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Tributes Obituaries Remembrances Table





For many years, this author [Rich Bartee] of poems, songs and slogans, among them the book, America On Our Minds in Harlem (co-authored with Jamel Carma), and the song, "Harlem Heartbeat," would ride the 'D' train from the Bronx to Brooklyn, taking his poetry directly to the people. He'd recite anywhere, convincing folks that poetry indeed belonged to all of us -- selling pamphlets and chapbooks while rewarding us with stickers that read: MORE HUGGING, LESS MUGGING!, his most famous slogan, or those little cards with mirrors in them. And when you'd open the card, the inside would read to the effect that you are to love the person you see in that little mirror...

He was born in Florida, and had come to Harlem from Syracuse, in which city he had been a policeman until he refused to join in to brutalize a young Black prisoner and actually intervened on the young man's behalf. For this, he was hounded, harassed, jailed and fired for insubordination. That's what they call it when you refuse to do like the rest of us on that job. A Personal Note by Louis Reyes Rivera

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"Shani was the best of us all," her older brother, Ras Baraka, an alumnus of Howard University, said in a loving, deeply passionate, and moving speech he gave just before his father, Amiri. "She had the most courage. And if you knew our family, you knew she would fight first. She had more fights than all of us put together. That's why we couldn't protect her, because she was too busy protecting us."

Through tears, which began to stream down his cheeks, Ras asked: "Then why is she dead? And her friend too? Why couldn't we save her in all of our Blackness, prayers, our revolution talk, or [healing] conferences? Why couldn't we keep her alive? How can we shape a community and let our little sister die?" 
Shani Baraka

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The Sacred Remains: American Attitudes Toward Death, 1799-1883 

Rest in Peace: A Cultural History of Death and the Funeral Home in Twentieth-Century America

African American Grief (Death, Dying and Bereavement)

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Olugbala Passes at 81 Years Old

The Soul School Institute sadly reports the death of its most senior member, Brother Balogun K. Olugbala. Brother Olugbala, born 28 August 1931 in Tampa, Florida, transitioned to an ancestor on Friday August 31 at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. He was 81 years old and in failing health. 

Brother Olugbala was a long distance fighter for African people. Starting out as a Civil Rights activist with Target City; a national civil rights project sponsored by the Congress of Racial Equality (C.O.R.E.) 1966-1968, Olugbala was a founding member of S.O.U.L. (Society of United Liberators) School in March 1968. In April 1968, he was present in Detroit, Michigan at the founding conference of the Republic of New Africa. Brother Olugbala worked diligently to help establish the first Black United Front in Baltimore and was there when the 1st Black Panther Chapter was also started in Baltimore. Olugbala was a charter member of Division #460 of the Universal Negro Improvement Association/African Communities League (U.N.I.A/A.C.L). Brother Balogun K. Olugbala last served his race as Chairman of the Soul School Institute.  

Joseph H. Brown, Jr. Funeral Home /2140 N. Fulton Ave. Baltimore, MD 21217 / (410) 383-2700

Friday Sept. 14, 2012—Wake 12 noon / Funeral 12:30 p.m. // Thursday Sept. 13, 2012—Public Viewing 2-8 p.m. 


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Ella Jackson Lewis

(August 11, 1910--December 28, 2009)

Makes Her Transition

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Abbey Lincoln


Ahmos Zu-Bolton


Asa G. Hilliard III Obituary

     The Exhilarating Generosity of Asa Hilliard    If I Ain't African   (Glenis Redmond) On the Passing of Asa Hilliard


Babatunde Olatunji


Barbara Ann Teer


Bea Gaddy


Beatrice Crockett-Moore

Beautine Hubert DeCosta-Lee

Big Chief Allison "Tootie" Montana


Chauncey Bailey

     What’s Going On? (Kam Williams)  The Assassination of Chauncey Bailey (Jean Damu)

Clyde Woods (Mark Anthony Neal)

Coretta Scott King

Cyprian Ekwensi

Derrick Bell Law Rights Advocate Dies at 80

Dorothy Height

Ella Jackson Lewis

Eluard A. Burt II    For Eluard on his Birthday

Etta James (Rudolph Lewis)


Ezekiel Es’kia Mphahlele


Ezinne Bessie Chiege Iwuji Okeke

Floraine Beatrice Williams

Frank Snowden


Fred Shuttlesworth dies at 89


Gil Scott-Heron & His Music  / Gil Scott-Heron "Blue Collar"


Guarding the Flame of Life The Funeral of Big Chief Donald Harrison Sr.


Henrietta Lacks


Imam W. Deen Mohammed

Ivan Van Sertima

   Recollections of Ivan Van Sertima  / Tribute to Ivan Van Sertima

Jacob H Carruthers

James Brown

     James Brown Philosophizing    Messing with the Blues  Long Live the Kings of Black Entertainment

      Duet for The Godfather  Climbing Malcolm's Ladder   James Brown  & More James Brown

     James Brown and Pavarotti   Naturally Seven

J. Nash Porter

Joe Walker

John T. Scott

     Circle Dance: The Art of John T. Scott / Doug MacCash.   NOLA Blog 

June Jordan

Katherine Dunham  DrumVoices Tribute

Kenneth Simmons

Lucinda Reid

Laurelle "Yaya" Richards

Louis Reyes Rivera

Luther Vandross

     Never Too Much An Interview With Luther Ronzoni Vandross, Jr. (Kalamu ya Salaam )

Malvina Turk

Margaret Burroughs DuSable Museum

Max Roach

Max Wilson

Michael Jackson Dies at 50

Mildred Loving

Miriam Makeba

Muddy Waters

Murry N. DePillars, Ph.D.

Nestor Hernandez 1960- 2006 

                              Scattered Treasures: Nestor Hernandez

Nina Simone

     A Bio- Chronology     Four Women  To be Young, Gifted and Black  Well Done, Miss Simone   Nina Remembers  

            An Angelic Trio


On the Passing of Piri Thomas (Rivera)

Oseola McCarty

Philip Berrigan

Pinkie Gordon Lane

Pope John Paul II

Reginald Francis Lewis

Reginald Lockett

Richard Chenault II

Rich Bartee

      For Rich Bartee 

Rites of Ancestral Return

Robert Borsodi

Robert Lee "Rob" Penny

Ruby Glover

Rufus Harley

Sekou Sundiata

Shani Baraka

Walter Hall Lively 

Weldon Irvine  Weldon Irvine Documentary

Whitney Houston



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Racism: A History, the 2007 BBC 3-part documentary explores the impact of racism on a global scale. It was part of the season of programs on the BBC marking the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. It's divided into 3 parts.

The first, The Colour of Money . . . Racism: A History [2007]—1/3

Begins the series by assessing the implications of the relationship between Europe, Africa and the Americas in the 15th century. It considers how racist ideas and practices developed in key religious and secular institutions, and how they showed up in writings by European philosophers Aristotle and Immanuel Kant.

The second, Fatal Impact . . . Racism: A History [2007] - 2/3

Examines the idea of scientific racism, an ideology invented during the 19th century that drew on now discredited practices such as phrenology and provided an ideological justification for racism and slavery. The episode shows how these theories ultimately led to eugenics and Nazi racial policies of the master race.

And the 3rd, A Savage Legacy . . .  Racism: A History [2007] - 3/3

Examines the impact of racism in the 20th century. By 1900 European colonial expansion had reached deep into the heart of Africa. Under the rule of King Leopold II, the Belgian Congo was turned into a vast rubber plantation. Men, women and children who failed to gather their latex quotas would have their limbs dismembered. The country became the scene of one of the century's greatest racial genocides, as an estimated 10 million Africans perished under colonial rule.

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Bill Raspberry Role Model—E.J. Dionne, Jr.—18 July 2012—William Raspberry was a provocateur who was so gentle and gentlemanly that you didn’t always grasp how much he was shaking up the conventional conversation until you actually thought about what he had just said. He was so open to the views of others that it was easy to miss that his convictions were as hard as steel. / The columnist, who died Tuesday at the age of 76, was a legend, yet he never acted like the truly famous person and breakthrough figure he was. Pomposity was, in his mind, one of the gravest sins. Although he was a teacher to all who cared to listen, he always gave the impression that he was the one learning from everybody else. He cared profoundly about morality, and particularly parental responsibility, but his moral lessons often came surrounded by chuckles and laughter. They were no less serious for that. / Raspberry’s importance to journalism will be measured in different ways. The headlines will focus on the fact that he was one of the first widely syndicated African-American columnists. / He really was a pioneer and a “role model,” a phrase he used seriously sometimes but usually poked fun at it as one of those expressions that loses its meaning from overuse. /


It will be noted that he was a staunch advocate of civil rights who could also pick fights with what gets referred to as “the civil rights establishment.” He was an advocate of civility who practiced it. He often used his columns to float the interesting ideas of others, even when they were ideas he was not yet sure he fully agreed with. If the thoughts or plans or proposals struck him as interesting, he wanted his readers to know about them.truthdig

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Rodney King dead at 47—CNN Wire Staff—17 June 2012—Rodney King . . .  was found dead in his swimming pool Sunday, authorities and his fiancée said. He was 47. Police in Rialto, California, received a 911 call from King's fiancée, Cynthia Kelly, about 5:25 a.m., said Capt. Randy De Anda. Responding officers found King at the bottom of the pool, removed him and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation until paramedics arrived. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital, police said. There were no preliminary signs of foul play, De Anda said, and no obvious injuries on King's body. Police are conducting a drowning investigation, he said, and King's body would be autopsied.—cnn

King had been drinking the night of March 3, 1991, when he engaged in a high-speed chase with the LAPD, who finally pulled him over. What happened next shocked the nation. A group of officers brutally beat King with their metal batons, Tasered and kicked him into submission—all caught on videotape by a nearby resident.


The infamous Rodney King Incident was born when this first instance of citizen surveillance revealed a shocking moment of police brutality, a horrific scene that stunned and riveted the nation via the evening news. Racial tensions long smoldering in L.A. ignited into a firestorm thirteen months later when four white officers were acquitted by a mostly white jury.

The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption By Rodney King and Lawrence J. Spagnola 

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Otis G. Clark survivor of 1921 Tulsa race riot dies at 109—Matt Schudel—26 May 2012—For years, few people dared to speak about what happened on the night of May 31, 1921, during one of the most deadly and devastating race riots in the nation’s history. Otis G. Clark, who was 18 at the time, had grown up in Greenwood, a thriving African American section of Tulsa. During a night that history almost forgot, Mr. Clark dodged bullets, raced through alleys to escape armed mobs and saw his family’s home burned to the ground. He fled Tulsa on a freight train headed north. He would eventually move to Los Angeles, where he was the butler in the home of movie star Joan Crawford. He later turned to preaching and was known as the “world’s oldest evangelist.” But for nine decades, he remained a living witness to a night of horror, when Greenwood died. Mr. Clark died May 21 in Seattle at age 109, family members told the Tulsa World newspaper. The cause of death was not disclosed. . . . A state commission finally issued a report on the riot in 2001.

Otis Granville Clark was born Feb. 13, 1903, in Meridian, Okla., four years before Oklahoma became a state. His father worked for the railroad. In a 2009 interview for a Tulsa oral history project, Mr. Clark said one of his jobs as a boy was selling vegetables and groceries to a house occupied by what he called “sportin’ women.”WashingtonPost / Tulsaworld  / adlercent

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Manning Marable (May 13, 1950 - April, 1, 2011)—American historian, educator, and social critic—has passed over. His  Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention will be published  on  4 April 2011NYTimes

Wilson Moses Remembers Manning Marable

How tragic, and yet how beautiful, that Manning Marable should leave us at this moment of heroic triumph.  He has had few rivals and no scholar has been more important.   His book How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America was celebrated by myself and others as the brilliant and widely heralded complement to the paradigm of his colleague Walter Rodney, who monumentally demonstrated the European underdevelopment of Africa.  When I taught as a guest professor at the Free University of Berlin in1984, I was gratified to learn that Marable's work The Second Reconstruction in Black America had gained him the respect of leftist intellectuals internationally.  

Death comes to us all, and few of us welcome its coming, but some of us hope that it will arrive when our powers are intact, and we are satisfied with the results of our labors.   At the moment of his departure, Manning Marable's scholarly triumphs were universally acclaimed. The publication of his definitive biography, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention is not only destined to transform our perception of its subject; it will force us into a more critical and realistic perception of black nationalism in the modern world. 

Marable was a principal shaper of the Pan-African methodology in scholarship, and a model citizen of the borderless Republic of Letters.  His legacy will be his example of dedication to the pursuit of truth, wherever that pursuit may lead.

2 April 2011

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Almena Lomax noted black journalist, dies at 95—Friday, April 1, 2011—Los Angeles (AP)—Almena Lomax, a civil rights activist and journalist who covered the Patty Hearst kidnapping and the Alabama bus boycott and founded the Los Angeles Tribune newspaper, has died. She was 95.

Her son, Michael, tells the Los Angeles Times that Lomax died March 25 in Pasadena. He is the head of the United Negro College Fund. Lomax studied journalism at Los Angeles City College. She founded the weekly Tribune in 1941 with a $100 loan and ran it for two decades, covering such controversial topics as racial discrimination in Hollywood. In the 1960s, she and her family moved from Los Angeles to the Deep South to fight segregation.She later worked for the Examiner and Chronicle newspapers in San Francisco, where she covered the Patty Hearst kidnapping.—ChicagoDefender

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Derrick Bell Law Rights Advocate Dies at 80


It was U.S. cold war interests that necessitated the elimination of legal segregation

rather than purported concern with quality education for black children. In other

words, when the interests of blacks converge with the interests of whites, blacks

are more likely to have their needs addressed; otherwise they are not.


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Civil Rights Activist Fred Shuttlesworth dies at 89


King and the Rev. Ralph Abernathy were discussing views of Christ's

Resurrection and the Rev. Shuttlesworth took their comments as doubt

about the historical truth of the Resurrection. The Rev. Shuttlesworth

reacted so intensely to King's suggestion that the disciples may have seen

an apparition that King never seemed comfortable discussing theology with him again.

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Rev. Peter J. Gomes Harvard Minister Dies at 68—By Robert D. McFadden—Then, in 1991, he appeared before an angry crowd of students, faculty members and administrators protesting homophobic articles in a conservative campus magazine whose distribution had led to a spate of harassment and slurs against gay men and lesbians on campus. Mr. Gomes, putting his reputation and career on the line, announced that he was “a Christian who happens as well to be gay.” . . . “I now have an unambiguous vocation—a mission—to address the religious causes and roots of homophobia,” he told The Washington Post months later. “I will devote the rest of my life to addressing the ‘religious case’ against gays.” He was true to his word. His sermons and lectures, always well-attended, were packed in Cambridge and around the country as he embarked on a campaign to rebut literal and fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible. He also wrote extensively on intolerance.

“Religious fundamentalism is dangerous because it cannot accept ambiguity and diversity and is therefore inherently intolerant,” he declared in an Op-Ed article for The New York Times in 1992. “Such intolerance, in the name of virtue, is ruthless and uses political power to destroy what it cannot convert.” In his 1996 best-seller, The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart, Mr. Gomes urged believers to grasp the spirit, not the letter, of scriptural passages that he said had been misused to defend racism, anti-Semitism and sexism and to attack homosexuality and abortion. He offered interpretations that he said transcended the narrow context of modern prejudices.NYTimes  /  Black Christians and Homosexuality   /  Battle on the home front   

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Margaret Burroughs DuSable Museum

(Co-Founder) at 93 Joins the Ancestors

Many Say Well Done, a Sad Farewell 

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A Tribute to Lucille Clifton (1936 - 2010)

Poet Lucille Clifton was a mentor, friend, and teacher to scores of writers in Maryland and around the country. Clifton served as Poet Laureate for the State of Maryland and was Distinguished Professor of Humanities at St. Mary's College of Maryland. She received the National Book Award for her poetry collection, Blessing the Boats (2000). Clifton wrote more than 16 books for children. She served as trustee of the Enoch Pratt Free Library from 1975 to 1984.Join us for this celebration of the life of Lucille Clifton. Poets from Baltimore and around the state will raise their voices to honor the memory of Clifton's life and works. We invite you to bring your favorite Lucille Clifton poem to share. Schedule: (click on the location to see map) Central Library   Thursday, Jun 24, 2010 (6:30 p.m.)  PrattLibrary

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Kenneth Simmons Architect

Professor and Activist Dies at 77

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Basil Davidson obituary—By Victoria Brittain—9 July 2010—Davidson [(9 November 1914 – 9 July 2010) a British historian, writer and Africanist] was enthused early on by the end of British colonialism and the prospects of pan-Africanism in the 1960s, and he wrote copiously and with warmth about newly independent Ghana and its leader, Kwame Nkrumah. He went to work for a year at the University of Accra in 1964. Later he threw himself into the reporting of the African liberation wars in the Portuguese colonies, particularly in Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau. . . . In the 1980s, with most of the African liberation wars now won—except for South Africa's— Davidson turned much of his attention to more theoretical questions about the future of the nation state in Africa. He remained a passionate advocate of pan-Africanism. In 1988 he made a long and dangerous journey into Eritrea, writing a persuasive defence of the nationalists' right to independence from Ethiopia, and an equally eloquent attack on the revolutionary leader Colonel Mengistu and the regime that had overthrown Haile Selassie. Guardian

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Basil Davidson's  "Africa Series"

 Different But Equal  /  Mastering A Continent  /  Caravans of Gold  / The King and the City / The Bible and The Gun

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McLellan, Los Angeles Times July 15, 2010—Vonetta McGee, an actress whose big-screen heyday during the blaxploitation era of the 1970s included leading roles in "Blacula" and "Shaft in Africa," has died. She was 65. McGee died Friday at a hospital in Berkeley after experiencing cardiac arrest and being on life support for two days, said family spokeswoman Kelley Nayo. Although McGee had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma at age 17, Nayo said, her death was not related to the disease. . . .

Among McGee's other film credits are The Lost Man, Detroit 9000, Brothers (in which she played an activist based on Angela Davis), Repo Man and "To Sleep with Anger."

In the '80s, her career turned primarily to television. That included playing Sister Indigo on Robert Blake's short-lived 1985 dramatic series Hell Town and playing a social worker who takes a con man played by Jimmie Walker into her home in the syndicated 1987-88 sitcom "Bustin' Loose."

She also played a recurring role on L.A. Law and appeared in several episodes of Cagney & Lacey as the wife of detective Mark Petrie (played by Carl Lumbly). . . . . Born Lawrence Vonetta McGee in San Francisco on Jan. 14, 1945, she was attending what is now San Francisco State when she got involved with a local acting group.

She launched her film career in 1968 in Italy, where she appeared in the spaghetti western The Great Silence and played the title role in the comedy Faustina. LaTimes

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Howard Zinn—historian, radical activist, and teacher—died at the age of 87 on January 27. He was an important thinker who spoke unsettling truths about America—and who joined ideas to action. He will be sadly missed. Howard Zinn wrote more than 20 books and plays. His most famous and influential work, A People’s History of the United States, has opened the eyes of countless readers to the  realities of America’s founding in genocide and slavery and America’s arc of brutal expansion. It has opened the eyes of countless readers to the resistance of the exploited and dominated.
This is history that gives voice to Native Americans, Blacks, women, immigrants, poor laborers, and others whose lives and spirit counted for little in mainstream histories. This is history that tells the story of the Spanish-American War from the side of the Filipinos who fought U.S. colonial conquest.
Carl Dix, Revolution #190

Howard Zinn historian who challenged status quo, dies at 87—Howard Zinn, the Boston University historian and political activist who was an early opponent of US involvement in Vietnam and whose books, such as "A People's History of the United States," inspired young and old to rethink the way textbooks present the American experience, died today in Santa Monica, Calif, where he was traveling. He was 87. His daughter, Myla Kabat-Zinn of Lexington , said he suffered a heart attack. "He's made an amazing contribution to American intellectual and moral culture," Noam Chomsky, the left-wing activist and MIT professor, said tonight. "He's changed the conscience of America in a highly constructive way. I really can't think of anyone I can compare him to in this respect." Chomsky added that Dr. Zinn's writings "simply changed perspective and understanding for a whole generation. He opened up approaches to history that were novel and highly significant. Both by his actions, and his writings for 50 years, he played a powerful role in helping and in many ways inspiring the Civil rights movement and the anti-war movement." 

Howard Zinn, author of 'People's History' and left-wing historian, dies at 87 in CaliforniaBorn in New York in 1922, Zinn was the son of Jewish immigrants who as a child lived in a rundown area in Brooklyn and responded strongly to the novels of Charles Dickens. At age 17, urged on by some young Communists in his neighborhood, he attended a political rally in Times Square. "Suddenly, I heard the sirens sound, and I looked around and saw the policemen on horses galloping into the crowd and beating people. I couldn't believe that," he told the AP. "And then I was hit. I turned around and I was knocked unconscious. I woke up sometime later in a doorway, with Times Square quiet again, eerie, dreamlike, as if nothing had transpired. I was ferociously indignant. . . . It was a very shocking lesson for me." War continued his education.

Eager to help wipe out the Nazis, Zinn joined the Army Air Corps in 1943 and even persuaded the local draft board to let him mail his own induction notice. He flew missions throughout Europe, receiving an Air Medal, but he found himself questioning what it all meant. Back home, he gathered his medals and papers, put them in a folder and wrote on top: "Never again." LATimes

Howard Zinn dies at 87; author of best-selling A People’s History of the United States Activist collapsed in Santa Monica, where he was scheduled to deliver a lecture.In his 1994 memoir, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train, Zinn recalled that his parents used discount coupons to buy the complete works of Charles Dickens. The novelist "aroused in me tumultuous emotions" about wealth, class and poverty, Zinn wrote. Zinn received his doctorate from Columbia University.

He was a professor emeritus at Boston University, where he was a familiar speaker at Vietnam War protests. He also taught at a number of institutions, including Brooklyn College, the University of Paris and Spelman College in Atlanta in the late 1950s and early '60s as the civil rights movement was taking hold in the South. Former California state Sen. Tom Hayden recalled meeting Zinn while he was at Spelman, then an all-black women's school. "He was basically integrating himself into the world of black students," Hayden said Wednesday.

Hayden said Zinn became actively involved in the movement as an advisor and leader. The two later protested the war in Vietnam and worked on other social justice issues, Hayden said.

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David Blackwell, Scholar of Probability, Dies at 91—David Blackwell, a statistician and mathematician who wrote groundbreaking papers on probability and game theory and was the first black scholar to be admitted to the National Academy of Sciences, died July 8 in Berkeley, Calif. He was 91. . . . Mr. Blackwell, the son of a railroad worker with a fourth-grade education, taught for nearly 35 years at the University of California, Berkeley, where he became the first black tenured professor. He made his mark as a free-ranging problem solver in numerous subdisciplines. His fascination with game theory, for example, prompted him to investigate the mathematics of bluffing and to develop a theory on the optimal moment for an advancing duelist to open fire. . . . His “Basic Statistics” (1969) was one of the first textbooks on Bayesian statistics, which assess the uncertainty of future outcomes by incorporating new evidence as it arises, rather than relying on historical data. He also wrote numerous papers on multistage decision-making. NYTimes / Mathematica Association of America

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Grammy Award Winning Gospel Singer Walter Hawkins (1949 – 2010) Dies

Gospel singer/songwriter Walter Hawkins lost his battle with pancreatic cancer Sunday at the age of 61 in his home in Ripon, California. His older brother released the following statement shortly after Hawkins’ death: “Today, I lost my brother, my pastor, and my best friend,” said Edwin Hawkins. “Bishop Hawkins suffered bravely but now he will suffer no more and he will be greatly missed.” Hawkins, an Oakland native, started his career off by collaborating with his brother Edwin on the hit Gospel track “Oh Happy Day,” which became one of the first gospel songs to cross over to mainstream charts.. . . He studied for his divinity degree at the University of California in Berkeley after parting ways musically with his brother, and in between his studies he recorded his debut album Do Your Best in 1972. Gossip on This  /.KTVUl

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Origins of the Moonwalk Michael Jackson Dies at 50 Comments from Music Lovers

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Imagine A Black Nation
 In Memory of Imari Obadele
 By Marvin X


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The Passing of Poet

Carolyn Marie Rodgers 

(December 14, 1940—April 2, 2010)

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Mamadou Lumumba Passes Over

Mamadou Lumumba [(Kenneth Freeman), b.October 11, 1938 – d. October 20, 2009] was editor of Oakland-based Soulbook, a journal "mainly political but included poetry in a section ironically titled 'Reject Notes'." (“Historical Overviews of The Black Arts Movement,” Kalamu ya Salaam).  . . . Memorial services:, December 12, 2pm, at the Noodle Factory, 1255 26th Street at Union, Oakland. Call 510-355-6339 for more information. / ChickenBones Black Arts and Black Power Figures

Mamadou Lumumba (Kenneth Freeman; October 11, 1938 – October 20, 2009) was one of the premier neo-black intellectuals of the 1960s. He was the first black student to attend Bishop O Dowd high school. He graduated from University of San Francisco in 1960, with graduate studies at the University of Mexico. In Mexico he learned of the Cuban revolution and this expanded his radical conscious and social activism. When he returned to Oakland, he joined the group of young radicals at Merritt College, including Bobby Seale, Huey Newton, Ernie Allen, Isaac Moore, Ann Williams, Marvin X and Carol Freeman, his wife. Mamadou became a member of Donald Warden's Afro American Association, a Black Nationalist organization. The AAA and the young radicals studied world revolution, including events in South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and the Congo where the first elected prime minister was assassinated. Apparently his similarity to Congolese Patrice Lumumba, made him adopt the name.

Mamadou became editor of Soulbook, The Quarterly Journal of Revolutionary Afro-America, one of the most radical publications of the 60s, a leading theoretical journal in African revolutionary circles, a publication of the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM).

He also organized the first Black Panther Party in the Bay.

Mamadou Lumumba-Umoja was one of the leading African activists and theoreticians of the period from 1956-1985. Though never having achieved the “celebrity” status of some of his contemporaries, the strength of his influence was  unmistakable and extended to key revolutionary nationalist organizations locally and nationally.

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Hale Smith, Who Broke Borders of Classical and Jazz, Is Dead at 84

Hale Smith, a classical composer who also worked as a performer and arranger with jazz greats like Dizzy Gillespie and Chico Hamilton, died Tuesday at his home in Freeport, L.I. He was 84 [born on June 29, 1925, in Cleveland]. . . . He composed serial-influenced works like “Contours for Orchestra” (1961) and “Ritual and Incantations” (1974), lyrical works like the song cycle “The Valley Wind” (1952) and jingles and incidental music for radio, television and theater. With the drummer Chico Hamilton, he composed the film score for “Mr. Ricco” (1975), and his skill as an orchestrator led to a series of collaborations with the pianist Ahmad Jamal. . . . Eclectic in his tastes and interests, Mr. Smith composed works that ranged from the richly dissonant orchestral composition “Innerflexions” (1977) to “Dialogues and Commentary” (1990-91), a witty set of variations for septet on a single motif. His arrangements of spirituals were performed often by the sopranos Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman. In 2000, Composers Recordings released a survey of his work, “Music of Hale Smith.” NYTimes

The Music of Hale Smith

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Since returning to New Orleans from a brief wartime stint working the shipyards of Richmond and Oakland between 1943 and 1947, Montana has been sewing a new Mardi Gras suit each year and is the undisputed master of the craft.

Because of his unique three-dimensional innovations and his elaborate beadwork he stood out among other Mardi Gras Indians, and was known as "The Prettiest." So pretty that one of his suits was purchased by the Smithsonian.

The Mardi Gras Indian culture from its very beginnings more than 130 years ago was an expression of Black resistance to a white supremacist environment in New Orleans. Big Chief Allison "Tootie" Montana

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Coretta was still a young woman when her husband died. There were moments when I wondered whether it might not have been better for her personally if she had remarried. One friend sent me a note in which she wrote, “I once read a statement by Alice Walker in which she mentioned how some women live with the legends of their men (instead of choosing a life of their own.) I'm glad that Coretta held Martin in her heart all these years.” Another friend wrote, “what a shame that she lived 40 years of her life without a man's arms around her, unloved and passionless.  To me, that's a great loss.” Coretta Scott King

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 The Passing of South African Writer Ezekiel Es’kia Mphahlele

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Last Man Standing

The Tragedy and Triumph of Geronimo Pratt

By Jack Olsen

One part Kafka and one part Orwell, the story of Geronimo Pratt's conviction and imprisonment, for a murder committed while he was 350 miles away from the crime scene and under FBI surveillance, is a textbook case of abuse of the American criminal justice system for political ends. Raised in small-town Louisiana, Pratt served two distinguished stints in Vietnam (earning a Purple Heart) before becoming a leader of the Black Panthers in Los Angeles. Visible and articulate, he was targeted by the FBI's counterintelligence program and soon was set up and convicted for a highly publicized 1968 Santa Monica murder. At trial, where he was represented by the now-famous Johnnie Cochran, evidence was suppressed (and later destroyed), witnesses were intimidated and perjury was suborned. His case became an international cause célèbre.Publishers Weekly / Geronimo Pratt Is Free

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Black theater cofounder Stanley Williams dies—Stanley E. Williams, the founding artistic director of Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, one of the most influential African American arts companies in California, died Friday. He was 60. Mr. Williams, who was receiving treatment for cancer, died just nine weeks after his longtime partner, Quentin Easter, with whom he had run the company they founded in 1981. Marc Paquette, a spokesman for the theater, said Mr. Williams died at his home in San Francisco. "Stanley Williams was a big personality with a big heart," said Kary Schulman, director of the city's Grants for the Arts. "He devoted his life, both personal and professional, to the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, accomplishing things few thought possible when he and Quentin started the organization. For our community to lose Quentin and now Stanley in such a short time is a terrible blow." SFGate

We mourn the passing of our comrade in the arts, Stanley Williams. Stanley directed a production of my play One Day in the Life. We enjoyed working with him and his partner/co-founder of the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Quentin Easter, who made his transition a few weeks ago. Stanley and Quentin took Bay Area Black Drama to a higher level, especially after they established their home in San Francisco's downtown theatre district.—Marvin X

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 Laurelle "Yaya" Richards was herself a “community center”

 By Lasana M. Sekou

Yaya in younger days. (LR photo)

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Related files

   The African World

    The Ancestors Are Not Really Dead

    Death and Dying in the African Context   

    A Funeral Sermon Virginia-Style 

    Playing Policy, One Sumptuous Meal

    Passed On   Press Release    Other Reviews    Memorial to Family Business   Response to Questions 

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Remembering Eartha Kitt17 January, 1927  – 25 December, 2008)When I think of Eartha Kitt, I think of the complete artist. She was supremely accomplished, audacious, vocal, and creative. She remained beautiful and physically fit. When I was coming into manhood, how I fantasized about Ms. Kitt, whom I thought was just the most sensuous woman on the planet! Yet, as a Black American female, she spoke out of an experience of racist-induced pain, anguish, and despair that gnawed at her existence, which could produce a good amount of anger and clear thinking about the meaning of America.—Floyd Hayes                                  

She was indeed some kinda woman: sexy, exuberant, independent, and opinionated. I saw her on the stage in Boston when I was in college, and she blew me away—Miriam  Eartha Kitt—Santa Baby! 1953

Eartha Kitt was a magical woman who always demanded respect. There was always a youthful daring restraint, and an exotic exuberance ever ready to explode in indignation—Rudy  I Want to Be Evil  / Just An Old Fashioned Girl  / Santa Baby

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Funeral Service for Dorothy Height

(March 24, 1912 – April 20, 2010)

Eulogy by Barack Obama

President of the United States

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The Life and Legacy of Beautine Hubert DeCosta-Lee

Obituary by Miriam DeCosta-Willis

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The Ground Beneath Her Feet

Remembering Beautine Hubert DeCosta-Lee

By Miriam DeCosta-Willis

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Jazz Drummer Max Roach Dies -- Maxwell Roach, a  founder of Modern Jazz—born on 10 January 1924, in the small town of New Land, N.C., grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn—died 16 August 2007 in Manhattan. . . . "It all comes down to originality," Roach told jazz critic Leonard Feather some years ago. . . . “There was one unforgettable night when I worked with Pres [Lester Young] at Birdland. Because I was with Pres, and because he and Papa Jo Jones were so close in the Basie band, I played all of Papa Jo's old licks. At the end of the evening, after I said good night to Pres, he gave me one of those succinct lessons in that personal language of his. He said, 'You can't join the throng until you write your own song. . . .That's a great lesson, something that stays with you the rest of your life; this music allows you, prefers you to be an individual, to do your own thing." Revolutionary Black Music: Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln / We Insist! Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite Funeral -- Friday, August 24th at Riverside Church in Manhattan.  Viewing will be at 9 AM.  Services at 11 AM

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Of the Passing of

Mama Ezinne Bessie Chiege Iwuji Okeke


By Rose Ure Mezu

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Ivan Gladstone Van Sertima (26 January 1935 - 25 May 2009) was a historian, linguist and anthropologist at Rutgers University in the United States.[1] He was noted for his controversial Afrocentric theory of pre-Columbian contact between Africa and the Americas.

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Odetta, Voice of Civil Rights Movement, Dies at 77

“You’re walking down life’s road, society’s foot is on your throat, every which way you turn you can’t get from under that foot. And you reach a fork in the road and you can either lie down and die, or insist upon your life.”

      Amy Goodman Remembers Odetta     

Songs Odetta sings   Her recordings of blues and ballads   Odetta’s voice

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Sundiata Memorials—A special Memorial for Sekou Sundiata takes place on Wednesday, August 22, 2007 (his birth date), at Tishman Auditorium, New School University, 66 West 12th Street, exactly from 6pm to 8pm, with poets, musicians, family and friends. . . . African Voices is looking for poems and short comments from friends and fellow artists who were influenced and inspired by Sekou Sundiata. Publisher Carolyn Butts and Editor Layding Kaliba are looking to publish as many dedications to him as possible; therefore, no submission should be longer than 500 words. African Voices also wants to include photographs to accompany the dedications Sekou Sundiata

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Angle of Song

Pinkie Gordon Lane (1923-2008)

By Jerry W. Ward, Jr.

The Katrina Papers: A Journal of Trauma and Recovery   Imprisonment in Holding Cells at Tulane and Broad

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St.Clair Bourne, Filmmaker, Dies at 64—St.Clair Bourne (1943-2007), a documentary filmmaker who recorded American black culture, produced portraits of eminent African-Americans and, in one stark film, drew a parallel between the civil rights movement and the “troubles” in Northern Ireland, died on Saturday (15 December) in Manhattan. He was 64 and lived in Brooklyn. I am proud to say that I know this brother and am sadden by news of his untimely transition. We met each other,  I believe in New York City in the late sixties or early seventies, when we were beginning our “media” related lives. I’m not sure who introduced us, but from the beginning I knew I was in the presence of a really “special” human being.  Somewhat self assured, St.Clair went on to create a significant body of work what will connect our people with their mighty history and greatness for generations to come. An article in the New York Times published Tuesday,  December 18, 2007 providing greater detail includes a nice video short by photographer Chester Higgins, Jr. Now, St.Clair  is beginning his journey amongst many of the ancestors whose lives he presented in his films. May they and the Creator treat him well. vernard r gray

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John Henrik Clarke—A Great and Mighty Walk

This video chronicles the life and times of the noted African-American historian, scholar and Pan-African activist John Henrik Clarke (1915-1998). Both a biography of Clarke himself and an overview of 5,000 years of African history, the film offers a provocative look at the past through the eyes of a leading proponent of an Afrocentric view of history. From ancient Egypt and Africa’s other great empires, Clarke moves through Mediterranean borrowings, the Atlantic slave trade, European colonization, the development of the Pan-African movement, and present-day African-American history.

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New York opens African burial siteNew York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and poet Maya Angelou attended a dedication ceremony for a monument at the site. The late 17th Century burial site was gradually built over as New York expanded, but was rediscovered during an excavation in 1991.  Some 400 remains, many of children, were found during excavations. Half of the remains found at the burial site were of children under the age of 12. The entire project has cost more than $50 million (£24 million) to complete. The burial site in Manhattan was rediscovered during excavations for a federal building. . . . Now a 25ft (7.6 metre) granite monument marks the site. It was designed by Rodney Leon and is made out of stone from South Africa and from North America to symbolise the two worlds coming together. The entry to the monument is called The Door of Return - a nod to the name given to the departure points from which slaves were shipped from Africa to North America. They worked in the docks and as labourers building the fortification known as Wall Street, which protected the city against attack from Native Americans. BBC

*   *   *   *   *'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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Southern History Across the Color Line

By Nell Irvin Painter

The color line, once all too solid in southern public life, still exists in the study of southern history. As distinguished historian Nell Irvin Painter notes, historians often still write about the South as though people of different races occupied entirely different spheres. In truth, although blacks and whites were expected to remain in their assigned places in the southern social hierarchy, their lives were thoroughly entangled.

In this powerful collection, Painter reaches across the color line to examine how race, gender, class, and individual subjectivity shaped the lives of black and white women and men in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century South. Through six essays, she explores such themes as interracial sex, white supremacy, and the physical and psychological violence of slavery, using insights gleaned from psychology and feminist social science as well as social, cultural, and intellectual history. — Southern Literary Journal

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Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change

By John Lewis

The Civil Rights Movement gave rise to the protest culture we know today, and the experiences of leaders like Congressman Lewis have never been more relevant. Now, more than ever, this nation needs a strong and moral voice to guide an engaged population through visionary change. Congressman John Lewis was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. He was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and played a key role in the struggle to end segregation. Despite more than forty arrests, physical attacks, and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. He is the author of his autobiography, Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of a Movement, and is the recipient of numerous awards from national and international institutions, including the Lincoln Medal; the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” Lifetime Achievement Award (the only one of its kind ever awarded); the NAACP Spingarn Medal; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, among many others.

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Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today.

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. Lisa Adkins, University of London

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A Black Communist in the Freedom Struggle

The Life of Harry Haywood

Edited by Gwendolyn Midlo Hall

Mustering out of the U.S. army in 1919, Harry Haywood stepped into a battle that was to last the rest of his life. Within months, he found himself in the middle of one of the bloodiest race riots in U.S. history and realized that he’d been fighting the wrong war—the real enemy was right here at home. This book is Haywood’s eloquent account of coming of age as a black man in twentieth-century America and of his political awakening in the Communist Party. For all its cultural and historical interest, Harry Haywood’s story is also noteworthy for its considerable narrative drama. The son of parents born into slavery, Haywood tells how he grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, found his first job as a shoeshine boy in Minneapolis, then went on to work as a waiter on trains and in restaurants in Chicago.

After fighting in France during the war, he studied how to make revolutions in Moscow during the 1920s, led the Communist Party’s move into the Deep South in 1931, helped to organize the campaign to free the Scottsboro Boys, worked with the Sharecroppers’ Union, supported protests in Chicago against Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia, fought with the International Brigades in Spain, served in the Merchant Marines during World War II, and continued to fight for the right of self-determination for the Afro-American nation in the United States until his death in 1985.

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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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Negro Digest / Black World

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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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posted 11 November 2007