ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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More than his athletic prowess, Jack Johnson symbolized the liberation of black manhood,

for he let it be known he was indeed free to do what he pleased by any means necessary.

In short, he was fearless. We would not see such fearlessness until Black Panther

Huey Newton drew his pump shotgun on a pig in San Francisco



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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Parable of July 4, 1910

By Marvin X


As Oakland braces for a possible riot in response to the verdict in the Oscar Grant murder trial, let us recall another date in American history that shall live in infamy, July 4, 1910. On this day a century ago, Jack Johnson whupped a white man's ass to become the first black heavyweight champion of the world. What followed his victory was one of the bloodiest days in American history as whites attacked blacks in mob fashion and killed them in vengeance, jealousy, and envy.

Jack Johnson was a big, black, bold, arrogant, uppity North American African who terrified racist whites with his bravado. Unashamedly, he paraded through the streets in his expensive cars full of white women. The USA created a law just for him, the Mann Act or White Slavery, to prevent persons from crossing state lines allegedly for prostitution. Jack left the country but eventually returned to face prison time for his "crimes." There is presently a petition before President Obama to exonerate Jack Johnson posthumously.

More than his athletic prowess, Jack Johnson symbolized the liberation of black manhood, for he let it be known he was indeed free to do what he pleased by any means necessary. In short, he was fearless. We would not see such fearlessness until Black Panther Huey Newton drew his pump shotgun on a pig in San Francisco. In that moment, the black man retrieved his nuts from the sand. But today in Oakland we seem to have retreated and the enemy has advanced. We have a black mayor and police chief, yet blacks are being crucified by the police. It is as though the Black Panthers were never here. Is this due to a collective amnesia, a political anorexia? There is most definitely a paralysis in collective action.

Where is the boldness of Jack Johnson, Huey Newton? This July 4th weekend, where is the liberation message of Frederick Douglas? Douglas questioned the entire foundation of July 4, 1776.

Where were you, July 4, 1776
in the celebration
on the plantation
where were you, July 4, 1776.... mx

What is the Declaration of Independence to a slave, or for that matter, to a descendant of slaves in 2010? Indeed, we have made great strides, we have a black President, but he seems to get cut down at every turn, much like Jack Johnson. And in the end, he may be crucified, much like Jack Johnson, or for that matter, Oscar Grant. His generals mock him and Tea Party trailer house trash whites want to lynch him.

Here in Oakland, the consensus was that the judge in the Oscar Grant murder trial would not release the verdict until after the 4th of July weekend for fear of racial disturbances since anger, money, alcohol, and guns might be a potent mix in the hood during the holiday weekend. In fact, the jury did not go into deliberation until late Friday.

Perhaps we need to ponder the meaning of July 4th this weekend, for the coming week may portend ominous events here in Oakland, the very meaning of justice may be ridiculed from the courthouse itself. The judge and jury may very well slam dunk justice in the face of the righteous. Just know for every action there is a corresponding and equal reaction. It may not be immediate, but it is sure to come.

3 July 2010

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Parable of Oakland A Beautiful Day in the Bay

Today, Friday, July 2, 2010, was a beautiful day in the Bay. No matter the siege of police terrorizing the hood, as per usual, but even more so in anticipation of violence when the verdict is announced in the murder trial of the BART police officer who murdered Oscar Grant in cold blood while he lay handcuffed on his belly, shot in the back by a brute beast in blue uniform.

Today, was a beautiful day in the Bay. The sun came out early, the fog disappeared before morning. What a blessing to see the sun, to feel the ocean breeze off the Bay waters. The Oakland/Berkeley hills in the background. It doesn't get better than this anywhere in the world. The Bay is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Yes, San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities on earth. And no one loves San Francisco more than Plato Negro. It is a hustler's paradise and he was king of the hustler's, controlling the lucrative Union Square area as if he owned the turf, rending out blocks of turf to street vendorsand this was during his tenure on Crack, but even then he was called the richest Negro in downtown San Francisco by the old me who watched him hustle at Market and Powell. The old men say he made three hundred dollars per hour hustling on the street at the Cable Car turn-a-round. Even Dr. Nathan Hare tells how he bought sunglasses from Marvin X at Market and Powell. And when it rained, he sold umbrellas. At the 1984 Democratic convention, he sold political buttons. The San Francisco Chronicle called him the Button King.

That was long ago. It is 2010 and Marvin X, aka Plato Negro, is in Oakland at 14th and Broadway, location of his Academy of Da Corner. Writer Ishmael Reed observed him at work and said he was Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland. Ishmael said, "If you want to learn about motivation and inspiration, don't spend all that money attending workshops and seminars, just go stand at 14th and Broadway and watch Marvin X at work."

Marvin X was at work today. There was a riot at his Academy of Da Corner. No, there was no gathering across the street at Frank Ogawa Plaza in front of City Hall where the people shall meet at 6pm on the day the verdict is announced, although the media was there is full force anticipating the verdict, along with a contingent of police throughout the downtown area, although many shops and businesses were closed as they were directed to do from City Hall. Many workers had the day off.

Marvin X arrived at his Academy of Da Corner early and began giving out 11x17 posters of Oscar Grant with X's parable of Oakland Police Riot on the backside. Some people gave donations, but most of the posters were given away freely as per his custom.

The reason he calls this the most beautiful day in Oakland because never in his memory of hustling on the streets of the Bay have people from the multi-national communities approached him for information. Africans, Asian, Europeans, Latinos and others asked for copies of the Oscar Grant poster. Asians rarely ask North American Africans for anything. But they came time after time throughout the day for the poster, Whites as well as Gays, Lesbians, Africans, including Ethiopians, who rarely ask a North American African for the time of day, but they came this day, wanting to know about Oscar Grant, crucified like Jesus but even worse because he was handcuffed on his belly, then shot in the back by a beast in blue uniform.

Everybody wanted to know when the verdict was going to be announced, or if it had. The poster said whatever day it was announced there would be a rally at City Hall Plaza across the street from Academy of Da Corner at 6pm.

The OPD pigs passed throughout the day in great numbers, there agents were sent to obtain a copy of the poster given out at Academy of Da Corner, which managed to have the biggest gathering of people during the day. Many people came bringing donations to Plato Negro. The day before a Christian lady had given a donation to Plato Negro and told him to give something out in the name of Jesus. When the woman gave him the generous donation and requested him help the people in the name of Jesus, Plato was momentarily perplexed since he had Jesus confusion, but he concluded if the woman told him to give her donation in the name of Jesus that he was duty bound to do exactly as she requested.

But she came by as he was dialoguing with his students on this most beautiful day in the Bay, and he introduced her to them. She said it didn't matter to her if Plato gave her donation in the name of Jesus or in the name of goodness, it didn't matter. She had fallen in love with Plato's grandson, Jah Amiel, the three year old who had told his grandfather that he could not save the world, but Jah Amiel could.

On that beautiful day in the Bay another woman had come by to say she had come one day with a gift for the little savior boy but he was not to be found.

And so there was no riot on this day, only at the Academy of Da Corner where all the people of the Bay came through for a blessing. Even people drove up in cars to deliver gifts, such as the people who came with a poster for Plato Negro to give out that said "Love Not Blood for the streets of Oakland." Even BART Board Director Carol Ward Allen drove by and shouted from her car for a poster, although she gets my emails on Facebook.

But it was this kinda day in the Bay. People anticipating the verdict, but seeking truth beyond the verdict. Humanity wanted answers in the name of humanity. Shall injustice reign or justice? How can a coward go free who kills under the color of law? No national can understand this, no rational human being of any stripe or color or gender. Yes, the gay and lesbian brothers and sisters came by asking for a poster.

One Christian brother asked for numerous copies to give out to people in the name of Jesus. I did not deny him. Several people came to get posters to post in windows of businesses to let people know they were down with Oscar Grant, reminding one of the 65 Watts Riot when Asians posted signs in their windows saying "Me Soul Brother Too!"

What beauty is this, what wonder, what price glory, what strange fruit, what horror in the night and day of our loneliness. A Latino photographer arrived and took pics of Plato giving out posters. A sister came to say she wanted justice for the cowardly murder of Oscar Grant, nothing less, nothing more, no buildings on fire, no broken glass, no beat downs by police, only justice for Oscar Grant, punishment for the coward who killed him in cold blood. She said he should not walk this earth any longer for his crime against humanity. She dared the photographer to record her remarks.

We know this woman, yet we know her not. We know her because she was in the riots of the 60s, she was the cause, the reason for the season, she defended her son against the police, the pigs, she transcended death to assume a new life beyond death, beyond passivity and weakness, she was that holy woman who came forth in defense of her manchild. She was there to ignite the flame of rebellion, without her man, the father of her manchild in the promised land.

And she was there today as the sun shined brightly on the Bay, no matter the pigs four deep in cars and SUVs who circled repeatedly around Academy of Da Corner, but they don't understand, Academy of Da Corner stands on the blood of martyrs, on the blood of Lil Bobby Hutton, Samuel Napier, William Christmas, Fleeta Drumgo, Eldridge Cleaver, Huey Newton, Fred Hampton, Bunchy Carter, John Huggins, George Jackson, on the shoulders of Brother Booker, Ruchell McGee, they don't understand why we stand fearlessly daring any motherfucker on this earth to fuck with us. Yes, we stand on the shoulders of Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, Sojourner Truth, Ella Collins, Queen Mother Moore, Betty Shabazz, Coretta Scott King, and Clara Muhammad.

A beautiful day in the Bay. The sun was hot, the sea breeze cooling, the riot was at the Academy, students gathered around for Supreme Wisdom. What greater day than this?

2 July 2010

Source: Parables and Fables of Marvin X

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Parable of Oakland: A City Traumatized

At this hour, Thursday, July 1, 2010, Oakland is a city under siege, the OPD occupying army is everywhere throughout the downtown area and the hood. The police are riding four deep, stopping cars and people in the hood, from the west to the east to the north. Downtown stores and businesses were shuttered today and many workers have been told to take the day off tomorrow, for fear the pitiful verdict shall be rendered basically exonerating the BART police of murdering Oscar Grant on New Year's Day last year while he lay handcuffed on his stomach.

A bullet was pumped into his back by the officer charged with his murder, but the judge has instructed the jury that first degree murder is out, only second degree murder and manslaughter is the possible outcome. Second degree murder or manslaughter is tantamount to a verdict of innocence, when he should have been found guilty of first degree murder. When you shoot a man handcuffed on his belly, this is premeditated murder in the law book of the hood.

The people of Oakland see what's about to happen, something similar to the Rodney King verdict. We attended the rally at City Hall today and conversed with some of the leaders from the Laney College Black Students Union who spoke to the media.

We advised them to take heart from the fact that when Louvelle Mixon took out the four OPD officers in a shootout, he did so in the name of Oscar Grant. As Dr. Fritz Pointer said, we take an "obscene pride" in the actions of Louvelle Mixon, that he applied ghetto justice to the occupying army that has been abusing and murdering us for years under the color of law.

The OPD has not earned our respect but our hatred and contempt. They are as much an occupying army as the US in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they need to remove themselves from our neighborhoods and permit us to secure our own neighborhoods as the US is allowing insurgents to do in Iraq and Afghanistan. If they can pay the Sunni insurgents in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan to lay down their arms by providing them with jobs, housing, and education, they can do the same for the youth of Oakland who have been terrorizing our hoods because they lack jobs with a living wage, housing, and education that is free of the white supremacy curriculum, including black studies that does not address community issues and need.

Yes, preachers, teachers/professors, and politicians have betrayed us, and the police have enforced the betrayal. Thus, we do not put the total blame on the police, but the corrupt leadership of our community in general that has sold us out for a mess of pottage.

So an entire city is suffering trauma. The young men are being arrested at every turn this very minute. The workers are suffering from losing time from work. The small business owners must board up their stores and safeguard their cars. The common people are vowing to not enter the streets when the verdict is rendered. This is chaos on the highest level.

The BSU students, after conversing with me, suggested perhaps they should stay away from the protest after the verdict, since it is surely to be a set up by the police. Let the anarchists get their heads whupped, but let us stay away to fight another day.

1 July 2010 Academy of Da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland

Source: Parables and Fables of Marvin X

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Parable of Oakland Police Riot

The Oakland Police are planning to riot. This is the community consensus based on conversations at the crossroads. They shall be waiting for the crowd to gather in front of City Hall after the verdict is announced in the Oscar Grant murder trial. The consensus among the people is that the BART police officer shall not be found guilty of murder. The prosecution has been weak as water, with no real effort to convince the jury Oscar Grant was murdered in cold blood last New Year's day.

Oakland police have been planning for weeks how they will handle the expected protests. They have been training in riot control, the old condemned North County jail has been prepared to handle protesters. Even the jail above City Hall has been made ready. All downtown businesses have been told to close early on Thursday and don't leave cars parked in the downtown area.

OPD Chief Bates says he wants peace but is prepared for war. Mayor Dellums concurs. The religious leaders, aka Pharaoh's magicians, are in league with the police to keeps the masses calm.

Yet the consensus among the people is that, if anything, it shall be a police inspired riot, instigated by agent provocateurs, Cointelpro agents and undercover police. The police want a riot so they can justify not getting laid off, having their budget cut and forced to contribute to their retirement fund. A good riot will make them eligible for Federal funds such as gang abatement monies and other grants from criminal justice and Homeland security.

So the OPD is ready to whup heads and slaughter demonstrators after they are instigated by agent provocateurs.

As far as we're concerned, justice for Oscar Grant was granted by Louvelle Mixon. Dr. Fritz Pointer said Mixon's shootout with the OPD allowed the Oakland masses to enjoy an "obscene pride" after years of police abuse under the color of law.

We are against all violence except in self defense. When the police stop acting like an occupying army and understand they work for the people and not the reverse, perhaps then, and only then, shall there be real peace in the hood.

The Supreme Court's decision to allow Americans to defend themselves with guns must be understood by reading the subtext: let them niggers keep killing each other, so long as they don't cross the line into the white community. If they cross the line, we're ready for them.

We know who sells guns to the brothers and sisters in the hood, and we know who allows the dope in. We cannot disassociate guns and drugs from politicians and developers who are eager to gentrify ghetto neighborhoods with buppies , yuppies and puppies. They will employ such tactics as gang abatement and eminent domain to ethnically cleanse the hood for the pseudo liberal black and white bourgeoisie.

A friend attended a gang abatement meeting full of whites. He wondered aloud where are the guys who are targets of gang abatement? Four of them were in jail and two others are home owners who must now stay one hundred blocks from their homes.

We cannot view this problem solely in a local context, but it must be seen within the wider context of the global wars against the poor in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere. Through the tribal chiefs, America paid insurgents in Iraq to lay down their arms--that was the real surge, not the phony surge of General Petraeus, that was essentially the ethnic cleansing of neighborhoods in Baghdad, separating the Sunni from the Shia by in numerous checkpoints, along with forcing four million internally and externally displaced refugees. In the most restive Anbar Province, Sunni insurgents were paid to lay down their arms and join the security patrols in their neighborhoods. This is the reason for the dramatic decrease in violence.

They are employing the same tactic in Afghanistan. The plan is to pay the Taliban billions to lay down their arms and pledge allegiance to the corrupt Karzai who is hardly the president of a nation but the Mayor of Kabul, the Capital. The Taliban shall be given jobs, housing and education.

Isn't this fantastic! Jobs, housing and education! Why not try this tactic in the hoods of America, specifically in Oakland, Mayor Ron Dellums, OPD Chief Bates, Attorney General Holder, President Barack Hussein Obama. But oh, no, you rather pay the Taliban because they are a threat to your national security, although there is more violence in the hoods of America annually than the combined violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Is not the violence in the hoods of America a threat to national security? Children can't go to school, men and women can't go to work and come home safely, worshippers can't attend church, the elderly are prisoners in their homes in the day and night. Where is the national security?

It is costing you one million dollars per soldier per year to occupy Afghanistan, yet you have not reported the killing of one Al Queda soldier on the soil of Afghanistan. And then you say you must stay in Afghanistan until you improve the army who is so illiterate they are too retarded to defend themselves, yet these are the people who ran out Alexander the Great, the Monguls, the British, the Russians, and soon they will run your asses out. Yet you tell us you must occupy their land until they are literate enough to defend themselves?

I rest my case. Let us pray for peace in the streets of Oakland, a valiant city, home of the Western Pullman Porters, home of the Black Panthers. Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?

Academy of Da Corner (14th and Broadway)

29 June 2010

Source: Parables and Fables of Marvin X

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Oscar Grant Trial The Jury's Debate—On Wednesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry declared the shooting wasn't a premeditated act and thus not first-degree murder. Judge Perry's ruling left the jury with four options: second-degree murder, voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, and acquittal. "We got everything that we wanted," Oscar Grant's uncle Bobby "Cephus" Johnson told the San Jose Mercury News. "We thought it was second-degree from the beginning." So what, exactly do the charges mean and what's the jury considering in deciding them? Here's a breakdown of the evidence and the competing arguments jurors will likely weigh for each charge. . . . . If Stein's case is not enough to reach second-degree murder, Mehserle could be convicted of either voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.

For voluntary manslaughter, jurors must be convinced that Mehserle killed Grant in "the heat of passion" and in an unreasonable reaction to a perceived threat. The lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter is for the unintended killing of another person, but with "criminal negligence." The prosecution would need to prove only that Mehserle's behavior was wildly unprofessional. Colorlines

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Lovelle Mixon, 26, was pulled over by two motorcycle officers in Oakland, California Saturday afternoon for a routine traffic stop at 1:08 p.m.  Mixon, driving a 1995 Buick, who police later discovered was wanted on a no-bail warrant for violating parole on an assault with a deadly weapon charge, opened fire on Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, who died of his injuries on Saturday.   Sgt. John Hege, 41, who has been in grave condition at Highland Hospital, died at noon on Sunday according to CNN.

Mixon then fled into a nearly multi-unit apartment complex.  SWAT officers stormed the building and exchanged gunfire with the assailant, who was brandishing an assault rifle.  Mixon killed Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43, and Sgt. Daniel Sakai, 35, and slightly wounded an unidentified officer, who was treated for a minor bullet graze to the head and released from an area hospital.

The suspect, Lovelle Mixon, was killed in the gun battle.Bitten and Bound

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Parable of the San Francisco Negro  /  Parable of Living in the Last Days  / Parable of Oakland the Death and Resurrection of A City

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Parable of Oakland at the Precipice (7 June 2010)Youth say City officials were slow to seek an indictment of the officer who murdered Oscar Grant as he lay on the ground and was shot in the back by a beast in blue uniform. It took violent street protests to make the DA file murder charges against the officer. Mayor Ron Dellums is yet to meet with the suffering family of Oscar Grant. We remember his behavior as Congressman when we organized a rally at the Oakland Auditorium in 1979 to protest the killing of 15 year old Melvin Black by the OPD. Neither the Congressman nor Oakland's first black mayor, Lionel Wilson attended the rally of five thousand people.

The OPD had been killing a black man a month. After the rally, the police killings stopped, but Crack and drive by killings began and continue to this day. So it seems the political chicanery continues with City officials planning to upstage the people's rally with one of their own to steal the thunder of the people's rage and anger at the likely not guilty verdict.Parables and Fables of Marvin X

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Operation Small Axe theatrical trailer

Operation Small Axe takes a raw and unflinching look at life under police terrorism in Oakland. Through the stories of Oscar Grant, Lovelle Mixon and POCC Minister of information JR Valrey, the film focuses on the occupation of Oakland's communities of color by militarized and racist police forces. Oscar Grant was shot in the back and killed by Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer Johannes Mehserle on January 1st of this year. On March 21st, Lovelle Mixon was killed by Oakland police after having allegedly shot five OPD officers, killing four.

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Operation Small Axe on YO!TV

YO!TV talks with the Minister of Information JR about his documentary, Operation Small Axe, which touches on topics of police, Oscar Grant, and Lovelle Mixon in 2009

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Operation Small Axe

By Jean Damu

The Oscar Grant case and its tumultuous response has received much national attention from print and electronic news outlets but few have attempted to put this case into a broad social context to the extent a recent film, Operation Small Axe, attempts to do.

Oscar Grant was the black youth shot and killed by Oakland Bart police officer Johannes Mehserle in the early morning hours of Jan. 1, 2009.

The Oscar Grant case is a child of the cell phone revolution because had the shooting not been recorded by numerous Bart passengers on their cell phones and those videos being replayed and replayed by local and national television outlets the outrage over the shooting never would have escalated to the point it eventually did. Nevertheless Small Axe does a wonderful job reflecting the long simmering hatred that exists between the disenfranchised, nearly totally alienated black youth in Oakland and the armed occupation forces that masquerade as police and public transit protection forces.

Small Axe Director Adimu Madyun has his hands full keeping this film on point and even though the overall impact of the film is powerful, compelling and revealing, a film everyone needs to see, it’s not clear he succeeded.

Part of the problem is revealed as the final credits scroll downward. J.R. Valrey, a long time Bay Area journalist and activist is the film’s Executive Producer. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with J.R. Valrey producing a film except that most of the film is about him. What? I thought the film was about the Oscar Grant shooting? Well so did I, but now I’m not so sure. See the problem?

With further reflection I think the film really is about J.R. Maybe the title Operation Small Axe refers to him and the work he’s engaged in the black communities. The confusion is typical of some of the controversy surrounding Valrey. He promotes himself as a journalist but invariably he becomes the story. Fifteen to 20 minutes into the film one asks, “Hey, what about justice for Oscar Grant?” Later for that, we’re focused on Valrey’s case now.

One of the more interesting scenes plays out at the scene of the march, 2009 Lovelle Mixon-OPD shoot out. Huge kudos to Madyun for connecting the Oscar Grant and Lovelle Mixon shootings. The interviews with the neighborhood people following Mixon’s killings of four Oakland police officers and his killing would open many closed eyes.

But the interesting portion of this scene is Valrey interviewing a white woman. She identifies herself as a reporter and refuses to reveal how she feels about the shootings. Valrey won’t accept her attempt to be neutral and finally accuses of her working for the police and making the situation quite uncomfortable for her. It was not a pretty scene and is indicative of how easy it is, with the righteous certainty that only you are correct, to alienate potential allies. It is also a political sectarianism that allows him to place listener supported KPFA radio, on which he airs his Block Report, in the same class category as Associated Press. He defends this as “aggressive journalism.”

The totality of Operation Small Axe is overwhelming. Madyun and Valrey have done a great job reflecting the anger and alienation, primarily of black youth (but others as well) with a society that many see as sending in occupation armies to firmly plant boots on the necks of the unemployed and unemployable.

One thing missing, especially in regard to the Lovelle Mixon incident was any reference to the commission report analyzing the OPD’s actions. The report tries to put a friendly face on the police response but ultimately it was an indictment of what took place and the decisions made. Reference to the report would have validated the feelings of many of Mixon’s neighbors.

Finally, we owe Madyun and Valrey another round of thanks for introducing us to the aunt of Deondre Brunston, Keisha Brunston.

Brunston relates to us how her nephew Deondre was machine gunned to death by Los Angeles County police in Compton in 2002. This is the most unbelievable portion of the film and it should have aired much closer to the beginning.

According to Brunston, and as we witness from the video, Deondre is sitting on a porch communicating with police. Suddenly a police dog charges him and police open fire. Brunston was hit 22 times and flopped around like Bonnie and Clyde in the Sam Peckinpah film. By mistake the police also shot the dog. The police then rushed upped, embraced the dog and rushed it to a helicopter and flown to an animal hospital where it later expired. Meanwhile, steam rising from his chest Brunston is ignored, not even examined.

It is the ultimate statement on blackness and whiteness in America. A dogs life is worth more. See this film.

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Operation Small Axe can be obtained on DVD from 339 Films or Block Report Radio. 

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Deandre Brunston vs. L.A. County Sheriff Dept.

What we see next in the video provided . . . is Deondre sitting on a porch communicating with police. Suddenly a police dog charges him and police opens fire. Brunston was hit 22 times and flopped around like Bonnie and Clyde in the Sam Peckinpah film.  By mistake the police also shot the dog. The police then rushed to embrace the dog rushed it to a helicopter and it was flown presumably to an animal hospital where it later expired. Meanwhile, steam rising from his chest, Brunston is ignored, not even examined, never provided the least bit of assistance, nor is any attempt made to determine if he is even alive. Police simply put up the yellow tape and ignored the apparently lifeless body. 

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The right verdict in Mehserle case—Involuntary manslaughter might seem an unsatisfying outcome for the killing of the unarmed Oscar Grant on Jan. 1, 2009, but it was consistent with the evidence that could be proved beyond a reasonable doubt against former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle. Anything less would have been an injustice. Anything more would have required conclusions about Mehserle's state of mind that were not sufficiently supported in trial. .  .  .  Mehserle, 28, claimed it was an accident, that he thought he was firing a Taser instead of a handgun at the detainee. The explanation stretched the bounds of plausibility, given the difference in weight, feel - and position on his holster - between the nonlethal weapon intended to immobilize and the Sig Sauer P226 pistol that is used to kill. He clearly was negligent. It was a crime, not an accident.

The other two conviction options available to the jury - second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter - would have required the jury to find that Mehserle meant to kill Grant. The evidence indicated the officer's state of mind was contradictory at best. His reaction immediately after the shooting suggested disbelief at what he had done. Yet his explanation of having mistaken his gun for a Taser did not emerge for several days. In other words, there was reasonable doubt about his intent, which was the standard the jury needed to overcome, even if that will not fly in the court of public opinion. SFGate

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California transit cop verdict sparks looting—About 1,000 people gathered in a peaceful protest in downtown Oakland on early Thursday evening. Many expressed anger, with a huge banner strung over an intersection on a traffic light pole reading "Oakland says Guilty."

"It's unbelievable this guy is getting less jail time than someone who wrote a bad check," said Barbara Plantiko, a 41-year-old immigration lawyer at the protest. "I just don't buy he got confused. I don't think that it was an accident."

Some protesters wore masks depicting Grant's face.

Looters targeted stores selling jewelry and beauty supplies and grabbed shoes from a Foot Locker store in downtown Oakland, while the phrase "Riot for Oscar" was spray-painted on a bank building, according to a Reuters eyewitness. Reuters

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After dark, mobs form, smash windows, loot  / The right verdict in Mehserle case

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Parable of I Am Oscar Grant—As I walked the crowd with a brother, he wondered whether anything was going to happen. I told him just wait til dark. And so it was, although I departed the area before dark, passing police amassed on the back streets.

There was looting and arrests. Massive police presence in the downtown areas, police from all the outlying areas, including CHP, Fremont, Berkeley, Richmond. The Footlocker was looted, obviously people needed shoes!

The anarchists were there dressed in black. Now we heard the anarchists at the G-20 meeting in Toronto, Canada were agent provocateurs. Unless the police justify need, 80 OPD will be laid off Monday, so we suspect they are part of the problem. Again, the youth said at the rally that the police are the outside agitators.

I also told those who interviewed me that Oscar Grant received justice when Lovelle Mixon killed four police shortly after they murdered Oscar, thus he executed people's justice. And Dr. Fritz Pointer said it best, "When Lovelle Mixon took out those four pigs, the masses enjoyed an 'obscene pride' after years of abuse under the color of law."

Personally, I abhor violence. I do not kill a fly in my house, nor a spider, a gnat. But there comes a time when human beings must stand and represent their humanity. We cannot be consumed by wild beasts. You want to hear Oscar's mother after the verdict, "My son was murdered, murdered, murdered!"

Yes, I am Oscar Grant. He is my son lost to self inflicted violence. He is my son caught between the police and his own black brothers. He is my son killed but never reported in the papers, never in the media, never in the court, a son silent in the night. I am Oscar Grant.

I want justice. I want education, not incarceration. I want employment with a living wage. I want housing fit for human beings. I am Oscar Grant. (8 June 2010)Marvin X, Parables and Fables

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Police officer convicted in California subway shooting— Johannes Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. He shot Oscar Grant in the back in Oakland, California, on 1 January 2009, while attempting to subdue him following a fight.

Mehserle told the Los Angeles court that he had mistaken the pistol for an electric Taser weapon on his belt. . . . The trial was moved to Los Angeles because of the tensions in Oakland. Speaking after the jury's finding, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called on state residents "to remain calm in light of the verdict and not to resort to violence". Mehserle, 28, faces years in prison.. . . . Mehserle fled to Nevada following the shooting and was arrested about two weeks later. BBC

posted 4 July 2010 

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#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 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


#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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The Persistence of the Color Line

Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency

By Randall Kennedy

Among the best things about The Persistence of the Color Line is watching Mr. Kennedy hash through the positions about Mr. Obama staked out by black commentators on the left and right, from Stanley Crouch and Cornel West to Juan Williams and Tavis Smiley. He can be pointed. Noting the way Mr. Smiley consistently “voiced skepticism regarding whether blacks should back Obama” . . .

The finest chapter in The Persistence of the Color Line is so resonant, and so personal, it could nearly be the basis for a book of its own. That chapter is titled “Reverend Wright and My Father: Reflections on Blacks and Patriotism.”  Recalling some of the criticisms of America’s past made by Mr. Obama’s former pastor, Mr. Kennedy writes with feeling about his own father, who put each of his three of his children through Princeton but who “never forgave American society for its racist mistreatment of him and those whom he most loved.”  His father distrusted the police, who had frequently called him “boy,” and rejected patriotism. Mr. Kennedy’s father “relished Muhammad Ali’s quip that the Vietcong had never called him ‘nigger.’ ” The author places his father, and Mr. Wright, in sympathetic historical light.

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The Price of Civilization

Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity

By Jeffrey D. Sachs

The Price of Civilization is a book that is essential reading for every American. In a forceful, impassioned, and personal voice, he offers not only a searing and incisive diagnosis of our country’s economic ills but also an urgent call for Americans to restore the virtues of fairness, honesty, and foresight as the foundations of national prosperity. Sachs finds that both political parties—and many leading economists—have missed the big picture, offering shortsighted solutions such as stimulus spending or tax cuts to address complex economic problems that require deeper solutions. Sachs argues that we have profoundly underestimated globalization’s long-term effects on our country, which create deep and largely unmet challenges with regard to jobs, incomes, poverty, and the environment. America’s single biggest economic failure, Sachs argues, is its inability to come to grips with the new global economic realities. Sachs describes a political system that has lost its ethical moorings, in which ever-rising campaign contributions and lobbying outlays overpower the voice of the citizenry. . . . Sachs offers a plan to turn the crisis around. He argues persuasively that the problem is not America’s abiding values, which remain generous and pragmatic, but the ease with which political spin and consumerism run circles around those values.

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Pride and Glory (2008)

Edward Norton (Actor), Colin Farrell (Actor), Gavin O'Connor (Director)

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Race, Incarceration, and American Values

By Glenn C. Loury

In this pithy discussion, renowned scholars debate the American penal system through the lens—and as a legacy—of an ugly and violent racial past. Economist Loury argues that incarceration rises even as crime rates fall because we have become increasingly punitive. According to Loury, the disproportionately black and brown prison populations are the victims of civil rights opponents who successfully moved the country's race dialogue to a seemingly race-neutral concern over crime. Loury's claims are well-supported with genuinely shocking statistics, and his argument is compelling that even if the racial argument about causes is inconclusive, the racial consequences are clear.

Three shorter essays respond: Stanford law professor Karlan examines prisoners as an inert ballast in redistricting and voting practices; French sociologist Wacquant argues that the focus on race has ignored the fact that inmates are first and foremost poor people; and Harvard philosophy professor Shelby urges citizens to break with Washington's political outlook on race. The group's respectful sparring results in an insightful look at the conflicting theories of race and incarceration, and the slim volume keeps up the pace of the argument without being overwhelming.Publishers Weekly  / Economist Glenn Loury 

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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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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 28 March 2012




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