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I couldn't comprehend how Mobutu, Kasavubu, and Tshombe could be so wicked

to conspire with the white man to kill their brother. It would take the black

hands of Malcolm's murderers for me to begin to understand.

 

 

Books by Marvin X

Love and War: Poems  / In the Crazy House Called America / Woman: Man's Best Friend Beyond Religion Toward Spirituality

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Lumumba: A Film by Raoul Peck

Reviewed By Marvin X

 

Note: We send out this review on the 50th anniversary of independence in the Congo. Lumumba said he was fifty years ahead of his time, and so it is. But even fifty years later the same problems of poverty, ignorance, and disease remain. The Europeans are still there stealing the wealth, although the Chinese have entered the drama. Hopefully, with the Chinese, in exchange for precious minerals, there shall be construction and reconstruction, although we don't understand with a population of seventy million mostly unemployed why Chinese laborers are needed. There seems little jubilation among the population. One Congolese said, "After fifty years of independence, happiness has come to the man in charge and those around him—they eat well and are well paid."—mx

My African consciousness began with the murder of Patrice Lumumba. After high school graduation, I enrolled at Oakland's Merritt College and found myself in the midst of the black revolutionary student movement. Students Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Richard Thorne, Maurice Dawson, Kenny Freeman, Ernie Allen, Ann Williams, Carol Freeman and others were rapping daily on the steps at the front door of Merritt College. Some of them wore sweatshirts with Jomo Kenyatta's picture, sold by Donald Warden's African American Association, which held meetings on campus, and sometimes Donald Warden, renamed Khalid Abdullah Tariq Al Mansour, rapped. The theme was often the African independence struggle, especially the Mau Mau's in Kenya.

But a frequent topic was the 1961 brutal murder of the democratically elected Congolese Prime Minister,  Patrice Lumumba. The brothers were well read and in their raps they documented the facts and figures of the African liberation struggle. They gave reference to such books as Kwame Nkrumah's Neo-Colonialism: the last stage of imperialism, where he documented the riches of Africa, especially the Congo, that the West coveted and committed mass murder to maintain. Patrice Lumumba was the first African leader I'd known about who was assassinated, and the brutal way he was eliminated helped expedite my African consciousness, especially learning how his so-called comrades betrayed him to continue the Western world's plunder of the Congo's vast mineral riches.

On one level, it was hard to believe, since I was attempting to get blackenized and didn't want to face the reality of black treachery. As students, most of us were Black nationalists, not yet the revolutionary black nationalists we would soon become, that allowed some of us to employ a class or Marxist analysis to the Pan African struggle, which Nkrumah's writings brought to the table.

The brothers leaning in the Marxist direction were Ken Freeman, Ernie Allen, and maybe Bobby Seale, all of whom were associated with SoulBook magazine, a revolutionary black nationalist publication featuring the writings of LeRoi Jones, James Boggs, Max Stanford, Robert F. Williams, Sonia Sanchez, Askia M. Touré, myself and others, although I was a budding writer, just out of high school and knew nothing about Marxism.

If I had, it would have helped me understand the class nature of Lumumba's final days. I couldn't comprehend how Mobutu, Kasavubu, and Tshombe could be so wicked to conspire with the white man to kill their brother. It would take the black hands of Malcolm's murderers for me to begin to understand.

Actually, I wouldn't fully understand until years later after reading a monograph by Dr. Walter Rodney, himself the victim of assassination in Guyana, South America, entitled West Africa and the Atlantic Slave Trade, in which he carefully deconstructed African social classes and their role in the slave trade, detailing how the political, military, judicial, and even religious institutions became corrupt and expedited our removal from the Motherland.

Amiri Baraka  sings to us:

My brother the king
Sold me to the ghost
When you put your hand on your sister and made her a slave
When you put your hand on your brother and made him a slave
Watch out for the ghost
The ghost go get you Africa
At the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean
Is a railroad of human bones
the king sold the farmer to the ghost. . . .

It is hard to believe it has been forty years since the death of Lumumba, maybe because in the interim we've had innumerable cases in Africa and even in America of similar acts of treachery. Supposedly black ministers were involved in the death of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Black elected politicians have been selling out the black community for at least the past thirty years, especially since the 1972 Gary Convention of the Congress of African People. We have no choice but to see our struggle as class struggle, race being incidental.

We cannot have any illusions that a black face will save us, only black hearts. Those who study the Bible and Qur'an know the history of all men is the story of treachery, deceit, lust, greed, jealousy, envy and murder—but the glass can be seen as half full: the history of man is also about good transcending evil, liberation defeating oppression, ascension after crucifixion, joy after sorrow, victory over defeat. Yet, how many prophets survived? How many righteous people survived and continued in their righteousness, rather than succumb to iniquities?

Men of Lumumba's character are rare upon the stage of history, men dedicated to the liberation of their people, men who are confident that no matter how great the odds, freedom will come soon one morning.

Raoul Peck's film was depressing because it showed a leader in an Indiana Jones snake pit full of vipers and cobras of the worse sort, snakes who danced to the rhythm of Western drums, not those of the mighty Congo, for Lumumba's mission appeared doomed from the start, he said himself that he was fifty years ahead of his time. This may have been the truest statement of the movie, for only ten years remain before the half-century mark in the modern history of the Congo or Zaire. Maybe in the last ten years of his prophecy, the people of Zaire will become truly free.

What the movie failed to give us were the deep structure motivations for the behavior of men like Kasavubu, Tshombe, and Mobutu. Yes, the Europeans were there, had been there stealing the wealth, especially of Katanga Province which held 70% of the nation's riches, but we needed to see the very beginning with Belgium King Leopold's butchery, including his role in the European carving up of Africa at the 1890s Berlin Conference. We need to know the custom of chopping off limbs so in vogue today with diamond seeking armies in Zaire, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and elsewhere originated with King Leopold. Only then can the unaware and unread understand what demonic forces created such inhuman beings as the three main characters that surrounded Lumumba and ultimately brought about his downfall. From the movie we are tempted to say his own people did him in, but we know better, we must know better—think of diamonds, chrome, uranium, plutonium, cobalt, zinc, and other minerals.

Look at Zaire today with several competing armies from neighboring countries (Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, et al) warring over the same minerals for the same European masters who instigated the treacherous actions of Kasavubu, Tshombe and Mobutu. Their names have a poetic ring that we should remember forever as the sound of death in a people, the sound of condensation and the lowest rats in creation, but understand they represent class interests and their class mates are visible throughout Africa and the world, even in the American political landscape: we have Clarence Thomas, Ward Connelly, and Colin Powell—new world rats, but rats none the less, who are every bit the measure of the Congo Three.

And let us not forget the reactionary behavior in the black liberation movement, the murder by incineration of Samuel Napier in the Black Panther fratricide, the assassination of Bunchy Carter and John Huggins by the US organization in the BSU meeting room on the campus of UCLA, the Muslims setting a prostitute on fire in San Francisco and other terrorists actions such as the Zebra killings.

Even the Black Arts Movement had its psychopathic shootouts with the wounding of Larry Neal and other acts we need not list. Shall we neglect to mention the hip hop generation also has its catalogue of madness such as the east coast/west coast killing of rap giants Tupac and Biggie Smalls. Let Lumumba be a lesson for us all. Let's learn from it and move to higher ground. Some of our madness is simply that—we cannot attribute all evil acts of man to white oppression, although white oppression is inexcusable. We must take responsibility for Black Madness.

We are happy the director created a screen version of this historic drama. The actors made us feel the good in Lumumba and the evil in his associates, black and white, for the whites performed their usual roles as arrogant, paternalistic colonial masters whose aim was to hold power until the last second as we saw when they released Lumumba from prison to attend independence talks in Belgium. We saw the stark contrast of character in the speeches of Lumumba as prime minister and Kasavubu as president. Lumumba was strong, Kassavubu capitulating even on the eve of freedom, signaling his intent to remain a colonial puppet.

For those who came away like myself, and one could sense the sad silence in the audience as they departed the theatre, a friend remarked that we must not give up hope because the enemy will never tell you when you are winning.

© 2002 by Marvin X

For more writings and/or information on Marvin X go to BlackbirdPressNews  / Parables and Fables of Marvin X

posted 1 July 2010

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Lumumba: A Film by Raoul Peck

Raoul Peck tells the story of the African freedom fighter Patrice Lumumba with fire and grace. The opening scene sets the vérité tone with the sound of a saw cutting through bone; two Belgian soldiers are breaking down Lumumba's body and incinerating it in a ten-gallon drum. From there, the film backtracks to the origins of the Congolese independence movement and proceeds to explain how a man's legacy could be considered so threatening. Peck handles all of this, including the atrocities, with refinement, and lets the drama of Lumumba's story run smoothly, free of heavy historical detail. Eriq Ebouaney is extraordinary in the lead role, the production feels emotionally true, and the speeches generate spontaneous applause. Only the ending comes off as too hopeful, as we know that with Lumumba's death, the regime of Mobuto began. In French and Lingala.—Michael Agger, The New Yorker

Made in the tradition of such true-life political thrillers as MALCOLM X and JFK, Raoul Peck's award-winning LUMUMBA is a gripping epic that dramatizes for the first time the rise and fall of legendary African leader Patrice Lumumba. When the Congo declared its independence from Belgium in 1960, the 36-year-old, self-educated Lumumba became the first Prime Minister of the newly independent state. Called "the politico of the bush" by journalists of the day, he became a lightning rod of Cold War politics as his vision of a united Africa gained him powerful enemies in Belgium and the U.S. Lumumba would last just months in office before being brutally assassinated. Strikingly photographed in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Belgium as civil war once again raged in the Congo, the film vividly re-creates the shocking events behind the birth of the country that became Zaire during the reign of Lumumba's former friend and eventual nemesis, Joseph Mobutu. This is the English-dubbed version of the film.—Amazon.com

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Cuba An African Odyssey is the previously untold story of Cuba's support for African revolutions.

Cuba: An African Odyssey is the story of the Cold War told through the prism of its least known arena: Africa. It is the untold story of Cuba’s support for African revolutions.  It is the story of men like Patrice Lumumba, Amilcar Cabral, Agosthino Neto and of course Che Guevara who have become icons, mythical figures whose names are now synonymous with the word revolution. This is the story of how these men, caught between capitalism and communism, strove to create a third bloc that would assert the simple principle of national independence.  It is the story of a whole dimension of world politics during the last half of the 20th century, which has been hidden behind the facade of a simplistic understanding of superpower conflict.

Cuba: An African Odyssey will tell the inside story of only three of these Cuban escapades. We will start with the Congo where Che Guevara personally spent seven months fighting with the Pro-Lumumbist rebellion in the jungle of Eastern Congo. Then to Guinea Bissau where Amilcar Cabral used the technical support of Cuban advisors to bleed the Portuguese colonial war machine thus toppling the regime in Europe. Finally, Angola where in total 380,000 Cuban soldiers fought during the 27 years of civil war. The Cuban withdrawal from Angola was finally bartered against Namibia’s independence. With Namibia’s independence came the fall of Apartheid… the last vestige of colonialism on the African continent.

Cuba: An African Odyssey unravels episodes of the Cold War long believed to be nothing but proxy wars. From the tragicomic epic of Che Guevara in Congo to the triumph at the battle of Cuito Carnavale in Angola, this film attempts to understand the world today through the saga of these internationalists who won every battle but finally lost the war.

Credits: Written, directed and narrated by Jihan El-Tahri / Edited by Gilles Bovon / Photography by Frank-Peter Lehmann

Sound Recordists: James Baker, Graciela Barrault / Produced by Tancrède Ramonet, Benoît Juster, Jihan El-Tahri

Source: Snagfilms

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King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa

By Adam Hochschild

King Leopold of Belgium, writes historian Adam Hochschild in this grim history, did not much care for his native land or his subjects, all of which he dismissed as "small country, small people." Even so, he searched the globe to find a colony for Belgium, frantic that the scramble of other European powers for overseas dominions in Africa and Asia would leave nothing for himself or his people. When he eventually found a suitable location in what would become the Belgian Congo, later known as Zaire and now simply as Congo, Leopold set about establishing a rule of terror that would culminate in the deaths of 4 to 8 million indigenous people, "a death toll," Hochschild writes, "of Holocaust dimensions."

Those who survived went to work mining ore or harvesting rubber, yielding a fortune for the Belgian king, who salted away billions of dollars in hidden bank accounts throughout the world. Hochschild's fine book of historical inquiry, which draws heavily on eyewitness accounts of the colonialists' savagery, brings this little-studied episode in European and African history into new light.—Gregory McNamee

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Black Arts Movement (Kalamu)  The Black Arts Movement (Smethurst)  The Black Arts Movement  (Larry Neal)

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Marcus Garvey "Africa For The Africans"  /  Look For Me in The Whirlwind 

 Marcus Mosiah Garvey  / Marucs Garvey Speech

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Sonata Mulattica: Poems

By Rita Dove

This 12th collection from the former U.S. poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize recipient is her third book-length narrative poem: it follows the real career of the violin prodigy George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower (1780–1860), a former pupil of Haydn, as well as the grandson/ of an African prince, or so his promoters and teachers in England said. Moving to Vienna during the Napoleonic Wars, the violinist met and befriended the famously moody Beethoven, who was prepared to dedicate his famously difficult Kreutzer Sonata to Bridgetower until a rivalry for the same woman drove them apart. Dove tells Bridgetower's story, and some of Beethoven's and Haydn's, in a heterogenous profusion of short poems, some almost prosy, some glittering in their technique. In quatrains, a double villanelle, what looks like found text, short lines splayed all over a page and attractive description, Dove renders Bridgetower's frustrated genius: Music played for the soul is sheer pleasure;/ to play merely for pleasure is nothing/ but work. Dove does not always achieve such subtleties—those who loved her early work may think this book too long: few, though, will doubt the seriousness of her effort, her interest at once in the history of classical music and the changing meanings of race.—Publishers Weekly

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Hopes and Prospects

By Noam Chomsky

In this urgent new book, Noam Chomsky surveys the dangers and prospects of our early twenty-first century. Exploring challenges such as the growing gap between North and South, American exceptionalism (including under President Barack Obama), the fiascos of Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S.-Israeli assault on Gaza, and the recent financial bailouts, he also sees hope for the future and a way to move forward—in the democratic wave in Latin America and in the global solidarity movements that suggest "real progress toward freedom and justice." Hopes and Prospects is essential reading for anyone who is concerned about the primary challenges still facing the human race. "This is a classic Chomsky work: a bonfire of myths and lies, sophistries and delusions. Noam Chomsky is an enduring inspiration all over the world—to millions, I suspect—for the simple reason that he is a truth-teller on an epic scale. I salute him." —John Pilger

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The Shameful Life of Salvador Dali

By Ian Gibson

In his detailed and excellent book on Dali, Ian Gibson has documented Dali’s identification with fascism in Spain from the very beginning. During the civil war, Dali never came out in support of the Republic.  He did not collaborate, for example, in the Paris Fair in 1937, where Picasso presented his Guernica, aimed at raising funds for the Republican cause.  And he soon made explicit his sympathies for the fascist coup of 1936 and for the dictatorship that it established in a letter to Buñuel, a well-known filmmaker in Spain.  He made explicit and known his admiration for the figure and writing of the founder of the Spanish fascist party (La Falange), José Antonio Primo de Rivera, and used in his speeches and writings the fascist narrative and expressions (such as the fascist call “Arriba España”), referring to the special role Spain had in promoting the imperial dreams over other nations. 

He sympathized with the anti-Semitic views of Hitler and celebrated Franco’s alliance with Hitler and Mussolini against France, Great Britain and the United States.  He also welcomed the “solution to the national problem” in vogue in Nazi and fascist circles at that time. Dali became the major defender of the Franco dictatorship in the artistic world. 

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How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

By Walter Rodney

The late Guyanese writer, Walter Rodney had left us his great insights regarding the reasons for the underdevelopment of the African continent. His work finds equal footing with those of Frantz Fanon and to an extent that of the late Brazilian author and social activist, Paulo Freire in attempting to provide a critical insight, and a gainful analysis to the situation and reasons for the poverty on the African continent. This analysis, whether one agrees with its conclusions or not provides a means towards looking at the stalk realities of African underdevelopment. Rodney thesis that the trans-atlantic slave trade diminished the African manpower to attain development cannot be easily pushed under the carpet. Development is how a people within the means available to them, within their eco-context utilize their knowledge for the good of the totality. When their people is afflicted with disease or mass uprooting there is bound to be both biological and social ripple effects that would affect both the pace and nature of development. It is here that we realize that Rodney's proposition underlines a crucial factor in explaining the reasons for the African state.

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Malcolm X

A Life of Reinvention

By Manning Marable

Years in the making-the definitive biography of the legendary black activist.

Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins' bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.

Manning Marable's new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties.

Reaching into Malcolm's troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents' activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake.

She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost

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Natives of My Person

By George Lamming

Natives of My Person focuses on slave traders of the sixteenth century. The novel reconstructs the voyage of the ship Reconnaissance, which is led by a character known as the Commandant. To atone for his past cruelties and barbarism, the Commandant plans to establish a Utopian society on the island of San Cristobal. The enterprise fails for many reasons: fighting amongst the crew, loss of interest, greed, and an inability to erase the past. The novel argues that an ideal society cannot be built by those who have committed moral atrocities and unnecessary bloodshed in their past. . . . Although Natives of My Person has a historical setting and deals with the voyage of the Reconnaissance, a vessel ostensibly engaged in the slave trade, a specific historical phenomenon, it is only partly accurate to describe it as a work of historical realism. Its realist component is not to be found in its fidelity to period costume, living conditions, or similar revealing detail. Instead of the veneer of verisimilitude that such usages provide, the novel locates its realism in the way in which it elaborately recapitulates an outlook.

George Lamming: Contemporary Criticism

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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update 13 August  2012

 

 

 

Home  Marvin X Table

Related files:  Lumumba A Biography   Independence Day Speech   Letter to Pauline    Lumumba: A Film by Raoul Peck   Tin Mines War Murder Rape Cell Phones

African Background of the Negro   African Renaissance  Kwame Nkrumah, Kenyatta, and the Old Order  For Kwame Nkrumah  Responsibility of a Pan-African Socialist