Thursday, August 31, 2017

drama in the bambd: ayodele's growing home at the flight deck







Ayodele's drama begins with poetry, call it a choreo poem in the tradition of For Colored Girls...." And the poetry is beautiful from the mouth of a poet known as Wordslanger, aka Dr. Ayodele Nzinga. Sad and glad to say, we can appreciate poetry in drama more than in the rap genre that destroys poetry with an over emphasis on rhyming that is mostly meaningless nursery rhymes. But Ayo's poetry advances the theme and this is good.

But, before the poetic beginning, we see a video by Wolfhawk Jaguar. It is based on the Yoruba tradition and it tries to suggest the nature of the myth-ritual that is about to happen. The video shows warriors in the Yoruba tradition and we hear the cast as chorus in a call and response to the Yoruba warriors, thus suggesting a connection between the narrative about to begin and the myth-ritual dance drama we witness in the video.

The play begins in a ritual healing circle of peers, formerly incarcerated men who come to share their testimonies. Dr. Nzinga, writer, director, producer, actress, plays the role of the clinician, guiding the lost and found to their healing destiny.

Again, the poetry is beautiful, meaningful, delightful, but then we transcend to the essential narrative of men talking together, a most unique experience but the ultimate choice of men at the end of their existential  existence. Their very bodies and space are of questionable value. If they do not care, for sure, nobody else cares, especially since they are commodities on the stock market, they are constitutional slaves under the 13th Amendment. Yes, they are chattel real, personal property of the State!

Throughout the drama, the brothers come into the circle, check in, share and unravel the conundrums of their lives. Philosophical questions are pondered: what is life, what is home, what is identity, what is being, what is murder and death, what is revenge, what is pain and suffering, what is a mother's love, what is brother love?

After a life time of drama on and off stage, Ayodele constructs this most meaningful tragi-comedy of pain, suffering and ultimately joy. It is tragi-comedy for sure when the young man doesn't shoot the brother pleading for his  gun that the man  wants to use in a revenge murder.

When Ayodele took us to the video drama, it was overkill. We were still coming down from the central drama so ending the play with the video was unnecessary and a total distraction that sucked our energy away from the dramatic narrative. 

Again, the writing was beautiful and powerful. Stanley Hunt's acting is outstanding. One could not distinguish the actors from the recently incarcerated in the cast. They were all believable. 
--Marvin X
Black August, 2017

Saturday, August 26, 2017

how about erecting monuments to the heroes of black reconstruction?


 JUSTICE INITIATIVE
How About Erecting Monuments to the
Heroes of Reconstruction?
August 23, 2017 
Americans should build this pivotal post-Civil War era into the new politics of historical memory.
 
From left to right, Senator Hiram Revels of Mississippi, Representatives Benjamin Turner of Alabama, Robert DeLarge of South Carolina, Josiah Walls of Florida, Jefferson Long of Georgia, Joseph Rainey and Robert B. Elliot of South Carolina  
(Public Domain Image - Library of Congress

Honoring our Leaders!!!
There is an obvious place to start: Congress and the 16 (yes, 16) African American members from that era who served in both the House and Senate. Not a single bust of any one of them can be found in the U.S. Capitol. That should change. They were literally the world's first black parliamentarians. It is a disgrace that the world's most powerful legislature has ignored their service.
Another possibility is for the Supreme Court of South Carolina to memorialize its first African American justice, Jonathan Jasper Wright, who wrote some 90 opinions during his seven-year tenure on that court. At the time, the South Carolina Supreme Court was the only state supreme court to have an African American member.
Given the sheer number of Confederate memorials, there is bound to be another shocking flashpoint of the kind that rocked Charlottesville and the nation. Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee have vanished from Baltimore and New Orleans. Chief Justice Roger Taney, who authored the truly infamous part of the 
Dred Scott decision, is gone from Annapolis. So many have come down-or are up for possible removal-that The New York Times posted an interactive map to chart them all. 
But there is an alternative politics of memory that Americans can also practice, and it might help to keep fascists out of public squares and do something concrete, literally at the same time: honor Reconstruction. Remembering Reconstruction ought not to shunt aside the politics of Confederate memorials. Yet remembering this pivotal era certainly deserves to be built into the new national politics of memory.
The sesquicentennial of Reconstruction is September 1, 2017. Under the First Military Reconstruction Act of March 1867, a Republican-controlled Congress, having become justifiably concerned about profound legal and extra-legal threats to the statutory civil rights of black Southerners, gave the U.S. Army an administrative deadline of September 1 to directly register all black and white adult males in 10 of the 11 ex-Confederate states (Tennessee, the 11th, already had a biracial electorate.) Echoing the Freedom Summer of the civil rights movement, University of Chicago historian Julie Saville has called the summer of 1867 "Registration Summer." 
These elections set in motion deliberations in 1868 about the proper design and structure of new state governments that were designed to be radically more democratic than any of the South's previous incarnations.
In the fall of 1867, this new biracial electorate elected delegates to state constitutional conventions. These elections set in motion deliberations in 1868 about the proper design and structure of new state governments that were designed to be radically more democratic than any of the South's previous incarnations. Those state governments were also expected to formally support the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which established African American citizenship and more broadly a new, expansive view of civil rights.
Americans have been arguing about Reconstruction ever since. Like the republic founded in 1787 in Philadelphia, Registration Summer produced a deeply imperfect political system. The ratification of the 14th Amendment expressly kept all women from voting. Native Americans and Chinese Americans in California soon discovered that the new constitutional amendments-the 13th, 14th, and 15th-did not quite include them (at least not without arduous litigation in the federal courts).
The sesquicentennial of Reconstruction will clock past one anniversary after another, including the insurrection of the Ku Klux Klan against state and local governments run by black officials and white Republican allies; the militant defense of democracy by the Grant administration; and little-known post-Reconstruction anniversaries like the black Exoduster movement to Kansas and black migrations to Oklahoma territory and Liberia. As Americans ponder these milestones, debates over the meanings of these events are certain to follow.
Finding a middle ground will be difficult. The protagonists of the Civil War have always seemed noble. That war seems to have been fought over higher ideals than Americans see in today's petty political squabbles. As polls show, this is one reason why many Americans remain uneasy about the removal of Confederate monuments. 
Reconstruction's teeming cast of characters, who were busy at party politics, setting and collecting taxes, and executing public contracts, never quite measure up. Moreover, it has taken three-quarters of a century to come to grips with the basic democratic nature of the period. Writing during the Great Depression, W.E.B. Du Bois carefully showed how deeply weird the then-dominant literature on Reconstruction was-he did this at the close of his 1935 masterpiece, Black Reconstruction. The standard view was that it was all a terrible mistake. Du Bois argued, rightly, that it was much more of a triumph than most educated whites understood. In colleges and graduate programs all around the country, people were buying into a racist caricature.
Thanks to that work's enduring impact, and to the careful work of Du Bois's great successors, historians John Hope Franklin and C. Vann Woodward, and of theirstudents and successors like Eric Foner, Du Bois's alternative view-that Reconstruction was a great democratic expansion-has become largely accepted.
The post-bellum system of crop liens (the credit arrangements sorting out who got paid when crops were sold) were fair, labor unions emerged for the first time, the courts were impartial, and police forces were integrated. 
There was robust party competition at all levels, from local to state to national electoral politics. The post-bellum system of crop liens (the credit arrangements sorting out who got paid when crops were sold) were fair, labor unions emerged for the first time, the courts were impartial, and police forces were integrated. 
Public education came to the South: The University of South Carolina Law School was desegregated and the New Orleans school system was desegregated for a brief period. A nascent system of black higher education emerged. Literacy rates among African Americans rose sharply, as did property ownership. A vibrant two-party press flourished. Religious liberty surged as African Americans quickly built a vast system of churches and church schools.
Contrary to the oft-asserted statement that Reconstruction was a time of white disenfranchisement, both white and black voters voted at very high rates. The disenfranchisement of major ex-Confederate officeholders was lifted by Congress. This, too, was good for American democracy. But many Americans wonder: If Reconstruction was so great, why did it fall apart so suddenly? However, the premise of the question is wrong. 
The post-Reconstruction decades after the 1877 Compromise were much more democratic than is widely known. They certainly featured white-on-black electoral violence, which was also rampant during Reconstruction. There were anti-black electoral fraud and several steps toward legal black disenfranchisement. Yet these years also featured a major biracial party insurgency in Virginia, such as the little-known but important biracial Readjuster movement, and a similar movement about 15 years later in North Carolina in the 1890s. African Americans continued to vote at remarkably high rates during the post-Reconstruction decades and before the onset of black disenfranchisement.   
Historians sometimes suggest that post-Reconstruction politics was a charade and point to the violent overthrow of the biracial Populist-Republican fusion government of North Carolina at the end of the 19th century. The idea here is that those who really had political power took the gloves off everywhere in the South and smashed their opposition when they decided that it was finally time to end any prospect of biracial government. 
But the North Carolina putsch hardly shows that disenfranchisement swept all at once through the South. Instead, formal legal disenfranchisement was an extended and uncertain process of policy diffusion and change that began in Florida in 1889 and ended in Georgia in 1907, or in Oklahoma in 1910, depending on which definition of the South one uses. The disenfranchisers hardly knew in advance that they would eventually sweep most of these state and local governments away; there was a repeated and strenuous effort to disenfranchise African Americans in Maryland that utterly failed. 
Nowhere else in the 19th-century world, in Europe or Latin America, did people who had been in slavery or serfdom shift so rapidly and transformatively into equal and full political, indeed constitution-amending, citizenship.
The most important point is that from 1867 up to the creation of a single-party/single-race rule in the South, the United States was unique: It was the world's only biracial democratic republic. No other post-emancipation society anywhere ever had a comparable experience-not Cuba or any of the Caribbean slave societies, Brazil, or Russia. Nowhere else in the 19th-century world, in Europe or Latin America, did people who had been in slavery or serfdom shift so rapidly and transformatively into equal and full political, indeed constitution-amending, citizenship. Nowhere else did a myriad of officeholders and national legislators-men who had either themselves been recently enslaved or who, though free-born, had lived and worked previously under a fiercely unequal system-come to play prominent roles in legislation, local courts, and state and local administration.
With Reconstruction, Americans invented a new kind of regime, unique among 19th-century nations. It was profoundly and massively redistributive in a way that the world had never seen up to that point, for it sealed the emancipation of human property and reversed the de-facto re-enslavement of 1866 by the white supremacist governments that President Andrew Johnson created by proclamation during his "presidential Reconstruction." 
Thanks to the long civil rights movement, and to bipartisan action in the 1950s, 1960s, and after, America reinvented the biracial republic in new form, now more multiethnic and, thanks to the impact of the 19th Amendment, much more gender-neutral than the first one. During those decades, Americans grew to see Reconstruction very differently than they did during the heyday of Jim Crow, when Reconstruction was instead widely execrated among whites as a policy disaster.
As the campaign to bring down Confederate monuments shows, many Americans have grown to see the early 20th-century heyday of Confederate commemoration differently. That commemoration was meant to celebrate the final suppression of Reconstruction's democratic revolution. Commentators regularly point this out. But the next question in the conversation hasn't happened: You never hear someone on television asking, "Why don't we commemorate Reconstruction?"
There is an obvious place to start: Congress and the 16 (yes, 16) African American members from that era who served in both the House and Senate. Not a single bust of any one of them can be found in the U.S. Capitol. That should change. They were literally the world's first black parliamentarians. It is a disgrace that the world's most powerful legislature has ignored their service.
Another possibility is for the Supreme Court of South Carolina to memorialize its first African American justice, Jonathan Jasper Wright, who wrote some 90 opinions during his seven-year tenure on that court. At the time, the South Carolina Supreme Court was the only state supreme court to have an African American member.
There are, in fact, many commemorative possibilities. Americans hardly have to mount plaques or build statues for all of them-indeed, so many people merit commemoration that there would be a glut of tributes. But there were thousands of African American office-holders and there were countless events. They are all rich with meaning for understanding a democratic world that in many ways is still lost to us. Recovering and remembering them would certainly help Americans to see their own democracy with new eyes.

heather heyer's cousin on racism

 JUSTICE INITIATIVE
Heather Heyer's Cousin:  
Racism Will Get Worse Unless We Stop It Now

This last week has been surreal for my family. We lost one of our own in one of the most public ways possible. A man in a car ran down my cousin, Heather Heyer, because she decided to join her fellow Charlottesville residents against the neo-Nazis and white supremacists on their streets.
Diana Ratcliff
CNN 
Portside
August 20, 2017 

Heather Heyer was killed by a speeding car, as it plummeted through the crowd of those protesting the white nationalists, a car driven by Neo-Nazi enthusiast James Alex Fields Jr.
 
 
My family -- we are not the kind of family that is targeted by hate crimes. We come from a white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant background with Appalachian heritage. We have never had to be afraid that someone would target us or lynch us because of the color of our skin. 
 
We never had to worry someone wouldn't hire us because of the way we look. We never have to worry that our children might become victims of someone else's prejudice. We've never been told we can't live in a certain neighborhood or attend a certain school because of the color of our skin. Until last week, we had no idea what it feels like to lose someone to hate.
 
After the news of Heather's death, I attended a Charlottesville solidarity vigil in my hometown. I sat anonymously in the middle of the crowd, silent tears streaming down my face, as speaker after speaker took the stage. People held up pictures of Heather and signs called her a hero. But the moment that will forever be burnt in my memory was when a speaker asked the uncomfortable question. While she hailed Heather's courage, she asked something to this effect: "Why does a white woman have to get killed for you all to become outraged?" All I could think was, "Heather is sitting in heaven right now, shaking her head in agreement."
 
Why have we been turning our heads the other way?
 
Why is it that the death of a white woman at the hands of a white supremacist group has finally gotten the attention of white folk? Why have we been turning our heads the other way for so long? How many black families, Latino families, Asian families, Native-American families before us have been left broken from this ugly vein of hatred in our country? Too many. And to my non-white brothers and sisters, I am so sorry that many of us weren't paying attention before Charlottesville. 
 
We need to stop referring to what happened in Charlottesville as a clash between the "alt-left" and the "alt-right." The majority of the counterprotesters were concerned residents of Charlottesville, not a fringe political group. The so-called "alt-right," or the white nationalists, have no place in America, and they don't deserve a place on our political spectrum. 
 
There is no space at the political table for them. There is no common ground, and there is no compromise. America has fought and won two wars against fascism and white supremacy already. White nationalists are the KKK rebranded, and they lost their right to free speech the minute they tried to use it to intimidate and incite violence. Which, by the way, was back in 1865. So, stop giving them a voice. There is nothing in our Constitution protecting hate speech. 
 
If anyone other than white people had been marching the streets of Charlottesville wielding tiki torches, carrying semi-automatic rifles, chanting racist chants, engendering fear at a house of prayer [1], and menacing its residents, we'd call them terrorists. 
 
Less than a week later, a van rammed through a crowded tourist area in Barcelona, Spain [2], killing 13 and wounding many others. We had no problem quickly calling that terrorism. Yet, when I say my cousin was killed in the terrorist attack on Charlottesville, I see people visibly get uncomfortable. They'll call it murder. They may call it a hate crime, but they struggle to call it terrorism. That man was fulfilling a call-to-action from white nationalists. He was committing an act of terror. 
 
White nationalists are intimidating and threatening the safety and lives of our friends, colleagues and neighbors. They are not a political party that we need to compromise with. It's time for the rest of us to stand up and say, "No, not on our watch."
 
Yesterday, my son asked me, "Mommy, what do terrorists look like?" I answered him, "Baby, they can look and sound like you or me, they can be like any one of us here." And that is the reality. White nationalists aren't some uneducated backwater clowns that are going to disappear. They're loan officers, they're service providers, they're professionals, they're public servants, they're college students, they're everyday people. Racism isn't dying out with an aging population. It's found new life, and it's going to get worse if we don't put a stop to it now.
 
In shock
 
We're all in shock, the whole world is. How did America go from a black President to white supremacist neo-Nazis marching in the street? That is the question we need to be asking ourselves. And if we take a long hard look at ourselves, we'll find out that it's because we went into denial. We elected a black person, we made friends with some minorities, and we patted ourselves on our backs, saying, "Well done self, we have eliminated racism." Clearly, we have not. It's been lurking in the shadows, waiting in the spaces of the words we say and the words we don't say. The actions we take and the actions we don't take.
 
For example, when someone says, "All lives matter," what they think they're saying is, "All lives are equally as important." However, they're failing to acknowledge that racism is still a real problem in America. "Black lives matter" isn't saying that police lives don't matter. No one is saying that white lives don't matter. Black folks are simply saying they are tired of being treated like their lives don't matter. 
 
If there is one positive I have taken away from the loss of Heather, it is that it isn't the length of your life that is important, it's what you do with your life that matters. If you truly believe all lives are equally important, then make your life matter.
 
[Editor's Note: Diana Ratcliff is a cousin of Heather Heyer. A political science graduate of the University of Michigan, she interned in the US Senate and worked on Al Gore's presidential campaign staff. She is now studying nursing. The opinions expressed in this commentary are hers.
 

marvin x in concert at black repertory group theatre, sept 30, 8pm


Friday, August 25, 2017

new anthology not our president



THIRD WORLD PRESS FOUNDATION OFFERS CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF PRESIDENT TRUMP IN NEW ANTHOLOGY, NOT OUR PRESIDENT

Edited by
HAKI R. MADHUBUTI & LASANA KAZEMBE

Foreword by
CORNEL WEST

Donald J. Trump is the 45th president of the United States. This happened in 2016 and it is not a hallucination. Trump’s political ascendancy, cabinet-level federal appointments, and subtle endorsement of white nationalism, have expedited feelings of fear, loathing, and endless uncertainty among many Americans – in particular, the poor and working-class.
Not Our President: New Directions from the Pushed Out, the Others, and the Clear Majority in Trump’s Stolen America is a call-to-action for critical thinking, civic engagement, and progressive movement-building among everyday people – the vast majority of whom stand outside of Trump’s vision for America.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Molefi K. Asante
  • Bill Ayers
  • Carl C. Bell
  • Herb Boyd
  • Nikky Finney
  • Henry Giroux
  • Edmund W. Gordon
  • Tallib Kweli Greene
  • Gerald Horne
  • Maulana Karenga
  • Mitch Landrieu
  • Haki Madhubuti
  • Julianne Malveaux
  • jessica Care moore
  • Ishmael Reed
  • Michael Simanga
  • David O. Stovall
  • Diane Turner
  • Sandra Turner-Barnes
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Cornel West
  • and many others!
Advance Praise for Not Our President
"Having spent the past six months---since the stunning election of #45 to the presidency of the U.S.--- reading a broad range of analyses concerning "how" and "why," I am certain about the unparalleled truth-telling of this co-edited volume, NOT OUR PRESIDENT. Veteran writer/publisher Haki Madhubuti and poet/professor Lasana Kazembe have assembled a dazzling array of readings by a multiracial, multigenerational group who would likely not have appeared between the same two covers under a different set of circumstances. They are professors, poets, politicians, organizers, activists, historians, journalists, rappers, educators, scholars, elders, nationalists, psychologists, radicals, millennials. They are prolific and award-winning writers...and the sitting major of New Orleans.

While the dominant theme here is the impact of white supremacy and white nationalism, perhaps the book's most important contribution to our understanding of the 2016 Presidential election is the painstaking analyses of the political terrain that produced #45, including the election of President Ronald Reagan in 1980, and of course the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. Especially brilliant in this regard is Professor Gerald Horne's "The Reckoning" and Professor Michael Simanga's "African American, The Compromise of 2008, and Donald J. Trump." Throughout and in many different ways, we are reminded of the in-your-face persistence of institutionalized racism. In the words of Professor Aminifu Harvey, we now have "a cabinet that is 86% white, 82%male, and 77% white males. It is the least diverse cabinet since Ronald Reagan."

NOT OUR PRESIDENT will likely be disturbing to a broad swathe of U.S. audiences. Taking no prisoners, metaphorically speaking, its riveting critiques are hard-hitting, passionate, and unrelenting. Targets include the Alt-Right, mainstream media, the Republican right wing, evangelical Christians, neo-liberals, and yes, the Democratic Party, the U.S. Left, and neo-liberalism.

There is also robust discourse about how, across divergent political locations, we can resist, forge sustaining solidarities, rekindle old ones, and perhaps imagine new possibilities in perhaps the most debilitating national moment in recent U.S. history."


Beverly Guy-Sheftall is the Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women's Studies at Spelman College and edited WORDS OF FIRE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN FEMINIST THOUGHT
THIRD WORLD PRESS FOUNDATION
P.O. Box 19730
Chicago, IL 60619

To order copies of
Not Our President:

or
call 773-651-0700
THIRD WORLD PRESS FOUNDATION
Publishing Black Writers Fearlessly for Fifty Years!
(1967-2017)

When will the Zionist announce Gaza is no more?

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