives Matter rallies that were disrupting the status quo on college campuses. They were even disrupting peoples brunch in New York City and other cities to the chagrin of many yuppies and buppies and elites of all stripes. So when we think about the BLM, its really about both that structural critique and the robust, in-your-face tactics that theyre using. On the movements decentralization of leadership Thats a good thing in that theyre very similar civil rights organizing vis-a-vis the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Their nickname was SNCC, and when we think about SNCC, we associate them by 1966 with Stokely Carmichael and the call for Black Power. But initially, they were founded by Ella Jo Baker, whos an activist from North Carolina, a feminist, a trade unionist and really one of the most important organizers of the 1960s. And she tells the young people not to be hijacked or come under the thumb of any of the older leadership. Even though Ella Bakers around 60 at this time, shes making an argument that decentralized leadership is better than having one central political mobilizer like King, who the movement sort of rises and falls with. So, when we think about the BLM movement, whats so great about the dozens of chapters that they have is that there isnt one person whos leading all of this. That makes it harder for media to identify and set up neat narratives with the movement. But I think that it means that the movements going to be much longer lasting because we actually have people doing work and organizing, and its not a top down hierarchical leadership structure. And weve seen that through BLM and the Movement for Black Lives policy agenda that was published last summer that talked about ending the war against black people, divesting from criminal justice institutions that incarcerate and lead to mass incarceration and investing in black youth in neighborhoods and communities. I would say we do have several young activists who people know who they are, including Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, DeRay McKesson and others, who are organizing and young people know who they are. But its just not the top-down celebrity culture that we saw in the context of the 1960s and 70s. And remember that also it didnt work. Very, very famous people didnt lead to the kind of substantive transformation that people had hoped for because if it had, we wouldnt have the need for BLM movement 50 years later in 2017. On what hed say to people who think the pendulum has swung too far fromgovernment standing up for law enforcement Well, Id say thats absolutely the wrong perspective because the BLM movement really illustrated the depth and breadth of structural racism and state violence through law enforcement against African-American, against Latino and, at times, poor white communities in the United States. If anything, we need dramatic and radical reform that actually goes beyond what Obamas Justice Department politically could achieve. We have to change and transform this whole society. And in that way, they do go back to Dr. King and when King talked about a bitter and beautiful struggle for social and political change.

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Why Black Lives Matter Still Matters – New Republic

Black Power inspired sweeping changes in American literature, art, and poetry; created a new wave of black scholarship in higher education; and helped elect two generations of black officials at every level of government. Without the consciousness-raising of the Black Power movement, there would likely be no King holiday or Black History Month, no movements to end mass incarceration or apartheid, no free breakfasts in public schools (an outgrowth of hot-meal programs launched by the Black Panthers), no black studies programs at Harvard and other major universities, no Do the Right Thing or Lemonade, no Barack Obama. Like BLM, which was born in the wake of widespread incidents of police brutality, Black Power came of age in the violent racial landscape confronted by civil rights activists. If Martin Luther King presented himself as a shield capable of defending the black community from the evils of racial segregation, Malcolm X entered the world stage as a sword capable of defeating a Jim Crow system that excluded and brutalized black Americans. Message to the Grassroots, Malcolms historic speech in Detroit in November 1963, offered a blueprint for a black revolution, one sophisticated enough to recognize white supremacy as a national issue, rather than a regional concern, and bold enough to deploy radical strategiesincluding armed self-defense and political self-determinationto defeat it. The Fire Last Time An elite police squad was supposed to clean up the streets of 1970s Detroit. Instead, it terrorized African Americans, and turned the city into a battleground. By Mark Binelli Professor Carnage Dave Grossman teaches police officers to think like “warriors.” But is the rise of a militarized mindset turning black citizens into targets? By Steve Featherstone Publishing on April 17 The movement gained its name three years later when Stokely Carmichael (later Kwame Ture), a Trinidad-born student activist who became a leader among the Freedom Riders and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, gave a speech in Greenwood, Mississippi, calling for Black Power. To Carmichael, Black Power was a call for radical self-determination: social, political, economic, and cultural. Black people, he insisted, had the right to define the framework of racial oppressionand the tools to combat itfor themselves. A new society must be born, Carmichael insisted in one of his most important and powerful speeches, before 10,000 people at the University of California in Berkeley. Racism must die, he said, and economic exploitation of nonwhites must end. He then posed a fundamental question that BLM activists implicitly continue to ask: How can white society move to see black people as human beings? The Black Panther Party answered this question with a vengeance. Inspired by Malcolm X, anti-colonial movements in Africa and Latin America, and an eclectic reading of Marxist-Leninism and the literature of Third World revolution, the Panthers (whose leadership at times veered toward authoritarianism and violence) deliberately cut a combative posture to strike fear in white Americans. But like BLM, the group quickly expanded its initial focus on police brutality to embrace a ten-point program that called for the radical transformation of American democracy. Within a year of their founding, the Panthers ended their armed surveillance of white police officers, and created local chapters in poor black neighborhoods that provided free breakfasts, health care, legal and housing aid, drug rehab, and transportation to visit relatives in prison. Equally important, the groups revolutionary politics evolved into a full-blown anti-imperialist framework that connected racism and economic injustice at home with Americas wars in Vietnam and beyond. Like the Panthers and others in the Black Power movement, BLM rose to prominence in a landscape of police violence and entrenched racism. The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter was created in 2013 by Opal Tometi, Patrice Cullors, and Alecia Garza, three queer, black activists who were outraged at the acquittal of the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed 17-year-old black Trayvon Martin. BLM evolved into a full-fledged movement during the urban rebellions in Ferguson in 2014 and Baltimore in 2015. Those political uprisings, like the larger conflagrations that spread throughout America during the long, hot summers from 1963 to 1969, represent a direct confrontation of institutional racism and economic injustice. But BLM has moved beyond many of the blind spots and shortcomings of its predecessors, embracing the full complexity of black identity and forging a movement that is far more inclusive and democratic than either the Panthers or civil rights activists ever envisioned. Many of its most active leaders are queer women and feminists. Its decentralized structure fosters participation and power sharing. It makes direct links between the struggles of black Americans and the marginalization and oppression of women, those in LGBTQ communities, and other people of color. It has made full use of the power and potential of social media, but it has also organized local chapters and articulated a broader political agenda. Last summer, following critiques that they had failed to put forth specific demands, BLM activists and affiliated organizations published The Movement for Black Lives, a detailed and ambitious agenda. Divided into six parts, it includes a host of interconnected demands: a shift of public resources away from policing and prisons and into jobs and health care, a progressive overhaul of the tax code to ensure a radical and sustainable redistribution of wealth, expanded rights to clean air and fair housing and union organizing, and greater community control over police and schools. More detailed than the ten-point program issued by the Black Panthers, the BLM policy agenda offers a remarkably pragmatic yet potentially revolutionary blueprintone that it aims to implement through the concerted use of both protest and politics. Unlike the activists of the civil rights era, those in BLM do not feel forced to make an either/or choice about which model of black liberation struggle they follow. Instead, BLM has merged the nonviolent civil disobedience of the civil rights movement with the radical structural critique of white supremacy and capitalist inequality articulated by Black Power activists. Indeed, the decentralized organizational philosophy of BLM most closely mirrors that of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Founded in the aftermath of the sit-in movement that swept the South in 1960, SNCC became the most important grassroots social justice organization of the era. It served as a convergence point for several overlapping, at times contradictory, political tendencies. Christian pacifists, black nationalists, liberal integrationists, black and white feminists, and peace activists were all, at various points, a part of the group, which successfully straddled the competing models of black identity advocated by the civil rights and Black Power movements. Like SNCC, BLM embraces what we now call the intersectional nature of black identity. By placing the lives of trans and queer black women, young people, and the poor at the center of its policy agenda, the group has enlarged our collective vision of what constitutes membership in the black community. In doing so, it has expanded the terrain of what it means to be human in a society that has, since its inception as a democratic republic founded in racial slavery, insisted that black lives were disposable. Whatever future success it achieves on the policy front, BLM recognizes that what Malcolm X called a struggle for black dignity has always traveled a path toward universal human rights. Freedom for black Americans, the group reminds us, ultimately means a better nation for all. Until the most marginalized among usthe trans teenagers traumatized by dehumanizing legislation, the Latina and queer youth with no access to HIV treatment, the single black women struggling to raise their children while holding down three jobsare recognized as part of our collective American family, we all remain imprisoned.

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The power of poetry – News-Press Now

Way Down South in Dixie, (Break the heart of me) They hung my black young lover To a crossroads tree. Way Down South in Dixie (Bruised body high in air) I asked the white Lord Jesus What was the use of prayer. Way Down South in Dixie (Break the heart of me) Love is a naked shadow On a gnarled and naked tree. I never knew poetry had power until I heard the above piece of work. Song for a Dark Girl by Langston Hughes, Strange Fruit, a poem song as sung by Nina Simone and Howl by Alan Ginsburg. Before then, I didnt know poetry had power. It was the cutesy sing-song stuff teachers had you recite in grade school. Catchy phrasing that stuck in your head but didnt stick in your soul like this new poetry. This new poetry spoke of the conditions of minorities, the underprivileged and the downtrodden in a way that no other medium could convey. Long before Grandmaster Flash put out a street rap called The Message, which spoke of the ills in the inner city, Gil-Scott-Heron and the Last Poets put anger to rhyme. Rhyme poems like The Revolution Will not be Televised, Winter in America, and Black People What Yall Gon Do? spoke to a burgeoning black consciousness in the 1960s. Nikki Giovanni is born of that passion. The Tennessee-born poet, activist and educator is a living legend who was a huge part of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movement in the 1960s. Her poems like Balances, A poem for the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and Beautiful Black Men took on the issues of race and gender in a powerful and inspirational way. Poetry seems more important during time of uncertainty and unrest. Its always necessary, but it might be even more necessary today. Best-selling author, speaker and poet Roger Housden said in a recent Huffington Post essay that poetry calls forth our deep being. Its both necessary and dangerous. It opens our eyes and our doors and welcomes us to a bigger world. Poetry is a way of rescuing the world from oblivion by the practice of attention. It is our attention that honors and gives value to living things, that gives them proper name and particularlity; that retrieves them from the obscurity of the general, Housden wrote. April is National Poetry Month. Started by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world. Schools, publishers, libraries and poets themselves celebrate the mediums place in culture. Missouri Western State University will do its part in helping citizens and students celebrate National Poetry Month tomorrow when Giovanni will be on campus to not only judge a poetry event but also speak on the craft. The event, called The Mochila Review Presents: In the Shadow of Nikki Giovanni, will take place at 7 p.m. tomorrow inside Missouri Western State Universitys Potter Hall theater. It is free and open to the public. It could inspire others to make poetry a force once again.

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Nu Black Power Movement of South Bend plans ‘Peace Week’ events – WNDU-TV

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) The Nu Black Power Movement of South Bend is addressing youth violence through multiple “Peace Week” events. Leaders from the Nu Black Power Movement and the Fremont Park Youth Foundation met Monday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center. The groups are trying to be proactive and get to the root of the problem of youth violence. They want to reduce violence by tackling poverty in the community. They say those two things are tied closely together. ‘We can learn, we can console each other, we can be angry, all of those things, but until we start getting to the root of the problem, we’re going to continue this cycle, and we know the problems really stem out of a deep need from our community,” explains Regina Williams-Preston, South Bend Common Council member from the 2nd district. Events include a movie screening, lectures, and a youth conference, and it all culminates in a march on Saturday. (Originally scheduled for Wednesday, the march was moved due to weather.) You can find more information at facebook.com/NuBlackPowerMovement

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April 4, 2017   Posted in: Black Power  Comments Closed

SUNY Geneseo’s MLK Jr. commemoration to feature SNCC activists – The Livingston County News

‘); //–> SUNY Geneseos annual April commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.s legacy will feature panel discussions with Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee activists Jennifer Lawson, Karen Spellman and Freddie Greene Biddle. The Civil Rights era activists will take part in Black Lives Matter and the Civil Rights Movement: An Intergenerational Conversation of 50+ Years of Struggle, a panel with Shaketa Redden of Black Love Resists in the Rust, a Buffalo-based group that is influenced by the Black Lives Matter movement. The discussion takes place in MacVittie College Union Ball Room from 4 to 6 p.m. April 3. On April 4 – the 49th anniversary of Kings assassination, the SNCC activists will take part in a second panel discussion, Civil Rights Movement, Black Power and Justice Today. The talk will be from 6 to 8 p.m. in Newton Hall, room 202, and will be followed by a reception. Both discussions are free and open to the public. SNCC was founded in 1960 by students and young leaders of the sit-in protest movement initiated earlier that year by four black college students in Greensboro, N.C. The group grew into a large organization with many supporters in the North who helped raise funds to support SNCCs work. Emilye Crosby, professor of history and organizer of the events, says that at a young age, all of the SNCC women stood up for something. All three got involved in the movement as students and have retained a commitment to justice throughout their lives, even as they moved on to highly successful professional careers. As part of SNCC, Crosby said, they were part of an organization of young people that was the cutting edge of the Civil Rights Movement (CRM). SNCC organized in the most dangerous parts of the South. They were creative and hardworking and learned extraordinary lessons about power and justice. Jennifer Lawson was a SNCC field secretary and full-time organizer in Alabamas Black Belt before going on to work at the organizations headquarters in Atlanta. She later became the head of programming at PBS. Karen Spellmans father was the head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Greensboro. As the daughter of a freedom fighter she got involved with SNCC at Howard University and eventually worked in Atlanta where she helped start the Aframerican News Service (ANS) to counter the distorted or unreported coverage of Black America in white-owned news media. Freddie Greene Biddle was pushed into joining SNCC by a bullet that was shot into her familys Mississippi living room. Just out of high school, Biddle worked to register voters, helped in freedom schools, and distributed food and clothing to families-in-need. Recently Lawson, Spellman, and Biddle have been involved with efforts to document and interpret their CRM work, but also how they are relevant today. Spellman serves on the SNCC Legacy Project board and all three are profiled on the SNCC Digital Gateway. Four Geneseo students and an alum are working on the project. The Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration events are sponsored by the Office of the Provost, Black Studies Program, Department of History, Xerox Center for Multicultural Teacher Education, Department of Sociology, Womens and Gender Studies, Teaching and Learning Center, Office of Multicultural Programs and Services, and the Institute of Community Well-Being.

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April 4, 2017   Posted in: Black Power  Comments Closed

Darcus Howe obituary – The Guardian

Darcus Howe was influenced by the Black Power movement in the US and Caribbean. Photograph: Jane Bown for the Guardian The broadcaster and writer Darcus Howe, who has died aged 74, once described himself as having come from Trinidad on a civilising mission, to teach Britons to live in a harmonious and diverse society. His aims were radical, and he brought them into the mainstream by articulating fundamental principles in a strikingly outspoken way. After his initial experience of racial tension in Britain at the start of the 1960s, Howe became active in the Black Power movement in the US and the Caribbean. In August 1970, having returned to London, he organised, with Althea Jones-Lecointe and the British Black Panthers, a campaign in defence of the Mangrove restaurant. Established and run by Frank Crichlow, the Mangrove was a small piece of decolonised territory in Notting Hill, west London. When police attempted to close it, Howe came to his friends aid, organising a march. Entirely peaceful until the police intervened in overwhelming numbers, it led to a spontaneous melee, the melee to arrests, and the arrests to the biggest Black Power trial in British history. For 55 days Howe and Jones-Lecointe led the defence of the Mangrove nine themselves, Crichlow and six others from the dock of the Old Bailey. Howe demanded an all-black jury, a claim he rooted in the Magna Carta. The judge rejected this, but the nine had stamped their authority on the case. Howe subjected the prosecution to forensic scrutiny. Against the combined forces of Special Branch, the Metropolitan police, the judiciary and the Home Office, the nine prevailed, not only winning their acquittal on charges including incitement to riot, but forcing the first judicial acknowledgment that there was evidence of racial hatred on both sides. The verdict sent shockwaves through the political establishment. Senior figures in the Home Office manoeuvred behind the scenes to get the judge to retract his statement, but the verdict stuck. In 1973 Howe established the Race Today Collective. Unlike a traditional political party, members were not trying to set the agenda or to win converts. Rather, they put out a magazine, Race Today, recording grassroots campaigns in Britain and abroad. Among their number were Leila Hassan, the deputy editor and later Howes wife, Linton Kwesi Johnson, the celebrated dub poet, Barbara Beese, one of the Mangrove nine, and Farrukh Dhondy, the writer and, from 1984, a commissioning editor for Channel 4 television. When female Asian workers went on strike at the Grunwick film processing laboratories in Willesden, north-west London, in 1976, the collective provided support. When, the same year, the Bengali Housing Action Group provided an organisational basis for squatting in vacant properties in Tower Hamlets, the collective helped create the largest squat in Europe. This, in time, resulted in an entire community securing decenthousing. Race Todays largest campaign followed the New Cross fire in 1981. The deaths of 13 black young people from a suspected racist attack in south-east London was met with indifference from Margaret Thatchers government, the mainstream press and the police. Howe set about organising a day of action, the largest ever political demonstration by black people in Britain, on a working Monday. In doing so, he applied the methods of organisation that he had learned from the US radicals H Rap Brown and Gwen Patton a quarter of a century earlier. More than 20,000 people, the vast majority black, marched through London. It proved a powerful demonstration of resolve. Despite oppressive policing, scuffles were rare. But the backlash was swift. Swamp 81, a massive escalation of stop and search, attempted to reassert police control over Londons black community. Tensions eventually reached breaking point, leading to the three days of the Brixton riots described by Howe as an insurrection of the masses of the people. The Race Today office, in Railton Road, Brixton, was on the front line, and the collective monitored the battle, recorded events and, after the insurrection was over, debriefed the leading participants. From then on, Howe argued, no longer would black people simply complain about white power they would confront it head on. Howes first TV series, The Bandung File (1985-91), was commissioned for Channel 4 by Dhondy, with Tariq Ali as co-editor. Howe reported on topics including pirate radio in London, the economic policies of Julius Nyerere in Tanzania and the overthrow of Baby Doc Duvalier in Haiti. In The Devils Advocate (1992-96), Howe subjected people in authority to public scrutiny. The series proved popular: as Howes producer colleague Narinder Minhas put it, he brought the intelligent discussions about race to primetime. Born in Moruga, Trinidad, Rhett, nicknamed Darcus, was the son of Lucille (nee Rudder) and Cipriani Howe. He was immersed in Dickens, Shakespeare and the Book of Common Prayer by a mother and father who were, respectively, his first teacher and headteacher at Eckel Village primary school. Cipriani was also an Anglican priest, for whom the message of the scriptures was egalitarianism, the gospel of Christ the social revolutionary. Darcus won a scholarship to Queens Royal College, Port of Spain, one of the most elite schools in the Caribbean. He divided his time between learning Latin at QRC, attending mass rallies for Trinidadian independence and hanging out with The Renegades, the street gang of urban youth who coalesced around the steel band of the same name in East Dry River. At the age of 18 he went to Britain with the intention of training as a barrister. However, unwilling to accept the status of second-class citizen, he gave up the law in favour of Black Power politics and radical journalism, and returned to Trinidad. Meeting Malcolm X in 1965 and Stokely Carmichael two years later made a deep impression on him. In May 1968 he went to participate in the events in Paris. But he soon saw the shortcomings of the self-appointed vanguard parties among the Parisian students, and bore in mind the emphasis placed by his uncle, the Marxist historian CLR James, on the importance of the black working class as an agent of change. Howe found a more effective model of political organisation in the Black Power movement, which was growing in the US and the Caribbean. In October 1968 he travelled to Montreal to participate in the Congress of Black Writers a Black Power international in all but name. There he discussed the philosophy of organisation with Walter Rodney, and then joined Brown and Patton in organising the Ocean Hill-Brownsville campaign in Brooklyn, aiming to promote black community control of education across New York. Howes next major campaign took place in Trinidad. Working as a journalist for the Vanguard, the newspaper of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union, he galvanised support for the Black Power upheavals of February-April 1970. For a time, the revolt brought the government to its knees, and provided Howe with a glimpse of a new society. The squares of Port of Spain were full of black working people debating, reasoning together, organising themselves without the state or capitalism. Patriarchy was also in retreat. Howe took this as a proof of the revolutions success: for him, Black Power entailed womens liberation. The path that Howe embarked on later that year in London continued into the new century. In his documentaries White Tribe (2000) and the three-part Slave Nation (2001), Howe played the anthropologist, examining Britishness and whiteness. With considerable foresight, these documentaries examined the rise of English nationalism and resentment against Polish migrants. In the 1990s he had a column in the Evening Standard, and for more than a decade he wrote for the New Statesman. Diagnosed with prostate cancer in April 2007, Howe saw the political significance of the disease. Black men from the Caribbean, America and the west coast of Africa are three times more likely to suffer from it than white men. He worked with the NHS and Channel 4 to encourage black men to have checkups. Weeks before the riots in English cities in August 2011 prompted by the fatal police shooting of Mark Duggan in Tottenham, north London, Howe wrote a piece for the Voice predicting unrest. He refused to condemn those who took part in it. One of his last public engagements was the readthrough of Guerrilla, a political drama by John Ridley, to be shown on Sky Atlantic. Howe had spent time with the production team, advising them on the politics of the 1970s and the Black Power movement. They acknowledged the inspiration provided by his involvement in its British arm. Howe directed his enormous intellectual energy and skill as a political organiser to bring reason to race. He rejected the politics of soundbites and prejudice, in favour of a politics based on faith in the creativity of migrant and working-class communities. He is survived by Leila, three sons and four daughters. Darcus (Rhett Radford Leighton) Howe, activist, writer and broadcaster, born 26February 1943; died 1 April 2017

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April 4, 2017   Posted in: Black Power  Comments Closed


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