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A journal dedicated to truth, freedom of speech and radical spiritual consciousness. Our mission is the liberation of men and women from oppression, violence and abuse of any kind, interpersonal, political, religious, economic, psychosexual. We believe as Fidel Castro said, "The weapon of today is not guns but consciousness."

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    "I like the idea of a 'designated packer' similar to the designated driver. "--Marvin X


    James Holmes (AP Photo/University of Colorado); A woman in Aurora, Colorado (Reuters/ Evan Semon)

    Violence is as American as cherry pie!--H. Rap Brown, aka Imam Jamil Al Amin

    The murder of my child will not make your child safe.--James Baldwin

    The recent mass shooting in a Colorado cinema is an essential part of American culture, a culture steeped in violence, genocide and a plethora of psycho pathologies too numerous to catalogue. In short, America is a society rooted in mental illness. The very idea of claiming equality of all men, yet practicing chattel slavery of kidnapped Africans is schizophrenia of the most morbid kind.

    Furthermore, the very idea of a free market economy is not based on fairness or social-economic justice but to obtain the cheapest labor possible and the acquisition of raw materials at the lowest price, including at the point of a gun, hence the trillion dollar US military budget to kill, maim and dominate people around the world.

    So how can we imagine living in a peaceful society when we are in permanent war around the world with hundreds of military bases throughout the globe to insure political/economic domination? How can we be so delusional to think there shall be no blow back for American behavior around the world? Surely, we know what goes around comes around!

    We need only look at the violence in the hoods of America, aided and abetted by gun sellers often working in conspiracy with government agents, e.g., Fast and Furious, although this was across the border sales, but do not think these same gun sellers do not operate in the hood, spreading their wares to people so desperate from economic deprivation they can only rob and kill each other. We rarely hear of ghetto youth crossing the line into the white side of town to kill white people. If anything, it is most often white police officers (sometimes black officers as well) who act as an occupying army in the hood. White police have a long history (originating with slave catchers) of executing justice upon North American Africans and other minorities.

    As Baldwin noted, the murder of my child will not make your child safe, so violence appears in the suburbs from time to time, a reminder that when one child or adult is not safe, no child or adult is safe anywhere in the world.

    There is no way America can murder with drones in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere, yet
    harbor the thought that there shall be peace at home.

    As we look for options to stem this violence that is American as cherry pie, we think the only option is to level the playing field by making everyone pack arms at all times, yes, as in the Wild Wild West days. No persons should find themselves in a situation where some crazy fool is armed and we are not.

    In the hood, even black bourgeoisie parents have been known to allow their children to arm themselves if they happen to live in or near the hood where there is rampant gang violence. Some parents urge their children to dress down so they do not incur the wrath of poor ghetto youth who may be jealous and envious of their parading in the latest high priced hip hop gear. Here, we see the economic motive that leads to violence. Only when we address the economic inequities and social psychology of American culture well we be able to solve this problem. Until then, it is only sensible to practice self defense at all times and never get caught naked or unarmed. The South learned this lesson long ago. I have friends in the "dirty South" who never go out unarmed, especially down those haunting southern roads.

    Up South in the North, the situation is approaching the dirty south. Many of us dare not go out at night, some stay locked inside their homes except for necessary trips outside. Long ago, ancestor Ray Charles told us about the danger zone, "The danger zone is everywhere...." So be aware of your surroundings and as the Boy Scouts taught us, "Be Prepared!" The old Arab adage is, "Trust in God but tie your camel!"
    --Marvin X

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  • 06/14/16--14:56: Book: Negroland, A Memoir

    Negroland: A Memoir

    by Margo Jefferson

    Pantheon, 248 pp., $25.00
    The house Negro, according to Malcolm X, looked out for his master’s interest and put the field Negro back in his place on the plantation when he got out of line. The house Negro lived better than the field Negro, Malcolm X explained. He ate the same food as the master, dressed and spoke just as well. The house Negro loved the master more than the master loved himself, while the field Negro prayed for a strong wind to come along should the master’s house catch fire. Malcolm X said that he was a field Negro and for him the black establishment, the black upper class, became synonymous with the house Negro. “You’re nothing but an ex-slave. You don’t like to be told that. But what else are you? You are ex-slaves. You didn’t come here on the ‘Mayflower.’ You came here on a slave ship.”
    The black elite provoked some scorn in the civil rights era of revolution in mass black consciousness. In The Negro Family in the United States (1939), E. Franklin Frazier had described how migration and the urbanization of black America changed the criteria by which a black upper class defined itself. Bloodline gave way to position. In his grand remonstrance, Black Bourgeoisie (1957), Frazier castigated the black upper class for having deteriorated into a sad imitation of conspicuously consuming white America. Others criticized black institutions for being conformist. For figures like Malcolm X, the history of black resistance exposed the futility of conventional avenues of struggle, as if illustrating Foucault’s point about the moral training of populations and the reform of manners as a means of reducing threat to property. Whether it was seen as politically impotent or socially up its own ass, the black elite was an irrelevance at a time when the forces of liberation were out to reshape the world; and when the vernacular was being elevated as the true source of black culture.
    The idea of an Old Settler’s temperament in a black person seemed absurd. In his 1965 autobiography, Long Old Road, the distinguished sociologist Horace R. Cayton wrote about leaving Seattle in response to increased racism and running away to sea, where he befriended a veteran black sailor named Longreen who was unfamiliar with his past:
    Of course I didn’t mention to Longreen anything about my grandfather being a senator or that we had once had a horse and carriage and a Japanese servant. He wouldn’t have believed me if I had, and I’d learned by then that with the general run of Negroes it was better not to refer to such an elegant background.
    Just as white people in New York descended from Dutch colonists thought of themselves as Old Settlers, so, too, did black people already living in northern cities before the mass migration of mostly black agricultural workers from the South during World War I, especially upper-class blacks who were somewhat tolerated because they were few. Cayton’s father’s newspaper only became a black publication after the war, when so many blacks moved to Seattle that he lost his white advertisers. He had to remind his son that although one of Cayton’s grandfathers had been the first black US senator, the other had been a slave, as had he, his father.
    In Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City (1945), the landmark work on Chicago that Cayton wrote with St. Clair Drake, the black upper class was, significantly, not a leisure class but a largely professional one that supplied goods and services to the Negro community. In the cold war days immediately after World War II, race leadership still came from the upper class. Its members fought segregation in every aspect and resented being told that they were trying to be white or to mix socially with whites. Because of segregation, blacks of all classes lived in close proximity. It was not poverty that upper-class blacks minded, Drake and Cayton said, so much as lack of decorum. Most black people in Chicago at the time of their study were employed as laborers.
    Cayton was also clear that writing his autobiography was an attempt at self-reclamation. In the late 1930s and into the 1940s he had been a part of a vigorous scene of black intellectuals in Chicago, described in Lawrence P. Jackson’s important The Indignant Generation: A Narrative History of African American Writers and Critics, 1934–1960 (2011). Yet after World War II, its promises of freedom unanswered, he became increasingly bitter in his lectures, and as a community-center director he worried that he was little more than a stooge for the white man. One day he woke up in his office with a pistol in his hand. His autobiography ends not long after Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, with him fighting depression and alcoholism, trying to start over, heading back out West. Horace Cayton would die in 1970 in Paris, where he was doing research for a biography of his friend Richard Wright. The black autobiographical tradition does not have many losers.
    Margo Jefferson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1995, has nothing to prove and everything to say in Negroland, her brave, elegantly written memoir of growing up black and different. Born into the self-contained world of upper-class black Chicago that Drake and Cayton studied, Jefferson and her older sister spent their formative years, the 1950s and 1960s, in the bourgeois enclave of Hyde Park, daughters of the head of pediatrics at Provident Hospital, the oldest black hospital in the country, and a glamorous mother whose photograph could appear in the black press. Jefferson attended the famously progressive University of Chicago Laboratory School and High School. “Negroland is my name for a small region of Negro America where residents were sheltered by a certain amount of privilege and plenty,” she says.
    Class in black America has “a fraught history with many roots,” its distinctions going back to whether blacks were free or slave; northerner or southerner; property owner or unskilled worker; literate or not; light-skinned or not. Jefferson herself is descended in part from the Negro elite that was defined early on by how much it had to do with white people, its relation to white people, its nearness to them, by occupation, such as caterer or barber, or blood, even a former slave master’s. But after characterizing them this way, she writes, “I’ve fallen into a mocking tone that feels prematurely disloyal. There were antebellum founders of Negroland who triumphed through resolve and principled intelligence.” The severity of the black condition explains why blacks who could do so accepted the protection that identification with powerful whites offered. But she also recognizes that “Negro exceptionalism had its ugly side: pioneers who advanced through resolve, intelligence, and exploiting their own.” For example, we know now that one of the first legal slaveholders in seventeenth-century Virginia was an African man.
    Jefferson unearths works such as Sketches of the Higher Classes of Colored Society, published in 1841 in Philadelphia by Joseph Willson, a dentist and printer, the son of a Georgia slaveholder and an enslaved woman whom he freed before she bore his five children. In 1858, Cyprian Clamorgan, a barber descended from a prominent white St. Louis family, published The Colored Aristocracy of St. Louis. Jefferson notes the difference in style between Willson’s pride in his family’s quiet success and Clamorgan’s bragging about his white ancestors and large income. She takes her early examples of the black elite seriously and gives them their due, understanding their flaws and limitations, like family.
    Jefferson has a deep sympathy for intellectual black women in the nineteenth century—poet and diarist Charlotte Forten; teacher and essayist Anna Julia Cooper, who received her doctorate from the Sorbonne when she was sixty-five years old; Ida B. Wells, the anti-lynching crusading journalist; and Charlotte Hawkins Brown, founder of a finishing school in North Carolina for black girls. Jefferson writes that W.E.B. Du Bois, who was born in 1868 and published his first book, The Philadelphia Negro, in 1899, “shares Cooper’s radical romanticism” as well as “Wells’s outrage,” but that “he is intent on cutting a much wider swath, sometimes at their expense.” On recordings, his voice resembles FDR’s.
    Perhaps because of the influence of northern abolitionists or the New England schoolteachers who went south to teach the freedmen during Reconstruction, the image of the stern, stringent Bostonian replaced the doomed, noble southern aristocrat as the class ideal for black people largely trained at anxious black-church colleges. But for black America social status came to depend mostly on what an individual had achieved, precisely because individual achievement was not separate from the advancement of the black race as a whole. What Du Bois described in his 1903 essay “The Talented Tenth” was not an abstraction. In his vision, the few would lead the many. It was not where you were from that mattered but rather where you were headed.
    What was forgotten in the protests of the 1960s—a period when black people began to enter the middle classes in meaningful numbers—was that for more than a century the sheer existence of a black upper class had represented a challenge to the racial status quo. The people in Jefferson’s world benefited from the civil rights movement as much as any black people did. But the social mobility of black people was not, for her, a testament to the openness of American society. Jefferson learned early that her family was where it was in spite of American society. On one road trip in 1956, her family traveled happily to Quebec and then New York, but a hotel in Atlantic City wouldn’t put them in the suite they’d reserved. They left the next day:
    Such treatment encouraged privileged Negroes to see our privilege as more than justified: It was hard-won and politically righteous, a boon to the race, a source of compensatory pride, an example of what might be achieved.
    They were not a normal family, not like the ones Jefferson saw on television or at the movies. Her parents had to do careful research before holidays in order to make sure things would be okay for them when they got to where they were going, and even then something could still happen. In the 1950s,
    liberal whites who saw that we too had manners, money, and education lamented our caste disadvantage. Less liberal or non-liberal whites preferred not to see us in the private schools and public spaces of their choice. They had ready a bevy of slights: from skeptics the surprised glance and spare greeting; from waverers the pleasantry, eyes averted; from disdainers the direct cut. Caucasians with materially less than us were given license by Caucasians with more than them to subvert and attack our privilege.
    Her mother told her a lot of white people did not like to address a Negro as “Doctor.” It would seem little compared to, say, the murder of Emmett Till in Mississippi in 1955 for the crime of supposedly having whistled at a white woman, but mob violence and casual disrespect had roots in the same license to attack black people. Trouble knows your name, James Baldwin said.
    Yet Jefferson is describing a world of black confidence, not one of uncomprehending imitation or secret self-loathing. It matters that she grew up in Chicago when she did. In her youth, Chicago was the undisputed second city, a manufacturing powerhouse divided into ethnic zones. Violence often attended the spread of the black population. Black Chicago was large and had capital, substantial enterprises, and strong churches. Black institutions still had prestige in the black community. Negroland was real:
    In Negroland we thought of ourselves as the Third Race, poised between the masses of Negroes and all classes of Caucasians. Like the Third Eye, the Third Race possessed a wisdom, intuition, and enlightened knowledge the other two races lacked. Its members had education, ambition, sophistication, and standardized verbal dexterity.
    Home life took place in and around Fortress Negro. “In the privacy of an all-Negro world, Negro privilege could lounge and saunter too, show off its accoutrements and lay down the law.” Jefferson writes about the group activities of childhood and the extracurricular schedule of her adolescence as rituals of cohesion, tribal defense against the social disorganization of black life in general. However, though she may have been born into Negroland, education was a mixed-race experience. She had access to white high schools and exclusive music camps. In her memoir, Jefferson takes up distinctions between classes and races, but also between genders, and it is as a girl’s coming-of-age story, a black girl’s story, in a time of social change, that Negroland explores yet more unexpected territory.
    Women were conveyors of racial inheritance. Jefferson’s mother was present to correct her always. In one scene, she recounts how amused she and her sister were by what they considered the ignorant country language of the speaker, an old black woman, in the Langston Hughes poem “Mother to Son”: “Well, son, I’ll tell you:/Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.” Their mother listened, then explained who Hughes was, and then read the poem for them, calling on “all the resources of Negro life and history,…turning dialect to vernacular.” Her mother, who grew up on Negro History Week, let them know that Hughes had even taught briefly at the Lab School.
    Dorothy Dandridge, 1953; photograph by Philippe Halsman
    The owners of The Chicago Defender, a leading black newspaper, were their friends, and they were aware that Ida B. Wells had worked in Chicago. Jefferson’s mother told them about the anthropologist Katherine Dunham and that major work of sociology, Black Metropolis by St. Clair Drake and Horace Cayton. Her family read The Crisis, the magazine of the NAACP . They were not white people; they knew that Rosa Parks was not a Negro woman suddenly too tired to change seats, but rather the secretary of the Montgomery, Alabama, chapter of the NAACP that had been meticulously preparing its challenge to segregation on municipal buses.
    Jefferson grew up knowing that the women responsible for her believed in “feminine command.” “It’s never too hot for fur,” her grandmother said on a visit back to the South. As young black women, she and her sister were learning how to comport themselves as ladies. It was a kind of vindication. That nice-girl problem of how to attract boys without getting a reputation was further complicated by the history of black women forever being depicted in American culture as oversexed and animalistic, which justified the exploitation of their bodies. Respectability was therefore a grave matter. Nice black girls learned that women of achievement renounced vanity and lightheartedness, exhibited unceasing fortitude, and put the needs of others first. “I enjoy being irreproachable,” Jefferson writes.
    The cost of self-control was easily underestimated. “Oh, the vehement inner lives of girls snatching at heroines and role models!” Meanwhile, as a nice black girl Jefferson was judged by standards of beauty that were of social history’s making: grade of hair, skin color, flat or straight nose, size of ass, shape of foot. Whiteness. “The fashion and beauty complex has so many ways to enchant and maim.” She takes pride in and has sympathy for Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge, but conceives a teenager’s passion for Audrey Hepburn. “No! You cannot ever be white like these idols of feminine perfection. Let that final impossibility reproach and taunt you.”
    Jefferson’s story becomes more and more about gender difference and where it intersects with race after she graduates from Brandeis College in 1968. Eventually, she is conspicuous as the only black woman columnist at Newsweek magazine. “The white world had made the rules that excluded us; now, when it saw fit, it altered those rules to include a few of us.” Her childhood is about Negroland at its segregated zenith, but childhood is a woman’s story waiting to happen, one influenced by—if not directly about—the feminist movement of the 1970s.
    Jefferson is touchingly honest about her inhibited response to the black feminist sensation of that era, Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuff (1976). Shange, born Paulette Williams, was a nice black girl and Barnard College graduate who’d gone off the rails. However, Jefferson summons to the rescue the figure of Florynce Kennedy, the great activist lawyer in a cowboy hat, a beloved presence in radical circles in 1970s New York. Many black women back then argued that feminism was a white woman’s thing and that if you scratched a white feminist you would find simply a white person. It was more important to address social needs along racial lines. Kennedy answered that black women had been copying bad ideas from white women for so long it was crazy when they came along with a good one not to want to copy that:
    [The black woman’s] history of struggle, degradation, triumph; her exclusion from the rewards of bourgeois femininity; her duty to strengthen the Negro family. Not a history one wanted to haul through one’s social life. Not a history one wanted to lumber into the sexual revolution with. Not a history one wanted to have sternly codified by white sociologists and Black Power revolutionaries who found the faults of The Black Woman much the same as those of The Negro Woman. She was bellicose, she was self-centered; she was sexually prudish when not castrating.
    When Jefferson was growing up, race mattered, but gender didn’t. The fight for women’s rights was greeted with “mockery, contempt, or repressive tolerance.” Girls of her class were encouraged to take certain privileges for granted, but these privileges were designed to make them eligible for good marriages, i.e., yet more social status, and they were taught to “cherish that generic female future.” Black women historically had entered the white-collar workforce faster than black men, because of the relatively low status of clerical and secretarial work, and most of the black professional women Jefferson knew of as a girl were also wives and mothers. Sometimes she was warned to have something to fall back on, an acknowledgment that the black man’s economic life could be insecure. At the same time, a woman alone was an object of pity or whispers.
    The question Jefferson asks of her experience was: How could she adapt her willful self to so much history and myth? The answer is that she didn’t. There is, in her account, no accommodation or acceptance of middle-class standards and life. This isn’t a memoir that tells us how a black person with opportunities got over her guilt and relaxed into the life of getting ahead that her family had sacrificed for her to have. She made instead a life as a journalist and critic and then another life in the high bohemia of New York intellectuals and artists, away from the conventions of her male-dominated professional world. “All that circumnavigating of race, class, and gender made for comedy too.”
    Jefferson’s answer is also in her sophisticated tone and style, in the free and open manner in which Negroland is structured. Her book includes many brief anecdotes, digressions, and “dialogues” between unnamed characters. Paragraph headings announce “The Jefferson Girls,” “The Jefferson Girls and Ballet,” “The Jefferson Girls and Beauty,” “Another Negro History Week Lesson,” or “Boys.” What marks Negroland off from other works on such a potentially cringe-inducing subject is Jefferson’s literary sensibility: “I’m a chronicler of Negroland, a participant-observer, an elegist, dissenter and admirer; sometime expatriate, ongoing interlocutor.” Some of her most intense passages have to do with her instinctive escape into Lewis Carroll or her immersion in the personalities of the sisters in Little Women and what their destinies portended for her.
    Identity is fluid. “There’s a space in our consciousness where all this racialized material collects, never static, mutating or at least recombining.” Jefferson struggles with her own reticence. “I think it’s too easy to recount unhappy memories when you write about race,” she observes. “You revere your grief.” Though she knows she has had more choices, and therefore more freedom, than most, there remained lines she dared not cross. Black girls in Negroland “had been denied the privilege of freely yielding to depression, of flaunting neurosis as a mark of social and psychic complexity.”
    Charlotte Forten, granddaughter of a rich, free-born black Philadelphia sail maker, kept a diary and went south in 1862 to teach freed slaves in South Carolina. Her diary stops when she falls in love with moonlit rides on horseback alongside a married white doctor from Boston. When her diary resumes many years later, she is the prim wife of a black minister from a prominent family much like her own. Angela Davis, who comes from a middle-class household in Birmingham, Alabama, and graduated from Brandeis four years earlier than Jefferson, refuses in her Angela Davis: An Autobiography (1974) to write about herself as exceptional in any way—a principle dictated by her politics, her allegiance to her constituencies, rejecting the romanticism of her own image, a keeping faith with the four girls killed in the church bombing in Birmingham in 1963. “Internalize The Race. Internalize both races,” Jefferson says at one point. “Then internalize the contradictions. Teach your psyche to adapt its solo life to a group obbligato. Or let it abandon any impulse toward independence and hurtle toward a feverishly perfect representation of your people.”
    The constant for black men has been the threat of violence; the constant for black women has been that they were still women. Harlem Renaissance novelist Nella Larsen got kicked out of Fisk University for wearing bright colors. A’Lelia Bundles’s On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker (2001), a biography of her great-grandmother, the founder of a black cosmetics industry; Jill Nelson’s Finding Martha’s Vineyard: African Americans at Home on an Island (2005); Gail Lumet Buckley’s The Hornes: An American Family (1986) and her recent The Black Calhouns: From Civil War to Civil Rights with One African American Family—these works are personal as well as acts of retrieval and conservation. The authors can see themselves in the continuum of the histories they are recording. But Jefferson is coming at the subject of the black elite from an odd angle, examining it as a legacy of proscription and privilege, grief and achievement, love for, and shame because of, other black people; love for and terror of so-called white culture. “My enemies took too much. My loved ones asked too much.”
    The closest thing to her homage to ambiguity—from another nice black girl—is avant-garde playwright Adrienne Kennedy’s experimental autobiography, People Who Led to My Plays (1987). The new Americans must be able to think in contradictions, Henry Adams said in his Education. “Being an Other, in America, teaches you to imagine what can’t imagine you,” Jefferson says. “That’s your first education.”

    s. e. anderson
    author of The Black Holocaust for Beginners
    If WORK was good for you, the rich would leave none for the poor. (Haiti)

    Posted by: "S. E. Anderson"

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    Remembering Attica Prison: The ‘Bloodiest One-Day Encounter Between Americans Since The Civil War’

    US Judge ready to unseal documents on 1971 Attica Prison Rebellion

    "If we can't live as men, we sure as hell can die as men"
    - Attica prisoner

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's attorney general has asked a state judge to unseal documents about the 1971 riot and retaking of Attica state prison, the nation's bloodiest inmate rebellion.
    Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wants the court in Wyoming County to open hundreds of detailed pages about the five September days when inmates took control of the maximum-security prison in rural western New York until state troopers and guards stormed the facility.
    Schneiderman says it's time to bring transparency to what he referred to as one of state government's darkest chapters. The sealed documents are part of a 1975 report by a special commission that examined New York's efforts to investigate the riot and its aftermath.
    In all, 11 staff and 32 inmates died — all but four shot by authorities.

    1971: The Attica prison uprising

    Prisoners take over
    Against the background of the mass revolutionary, black power and prisoners' movements in the US, a four day revolt began on September 13, 1971 at the Attica Correctional Facility near Buffalo, NY in the United States. Its repression left 39 people killed.
    "If we can't live as men, we sure as hell can die as men"
    - Attica prisoner
    In 1970 the National Guard had gunned down unarmed students protesting against the Vietnam War at Jackson State and Kent State Universities. Armed guards smashed a Teamsters truckers' strike. Malcolm X and Martin Luther King had both been murdered. When George Jackson, Black Panther and political prisoner was murdered at San Quentin by the guards on August 21, 1971, his book "Soledad Brother" was being passed from prisoner to prisoner, tensions were running mounting. A prisoners' rights movement was growing.
    Attica was surrounded by a 30-foot wall, 2 feet thick, with fourteen gun towers. 54% of the inmates were black; 100% of the guards were white, many of whom were openly racist. Prisoners spent fourteen to sixteen hours a day in their cells, their mail was read, their reading material restricted, their visits from families conducted through a mesh screen, their medical care disgraceful, their parole system inequitable, racism everywhere. How perceptive the prison administration was about these conditions can be measured by the comment of the superintendent of Attica, Vincent Mancusi, when the uprising began: “Why are they destroying their home?”
    Most of the Attica prisoners were there as a result of plea bargaining. Of 32,000 felony indictments a year in New York State, 4,000 to 5,000 were tried. The rest (about 75%) were disposed of by deals made under duress, called “plea bargaining,” described as follows in the Report of the Joint Legislative Committee on Crime in New York:
    The final climactic act in the plea bargaining procedure is a charade which in itself has aspects of dishonesty which rival the original crime in many instances. The accused is made to assert publicly his guilt on a specific crime, which in many cases he has not committed; in some cases he pleads guilty to a non-existing crime. He must further indicate that he is entering his plea freely… and that he is not doing so because of any promises made to him.
    In plea bargaining, the accused pleads guilty, whether he is or not, and saves the state the trouble of a trial in return for the promise of a less severe punishment.
    When Attica prisoners were up for parole, the average time of their hearing, including the reading of the file and deliberation among the three members, was 5.9 minutes. Then the decision was handed out, with no explanation.
    The official report on the Attica uprising tells how an inmate-instructed sociology class there became a forum for ideas about change. Then there was a series of organised protest efforts, and in July an inmate manifesto setting forth a series of moderate demands, after which “tensions at Attica had continued to mount,” culminating in a day of protest over the killing of George Jackson at San Quentin, during which few inmates ate at lunch and dinner on a hunger strike, and many wore black armbands.
    On September 9. 1971, a series of conflicts between prisoners and guards ended with a relatively minor incident, involving a guard disciplining two prisoners. This was the spark that set off the revolt a group which began when a group of inmates from D Block broke through a gate with a defective weld and taking over one of the four prison yards, with forty guards as hostages.
    Then followed five days in which the prisoners set up a remarkable community in the yard. A group of citizen-observers, invited by the prisoners, included New York Times columnist Tom Wicker, who wrote (A Time to Die): “The racial harmony that prevailed among the prisoners—it was absolutely astonishing... That prison yard was the first place I have ever seen where there was no racism.” One black prisoner later said: “I never thought whites could really get it on. . . . But I can’t tell you what the yard was like, I actually cried it was so close, everyone so together." All the prisoners - black, Latino, white - who took part in the revolt were united. It was no "race riot" but a united class action.
    The prisoners demanded removal of the warden, amnesty for those who had taken part in the revolt, and better conditions. The state agreed to 28 of the 33 demands but not amnesty. The prisoners were not willing to back down on this, as they knew repression would fall heavily on them.

    After five days, the state lost patience. Governor Nelson Rockefeller approved a military attack on the prison (see Cinda Firestone’s stunning film Attica). One thousand National Guardsmen, prison guards, and local police went in with automatic rifles, carbines, and submachine guns in a full-scale assault on the prisoners, who had no firearms. Thirty-one prisoners were killed. The first stories given the press by prison authorities said that nine guards held hostage had their throats slashed by the prisoners during the attack. The official autopsies almost immediately showed this to be false: the nine guards died in the same hail of bullets that killed the prisoners.
    Guards beat and tortured prisoners after the revolt. A wave of other prison rebellions spread like wildfire, involving 20,000 people.
    There were several hundred thousand in prison in 1971 - now there are two million. The memory of Attica is still there - in 2004 prisoners in Texas started a hunger strike on the 33rd anniversary to commemorate the Attica uprising and to support prisoners' rights.
    OCRed by Linda Towlson and lightly edited by libcom - US to UK spelling, additional details, clarifications and links added - from two articles by Howard Zinn and the Anarchist Federation.

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    Socio-Political Hip Hop Artist and Activist Sellassie sits down with Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale in an intimate setting and asks the questions the community wants to hear.  Subjects ranging from modern day social movements, galvanizing the power in the ghetto, the 2016 Presidential election and the future of the Black Panther Party.  The event will be held at Freedom Archives, an impressive organization and event space that has organized and archived 10,000 hours of audio and video recordings and thousands of documents about social justice movements locally, nationally and internationally from the 1960s to present.  The Archives feature speeches of movement leaders and community activists, protests and demonstrations, cultural currents of rebellion and resistance.

    Bobby Seale:

    Bobby Seale is an African-American political activist and co-founder and national chairman of the Black Panther Party.

    Born in Texas in 1936, Bobby Seale is one of a generation of young African-American radicals who broke away from the usually nonviolent Civil Rights Movement to preach a doctrine of militant black empowerment, helping found the Black Panthers (later renamed the Black Panther Party) in 1966. Originally created as an armed force protecting the black community from the notoriously racist Oakland police, the Panthers' reputation grew and with it the scope of the organization itself. The Panthers became a new voice in the Civil Rights Movement, and they rejected outright the mainstream movement's nonviolent approach as well as the "Back to Africa" teachings put forth by the more radical Black Nationalists.  The Panthers focused much of their energies on community outreach, and the California movement spawned chapters across the nation. By 1968, Seale decided that a public account of the formation and history of the Panthers was needed, so he wrote Seize the Time: The Story of the Black Panther Party and Huey P. Newton (published in 1970). That same year, Seale was arrested while protesting at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. He and seven other defendants, thereafter known as the Chicago Seven, were tried for conspiracy to incite riots in a circus-like atmosphere that resulted in Seale being sentenced to four years in prison for contempt of court . Seale was also tried during this period for the murder of a fellow Panther suspected of being a police informant. The trial ended with a hung jury.  In the 1970s, as the Black Panthers faded from public view, Seale took on a quieter role, working toward improving social services in black neighborhoods and other causes.  After his release from prison, Bobby Seale renounced violence as a means to an end and began the task of reorganizing the Panthers, which had fallen into disarray in his absence. In 1973, he also ran for mayor of Oakland and came in second out of nine candidates. But Seale soon grew tired of politics and turned again to writing, producing A Lonely Rage in 1978 and a cookbook titled Barbeque'n with Bobby in 1987.  In 2002, Seale moved back to Oakland to work with young political activists to spark social change.

    About Sellassie:

    The Rap Contest creator, host and producer Sellassie, is the worlds first higherground hip-hop artist; he is a social justice activist, a member of the #Frisco5, who endured the longest politically motivated hunger strike in San Francisco, entrepreneur, event producer and pioneer.  He has carved his niche as a leading progressive voice in hip-hop and as a force in bringing independent artists together.  With an acclaimed and award-winning debut release, Im Tryin to Make a Livin Not a Killin, this trendsetting emcee has garnered a street level buzz with a fresh perspective.   Sellassie is proof that there are young black artists that can make music that is creative, street, positive and smart.  He stands firm to his message, has a charismatic presence and is evidence that not every rapper raps negatively, glorifying drugs, guns, money or their ego.  He is also the creator, producer and host of the Independent Artist Series, The Rap Contest, We All We Got and Undiscovered Tour.   Producing over 200 shows on the calendar in the last five years in over 15 markets nationwide, the series have distinguished themselves as premier outlets for independent artists.  He is also working with many social, political and youth based initiatives, and is a contributor to various special projects including the film, It Doesnt Cost Nothin to Dream.  Sellassie is grounded; a confident and refreshing emcee in an industry plagued with commercialism, materialism, negativity and drama.   Sellassie utilizes his music and events as a vehicle for social change and inspiration, and he regularly states that he wants to be in the history books, not the pop charts.

    Sellassie has shared the stage with many great artists;  Rakim, Saul Williams, KRS-One, The Goodie Mob, Mos Def, Sly and Robbie, Vieux Farka Toure, dead prez, Redman and Method Man, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Ziggy Marley, Alanis Morissette, Raekwon, The Indigo Girls, Radio Active, Rebelution, Warren Haynes, Goapele, The Hieroglyphics, Mr. FAB, Camp Lo, Pharoahe Monch, Ise Lyfe, Namkha Rinpoche,  Medusa, One Block Radius, Lyrics Born, Kev Choice, Martin Luther, Silk-E, The Mighty San Quinn, The Jacka, The Husalah, Bayonics,  Zion I, Rah Digga, Rappin 4-Tay, Jelly Bread, Vinnie Paz, Keith Murray, Richie Rich, 2Mex and Jennifer Johns among hundreds independent artists.

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    Hamilton and the Negro Whisperers: Miranda’s Consumer Fraud

    Ishmael Reed is the author of many books including The Complete Muhammad Ali.
    April 15, 2016-

    Among the types of black writers are the “Negro Whisperers,” whose assignment is to explain blacks to whites like the guide in the Tarzan movies, who, in the words of Adolph Reed, Jr. tells them what those drums mean. Then there’s the native who challenges the lies that come down from the colonial office. The native that is regarded by the occupiers as “dangerous.” John A. Williams, whose memorial service will be held in Teaneck, New Jersey, on May 29, didn’t have as many readers as the “Negro Whisperers” but he was so dangerous as to be placed on the FBI list of black writers to be placed in “custodial detention,” * in case of a National Emergency. (They spelled my name, “Ismael.”) He was part of a tradition of black writers dating back to the 1800s, and though these writers could be as hard on blacks as whites, this entire tradition is being dismissed by the new post race “Negro Whisperers,” as one of scorn and of “hating whitey.” Williams, and Amiri Baraka would have a field day with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical “Hamilton.” So would Gwendolyn Brooks, who could have attended all of the occupier’s dinner parties, but chose to remain in the forest with her people. (Baraka is now so beloved by The New York Times, which hated him while he was alive, that they recommended his book of poetry for a Christmas gift.)
    Miranda, the creator of “Hamilton,” originated the sales pitch for his musical, which, according to the Times, might earn a billion dollars for its investors. During an interview conducted by Rob Weinert-Kendt, New York Times, Feb. 5, 2015. He said:
    “As for the question of slavery, which is the great original sin of this country, it’s in the third line of the show. But it’s this thing that keeps getting kicked down the field. Hamilton and Burr were part of the [abolitionist] New York Manumission Society, so they were actually very progressive. But there’s only so much time you can spend on it when there’s no end result to it.”
    In the show’s last song, his widow, Eliza, sings that Hamilton would have “done so much more” against slavery had he lived longer. Miranda’s is an odd assertion since even Ron Chernow, one of these historians who long for a period when powerful white men were in charge, maybe the country that Trump followers want “to take back,” says that Hamilton “may” have owned two household slaves. Miranda says that he based his musical on Ron Chernow’s book “Hamilton.” Miranda should have consulted other sources that challenge this high school notion that Hamilton was some sort of abolitionist. But that would have been a real turn off for the feel good version of the Founding Fathers, enslavers and what’s often left out, Indian exterminators, which has drawn largely white audiences, who can afford tickets that sell for as much as $700.
    There would be no demand for tickets had it not been for an extraordinary bit of salesmanship from The New York Times, which had been rooting for “Hamilton” since 2012, culminating in a rave review from Ben Brantley published when it opened in August, 2015. He wrote
    “I am loath to tell people to mortgage their houses and lease their children to acquire tickets to a hit Broadway show. But ‘Hamilton,’ directed by Thomas Kail and starring Mr. Miranda, might just about be worth it — at least to anyone who wants proof that the American musical is not only surviving but also evolving in ways that should allow it to thrive and transmogrify in years to come.”
    I challenged the enthusiasm for a show that glorifies a man who participated in holding people against their will in my article written for CounterPunch, August 21, 2015. What was the difference between Hamilton and Ariel Castro who did the same thing, I asked. Should Castro’s face be on the ten-dollar bill? Hamilton’s defenders maintain that Hamilton was smart. So was Castro who was able to accomplish his despicable deed without being detected. In my article I quoted historians who were not as swept away by Founding Fathers chic, or Hamilton fever as much as Chernow, Miranda and writers for The New York Times. Professor Michelle Duross, of the University at Albany, State University of New York, is much more direct  and shows what happens when someone from a class, whose voice has been neglected, invades the all-white male country club of historians. Unlike Chernow, her treatment of Hamilton as a slave trader is not couched in equivocating qualifiers that are favorable to this founding father, I wrote. She takes to task the Hamilton biographies written by his awe-struck groupies:
    “Alexander Hamilton’s biographers praise Hamilton for being an abolitionist, but they have overstated Hamilton’s stance on slavery.
    “Historian John C. Miller insisted, ‘He [Hamilton] advocated one of the most daring invasions of property rights that was ever made– the abolition of Negro slavery.’
    “Biographer Forrest McDonald maintained, ‘Hamilton was an abolitionist, and on that subject he never wavered.’”
    She writes, “Hamilton’s position on slavery is more complex than his biographers’ suggest.” Some historians maintain that Hamilton’s birth on the island of Nevis and his subsequent upbringing in St. Croix instilled in him a hatred for the brutalities of slavery. Historian James Oliver Horton suggests that Hamilton’s childhood surrounded by the slave system of the West Indies “would shape Alexander’s attitudes about race and slavery for the rest of his life.’”
    She writes,
    “No existing documents of Hamilton’s support this claim. Hamilton never mentioned anything in his correspondence about the horrors of plantation slavery in the West Indies.
    “Hamilton’s involvement in the selling of slaves suggests that his position against slavery was not absolute. Besides marrying into a slaveholding family, Hamilton conducted transactions for the purchase and transfer of slaves on behalf of his in-laws and as part of his assignment in the Continental Army.”
    I cited another historian, Allan McLane Hamilton, who writes to counter the claim that Hamilton never owned slaves: “[Hamilton] never owned a negro slave… is untrue. In his books, we find that there are entries showing that he purchased them for himself and for others.” Why isn’t this entry regarded as a smoking gun? After creating the Hamilton mania, which the Times began in 2012, and which one letter writer termed the Times coverage as “Daily Worship,” the newspaper acknowledged that there was dissent. Finally. It came in Jennifer Schuesslera’s April 10, 2016 article entitled “Hamilton’ and History: Are They in Sync? ” She described the dissent. Critics, according to her, claim that “Hamilton”:
    “over-glorifies the man, inflating his opposition to slavery while glossing over less attractive aspects of his politics, which were not necessarily as in tune with contemporary progressive values as audiences leaving the theater might assume.”
    In a note to me she acknowledges that she read my August 21st CounterPunch piece but traced the beginning of “Hamilton” dissent to a September response by David Waldstreicher’s to remarks made by historian Joseph Adelman, who claimed that Miranda “got the history right.”

    She wrote that Waldstreicher, a historian at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, “sounded an early note of skepticism on The Junto, a group blog about early American history.” (Apparently CounterPunch is a name that dare not be mentioned at the Times.) Waldstreicher wrote, “Nobody’s pointing out the pattern of exaggerating Hamilton’s (and other Federalists’) antislavery….” Exaggeration is to put it mildly; nowhere in his comments does Waldstreicher say that Hamilton actually owned slaves. Nobody pointed out that Hamilton’s antislavery has been exaggerated? (Hamilton’s mother also owned slaves and in her will, left the slaves to Hamilton and his brother.) Professors Michelle Duross and Alan McLane among others have pointed it out. Maybe he, like Miranda reads only the Good Old Boys and Girls of the American Historical Establishment.
    Professor Lyra D. Monteiro’s article in the journal The Public Historian was also cited. She wrote,
    “the show’s multiethnic casting obscures the almost complete lack of identifiable African-American characters, making the country’s founding seem like an all-white affair.
    “It’s an amazing piece of theater, but it concerns me that people are seeing it as a piece of history.”
    “The founders,” she added, “really didn’t want to create the country we actually live in today.”
    Ms. Monteiro also read my Counter Punch article and quoted from it in Salon and the Huffington Post. “And one of the points Ishmael Reed made that I loved is that for Elizabeth Schuyler to be a Kim Kardashian of her era involved several slaves preparing her to be so gorgeous at that ball where Hamilton met her. “

    Historian Annette Gordon-Reed was quoted in the article as sharing “some of Ms. Monteiro’s qualms, even as she loved the musical and listened to the cast album every day.”
    “Imagine ‘Hamilton’ with white actors,” she wrote. “Would the rosy view of the founding era grate?” Good question. Would an all white cast portraying Idi Amin and his cronies in a Broadway musical earn billions for the investors? One letter writer defended Miranda’s taking liberties with history. She cited Shakespeare. Well suppose that you had Jewish actors playing Hitler and his Generals and there appeared a scene in which Hitler pleaded, without success that the Jews be spared. That he was some sort of Philo Semitic.

    Defending the show Chernow wrote: “This show is the best advertisement for racial diversity in Broadway history and it is sad that it is being attacked on racial grounds.” Chernow, who is reaping huge profits from the show, is not concerned about the fraudulent representation of Alexander Hamilton? Mr. Miranda, who began the mania, was not available for comment. If I’d misrepresented Hamilton as a “progressive,” I’d be hiding too. Ms. Gordon-Reed further commented that while Hamilton publicly criticized Jefferson’s views on the biological inferiority of blacks, his record from the 1790s until his death in 1804 includes little to no action against slavery. “Hamilton the ardent lifelong abolitionist,” she said, is “an idea of who we would like Hamilton to be.” And so the debate among those members of the Historical Establishment, some of whom are Pulitzer Prize winners, has come down to an argument as to whether Hamilton was abolitionist or not abolitionist enough. This tepid response amounts to a cover-up of the kind that John A. Williams, John O. Killens, Chester Himes and Gwendolyn Brooks and Amiri Baraka would have challenged.

    This latest attempt to whitewash a founding father for money, is preceded by a farce called, “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” which lionizes Andrew Jackson, the Eichmann of American extermination policy. Another Establishment historian, Jon Meacham, cast Jackson as some sort of Rock and Roll star. This musical was also praised by Ben Brantley.
    Rihanna Yazzie, a playwright who helped organize a protest of the Minneapolis production, said the musical “reinforces stereotypes” and left her feeling “assaulted.”

    “The truth is that Andrew Jackson was not a rock star and his campaign against tribal people—known so briefly in American history textbooks as the Indian Removal Act—is not a farcical backdrop to some emotive, brooding celebrity,” Yazzie wrote in an open letter. “Can you imagine a show wherein Hitler was portrayed as a justified, sexy rock star?” The danger of something like “Hamilton” is that school children will be seduced into believing that Hamilton was some kind of “progressive” using Miranda’s words.” The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History has created a curriculum for 20,000 low-income New York City public school students who will be able to see the musical, in a program funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and subsidized by the show.” I wrote the Rockefeller Foundation on April 12, 2016, proposing that if they must send these kids black and Latino to see “Hamilton” on the grounds that he was a “progressive,” and an “abolitionist” that they might organize a panel during which those who make such a claim defend it against historians who say that he was a slave trader. They could have the panel before or after the show.They didn’t answer.
    It’s also a disappointment that Miranda persuaded the treasury to keep Hamilton on the ten-dollar bill, a man who held slaves, instead of replacing him with Harriet Tubman, who freed slaves.
    Such views of Yazzie and mine are smothered by millions of dollars in publicity of those who want to pamper the white ticket buying audience. Finally I asked the writer Jennifer Schuessler why there was no mention of Hamilton as a slave trader in her piece. She said that she didn’t have enough space to include this fact.
    Apr 11

    @ishmaelreed Thanks. Of course read your earlier [Counterpunch] piece. No room in story to get into issue of Ham and slave selling, etc., alas.”
    Such a revelation would be an embarrassment for the show’s main booster, The New York Times; would expose Miranda as not being forthcoming about Hamilton’s true history in order to make money, and also be bad for the box office.
    To paraphrase the slogan used by these brave young souls, Black Lives Never Mattered, Indian lives even less.
    *  F.B. Eyes: How J. Edgar Hoover’s Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature:  by William J. Maxwell, Jan 4, 2015

    “Hamilton: the Musical:” Black Actors Dress Up like Slave Traders…and It’s Not Halloween

    Lin-Manuel Miranda (center) wrote the lyrics, composed the music, and stars as Hamilton.
    August 21, 2015-

    Establishment historians write best sellers in which some of the cruel actions of the Founding Fathers are smudged over if not ignored altogether. They’re guilty of a cover-up.
    This is the case with Alexander Hamilton whose life has been scrubbed with a kind of historical Ajax until it sparkles. His reputation has been shored up as an abolitionist and someone who was opposed to slavery. Not true.
    Alexander Hamilton married into the Schuylers, a slaveholding family, and participated in the bartering of slaves. One of “Hamilton’s” actors, Renee Elise Goldsberry (“The Color Purple”), who visited the Schuyler home, said the Schuyler sisters, “were the Kardashians” of 1780 — superstars, but with dignity and grace.”[1] Maybe they were able to maintain “dignity and grace” because they had 27 slaves serve them. Black women whose labor assignments left them little time to preen. Is this actor disregarding, callously, that the sisters thrived on the labor of enslaved women? No, she probably attended the same schools that I attended. A curriculum that endowed slave traders and Indian exterminators with the status of deities.

    Even Ron Chernow, author of Alexander Hamilton, upon which the musical “Hamilton” is based, admits (kinda), reluctantly, that Hamilton and his wife may, [his italics], have owned two household slaves and may have negotiated the sale of slaves on behalf of his in-laws, the Schuylers. Chernow says that Hamilton may have negotiated these sales, “reluctantly?” How does he know this?
    Like other founding fathers, Hamilton found slavery, an “evil,” yet was a slave trader. The creepy Thomas Jefferson also appears in “Hamilton.” He was even a bigger hypocrite in his
    blaming King George for the slave trade, a contention that was deleted from the final version of the Declaration of Independence.

    “Jefferson railed against King George III for creating and sustaining the slave trade, describing it as ‘a cruel war against human nature.’”[2] Was Lin-Manuel Miranda, who designed this show, aware that Thomas Jefferson’s solution to the Native American problem was “extermination?” He told his Secretary of War, General Henry Dearborn (who was the primary government official responsible for Indian affairs): “if we are constrained to lift the hatchet against any tribe, we will never lay it down until that tribe is exterminated, or driven beyond the Mississippi.”[3]

    Similarly, Andrew Jackson found slavery, “barbaric,” yet owned slaves. He might have been the founder of the false police report. “He concocted stories if discipline crippled or killed a slave. Of a beaten woman, he wrote to a partner in one such cover-up: ‘You may say to Dr. Hogg, that her lament was occasioned by a stroke from Betty [another slave], or jumping over a rope, in which her feet became entangled, and she fell.”’ [4]The same 1 percent establishment critics, who gave Andrew Jackson a pass, are praising “Hamilton.” One writer even hailed Jackson as a Rock and Roll star.
    Professor Michelle Duross, of the University at Albany, State University of New York, is much more direct and shows what happens when someone from a class, whose voice has been neglected, invades the all-white male country club of historians. Unlike Chernow, her treatment of Hamilton as a slave trader is not couched in equivocating qualifiers that are favorable to this founding father. She takes to task the Hamilton biographies written by his awe-struck groupies:
    “Alexander Hamilton’s biographers praise Hamilton for being an abolitionist, but they have overstated Hamilton’s stance on slavery.
    “Historian John C. Miller insisted, ‘He [Hamilton] advocated one of the most daring invasions of property rights that was ever made– the abolition of Negro slavery.’
    “Biographer Forest McDonald maintained, ‘Hamilton was an abolitionist, and on that subject he never wavered.’”
    She writes, “Hamilton’s position on slavery is more complex than his biographers’ suggest.” Some historians maintain that Hamilton’s birth on the island of Nevis and his subsequent upbringing in St. Croix instilled in him a hatred for the brutalities of slavery. Historian James Oliver Horton suggests that Hamilton’s childhood surrounded by the slave system of the West Indies “would shape Alexander’s attitudes about race and slavery for the rest of his life.’”
    She writes,
    “No existing documents of Hamilton’s support this claim. Hamilton never mentioned anything in his correspondence about the horrors of plantation slavery in the West Indies.
    “Hamilton’s involvement in the selling of slaves suggests that his position against slavery was not absolute. Besides marrying into a slaveholding family, Hamilton conducted transactions for the purchase and transfer of slaves on behalf of his in-laws and as part of his assignment in the Continental Army.”[5]
    Another historian, Alan McLane Hamilton writes to counter the claim that Hamilton never owned slaves: “[Hamilton] never owned a negro slave… is untrue. In his books, we find that there are entries showing that he purchased them for himself and for others.”[6]
    In the musical, black actors play Washington and other founding fathers. Are they aware that George Washington is known for creating strategies for returning runaways? That he was into search and destroy when campaigning against Native American resistance fighters.
    “By 1779, George Washington had already earned the famous moniker ‘Father of His Country.’ Among the Iroquois he was known as Conotocarious, or ‘Town Destroyer.’” [7]
    Historians, who serve as lackeys for famous, wealthy white men term him a “merciful slave master.” An oxymoron.
    “Washington authorized the ‘total destruction and devastation’ of the Iroquois settlements across upstate New York so ‘that country may not merely be overrun but destroyed.’ Under Washington’s orders forty Iroquois villages to ashes, and left homeless many of the Indians, hundreds of whom died of exposure during the following frigid winter.
    “Chief Cornplanter, who headed the Seneca tribe of the Iroquois, stressed the durability of ‘Town Destroyer’ as the commander-in-chief’s nickname. ‘And to this day when that name is heard,’ the chief said, ‘our women look behind them and turn pale, and our children cling close to the necks of their mothers. To this day, ‘Town Destroyer’ is still used as an Iroquois name for the president of the United States.”[8]
    Slave trading usually involved sex trafficking, where the planters
    turned their plantations into enforced and involuntary harems, an enterprise that fugitive slave writer, William Wells Brown, found disgusting. George Washington’s Sally Hemings, according to black oral tradition, was a slave named Venus. Fifty percent of the slaves at Arlington, where Robert E. Lee lived with the granddaughter of Martha Washington, were “bi-racial.”[9]
    So what’s the difference between Ariel Castro who kept three women against their will and Alexander Hamilton and other founding fathers? His groupies argue that despite his flaws–they don’t include the slavet-rading parts–he was smart. Well so was Ariel Castro. He was able to evade detection by even members of his family. For years. Moreover did he work these women from sun up to sun down without paying them? Maybe Broadway will do a musical about his life.
    Already, the same 1 percent critics who drooled over “Bloody Bloody, Andrew” about Andrew Jackson, the Eichmann of American Native American policy, are already embracing “Hamilton.” They must be as ignorant as the black and Latino actors who have lent their talents to “Hamilton.”
    Maybe that’s why the establishment critics leave out the slave parts. The idea that Black Lives Matter is an improvement over their slavery status, where blacks were treated as objects to be bought and sold, worked, beaten, killed and fucked. Though ignorant hateful people say that the Civil War was fought to uphold “states rights,” the slaveholders of the south, who kept Africans against their will, as a result of their free labor, were the richest white people in the world.[10] Maybe the country clubs of historians and Beltway critics still feel that way about African captives.

    And why would President Obama lend his prestige to this thing? First he welcomes black pathology pimp, David Simon, to the White House, where he endorsed “The Wire,” a show in which black children are singled out as degenerate drug peddlers, when all of the heroin seems to be stashed in Vermont and other states with few blacks among their population. He honors this hustler even after Prof. Karl Alexander, who did an actual study of Simon’s black Baltimore neighborhoods, found Simon’s presentation to be “one sided” as he put it, politely.

    Is this the president’s view of traditional African Americans? Criminals. People who sang and danced their way through slavery under the watchful eye of merciful slave masters? He went to Harvard. Didn’t he take courses from Martin Kilson? Doesn’t the president know that Thomas Jefferson’s proposal for the Native American problem was extermination?

    Now The New York Times has appointed Simon the chief interpreter of the black experience. The honorary Head-Negro-In-Charge. Al Jolson without the black face. He’s doing a miniseries about Martin Luther King, Jr. He’s already lined up a couple of black writers to be in on the project, who will be there to defend the thing if black people become upset. It’s being sponsored by Oprah Winfrey who gave a green light to Precious, the worst black movie ever made. I can understand why some young black Americans are leaving the country. I met some of them in Paris.

    Now I have seen everything. Can you imagine Jewish actors in Berlin’s theaters taking roles of Goering? Goebbels? Eichmann? Hitler?

    When I brought up the subject of Hamilton’s slaveholding in a Times’ comment section, a white man accused me of political correctness. If Hamilton had negotiated the sale of white people, do you think that an audience would be paying $400 per ticket to see a musical based upon his life? No, his reputation would be as tarnished as that of his assassin Aaron Burr.

    Benjamin Franklin wrote a satire, called “Sidi Mehemet Ibrahim on the Slave Trade,”[11] in which he dealt with his contemporaries’ justifications for slavery only he, in order to spotlight the defenders’ hypocrisy, put these same arguments in the voice of a fictional Muslim, who justified the enslavement of white Christian slaves.

    And here is the final insult: “The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is working with the producers on an effort to make it possible for large numbers of New York City schoolchildren to see the show.”

    This is the best argument I know for the establishment of more Afro-Centric schools and Hispanic schools in order to balance the curriculum promoted by Euro-Centric schools, in which perpetrators of genocide and slave holders are honored. Was school integration a mistake? Were these the brainwashing schools attended by the Latino and Black actors who are performing in this thing?
    The best argument that I know for the advocacy of such schools came from a Jewish professor who attended Hebrew School before public schools. When a public school teacher praised the Crusades, she was able to point out that the Crusaders set up pogroms.

    In the heady times during the slave revolt of the 1960s, the rebels boasted about how they were using the enemy’s language and how they were “stealing his language.” Now things have been turned upside down. Now the masters, the producers of this profit hungry production, which has already made 30 million dollars, are using the slave’s language: Rock and Roll, Rap and Hip Hop to romanticize the careers of kidnappers, and murderers. People, who, like Jefferson, beat and fucked his slaves and spied on their fucking.
    The very clever salesman for this project is Lin-Manuel Miranda. He compares Hamilton, a man who engaged in cruel practices against those who had been kidnapped from their ancestral homes, with that of a slave, Tupac Shakur. He is making profits for his investors with glib appeals such as this one. The first week’s box office take was $1,153,386.
    Amiri Baraka, the master of irony, your voice is missed.
    [1]“Actresses in ‘Hamilton’ Take a Trip to a Family Home for a History Lesson” James Barron, New York Times, July 13,2015
    [2]“Letter From Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec.6, 1813.”
    [4]Nixon’s Piano, Presidents And Racial Politics From Washington To Clinton Kenneth O’Reilly, The Free Press, New York, 1995
    [8] ibid.
    [10]The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. Kindle Edition by Edward E. Baptist.
    [11]“ Sidi Mehemet Ibrahim on the Slave Trade.” Pow Wow,Charting the Fault Lines in the American Experience-Short Fiction from Then to Now, edited by Ishmael Reed with Carla Blank, Da Capo Press, 2009, New York.

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    Ebony and Jet, according to Dr. E. Franklin Frazier, perpetuated the Negro bourgeoisie's world of make believe and conspicuous consumption. Of course Jet was the Negro's bible: if it wasn't in Jet it wasn't true!


    Private-Equity Firm Buys Ebony, Jet Magazines

    MJ 25 years after Thriller
    MJ 25 years after Thriller

    Johnson Publishing sells magazines that have chronicled African-American life since 1945

    • The new company Ebony Media Corporation will be chaired by Linda Johnson Rice
    • Clear View Group CEO welcomes ‘great opportunity’
    • Ebony Media Corp. will maintain Chicago office and half the staff
    • Kierna Mayo is stepping down as editor-in-chief of Ebony
    • Chicago-based Kyra Kyles, will add the title of editor-in-chief of Ebony behind her name
    • Johnson Publishing will retain its Fashion Fair Cosmetics business and its historic Ebony photo archives

    It’s a dream come true,” said Michael Gibson, co-founder and chairman of African-American-owned Clear View Group. “Growing up, we had Ebony and Jet in our household all along. You knew you made it when you made it to the cover of Ebony or Jet. It is just exciting — I pinch myself every morning.”

    Exclusive photos of Michael Jackson shot in 2007 in the archives of Ebony/ Jet
    Exclusive photos of Michael Jackson shot in 2007 in the archives of Ebony/ Jet

    It’s true after rumors ran the muck, the formal announcement was made Tuesday, Ebony and Jet magazines have been sold. After making a great run to go the distance
    After a 71-years of publishing in Chicago, Johnson Publishing is leaving the publishing industry and retaining its Fashion Fair Cosmetics business and its historic Ebony photo archives, however it remains up for sale. In January 2015, Johnson Publishing put its entire photo archive up for sale, hoping to raise $40 million. The historic collection spans seven decades of African-American history, chronicling everyone from Martin Luther King Jr. to Muhammad Ali and beyond.

    The Iconic Ebony, once the leading African-American lifestyle magazine and the now digital-only Jet magazine was sold to Clear View Group, an Austin, Texas-based private equity firm, for an undisclosed amount. The deal, closed in May, including the assumption of debt.
    The Ultimate cool President Barack Obama
    The Ultimate cool President Barack Obama
    Founded by John H. Johnson in 1945 Johnson Publishing Company /JPC was a family-owned business throughout all of its history. As Black publications go it set the precedence that all aspiring Black magazine publishers sought to emulate. Ebony has documented the African-American experience since its first edition. Ebony and Jet both captured the spirit and culture of Black Americans for all the world to see and influence its perception of African Americans.

    Historically, it has captured the story of  Black life in America from Emmett Till  to  Barack Obama and reported from the front lines of the civil rights movement to the rise of Black power during the 1960s through images and words keeping the nation and the world abreast of the coming of age of an oppressed people.

    It has been so many things to Black people. Often it served as ambassador to the world representing African Americans at their best. It introduced Africa to its children and its children to its ancestors. It showcased the accomplishments of Blacks in sports, arts and entertainment, law, medicine, journalism, fashion, business, banking, architecture and more.

    Like all printed mediawith the emergence of technology and the digital age coming to fore Johnson Publishing has faced declining revenue dollars as it struggled to change and advance from print to digital platforms and emerge victorious.
    Martin Luther King Jr
    Martin Luther King Jr

    Daughter of founder John H. Johnson, Linda Johnson Rice, chairman of Johnson Publishing will serve as chairman emeritus on the board of the new company.
    “This is the nextchapter in retaining the legacy that my father, John H. Johnson, built to ensure the celebration of African-Americans,” she said in a statement Tuesday.
    Under the newthe new publishing entity, Ebony Media Operations, will maintain the magazine’s Chicago headquarters and its New York editorial office. Many of the current staff, according to Mr. Gibson will remain in tack.
    The purchase is a first of its kind for Clear View who is new to the publishing world. “We made this purchase because this is an iconic brand — it’s the most-recognized brand in the African-American community,” said Gibson, 59. “We just think this is a great opportunity for us.”
    The changes include Cheryl McKissack, who has served as chief operating officer since 2013 assuming the CEO position of the new publishing entity under Clear View.
    Sadly Kierna Mayo, who brought a certain timely brash to the publication is stepping down as editor-in-chief of Ebony to pursue other opportunities, according to Gibson.
    Stepping into her shoes, Kyra Kyles, who has headed up digital content for Ebony and Jet since last June, will add the role of editor-in-chief of Ebony.
    Both McKissick and Kyles will continue to operate from the Chicago office.
    “When we make an investment, that’s what we look for — a strong team that can actually run the company,” Gibson said. “We’re not managers or experts by any stretch of imagination in the media business. What we bring to the table is very strong networking and the ability to raise financing and the ability to establish a vision for the company.”
    The Greatest, Muhammad Ali
    The Greatest, Muhammad Ali
    On the other side Desiree Rogers, who has CEO of Johnson Publishing since 2010, will remain on board, focusing on the cosmetics business, which represents about half of the company’s total revenue.
    “The overall strategy of separating these two distinct businesses — media and cosmetics — will ensure that both iconic brands are positioned for future investment and growth,” Rogers said in a statement.
    Like any smartbusinessman the 59-year old Gibson has vision. He recognizes that the publishing industry continues to face the future as print media revenue decreases. However Gibson said, Ebony will remain in print for the foreseeable future while recognizing the need enhance the digital side.

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    Oakland Mayor Fires Interim Police Chief After 4 Days During Sex Scandal Involving Teen Girl

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    Saturday, December 7, 2013


    Watch the zombie in the car ahead of you. He may be sleep walking, sleep talking, texting or sexing--his blinker says left turn or right turn, but the light changes and the car doesn't move, just sits still on the green light, until you finally blow your horn, then, slowly, the car turns and heads down the street. You wonder what is going on and the answer is nothing, it is a zombie car with a zombie driver. Whatever you do, be courteous, don't be rude, don't go into road rage for the zombie may pull a weapon, after all, the zombie is a danger to himself and others, so be careful, don't add fuel to the fire. 

    This is how we must navigate the perilous mental landscape in the last days of the devil's world. Jesus told you this is only the beginning of sorrows, there shall be pestilence, drought, famine, earthquakes in diverse places, mudslides, tsunamis, planes disappearing from the sky, jails and prisons full of those suffering poverty, drug addiction and mental illness. 

    The global bandits, the blood suckers of the poor, suffer no jail or prison time. They pay a simple fine then continue in their inordinacy, as the Qur'an says. They are zombies too, so smart they outsmart themselves, thinking their wickedness shall last forever, they have enough guns and a monkey mind media that perpetuates the world of make believe that the deaf, dumb and blind inhabit as they make their daily round in the big yard, suffering their myriad addictions and afflictions and conspicuous consumption. 

    As we see, there is murder in the hood and murder in the suburbs, murder in the schools, colleges, universities churches, night clubs, sports events, homes and workplaces. So hold onto your hat or hold onto the rope of Allah, whatever is your choice-- hold on Snoopy!--Marvin X

    Navigating the perilous Mental Landscape in the crazy house called America
    Like the earthquake in Japan, man too is in mental motion, a mind quake of the most devastating degree that is rocking his mental equilibrium to the core! 
    We must be aware of the times and what must be done. A blind man named Ray Charles told us "the world is in an uproar, the danger zone is everywhere...." And so it is, ancestor Ray, there is turbulence in the land and in man, woman and children. As the earth enters another 25,000 year cycle of history with the coming New Age of high spiritual consciousness, there are many who remain deaf, dumb and blind to present and future events, even though the news is full of rapidly changing events in the global village. One would need to be in worse shape than Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder not to see the earth is in transformation, even Nature itself. The ice is melting, the sea rising, the forests burning, earthquakes and tsunamis , drought, famine, pestilence, in diverse places, just as Jesus predicted.

    Apparently, many do not believe what Jesus said even when they see events he predicted before their very eyes, on the news, Twitter, Facebook, Cable TV and elsewhere. He said mother would be against child and child against mother and father. Did he not say brother would be against brother and sister against sister? And do we not see this in our social relations today.

    It is crystal clear to me we are in times in which a friend is no longer a friend, a wife and husband no longer wife and husband. There is no love between them. Husbands and wives say the most horrible things to each other. Daughters and sons say the most wretched things to their parents, often when the parents are helping them.

    But when the danger zone is everywhere, no one, no relationships are exempt from the turmoil sweeping the old order out and ushering in the New Era. But there is an almost organic relationship between the earth quaking and the minds of men, women and children becoming totally unbalanced.

    In this time of radical change of Nature and man, those with no understanding shall become unglued, losing their fragile mental equilibrium or simply tripping out. Ultimately, they become a danger to themselves and others and must be committed, for they are not the person we knew only yesterday. Today they are a total stranger who does not know us, cannot even recognize us, yet we have known them since childhood. They could be a sibling yet they do not act like there is any blood relationship between us. We behave like total strangers.

    It could be parent/child relationships that come to such a low point children will sue parents or visa versa. In short the love is gone. Amiri Baraka tells us in his play A Black Mass, "Where the souls print should be there is only a cellulose pouch of disgusting habits...."

    So as we walk the streets be very careful what you say to people, for they are on edge, on the precipice, ready to strike out at the slightest perceived negative incident, or wrong word uttered.
    Yes, they are ready to kill, so be aware as you make your daily round.

    The political/economic atmosphere is charged with venom, but it is misplaced aggression, for no one is going after the bankers, the loan sharks, the Wall Street financiers who were casino gamblers with the wealth of the people, stealing 13 trillion dollars in the sub prime housing scam.
    And yet hardly a banker is in jail, meanwhile 2.4 million mostly poor are incarcerated for petty crimes, additionally they suffer drug abuse and mental illness, not to mention lack of proper legal representation at the time of their trials. The only white man doing time is the one who stole from the rich, not the poor. Those who robbed the poor are yet receiving multimillion dollar bonuses while 30 million workers are unemployed and millions are now homeless.

    It is this atmosphere that is so unsettling to the mental state of those who were already suffering stress from the general hostile environment,i.e.,  from toxic food, air, water; the media dispensing
    information from the world of make believe and promoting the addiction to white supremacy conspicuous consumption.

    How do we move from problem to solution, from addiction to recovery, from sickness to healing?
    The Buddhists say wisdom is  knowledge plus the right action. We must first understand the time and what must be done. These are perilous times, very dangerous, thus one must tip through the tulips, through the mind fields that lay before us, behind us, to the right and to the left, but most importantly, within us!

    We must practice eternal vigilance and stay on guard against being deceived. There are those who wish to deceive us so that we remain victims of the slave system. They will not tell us all the institutions are exhausted, political, economic, educational, religious, marital. None of these shall continue with business as usual. They must and shall undergo radical structural change, if not simply thrown into the dustbin of history where they belonged long ago.

    Those not prepared for radical change shall be blown by the wayside where they shall inhabit the lower realms of an animal existence until they die or recover from savagery and come into the era of civility and spirituality beyond religiosity.

    Those who are a danger to themselves and others will need to be confined to a program of long term recovery, a rehabilitation of their disgusting habits, namely greed, ego, pride, lust, arrogance, and other deadly sins, and most importantly the inability to practice freedom, justice and equality, constitutionally unable to share the wealth and practice democracy or the consent of the governed.

    The end is the beginning and the beginning is the end, or rather what goes around comes around. What we are witnessing and experiencing is not linear time but circular, for we shall continue, but only those who are able to jump out of the box of the old structures into the new.

    The fearless ones, they shall be successful. Those not motivated by the illusions of the monkey mind shall be successful. We pray for the others who persist in their inordinancy, blindly wandering on, as the Qur'an says.
    --Marvin X

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    Some of you know that last year, Third World Press published Black Hollywood Unchained. Edited by Ishmael Reed, the book contains a collection of critical essays by various authors around the country in reaction to Quentin Tarentino’s movie Django Unchained.

    On Sunday, July 3, 1:30-3:30 pm, several of the authors will participate in a panel discussion at the San Francisco Public Library Main Branch to discuss the impact of Django Unchained as well as other Hollywood movie depictions of African-American life. Included with author presentations will be a time for questions and answers.

    Along with Ishmael Reed, other participants include Halifu Osumare, Cecil Brown, Marvin X, Justin Desmangles, and myself.

    If you’re in the Bay Area that weekend, hope you can make it.

    Jesse Allen-Taylor

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    Reflections of a "Human Earthquake" Victim who suffered the wild crazy ride of the Marvin X Experience and survived!

    Meet Marvin X

    I’m sure we all have those teachers from our past who have impacted our lives. Some have encouraged us to dig deep within and unleash untapped potential. Some have inspired us to think beyond our little world and reach new heights. I can’t remember, though, very many teachers who have shocked me into a dizzying stupor, made me laugh, then ultimately made me love them for their unbridled “Hootspa” (or as we were fond of saying in my hometown….“Huevos”)

    Meet Marvin X
    I believe it was the fall semester of 1982 when I walked into the first day of my English class. I was attending Kings River Community College in the small, heavily Mennonite town of Reedley, CA. Our quaint little town was your typical white-bread, very conservative, farming community. So when we all took our seats and noticed that our instructor was not your typical white, middle-aged teacher with patches on his jacket sleeves, but was in fact an african american man, staring us down, we were all a bit off of our game.

    “Hello, welcome to my English class. My name is Marvin X. My legal name is Marvin Jackmon, but I don’t use that name because that was given to me by some white slave owner”! The classroom did a collective head scratching, while some more disturbed students got up and walked into the wall several times, then returned to their seats and joined the head scratching asking panically “Um…your just a sub, right??”
     Everyday in Marvin X’s class was like a field trip though a box of Cracker Jacks. There was always some prize waiting for our small town J.C. minds to grapple with. Mr. X always encouraged lively conversation and I took full advantage of that, because we all know that asking a thousand questions equals a passionate interest in the subject which equals a passing grade!!!!
    The thing I love most about him was that he loved…no, he fed on tossing little “shock and awe” bombshells our way. Which was always followed by that jubilant grin and sparkle in his eye’s. He kept taunting us that some day he would share some of his poetry with us. But he warned us, “My poetry is really “street” …so I’m not sure your ready for it”.
    Several more weeks passed, full of lively conversations, debate and complete pandemonium swirling through our young impressionable little minds. Finally, one day he came to class and announced that we were now officially ready for one of his poems. Once again, he reiterated that his poetry was pretty “street” and not for the faint of heart. We did a collective gulp and nodded our heads.
    This poem is called…
    (wait for it)
    Confession of a Rapist”
    (Oh dear Lord!!….um…uh…OK,, I can handle this! I can be street…or at least avenue)
    He looked up with that sly grin and glimmer in his eyes, then proceeded with the opening line…
    I took the P***Y”
    (we’re not talking about sweet little kittens here, folks.)
       He just piloted his Enola Gay B-29 and dropped a bomb (a “P” bomb at that) amongst us citizens of Hiroshima Junior College!
       Visualize those old black & white films of Atomic bomb testing somewhere in the deserts of Nevada. The “Shock Wave” was so insanely intense, our faces were wobbling and contorting to the massive G-forces, that I’m pretty positive not one person heard another line from that poem. Outside, after class, we quickly and hastily put together an emergency Triage unit to asses the damages and re-attach any limbs or brain matter that may have needed attending to.
       Some fellow Christian students from the class were discussing the possibility of assembling a mob with torches and pitch forks, the likes of your typical Frankenstein movie. We soon realized that we were all fine. A little shaken, but fine.
       Oddly enough, there was maybe one complaint in class from a student, and he very patiently and lovingly discussed it with us. In the end, we all came through it like old trench buddies. Mr. X helped lift, perhaps rather firmly, us out of our little comfort zones.
       In the last few remaining weeks of class, we had several more great conversations and debates. One sunny day he even held class outside under a tree and we studied the book of Job from the Bible. I believe he said he loved it because it read like a screenplay. He had lots of great insight and challenged us daily.
       There are only a handful of teachers from my two and a half years of college (and no degree to show for it) that I have maybe a millisecond of memory of them. Mr. X, however, made such an impact on me that his memory is burned into the synapses of my brain. Was he shocking? Yes! However, even more, he loved reaching through to us. He made us think….really think!
    Before I began writing this, I Googled him. Sure enough, there he was…
    with that sly grin and glimmer in his eyes!
    Thank you, Mr. X!

    Comment Marvin X:

    Let me thank all those beautiful students who attended my English class at Kings River College, 1982. I had the time of my life, but my academic career ended there, even though I received a 97% retention rate. I simply no longer desired to teach again. It is indeed ironic that my career ended not far from where my life began in Fowler, Ca., a few miles down the road from Reedley. My mother was also born in Fowler but never went to Reedley because the town was too racist. But during my brief tenure at Reedley, the students treated me royally, bringing me gifts of fruits, vegetables and herbs from their farms. Two of my greatest poems were written during this time, i.e., For the Women and Black History is World History. My students, nearly all White and/or Chicano, did research papers on Black History is World History. One of my Black students was from an Alabama town that hanged  his friend from a light post during the semester. Yes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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    Memorial for Kamau Amen-Ra and Photo Exhibition honoring his work.  FRIDAY, JULY 15 EASTSIDE CULTURAL CENTER,  2277 International Blvd, 5-9PM.  Bring a dish to share. - Please spread the word!

    The family of Kamau Amen-Ra has given his archives to Eastside Cultural Center.

    Photos by Kamau Amen-Ra
    Marvin X archives

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    Subject: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Cal Shakes presents August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize winner, FENCES, July 6-31
    Press Contact: Marilyn Langbehn
    Office: 510.809.3290
    Cell: 510.910.3129

    Berkeley, CA – California Shakespeare Theater’s 25th anniversary season at the Bruns Amphitheater continues with August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning story of the American Dream deferred, Fences, directed by Raelle Myrick-Hodges in her Cal Shakes debut. Fences, which plays from July 6 through July 31, marks the first time Cal Shakes has presented August Wilson’s work on its stage. For tickets and information, contact the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666 or visit
    Part of August Wilson’s monumental ten-play Pittsburgh Cycle, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Play, Fences is the playwright’s “finest and most credible portrait of a relationship between a man and a woman” (New York Times). Set in 1950s Pittburgh, former Negro League ballplayer-turned-sanitation worker Troy Maxson and his wife, Rose, struggle to keep their marriage afloat as Troy battles to retain his dignity and his family in the face of a rapidly changing America.
    “I love Wilson; his work is ironic, painful, and sincere, but until recently, I ‘avoided’ working on it,” says director Raelle Myrick-Hodges. “It felt to me as if the comment on his work, coming mostly from white critics and white audiences, forced a singular perception of the black experience. My mentor (Guthrie Theater Artistic Director) Joseph Haj enlightened me to the greatness of Wilson’s writing, so now I feel safe as an artist to discuss a specific story without having to conjure an entire community’s idea of black community. I have learned so much about myself as a black woman from working on Wilson—as if the two of us are having our OWN conversation—and ANY audience is merely over hearing our conversation. I read what is on the page and feel joyous in serving Wilson, rather than the ‘idea’ of Wilson.”
    The cast for Fences features Bay Area powerhouses Aldo Billingslea as former Negro League ballplayer turned sanitation worker Troy Maxson (Cal Shakes’ Spunk, King Lear, A Winter’s Tale, and Lady Windermere’s Fan), and Margo Hall as his wife, Rose (Cal Shakes’ A Raisin in the Sun, A Winter’s Tale, and Spunk), whose enduring strength holds the family together. Also in the cast are J. Alphonse Nicholson (Seven Guitars, Actor’s Theatre of Louisiana; The Piano Lesson, Cape Fear Regional Theatre; Autumn Harvest, Lincoln Center Theater) as Cory; Donald E. Lacy, Jr. (Cal Shakes’ Hamlet: Blood in the Brain and Alleluia: The Road; Berkeley Rep’s The People’s Temple; The Miles Davis Experience, produced by Columbia Records) as Gabriel; Guiesseppe Jones (title role in Othello, North Carolina Shakespeare Festival; Race, CATF; Master Harold…and the Boys, The Weston Playhouse) as Bono; Lance Gardner (most recently seen as Don Pedro/Ursula in Cal Shakes’ season opener, Much Ado About Nothing), and Anaiya Asomugha and Kailynn Guidry, sharing the role of Raynell. Nicholson, Lacy, Jones, Asomugha, and Guidry are all making their Cal Shakes Main Stage debuts with this production.
    The creative team for Fences includes set designer Michael Locher, whose previous designs for Cal Shakes include Spunk and The Winter’s Tale; costume designer Alina Bokovikova, resident costumer for North Coast Rep, whose work has been seen at The Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse, Theatreworks, and San Diego Rep, among others; lighting designer Xavier Pierce, whose work has been enjoyed at regional theaters across the country, including the Guthrie, Long Wharf, Playmakers Rep, and Arena Stage; and sound designer Mikaal Sulaiman , an LA-based music producer who has sound-designed numerous theatrical trailers for the Weinstein Company, and created the soundscape for Raelle Myrick-Hodges production of Two Trains Running at the Arden Theatre in Philadelphia.
    At the request of director Myrick-Hodges, Cal Shakes worked with Community Partners Allen Temple Arms and Berkeley Food and Housing Project to gather a group of local African American women together to share their stories in response to the character Rose’s journey in the play. Excerpts of these stories (in addition to portraits taken by photographer Sonjhai Meggette) will be featured in an installation at the Bruns.
    Born in North Carolina, raised in Washington, D.C. and educated internationally, Raelle Myrick-Hodges (Director) is a graduate of Ealing College of Humanities (London) and the University of Southern California. Artistically mentored by Mr. George C. Wolfe and Joseph Haj respectfully, she is the founder of Azuka Theater in Philadelphia (now in its 20th year) and the former Artistic Director of Brava Theater in San Francisco. Raelle has worked with artists such as Geoffrey Arend, Meryl Streep, Jeffrey Wright, Mos Def, Tony Kushner, April Mathis, and Keith David among others. Her work as a performance art creator/curator has been seen at the DeYoung Museum, Red Poppy Art House, Feroz Gallery (Germany), Theater Minnot (Beirut, Lebanon) and Ami Gallerie (Paris). As a producer/curator, her programming ranges from regional artists to high profile internationally-known ensembles and performers in music, dance and theater, including artists such as Denis O’Hare, The Rude Mechanicals, Sam Green, Double Edge Theater, Arturo Sandoval, and Joey Arias among others. She will present a new collaborative work with Urban Bush Women this fall and is slated to present works for PACE University and National Black Theater in the upcoming 2016-2017 season. She is currently creating a new work with Elephant Room entitled, “#BLKGRLSINGALONG” to premiere January 2018. 
    Playwright August Wilson was born Frederick August Kittel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on April 27, 1945. His mother, Daisy Wilson, was of African-American heritage; his father was a German immigrant named Frederick Kittel. When his parents divorced, he, his mother and his siblings moved from the poor Bedford Avenue area of Pittsburgh to a mostly white suburb in the Oakland section. After facing the relentless bigotry of his classmates at Central Catholic High School, he left and at age 15 began to pursue an independent education at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, where he would earn his high school diploma. Following his father's death in 1965, a 20-year-old Frederick Kittel adopted the pen name "August Wilson"—reportedly as homage to his mother—and declared himself a poet. He wrote his first notable play, Jitney, in 1979, for which he earned a fellowship at the Minneapolis Playwright Center. Jitney marked the beginning of his work on a ten-play series, known as The Pittsburgh Cycle; each play is set in a different decade and depicts aspects of the African-American experience in the 20th century. In 1982 Ma Rainey's Black Bottom was accepted at the Eugene O'Neill Playwright's Conference; in that same year he was introduced to Yale School of Drama Dean Lloyd Richards, who went on to direct Wilson's first six Broadway plays. Fences premiered on Broadway in 1987, earning the playwright his first Pulitzer Prize as well as a Tony Award for Best Play. The remainder of the cycle followed in quick succession: Joe Turner's Come and Gone (1988), The Piano Lesson (1990), for which he earned his second Pulitzer; Two Trains Running (1991), Seven Guitars (1994), King Hedley II (2001), and Gem of the Ocean (2004). August Wilson died of liver cancer on October 2, 2005, in Seattle, Washington. His tenth and final play of the cycle, Radio Golf, had opened its pre-Broadway run in Los Angeles just a few months earlier.
    As part of its commitment to exploring the intersection between theater and civic practice, Cal Shakes is hosting a Civic Dialogue series, with topics designed to deepen the connection between the theater’s Main Stage work and its ability to highlight the voices of marginalized communities through partnerships with community organizations and presentations by community-based artists. On July 11 from 5-9pm, Cal Shakes will host “The Construction of Gender: Actualizing Women’s Empowerment” at the Impact Hub in Oakland; this facilitated dialogue will explore representation and societal expectations of women, (particularly within the family structure), and the importance of self-determination in creating depictions of women that better explore the intersections of gender and race. This event is free and open to the public; RSVP online at
    Single tickets for Fences range from $20 to $84, with discounts available for seniors, youth, students, military families, persons age 30 and under, and groups. Prices, dates, titles, and artists are subject to change. For information or to charge tickets by phone with VISA, MasterCard, or American Express, call the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666. Additional information and online ticketing are available at
    California Shakespeare Theater’s 2016 season is supported in part by the generosity of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, the Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation, The Bernard Osher Foundation, and The Shubert Foundation. Corporate partners include BART, City National Bank, John Muir Health, Meyer Sound, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, and San Francisco magazine; production partner for August Wilson’sFences is The Bay’s R&B 102.9 FM KBLX Radio. Fences is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.
    California Shakespeare Theater (Cal Shakes), under the leadership of Artistic Director Eric Ting and Managing Director Susie Falk, is now in its 42nd season as a nationally-recognized leader in drawing on the power of authentic, inclusive storytelling to create more vibrant communities. Serving more than 43,000 people annually, Cal Shakes invites people from all walks of life to make deeply-felt connections with our shared humanity through its work onstage, in schools, and with people in non-traditional settings throughout the Bay Area who have little or no access to theater. Cal Shakes is also proud of its role as an steward of the protected watershed that houses its artistic home, the magnificent Bruns Amphitheater; in 2012 the Bruns became one of the largest solar-powered outdoor professional theaters in the country. In 2016, Cal Shakes celebrates its 25th anniversary at the Bruns, named “one of the most beautiful outdoor performing spaces in America” by the Wall Street Journal. For more information, visit

    WHAT                   California Shakespeare Theater’s production of August Wilson’sFences
    WHO                     Directed by Raelle Myrick-Hodges
    Designed by Michael Locher (set designer), Alina Bokovikova (costume designer), Xavier Pierce (lighting designer), and Mikaal Sulaiman (sound designer).
    Featuring: Aldo Billingslea, Margo Hall, J. Alphonse Nicholson, Donald E. Lacy, Jr., Guiesseppe Jones, Lance Gardner, Anaiya Asomugha, and Kailynn Guidry.
    WHEN                   July 6-July 31, 2016
    Previews Jul 6, 7, and 8 at 8pm
    Press Opening Jul 9 at 8pm
    Tuesdays through Thursdays at 7:30pm
    Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm
    Saturday Matinee July 30 at 2pm
    Sunday Matinees at 4pm
    Grounds open two hours prior to show time for picnicking. Café and full bar are available on site.
    WHERE                 Bruns Amphitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way, Orinda, CA 94563
    (just off Highway 24 at the California Shakespeare Theater Way/Wilder Rd. exit, one mile east of the Caldecott Tunnel.)
    Complimentary shuttle from Orinda BART beginning 2 hours before curtain.
    Complimentary parking onsite.
    TICKETS                Single tickets range from $20 to $84, with discounts available for seniors, students, persons age 30 and under, and groups. Cal Shakes makes twenty tickets available for $20 on a first-come, first-served basis for every performance throughout the season. Call Cal Shakes’ Box Office at 510.548.9666 between noon and 2pm to purchase. Prices subject to change.
    All tickets are available through the California Shakespeare Theater Box Office, 701 Heinz Avenue, Berkeley CA, 510.548.9666, online at, or at the Bruns box office on the day of the performance (pending availability).
    GROUPS              Groups of 10 or more save $10 off the adult single ticket price; complimentary ticket available for groups of 15+. For more information, call 510.809.3290.
    Fences Special Events
    First Look, Saturday, July 2, 7-9pm, Bruns Amphitheater
    Get a First Look into the process of creating the production the week before performances begin. Artistic Director Eric Ting will moderate a Q&A with the director and select designers, followed by an opportunity to observe a technical rehearsal. Free and open to the public; to RSVP call 510.899.4840, or email
    Pay-What-You-Can Preview, Wednesday, Jul 6, 8pm
    The first preview of each show is a special Pay-What-You-Can performance. Tickets are first-come, first-served, and available beginning at 6pm day of show only; to purchase, call the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666 or visit the Bruns Amphitheater Box Office. Supply is limited.
    Opening Night Post-Show Party, Jul 9, following the performance
    Experience the excitement of the opening night performance and then mingle with the cast and creative team at a complimentary post-show party.
    Civic Dialogue: “The Construction of Gender: Actualizing Women’s Empowerment”, Impact Hub in Oakland;
    Wednesday, July 11, 5-9pm
    A facilitated discussion to explore representation and societal expectations of women, particularly within the family structure), and the importance of self-determination in creating depictions of women that better explore the intersections of gender and race. This event is free and open to the public; RSVP online at
    Open-captioned performance, Wednesday, Jul 13, 7:30pm
    Special seating and opening-captioning for hearing-impaired patrons, who can read the text and dialogue on a digital screen. Purchase tickets for section A online or call the Box Office at 510.548.9666. For groups of 10 or more, email or call 510.809.3290.
    Meet the Artists, Sundays, Jul 10 and Jul 24, following the 4pm performance
    Audience members enjoy an opportunity to engage in a lively discussion about the production with cast members following select 4pm matinee performances. Free and open to all.
    InSight Matinee, Sunday, Jul 17, following the 4pm matinee
    Explore the world of the play through an informal dialogue with the production’s dramaturg. Free and open to all.
    Grove Talks, 45 minutes before each performance
    Led by resident Grove Talks speakers, these free, informal 20-minute talks are held on site 45 minutes before each and every performance in the ADA-accessible Grove Talk grove, offering invaluable insight into the play and the production.
    Marilyn Langbehn
    Marketing and PR Manager
    California Shakespeare Theater
    Shakespeare’s sharpest comedy
    Cal Shakes debut of Pulitzer-prize winning playwright
    Shaw’s romantic farce for modern audiences
    Eric Ting’s Cal Shakes directorial debut
    May 25–June19
    July 6–31
    Aug 10–Sept 4 
    Sept 14–Oct 9

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  • 06/21/16--08:57: Magazine for Black Parenting
  • BLACK IS BACK: The Incredible Story Behind the Relaunch of the First Parenting Magazine for Black Parents

     Successful Black Parenting magazine, originally founded in 1993 and launched in 1995 with 35,000 issues, debuted as the first national print magazine for African American parents. The founders closed the magazine in 1997. Twenty-one years later, they are bringing it back.
    Continued after the jump ....

    "The time is right to connect with issues being addressed by Black Lives Matter, like the way racism has resurfaced in our society, and to respond to the concerns and aspirations Black parents have about their children's future. There's also a vibrant spirit in our community that continues to work for a better world, so it's the perfect time to relaunch," said Janice Celeste, formerly Janice Robinson-Lopez, one of the founders and editor-in-chief of the magazine. "We started when my children were babies. Now, my three daughters are adults and successful in their career and family lives. I'm even a grandmother now." Success is key to everything Celeste does, right down to her own children. Her oldest daughter has her master's degree, another is a fashion designer and modeling agent, and her youngest daughter is supermodel, Sessilee Lopez, seen on Victoria's Secret runways and on the cover of Vogue. "All families need support. Black families are no different. Children also have to see positive images of themselves in the media," said Celeste, adding, "You cannot be what you cannot see."
    "Recently, Janice and I have been saying, 'If we had had the resources we have today, the magazine would still be on newsstands,'" said Marta Sánchez, the magazine's co-founder and managing editor. Celeste agreed, "Today we have more connections, contacts and access to social media that can get the word out." Sánchez recalled, "This publication was our baby, we saw it walk, then run. At that time, we had just enough money to fail. We financed the venture with our money and donations from family and friends, but what we really needed was a million-dollar budget. We were like two fleas holding on to a bucking bull!"
    Celeste and Sánchez have a big plan. The digital launch comes first with a crowdfunding campaign for research and development for print issues, which will launch in 2018. "Print is evolving," said Celeste. "It's definitely not dead. We have to cater to the needs of different readers, those who prefer digital and those who want to feel the quality of paper in their hands."
    On the website, there is something for everyone. There are columns for single moms to grandparents.  "We are the voice of Black families," said Celeste, "Our magazine advocates for parents—all caregivers—and children. The magazine is just the start of much more to come."
    For updates, sign-up on Successful Black Parenting's website The crowdfunding campaign is set to raise $20k for research and development. A second phase to raise $2m in venture capital is for the print publication. To contribute, visit or (
    Contact: Janice Celeste
    (424) 272-6717
    SOURCE: Successful Black Parenting
    NAPLES, Fla.June 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

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    Justin Desmangles, Jesse Douglas Allen Taylor, Halifu Osumare, Marvin X Jackmon, Ishmael Reed / video by Johnnie Burrell
    Program: Black Hollywood Unchained
    Date: July 3, 2016
    Time: 1:30-3:30 PM
    Location: Koret Auditorium (Lower Level of the San Francisco Public Library) 100 Larkin St.
    In Black Hollywood Unchained, Ishmael Reed gathers an impressive group of scholars, critics, intellectuals, and artists to examine and respond to the contemporary portrayals of Blacks in films. Using the 2012 release of the film Django Unchained as the focal point of much of the discussion, these essays and reviews provide a critical perspective on the challenges facing filmmakers and actors when confronted with issues on race and the historical portrayal of African American characters. Reed also addresses the black community's perceptiveness as discerning and responsible consumers of film, theatre, art, and music.

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     Who built this plantation house? Why would the white man build while he had free labor?

    If Blacks are criminals in America, how did we get to America? Who brought us here and why?
    Who was the captain on the Good Ship Jesus? Who had a miraculous conversion and wrote Amazing Grace, a song Africans should never sing? Who made us preach one sermon: Servants be obedient to your masters?
    The white man brought us here by kidnapping us from Africa in conspiracy with ruling class Africans who benefited as much from the slave trade as the white man.
    But who pimped us in America for four hundred years, who made us work the cotton, sugarcane and rice fields, build houses and buildings (including the White House), cook, nurse his little devil babies, who fucked our women, men and children at will on a daily basis but killed us for looking at his woman?

    Who cut off our hands when we were caught reading and writing? Who assassinated us for talking about freedom, justice and equality? Who made us ignorant in public schools? Who taught us lies in school that made us believe we were lazy, docile, passive, submissive slaves who sometimes refused to work for nothing, not even a food stamp.

    Who sold us on the auction block on New Year's Day, the most dreaded day in the life of a slave, i.e., African caught in the American slave system (Ed Howard term)? Who makes us celebrate New Year's Day in our abysmal ignorance of what that day meant to our ancestors? Who calls our celebrations and family outtings "Picknics" or Pick a Nigger and lynch him in a celebration that was often a family outing?

    Who kills us daily for driving while Black, walking while Black, singing and playing music while Black? Who robs us then calls us criminals? Who aborts our babies, imprisons our men, women and children for economic crimes, mental illness and drug addiction? Who brings drugs into our communities then blames us for being drug addicts? Who kills us under the color of law but is horrified when we retaliate? Who doesn't believe what goes around comes around?
    --Marvin X

    (All thinking people
    oppose terrorism
    both domestic
    & international…
    But one should not
    be used
    To cover the other)

    They say its some terrorist, some
    A Rab, in
    It wasn't our American terrorists
    It wasn't the Klan or the Skin heads
    Or the them that blows up nigger
    Churches, or reincarnates us on Death Row
    It wasn't Trent Lott
    Or David Duke or Giuliani
    Or Schundler, Helms retiring

    It wasn't
    the gonorrhea in costume
    the white sheet diseases
    That have murdered black people
    Terrorized reason and sanity
    Most of humanity, as they pleases

    They say (who say? Who do the saying
    Who is them paying
    Who tell the lies
    Who in disguise
    Who had the slaves
    Who got the bux out the Bucks

    Who got fat from plantations
    Who genocided Indians
    Tried to waste the Black nation

    Who live on Wall Street
    The first plantation
    Who cut your nuts off
    Who rape your ma
    Who lynched your pa

    Who got the tar, who got the feathers
    Who had the match, who set the fires
    Who killed and hired
    Who say they God & still be the Devil

    Who the biggest only
    Who the most goodest
    Who do Jesus resemble

    Who created everything
    Who the smartest
    Who the greatest
    Who the richest
    Who say you ugly and they the goodlookingest

    Who define art
    Who define science

    Who made the bombs
    Who made the guns

    Who bought the slaves, who sold them

    Who called you them names
    Who say Dahmer wasn't insane

    Who/ Who / Who/

    Who stole Puerto Rico
    Who stole the Indies, the Philipines, Manhattan
    Australia & The Hebrides
    Who forced opium on the Chinese

    Who own them buildings
    Who got the money
    Who think you funny
    Who locked you up
    Who own the papers

    Who owned the slave ship
    Who run the army

    Who the fake president
    Who the ruler
    Who the banker

    Who/ Who/ Who/

    Who own the mine
    Who twist your mind
    Who got bread
    Who need peace
    Who you think need war

    Who own the oil
    Who do no toil
    Who own the soil
    Who is not a nigger
    Who is so great ain't nobody bigger

    Who own this city

    Who own the air
    Who own the water

    Who own your crib
    Who rob and steal and cheat and murder
    and make lies the truth
    Who call you uncouth

    Who live in the biggest house
    Who do the biggest crime
    Who go on vacation anytime

    Who killed the most niggers
    Who killed the most Jews
    Who killed the most Italians
    Who killed the most Irish
    Who killed the most Africans
    Who killed the most Japanese
    Who killed the most Latinos


    Who own the ocean

    Who own the airplanes
    Who own the malls
    Who own television
    Who own radio

    Who own what ain't even known to be owned
    Who own the owners that ain't the real owners

    Who own the suburbs
    Who suck the cities
    Who make the laws

    Who made Bush president
    Who believe the confederate flag need to be flying
    Who talk about democracy and be lying

    Who the Beast in Revelations
    Who 666
    Who decide
    Jesus get crucified

    Who the Devil on the real side
    Who got rich from Armenian genocide

    Who the biggest terrorist
    Who change the bible
    Who killed the most people
    Who do the most evil
    Who don't worry about survival

    Who have the colonies
    Who stole the most land
    Who rule the world
    Who say they good but only do evil
    Who the biggest executioner

    Who/Who/Who ^^^

    Who own the oil
    Who want more oil
    Who told you what you think that later you find out a lie
    Who/ Who/ ???

    Who fount Bin Laden, maybe they Satan
    Who pay the CIA,
    Who knew the bomb was gonna blow
    Who know why the terrorists
    Learned to fly in Florida, San Diego

    Who know why Five Israelis was filming the explosion
    And cracking they sides at the notion

    Who need fossil fuel when the sun ain't goin' nowhere

    Who make the credit cards
    Who get the biggest tax cut
    Who walked out of the Conference
    Against Racism
    Who killed Malcolm, Kennedy & his Brother
    Who killed Dr King, Who would want such a thing?
    Are they linked to the murder of Lincoln?

    Who invaded Grenada
    Who made money from apartheid
    Who keep the Irish a colony
    Who overthrow Chile and Nicaragua later

    Who killed David Sibeko, Chris Hani,
    the same ones who killed Biko, Cabral,
    Neruda, Allende, Che Guevara, Sandino,

    Who killed Kabila, the ones who wasted Lumumba, Mondlane , Betty Shabazz, Princess Margaret, Ralph Featherstone, Little Bobby

    Who locked up Mandela, Dhoruba, Geronimo,
    Assata, Mumia,Garvey, Dashiell Hammett, Alphaeus Hutton

    Who killed Huey Newton, Fred Hampton,
    MedgarEvers, Mikey Smith, Walter Rodney,
    Was it the ones who tried to poison Fidel
    Who tried to keep the Vietnamese Oppressed

    Who put a price on Lenin's head

    Who put the Jews in ovens,
    and who helped them do it
    Who said "America First"
    and ok'd the yellow stars
    WHO/WHO/ ^^

    Who killed Rosa Luxembourg, Liebneckt
    Who murdered the Rosenbergs
    And all the good people iced,
    tortured , assassinated, vanished

    Who got rich from Algeria, Libya, Haiti,
    Iran, Iraq, Saudi, Kuwait, Lebanon,
    Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine,

    Who cut off peoples hands in the Congo
    Who invented Aids Who put the germs
    In the Indians' blankets
    Who thought up "The Trail of Tears"

    Who blew up the Maine
    & started the Spanish American War
    Who got Sharon back in Power
    Who backed Batista, Hitler, Bilbo,
    Chiang kai Chek who WHO W H O/

    Who decided Affirmative Action had to go
    Reconstruction, The New Deal, The New
    Frontier, The Great Society,

    Who do Tom Ass Clarence Work for
    Who doo doo come out the Colon's mouth
    Who know what kind of Skeeza is a Condoleeza
    Who pay Connelly to be a wooden negro
    Who give Genius Awards to Homo Locus

    Who overthrew Nkrumah, Bishop,
    Who poison Robeson,
    who try to put DuBois in Jail
    Who frame Rap Jamil al Amin, Who frame the Rosenbergs, Garvey,
    The Scottsboro Boys, The Hollywood Ten

    Who set the Reichstag Fire

    Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed
    Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers
    To stay home that day
    Why did Sharon stay away ?
    Who,Who, Who/
    explosion of Owl the newspaper say
    the devil face cd be seen Who WHO Who WHO

    Who make money from war
    Who make dough from fear and lies
    Who want the world like it is
    Who want the world to be ruled by imperialism and national oppression and terror
    violence, and hunger and poverty.

    Who is the ruler of Hell?
    Who is the most powerful

    Who you know ever
    Seen God?

    But everybody seen
    The Devil

    Like an Owl exploding
    In your life in your brain in your self
    Like an Owl who know the devil
    All night, all day if you listen, Like an Owl
    Exploding in fire. We hear the questions rise
    In terrible flame like the whistle of a crazy dog

    Like the acid of the fire of Hell
    Who and Who and WHO (+) who who ^
    Whoooo and Whooooooooooooooooooooo!

    AMIRI B 10/01

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  • 07/10/16--07:21: Amiri Baraka - Dope

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