Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The tragic death of Eric Garner: Resisting arrest or resisting harassment?

By Charles Brooks

Last week, the body of Mr. Eric Garner was laid to rest after funeral services were held in Brooklyn, New York. Mr. Garner was the latest victim of NYPD's use of excessive force. His death attracted international attention and triggered considerable outrage for several reasons. Mr. Garner was an unarmed African American,  accused for selling cigarettes individually out of the pack – a long time practice called selling “loosies” – or as media reports state – selling untaxed cigarettes. For that, he was placed in an illegal police maneuver, the notorious chokehold.  Although NYPD officials say he “resisted arrest”, the question that needs to be asked is whether Mr. Garner was actually resisting repeated police harassment?   

Sunday, July 13, 2014

BlackboardBlog Interview: NBUF Chairman Kofi Taharka



The National Black United Front (NBUF) has just held their 35th annual convention in Washington D.C. at Howard University between July 10th and July 12th. They opened their convention with two inspiring presentations, the first, a panel discussion entitled “Gentrification & Discrimination in Housing and Education: Why we need Reparations”.  There were four panelists provided their analysis around the critical question of reparations and gentrification.  The panel discussion was followed by a presentation, “African History: A Tool for Liberation” delivered by Dr. Leonard Jeffries, who was recently named the International Director of the Organization of African American Unity.  See my article on the panel discussion published by The Black Star News here.  

 
 
 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

...and the Republicans chose race

By Charles Brooks


LBJ Library photo

LBJ Library photo
A nation still divided on race celebrates the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights law.  As you read and/or listen to the various social commentary and analysis, there's a particular focus on how the 1964 civil rights law transformed the nation by dismantling American apartheid.  Consider for a moment how Jim Crow and states rights shackled black life in America where entry onto public spaces were severely restricted or just simply denied. Swimming pools, movie theaters, hotels. motels, restaurants, public transportation, libraries, hospitals and even cemeteries are just a few examples of  just how deep the racial divide was before the 1964 Civil Rrights bill was passed. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Blackboard remembers Kwame Ture - June 29, 1941 - November 15 1998


Today we celebrate Kwame Ture day of birth, June 29th, 1941.  The following is a reprint of an article that I wrote for The Black World Today back in February 1997 when the late Kwame Ture has honored by the United African Movement in Brooklyn, New York.  


By Charles Brooks
His fiery spirit still burns strong! The scene was a perfect setting for what was about to occur.  The sweet smell of incense filled the air, giving way to the flags of various African nations that were displayed overhead. As always there was a mood of fellowship and spirituality - joined by the common goal that brought the audience together to learn from the honoree, Kwame Ture.

The air was filled with electricity and anticipation as the packed audience waited to hear the words of the self-proclaimed revolutionary.  The silence that filled the room as Alton Maddox, chairman of the United African Movement completed his introduction, quickly turned to a standing ovation as Kwame Ture took the microphone. 

As he began to speak in strong and fiery tones, his shaven head proved to be the only reminder that this was a man who just last year suffered from prostate cancer.  He spoke for over an hour with passion and undying love for his people about what he knows best…revolution and organizing!  “There’s no greater honor than to die for your people,” said Mr. Ture.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Walter Rodney's Intellectual and Political Thought, Reviewed by L.V. Gaither

A few years back Mr. L. V. Gaither wrote an insightful book review about Rupert Charles Lewis’ book, Walter  Rodney’s Intellectual and Political Thought. In reading through Mr. Gaither’s critique of Mr. Lewis’ book as well as his own observations of the Guyanese scholar-activist, you will see how Mr. Gaither’s writing clearly highlights the significance of Dr. Walter Rodney’s legacy.   The fact that there are just a handful of books about Dr. Rodney simply raises the value of both Mr. Lewis’ important book as well as Mr. Gaither’s review of it.  Although Mr. Gaither’s book review was published in 1998 – nearly sixteen years ago – it is plain to see why Dr. Rodney’s legacy has grown even stronger as the years go by.

L. V. Gaither is the publisher of The Gaither Reporter, and author of Loss of Empire: Legal Lynching, Vigilantism, and African American Intellectualism in the 21st Century. Mr. Gaither has written many essays and articles published in several publications.

WALTER RODNEY’S INTELLECTUAL AND POLITICAL THOUGHT
Reviewed by L.V. Gaither
Walter Rodney, born in British Guiana in 1942, was one of the most outstanding historians within the radical, international Caribbean tradition. Largely remembered for his Marxist reading of the underdevelopment of Africa, Rodney possessed that rare capacity to take theory and situate it into practical politics; to push liberating ideas beyond the limits of one’s imagination into concrete reality. Although Rodney’s life, and correspondingly his course of revolutionary activity, ended when he was assassinated at the young age of 38, his intellectual production continues to resonate in the international arena.

 Rupert Lewis’s new book delves deeply into the impressive and wide-ranging panorama of Rodney’s political and intellectual thought. As I read it, I was reminded over and over again that at a time when a reassessment of Rodney’s ideas could benefit us most, his contributions to Caribbean and African political thought are unfamiliar to the present generation. Popular awareness of his contributions to the intellectual formation of black radicalism in North America is limited mostly to his book, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. But even here, as the next generation emerges to take the reins of political, social, and intellectual leadership, prospects for understanding the importance of this major work are fading.