A section of featured content from across the website.

“Time for an Awakening” with Bro. Elliott 9/23/18 guest Activist, Organizer, Khalid Raheem

“Time For An Awakening” for Sunday 9/23/2018 at 7:00 PM (EST) 6:00 PM (CST) our guest was Activist, Organizer, Founder of the New Afrikan Peoples Party, Khalid Raheem. We discussed with our guest the planks and platforms of the party, the initiatives currently in progress, and the need of our people to develop viable alternatives to the current political structure.

“Time for an Awakening” with Bro. Elliott, 9-02-18 guest Mr. Johnny Ford

“Time For An Awakening” for Sunday 9/02/2018 at 7:00 PM (EST) our guest was Founder of The Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance, Mr. Johnny Ford . More than 1200 Black settlements, and towns were established in the United States between the late eighteenth and early twentieth centuries, we learned about some of them, and the ones that still exist, from our guest Mr. Ford.

The idea of an independent Africa was born at the first Pan African Conference in 1900

The idea of the Pan African movement had begun in the late 19th century when many African diasporans started to connect with each other. Through their interactions, they realised a dying need to bridge the gap between African Diasporan civil right activists and educated Africans fighting for the freedom of colonised states and countries.

Activists like W.E Du Bois had developed a keen interest in the ideology of African -Americans and diasporans moving back to Africa. While some activists shunned the idea, other activists in Europe and the Caribbean found the act possible and thus sparked a conversation.

In 1897,  London based Trinidadian lawyer and writer, Henry Sylvester Williams formed the Association of Africa in response to colonisation and partitioning of Africa by Europe. The association also served as a grounds for educating African Diasporan activists about the issues affecting Africa and the need to free the continent.

The successful operation of the association led to the development of the Pan African movement and the beginning of the Pan African conferences.

By 1900, the African Association was successful in bringing together a large community of Pan Africanist in the Diaspora. It also connected with Africans in Britain seeking higher education and interested in the idea of setting Africa free from its colonisers.

Noticing that the Pan-African ideology had established itself well, Williams found it necessary to organise a conference relating to Pan Africanism. In 1900, he set out to organised the conference and sought help from other willing activists.

Invitation to the 1st Pan African Conference of 1900

History was made on Monday, July 23, 1900, when the first Pan African Conference was held in London’s Westminster Hall. The three-day event brought together thirty leaders and activist across Africa, England, America and the West Indies, serving as a common ground for the start of a conversation on Africa and its future. From this conference began the widespread use of the word Pan-African, its course and objectives especially in Africa.

Documents such as “The Preservation of Racial Equality” presented by Anna H. Jones,“The Progress of our People” presented by John E. Quinlan and “The Necessary Concord to be Established between Native Races and European Colonists” presented Benito Sylvain were all discussed during the conference.

In the opening address by  Bishop Alexander Walters titled “The Trials and Tribulations of the Coloured Race in America”, he stated that “for the first time in history black people had gathered from all parts of the globe to discuss and improve the condition of their race, to assert their rights and organize so that they might take an equal place among nations.”

During the conference, the Pan African Association was officially set up. The new and well-structured association elected Bishop A. Walters, Rev. Henry B. Brown, Prof. W. E. B. DuBois, Mr H. Sylvester Williams, T. J. Calloway and Dr R. J. Colenzo as its top executives

The conference also birthed the call for the drafting of the code law for the international protection of the natives of Africa and the supervision of colonies by the League of Nations to prevent economic exploitation by foreign nations. It enjoyed international attention and stirred up great tension among Western Colonisers: the birth of a generation interested in the freedom and development of Africa had been born.

The Pan-African Conferences continued until October 1945, surviving through the second world war. By 1944, the Pan African Federation was established, and various African activists fighting for independence were well connected with activists in the diaspora. By then the conference and association created an avenue for more outspoken and action seeking African freedom fighters.

5th Pan African Conference in October 1945

The Fifth conference meeting of October 1945  saw the presence of Kwame Nkrumah, a staunch pan Africanist and the future first president of Ghana after a successful gain of its independence from the British in 1957, 12 years later.

READ MORE AT: https://face2faceafrica.com/article/the-idea-of-an-independent-africa-was-born-at-the-first-pan-african-conference-in-1900

Next year marks 400 years since first African slaves arrived in Virginia


Slavery museum exhibit



Exhibition at the Hampton History Museum.

The first documented Africans to arrive in the English-speaking colony of what would become Virginia, arrived in August 1619 on the “White Lion,” a Dutch man-of-war ship carrying enslaved cargo from the West Coast of Africa.

The arrival of the ship was reported by colonist John Rolfe who wrote: “About the latter end of August, a Dutch man of Warr of the burden of a 160 tunnes arrived at Point-Comfort, the Commandors name Capt. Jope. He brought not any thing but 20 And odd Negroes, w(hich) the Governo(r) and Cape Merchant bought for victuals.”

The “20 and odd Negroes” had been captured in 1619 from “the Kingdom of Ndongo” in Angola. They were packed with more than 350 enslaved Africans aboard the Sao Joao Baustista, a Portuguese slave ship that set sail from the coast of Africa, bound for Vera Cruz, on the coast of Mexico.

“The ship was overcrowded,” said James Horn, the historian who serves as the president of the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation. “It suffered horrible mortality on the voyage to Vera Cruz.”

And in the middle of the voyage on the high seas, the ship was attacked by two English pirate ships — the Treasurer and the White Lion — hoping to steal gold. Instead, they found human cargo.

The English boarded the ship and split the human cargo between the White Lion and the Treasurer. Weeks later, the White Lion arrived at Point Comfort in Virginia, where its captain traded the enslaved people for food.

Among those traded were a man and woman who were later named Antoney and Isabella and whose baby would become the first documented African baby baptized in English North America.

“Antoney Negro and Isabell Negro and William theire[sic] child baptised [sic]” are listed in the 1624 census in Virginia, becoming the first African family recorded in the colony.

That baby was named William Tucker, though not many more details about his life are known.

Telling the history

On Friday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and other state officials visited the cemetery where it is believed the descendants of William Tucker are buried.

Next year, Virginia will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans in English North America, who arrived on the slave ship that docked near the seawall of Old Point Comfort —now Fort Monroe — in Hampton Roads Harbor.

What followed was more than two centuries of brutal enslavement. By the time the Civil War began in 1860, census figures showed the slave population in the United States at nearly 4 million.

State planners commemorating 1619 with “American Evolution: Virginia to America 1619-2019,” have made a deliberate effort to be more inclusive in telling the history of the early colonists and Native Americans in Virginia.

“In 2019, we have the opportunity to move forward in appreciating the merging of African, English and Native American history in the Jamestown region,” said Kym Hall, superintendent of the Colonial National Historical Park. “We want people of all backgrounds to see themselves having a history here.

“This is ground zero of what we know became a codified history of slavery and the slave trade,” Hall said.

The Tucker family cemetery, a two-acre site, sits in the historic African-American neighborhood of Aberdeen Gardens in Hampton. The cemetery has more than 104 markers, with burials dating to the 1800s.

“It’s a historic moment for us,” said Verrandall Tucker, 59, a descendant of William Tucker.

His cousin, Walter Jones, 62, said the family believes William Tucker lived at Captain William Tucker’s plantation. “This is the closest cemetery to that plantation,” Jones said. “We did research and found we’re direct descendants of William Tucker. Based on the 19 servants who first came. All of that has been documented.”

English ships first landed in what is now Virginia in April 1607. The English, according to the Hampton History Museum, feared a Spanish attack at sea and sailed farther up the James River, where they established what would be known as Jamestown.

Kristopher Peters, museum educator at the Hampton History Museum, said the story of the first Africans is still being pieced together. Much of what historians know about the first Africans in the English colonies was discovered about 20 years ago, when Spain opened its archives to researchers.

The English-built galleons that attacked the slave merchant ship Sao Joao Bautista were the fastest ships in the world at the time, with superior fire power.

“In a matter of hours,” Peters said, “they subdue the Spanish ship, come aboard and find no gold and silver. Instead they find African slaves down inside.

“Now they have a problem. They have paid a lot of money to outfit this ship and come over here. They cannot return empty handed. They don’t have the provisions to do that. They take 50 or 60 of these Africans, put them on these two ships, divide them in half and they will come to the nearest English port, which happens to be Virginia, specifically Port Comfort.”

Antoney and Isabell

Antoney and Isabell appear in the Virginia census of Feb. 16, 1624, when Captain William Tucker, a slave owner in Elizabeth City County, lists them as part of his household. A year later, Isabell and Antoney are listed in “the muster of 1625” as: “Antoney Negro, Isabell Negro.” Then he added the name of “William, theire child, baptised.”

The first documented African child in the English colony of North America may have been born on Tucker’s plantation near the Hampton River. It is possible that he was baptized in a church in what was then an area where the Kecoughtan tribe settled.

Weeks after the White Lion arrived, the Treasurer docked in Virginia with more Africans. One of the earliest black women documented in the English colony arrived on the Treasurer. She would be called Angela.

“She is the only woman listed,” said Cassandra Newby-Alexander, professor of history at Norfolk State University and author of the book, “An African American History of the Civil War in Hampton Roads.”

Angela most likely came from the Kingdom of Ndongo, where the Portuguese created a fort that later became the Colony of Angola.

“Once the Trans-Atlantic slave trade was established, they would pay mercenaries to go out and seize prisoners of war,” Newby-Alexander said. “They would then enslave them and sell the prisoners through the slave trade.”

In Jamestown, Angela became a servant in the household of Capt. William Pierce, who would serve as lieutenant governor of Virginia.

An archeological dig is underway in Jamestown to find out more about the first Africans. And researchers are trying to find more about Angela.

“How old was she when she died. Did she have a child? What did she die of?” Newby-Alexander said. “We will know more about this person if they find any remains. And we can reclaim her humanity and so many Africans who were brought to the colony and were among that first generation of Africans who helped create America.”

READ MORE AT: https://www.roanoke.com/news/virginia/next-year-marks-years-since-first-african-slaves-arrived-in/article_2a5900cd-a85e-56d0-b8d3-0c921da0e1f3.html

The Secret to Keeping Black Men Healthy? Maybe Black Doctors

In an intriguing study, black patients were far more likely to agree to certain health tests if they discussed them with a black male doctor.

Dr. ChaRandle Jordan was one of the doctors who participated in the study. “It’s something they don’t teach you in medical school — taking that extra step because you appreciate there have been barriers in the past,” he said. 

Black men have the lowest life expectancy of any ethnic group in the United States. Much of the gap is explained by greater rates of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, which afflict poor and poorly educated black men in particular.

But why is that? Lack of insurance? Lack of access to health care?

Now, a group of researchers in California has demonstrated that another powerful force may be at work: a lack of black physicians.

In the study, black men seeing black male doctors were much more likely to agree to certain preventive measures than were black men seeing doctors who were white or Asian.

Although 13 percent of the population is black in the United States, just 4 percent of doctors are black.

The study, published in June by the National Bureau for Economic Research, involved 702 black men in Oakland, Calif., who came to a clinic for a free health screening. They were randomly assigned to a black male doctor or one who was white or Asian.

Neither the men nor the doctors knew that the purpose of the study was to ask if a doctor’s race mattered when he or she advised these patients. As it turned out, the racial effects were not subtle.

Diabetes screening was part of the health check, and 63 percent of the black men assigned to a black doctor agreed to the screening. But just 43 percent of those assigned to a doctor who was white or Asian consented to be screened.

Some 62 percent of black men with a black doctor agreed to cholesterol tests, compared to 36 percent assigned to a doctor who was not black.

“If their first reaction is, ‘No, I’m not interested in that,’ you must explore why they said no and address those concerns.”

Dr. ChaRandle Jordan

Previous studies have been observational — mostly searching earlier data for trends, a substantially weaker form of evidence — and their results mixed.

“It changed the way I think,” said Jonathan Skinner, a health care economist at Dartmouth College, about the new results. “This study convinced me that the effects are real.”

The researchers employed minority premedical students to recruit participants by visiting 20 barbershops and two flea markets in Oakland, offering black men vouchers for a free health screening.

The screening was at a clinic set up by the investigators and staffed by 14 black and nonblack doctors. The men were offered preventive measures like flu shots and screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.

The men who came to the clinic offered equal praise for their black, white and Asian doctors. But the patients were far more likely to consent to preventive care — screenings and vaccinations — when their doctor was also black.

If black patients were to agree to this preventive care at these rates in the real world, the gap in cardiovascular mortality between black men and the rest of the population could be reduced by 20 percent, the researchers estimated.

“I don’t think I have ever had such a strong result, so unambiguous,” said Dr. Marcella Alsan, an associate professor of medicine at Stanford University and an author of the study.

Why would black doctors have such an effect? Perhaps they used more nonverbal cues to communicate empathy, said Dr. Amber E. Barnato, a professor of medicine and health care delivery at Dartmouth College.

In another small study, she used black and white actors to study white doctors’ interactions with patients at the end of life. Although the doctors said similar things to both black and white actors posing as patients, they stood closer to the white patients, made more eye contact, and touched them more often.

In the new study, Dr. Alsan and her colleagues did not record patient visits. But some hints of the differences could be seen in comments the patients and doctors wrote in evaluations of their experiences.

The white and Asian doctors often wrote comments like “weight loss,” “tb test” and “anxiety” — cryptic notations that referred to medical recommendations.

The black doctors often left more personal notes, like “needs food, shelter, clothing, job, ‘flu shot makes you sick,’ he got one.” And “subject yelled at me but then agreed to get flu shot because I recommended it.” And “made patient laugh.”

Black men who saw white doctors wrote comments like, “It was a great and fast experience, doctor was great as well.” And “very informative, very appreciated.”

Those who saw black doctors wrote comments like, “The entire day made me feel very comfortable and relaxed” and “cool doctor” — comments that described an emotional response.

Bridging this racial divide is a fraught matter, noted Dr. Skinner.

“It doesn’t seem so controversial if a woman requests a woman physician,” he said. “If a black patient asks for a black doctor, it’s understandable, especially given this study. But what if a white patient asks for a white doctor?”

A white doctor in this study, who asked that his name be withheld because he has black patients, said he felt his interactions with those who came to the clinic were “normal, comfortable health care visits.” Still, he was not surprised to hear the study’s results.

“Anyone going to see a doctor will be nervous,” he said. “If you face discrimination regularly in life, you will go into a clinic with even more apprehensions. If you see a physician who is African-American, you will feel some relief.”

One of the black doctors who participated in the study, Dr. ChaRandle Jordan, noted that low-income black patients in Oakland tend to be guarded in the doctor’s office.

“When you go into the room, you have to ask them about themselves, establish a rapport with them,” he said. “If their first reaction is, ‘No, I’m not interested in that,’ you must explore why they said no and address those concerns.”

“They might say, ‘Each time my mother had it, she would get the flu,’” he said of patients considering flu shots. “You say, ‘How about you try it this time? I bet you won’t get the flu or it will be less severe.’ You are joking a little bit.”

“It’s something they don’t teach you in medical school — taking that extra step because you appreciate there have been barriers in the past,” Dr. Jordan added.

White doctors can reach out just as well, Dr. Jordan said, adding that a lot depends on how familiar a doctor is with black patients.

Could white doctors have more success with black patients if they carefully watched what black doctors do? “Maybe, maybe not,” said David Cutler, a professor of applied economics at Harvard University.

But now that the researchers showed that a doctor’s race can really matter to his or her patients, he said, the medical profession should take heed.

“The magnitude of the effect is so huge, how can you ignore it?” Dr. Cutler asked.

READ MORE AT: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/20/health/black-men-doctors.html

Black Enterprise Unveils Nation’s Largest Black-Owned Businesses For 2018

In many ways, 2017 proved to be both triumphant and bumpy for the nation’s largest black-owned businesses.

Several companies on this year’s BE 100s had robust revenue growth. Others struggled with increased competition, customer retention, and setting themselves apart from larger mainstream rivals. Most still possess resourcefulness, creativity, and other resilient qualities. As such, they have developed the rare entrepreneurial drive to succeed in an uncertain business climate.

There were significant shifts, however: Coca-Cola Beverages Florida L.L.C. became a new billion-dollar revenue addition to the Top 100 rankings. And on the BE BANKS list, OneUnited Bank edged out Carver Federal Savings as the nation’s largest African American banking institution.

To find out the firms that comprise this year’s BE 100s—America’s largest black businesses across industrial/service, automotive and financial services sectors—you will find our series of lists and summaries of their performance here. This article represents a series of reports on how the BE 100s have fared in each industry. Our Annual Report on Black Business begins with a review of the leading black-owned businesses among industrial and service firms.

largest black-owned business

Top 100 Largest Black-Owned Businesses 

The TOP 100 includes manufacturers and tech companies that are suppliers for some of the world’s largest companies. Black firms have been making tremendous strides to innovate due to the changing climate of globalization and technology, says Kenneth L. Harris, Ph.D., president and CEO of the National Business League Inc.

“The future has forced black manufacturers and logistics firms to aggressively innovate to meet global needs, as technology unlocks productivity gains, and businesses experience growth by diversifying into new areas of opportunity within the supply chain—all necessary to remain competitive in the marketplace,” Harris says.

Let’s take a look at how some of these companies fared in 2017 and what they are doing to sustain forward momentum.

The TOP 100 now has six companies with more than $1 billion in revenues. in addition to newcomer soft drink bottler Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, they are list leaders World Wide Technology Inc., a St. Louis-based It products and services provider and staffing solutions firm Act-1 Group as well as top black automotive suppliers Bridgewater Interiors L.L.C, Modular Assembly Innovations, L.L.C., and The Piston Group, LLC.

For Southfield, Michigan-based Piston Group, revenues exceeded $1.7 billion in 2017 versus $1.625 billion in 2016. The gain came from continued organic growth and existing customers like Ford, which included providing the automaker electrification, says Amit Singhi, the company’s COO and CFO. Revenue also grew because of new business the company picked up from adding FCA US L.L.C. and non-domestic automakers like Toyota as customers. Plus the auto supplier benefitted from its acquisition of Irvin Automotive in 2016 from Takara Corp. to expand into engineering, design, and manufacturing. Singhi says growth this year will come from operations as well as acquisitions.

Based in Minneapolis, THOR Cos. had a banner year in 2017, posting revenues of $368 million—up 162% from $140 million in 2016.

Founder and Chairman Richard Copeland says just under $197 million came from the acquisition of JIT Energy Services, a minority-owned energy management and utility cost reduction services firm, for an undisclosed amount. THOR Construction contributed another $170 million. Its high-profile projects included work on the $1.1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium and the $375 million T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The company renovated the Target Center last year where the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves play and worked on the expanded Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

The company aims to collect new revenue this year from THOR Construction, JIT, and its land development, architectural design, and consulting businesses. Started in 1980, Thor Cos. plans to move into new headquarters in July, a $36 million office/retail building in north Minneapolis.

For Powers & Sons Construction, 2017 was rough. The Gary, Indiana-based company’s revenues fell to roughly $46 million, down 50% from around $92 million in 2016. CEO Mamon Powers Jr. said there were ample projects in the pipeline but a significant number of the larger ones were unable to start or had to be delayed due to issues such as a client’s inability to gain adequate financing.

The 2017 Black Enterprise Company of the Year, Powers & Sons celebrated its 50th-anniversary last year. Powers is optimistic revenues will be strong this year and in 2019, rising 20% to 25% annually. He expects the gains to come from new projects his firm will pick up at its offices in Indiana and Illinois, including work on the $350 million Obama Presidential Center in Chicago.

READ MORE AT: http://www.blackenterprise.com/largest-black-owned-businesses-2018/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

“Time for an Awakening” with Bro. Elliott 8-19-18 guest Reginald Moore and Sam Collins III

“Time For An Awakening” for Sunday 8/19/2018 at 7:00 PM (EST) 6:00 PM (CST) our guests was Texas Activists, Historians, Reginald Moore and Sam Collins II. The discussion centered around three decades of work by Mr. Moore lead to one of the discoveries of 95 bodies of our ancestors buried in a mass grave in Sugarland Texas.  We talked with the founder of the Texas Slave Descendants Society, Mr. Moore, about his efforts to uncover the brutality of the State sanctioned convict leasing and forced labor system (SLAVERY)! Also Mr. Sam Collins joined the conversation to talk about their collaborative efforts to preserve and protect some of our ancestors of legend,and locations in the state of Texas.

“Time for an Awakening” with Bro. Elliott 7-22-18 guest BFAA-Memphis Pres. Thomas Burrell


“Time For An Awakening” for Sunday 7/22/2018 at 7:00 PM  our guests was Activist, President, Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association-Memphis, Thomas Burrell and Activist, Farmer, Bishop David Hall. We learned more about the lawsuit filed by Black Farmers against the Stine seed company, for fake seeds being sold to our Farmers in the Black Belt. Hear more about this and other topics from the President of BFAA-Memphis, Mr. Thomas Burell.


The Troubling Fate of a 1973 Film About the First Black Man in the C.I.A.

Ivan Dixon’s 1973 film, “The Spook Who Sat by the Door,” which is playing at Metrograph from Friday through Sunday (it’s also on DVD and streaming), is a political fiction, based on a novel by Sam Greenlee, about the first black man in the C.I.A. After leaving the agency, the agent, Dan Freeman (Lawrence Cook) moves to Chicago, and puts his training in guerrilla warfare to use: he organizes a group of black gang members and Vietnam War veterans into a fighting force and leads a violent uprising against the police, the National Guard, and the city government. The film’s radical premise was noticed outside of Hollywood: produced independently, the film was completed and released by United Artists, but it was pulled from theatres soon after its release. Its prints were destroyed; the negative was stored under another title; and Greenlee (who died in 2014) claimed that the F.B.I. was involved in its disappearance, citing visits from agents to theatre owners who were told to pull the movie from screens. (No official documentation of these demands has emerged.)

On these grounds alone, a viewing of “The Spook Who Sat By the Door” would be a matter of urgent curiosity. But the movie is also a distinctive and accomplished work of art, no mere artifact of the times but an enduring experience. A supreme aspect of the art of movies is tone—the sensory climate of a movie, which depends on the style and mood of performance as much as the plot and the dialogue, the visual compositions as well as the locations, costumes, and décor, the editing and the music (often a sticking point), all of which are aligned with—and sharpen and focus—the ideas that the movie embodies. Dixon—who starred in one of the greatest of all independent films, Michael Roemer’s “Nothing But a Man,” from 1964 (and then spent five years on “Hogan’s Heroes”)—begins with a tone bordering on sketch-like satire that soon crystallizes into a sharp edge of restrained precision. A senator (a white man, played by Joseph Mascolo) campaigning for reëlection finds that he needs the black vote and decides to criticize the C.I.A. for having no black agents. Even in his office, the senator speaks in a pompous, stentorian voice seemingly inflated to a constant podium bluster.

Dixon devotes careful attention to the recruitment and training process (Greenlee had himself been an employee of the U.S. Information Agency) that Freeman and the other black recruits who are his competitors endure—and to the behind-the-scenes chicanery of white officials who treat the process as a sham and hope not to integrate the agency at all. Dixon’s direction of the white actors’ performances exposes the dual meaning of the term “bad actors”: the officials’ fat-cat presumptions and facile attitudinizing are mocked in the characters’ exaggerated B-movie cadences. (The title of “The Spook Who Sat by the Door” plays on the racial slur as well as the slang for “spy,” and alludes to the conspicuous deployment of the agency’s one black officer to display its phony integration.)

By contrast, in the role of Dan Freeman, Cook is laser-focussed and controlled, keeping himself under high pressure to contain tremendous heat. When Dan leaves Washington, D.C., and returns to Chicago, he does so under the guise of joining a social-services group as a street-level teacher. But when he gets there, he returns to his earlier identity as Turk, a member of a gang called the Cobras, and he organizes and trains its members as part of his battalion—with lessons that he learned in C.I.A. training courses. The sequences of their training, their planning, and their launching of action—as well as of Dan’s relations with other black men and women there, including his former fiancée, Joy (Janet League); a prostitute whom he recruits as an infiltrator (Paula Kelly); and a police detective who’s his longtime friend (J.A. Preston)—deliver a frank yet delicate reckoning with the pain and the conflict of black American lives.

The power of what Dixon accomplishes is revealed as much in what’s not onscreen as in what is. “The Spook Who Sat by the Door” isn’t about the ideological or organizational development of a political party; it’s not about a public-relations war or an advocacy campaign. Rather, it’s about a cold, clear truth that infuses the movie with an existential ferocity: Dixon’s film doesn’t offer a litany of disparate grievances; it displays the bedrock of racist attitudes and assumptions that renders racist policies both inescapable and irreparable. In effect, the question that the film poses regarding the revolutionary action of black Americans—and that renders it so daring—isn’t “Why?” but “Why not?”

The longest scene in the movie, nearly at the center of it, features Dan in conversation with a fighter named Willie (David Lemieux), a college student and writer whom he recruits as “propagandist” and appoints Minister of Information. When Willie expresses contempt for his college education, Dan unleashes a calmly impassioned monologue about his illiterate grandmother learning to read when he did and telling him, “Get an education, because that’s the only thing the white man can’t take away from you.” In another extraordinary scene, as four of the guerrillas sit around chatting, two of them improvise an elaborately antic parody of a Hollywood plantation movie, complete with a servile and grateful former slave, to which Dan responds, “You have just played out the American dream, and now we’re going to turn it into a nightmare.”

Dixon, working with the cinematographer Michel Hugo (who also shot Jacques Demy’s “Model Shop”), composes the film with a severe, wide-eyed stillness that has the sense of a hard stare at unbearable realities and phantasmagorical practicalities alike. His stylized blankness seems to stare beyond the specifics of the drama toward vast imaginary possibilities. The power of his work was noticed by the severest critics of the era, who forced it out of theatres and nearly into oblivion. It was the second and last feature that Dixon directed—and a glance at the filmographies of its cast shows that few had significant feature-film roles afterward. As with so many independent films—sadly and unsurprisingly, particularly ones directed by women and people of color—the disappearance of this one also contributed to the erasure of careers, mentorship, influence, and power of another sort, which, judging by the fate of “The Spook Who Sat By the Door,” seems to have mattered desperately to law-enforcement officials: power in the world of movies itself.

READ MORE AT:  https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-front-row/the-troubling-fate-of-a-1973-film-about-the-first-black-man-in-the-cia

Why I don’t understand the black affluent class

The black middle class is talking of values and civility as many Americans of colour continue to languish in poverty.



Sen Cory Booker pauses while speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US on July 25, 2016 [Mike Segar/Reuters]
Sen Cory Booker pauses while speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US on July 25, 2016

It’s amazing how similar middle-class and well-positioned African Americans are to white elites in their perspectives on US politics. They continue to play in the sandbox of respectability politics and civility, as if only since the election of Donald Trump as president has racial and socioeconomic progress been in jeopardy.

Take Washington Post columnist Colbert I King’s reaction to US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement last month. The “honor – or from, my point of view, blame” for strengthening the right-wing hold on the Supreme Court “goes to those citizens who did not vote for a presidential candidate in 2016,” he wrote in a recent column. He added, “I thought the case [for Hillary Clinton] was strong. Sadly … Black voter turnout fell from 66.6 percent of eligible voters in 2012 to 59.6 percent four years later.”

King’s words reflect the thoughts of many middle-class and affluent African Americans who’ve despaired over Trump and the GOP’s control of all three branches of government as a sign of the apocalypse. Like King, many have scorned black voters who decided to abstain from voting or not vote for Clinton because they didn’t see her as having African Americans’ interest in mind or working to combat poverty, as her campaign platform demonstrated.

The reality is that every president since Lyndon Johnson has forgotten about America’s poor, and especially, poor Americans of colour. Most politicians rarely use the words “poor” and “poverty” in their speeches, unless they intend to criticise the poor for their lot in life.

Yet the black affluent class continues to emphasise racial progress and social mobility as if it’s 1978, with Jimmy Carter as president and sitcom Diff’rent Strokes (starring black actors Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges) an NBC primetime hit.

Democratic Senator Cory Booker implied as much last month in his defence of Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders who, last month, was asked to leave a restaurant by its owner. “Not to lead with love and to do it in a way that is more reflective of the values we are trying to reject in our country is not acceptable to me,” Booker said on MSNBC.

These words and “values” ring hollow to anyone who’s experienced extreme hunger and homelessness, a “Jane Crow” removal of children, or a white person threatening to call the police on them for existing.

Emphasising harmony while knowing that millions of Americans of colour are living off the crumbs of alleged racial progress is the mentality of an affluent African American who’s struck a Faustian bargain.

Another example of this contradiction would be Trump’s predecessor. Barack Obama’s presidency oversaw a rapid rise in the racial wealth gap and more than 2.5 million deportations of mostly brown undocumented people.

President Obama’s lofty language often contained thorns of chastisement towards blacks living in poverty. During his Dallas speech in July 2016, Obama said to “protesters” of police brutality, “You know how dangerous some of the communities where these police officers serve are. And you pretend as if there’s no context.”

As crunk feminist Brittany Cooper put it in her book “Eloquent Rage”, the absurdity of this is that most middle-class blacks are “only 1.5 generations” removed from black poverty.

A black middle class that cares more about civility and less about speaking out about structural racism and inequality is one that is difficult to understand. It makes them unwitting partners in white supremacy, patriarchy and socioeconomic inequality.

I’ve found that I’ve needed to reassess my own thinking about the contradictions between racial and class-based oppression and my own middle-class strivings. I turned 11 in December 1980, a month after the election of Ronald Reagan, the champion of the “welfare queen” and “strapping young buck” myths, which denigrated black and poor Americans.

I didn’t know I was growing up in working poverty in suburban New York until I entered my middle school magnet programme in 1981. There, I found myself in a classroom with affluent white and middle-class black kids for the first time.

At age 13, I learned that poverty was like Dante’s nine circles of hell after my mother lost her Mount Vernon Hospital job. Our family fell into welfare poverty during the double-dip recession in 1983. Between the ages of 18 and 29, I went through three periods of unemployment and a two and a half years of underemployment.

My delayed entry into the middle class was no accident. Since the days of President Richard Nixon, nearly every president, every Congress, and every Supreme Court has worked to weaken reproductive rights, affirmative action, criminal justice protections, and social welfare programmes. All these actions and more have stalled social mobility in the US, especially for Americans of colour living in poverty.

It didn’t matter that I exercised middle-class pragmatism and voted for “the lesser of two evils” President Bill Clinton while living in Pittsburgh in 1992 and 1996. It didn’t matter that I wrote “Jesse Jackson” on my New York State absentee ballot when I voted in 1988. That I and others managed to “make it” in this 50-year-old war against poor people is somewhere between a miracle and dumb luck.

I am not suggesting that African Americans like myself should forsake a more prosperous life, but beyond the practical considerations of paying off debt and having wealth to manage, blacks and other Americans of colour should ask if being middle class in thought and politics is really worth it. Especially if the endgame only leads to a larger class of Americans engaging in structural racism and class oppression through rhetorical flourishes and support of racist and anti-poor policies.

READ MORE AT: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/don-understand-black-affluent-class-180718064315291.html

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