As we gather to remember and mark the 25th anniversary of the 1992 Los Angeles Revolt and to discuss the course of history after it, it is important to place it in the context of the long history of Black resistance in which revolt is a central and defining feature. Indeed, ours is a history of resistance through which revolts run like a bright red line, stretching from the age of colonialism, imperialism and the Holocaust of enslavement through segregation and the Black Freedom Movement of the 60s to the revolts and other forms of resistance in our time, from Ferguson onward. Such critical remembering is at the heart of the article below, previously published as a 20th anniversary assessment and reveals how history does not exactly repeat itself, but retains features of things and thoughts which remain stubbornly among us and require continuing righteous resistance for their …
It has been rightfully remembered and necessarily noted that this month marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s classic anti-war speech, April 4, 1967, a year to the day of his assassination and martyrdom. It was titled “Beyond Vietnam—A Time to Break Silence” and offered reasons of moral conscience and a rightful reading of history for why people of conscience were morally obligated to oppose the Vietnam war and by implication war in general as a way to solve human problems. Surely, in times like these, we are compelled to re-read King and reaffirm in practice his legacy of steadfast resistance.
One of the major points King makes in his speech is the need for America to move away from its political myths about itself and face the facts concerning its self-deception, its worship of wealth, its addiction to violence and its unhealthy commitment to racism, militarism …
Among the sacred names of our honored ancestors which we raise and praise this month, let us pay homage and pour libation for Paul Robeson (April 9, 1898—January 23, 1976), a truly Imhotepian man, in the classical African sense of the word, i.e., a master of many disciplines of knowledge and skilled practice directed toward bringing good in the world. Indeed, he was a critically acclaimed actor, singer, scholar, civil and human rights activist, orator and advocate of workers and everyday people everywhere. However, it is important to note that it is not simply his professional excellence and achievement which made him who he was and won for him accolades, honors and reverent respect around the world, but also his profound and steadfast commitment to his principles and his people and to humanity as a whole, especially ordinary, everyday people.
Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune paid Robeson a great and deserved …
In the month of remembering, reading and raising up the work and life of August Wilson (April 27, 1945-October 2, 2005), arguably the most successful and celebrated playwright in U.S. history, one is unavoidably impressed with his unswerving, deep-rooted love and appreciation of his people and culture as the central source of his grounding, his expansive grasp of human life and his impressive creative production. Indeed, he said of Black people and his work, “What I tried to do…in all my works is to reveal the richness of the lives of the people who show that the largest ideas are contained in their lives and that there is a nobility to their lives.”
It is this unquestioning, uncompromising, richly unlimited valuing of our people and their culture that not only defines Wilson’s work, but serves as a model of excellence worthy of preservation, emulation and transmission to this and future …
Like all the great men and women who compose and construct this sacred narrative we know as our history, African history, both the life and death of Martin Luther King Jr. offer us valuable lessons on not only how we should live our lives, but also those things to which and for which we will give our lives. King’s death for us cannot be simply summed up as an assassination; for that is what the oppressor and his collaborators did. And we do not deny it or play down its evil. But to focus on what they did is to overlook and lessen the importance of what King did. For he gave his life so we could live fuller and freer ones. And it is this self-giving for us and the greater causes of life that we call and honor as martyrdom.
The anniversary of the martyrdom and assassination …
It is a fundamental tenet of Kawaida philosophy that practice proves and makes possible everything, that is to say, practice brings it into being, makes it real, relevant and worthy of the name and quality it claims, whether it is love or life, parenting or peace, teaching or learning, art or ethics, science, religion or righteous resistance. And so, in this month of March which pays rightful and focused attention and homage to women and calls for recommitment to secure their rights, respect their dignity and address adequately their rightful needs and aspirations, the question is always of how this is translated in practice, how is it brought into being and made real and worthy of its name and claims?
Here Kawaida calls on us, as always, to dialog with our culture, to ask it questions and seek from it answers to the fundamental issues facing us, African people and …
There is an increasing sense among those most thoughtful and active among us that the important issues raised and the struggle rightfully waged against the tragedy and catastrophe we call Trump, marginalizes and misses the major issues that define and drive our own righteous and relentless struggle as a people. Also, it seems that too often we find ourselves supporting groups that don’t support us in a similar manner and don’t involve us in the planning and leadership on critical issues of concern to all.
Such problematic practice and behavior leaves us with equally problematic options: passively supporting others without reciprocal support; struggling with reputed allies and coalition partners for rightful representation in planning and leadership and even presence and position on stage—or not participating in initiatives around issues of shared interests and not building necessary alliances and coalitions.
Clearly, non-engagement in the issues that affect our destiny and daily …
This is the month and year that marks the 52nd anniversary of the martyrdom and murder of Malcolm X, his assassination and ultimate sacrifice for the love and liberation of his people and the advancement of the cause of human freedom and flourishing in the world. For Us and our people, Africans everywhere, he will always be in the words of the sacred Husia: “a glorious spirit in heaven and a continuing powerful presence on earth. He shall be counted and honored among the ancestors. His name shall endure as a monument and what he has done on earth shall never perish or pass away.”
On this 52nd anniversary of his sacrifice and in the midst of our continuous resistance and the rising hurricane of hatred and oppression surrounding us, we rightly raise and praise his name, hold him up as a mirror and model of how …
If we are to know ourselves rightly, honor our history, radically improve our present and forge a future worthy of the names African and human, then we must reaffirm and renew our moral and social vanguard role, and wage righteous and relentless resistance to evil and injustice everywhere. And put forth in plan and practice a new history and hope for our people and humankind. In the months of February and March, which we of Us have designated as Black History Month I (General Focus) and Black History Month II (Women Focus), our people have set aside time and space to celebrate ourselves “in history” and “as history.” For we are producers and products of this sacred narrative, and the subject and center of this awesome record and struggle, the most ancient of human histories.
In this sacred narrative which we tell and teach as African history, we speak poetry …
Dr. Maulana Karenga
The New Year, as always, no doubt found many of us joining in the larger society ritual of resolution-making which is more an expression of habit and hope than rightful reflection and steadfast resolve. Moreover, it is often essentially personal without proper linkage to the larger issues of community, society and the world. But for us as African people, there is an obligation rooted in our history and reaffirmed in our struggle, to take a more serious approach to this period and time of turning. As the ancestors said, this is the time when the edges of the years meet and this calls for rightful attentiveness to the health and wholeness of our people and the world and to recommitment and continuing struggle to bring, increase, and sustain good in the world.
It is a fundamental Kawaida contention that we must bear the burden and glory of …
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