Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dr Ivan Van Sertima

                                    Dr Ivan Van Sertima
It can be stated with absolute certainty that, because of his consistent and unrelenting scholarship over thirty five years in the rewriting of African history and the reconstruction of the African's place in world history, particularly in the field of the African presence in ancient America, Dr.Ivan Van Sertima has cemented his position as one of our greatest living scholars. During this turbulent and exciting period, he has been in the vanguard of those scholars fighting to place African history in a new light. Simply put, Van Sertima's clarion call has been: "We shall follow the trail of the African in Europe, in Asia, and in every corner of the New World, seeking to set the record straight. This is no romantic exploration of antiquities. It is a search for roots."

Africa's history and contributions to human development have been greatly missrepresented in European history,teachings and portrails of the African continent. Europeans justified their rape and pillage of African peoples by
saying that they were savages and not human and had no culture. Dr. Ivan van Sertima has dedicated his life to bring truth in to light so we see the contributions of Africa to the world.

Ivan Gladstone Van Sertima was born 26 January 1935 in Kitty Village, near Georgetown, Guyana, when Guyana was still a British colony; he retained his British citizenship throughout his life. He completed primary and secondary school in Guyana, and started writing poetry. He attended the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London in 1959. In addition to his creative writing, Van Sertima completed his under graduate studies in African languages and literature at SOAS in 1969, where he graduated with honours.

From 1957 to 1959,he worked as a Press and Broadcasting Officer in the Guyana Information Services. During the 1960s, he worked for several years in Great Britain as a journalist, doing weekly broadcasts to the Caribbean and Africa.
In doing field work in Africa, he compiled a dictionary of Swahili legal terms in 1967.In 1970 Van Sertima immigrated to the United States, where he completed his post graduate studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey.  Dr. Van Sertima began his teaching career as an instructor at Rutgers in 1972, and he became Professor of African studies in the Department of Africana Studies.  

He published the book, They Came Before Columbus in 1976, as a Rutgers graduate student. The book deals mostly with his arguments for an African origin of Mesoamerican culture in the Western Hemisphere, but among other things also writing that the kings of the 25th Dynasty of Egypt were Nubians. The book, published by Random House rather than an academic press, was a best-seller and achieved widespread attention within the African-American community for his claims of prehistoric African contact and diffusion of culture in Central and South America. It was generally "ignored or dismissed" by white academic experts at the time and strongly criticised in detail in an academic journal, Current Anthropology, in 1997

Clarence Weiant 1897 – 1986, who had worked as an assistant archaeologist specialising in ceramics at Tres Zapotes , wrote a letter to the New York Times supporting Van Sertima's work. Weiant wrote: "Van Sertima's work is a summary of six or seven years of meticulous research based upon archaeology, egyptology, African history, oceanography, astronomy, botany, rare Arabic and Chinese manuscripts, the letters and journals of early American explorers, and the observations of physical anthropologists.... As one who has been immersed in Mexican archaeology for some forty years, and who participated in the excavation of the first giant heads, I must confess, I am thoroughly convinced of the soundness of Van Sertima's conclusions."

In 1981 Dean R. Snow, a professor of anthropology, wrote that Van Sertima "uses the now familiar technique of stringing together bits of carefully selected evidence, each surgically removed from the context that would give it a rational explanation". Snow continued, "The findings of professional archaeologists and physical anthropologists are misrepresented so that they seem to support the [Van Sertima] hypothesis".

In 1981, They Came Before Columbus received the "Clarence L. Holte Literary Prize". Sertima was inducted into the "Rutgers African-American Alumni Hall of Fame" in 2004.

Van Sertima retired in 2006. He died on 25 May 2009 aged 74. He was survived by his wife and four adult children. His widow, Jacqueline Van Sertima, said she would continue to publish the Journal of African Civilizations. She also planned to publish a book of his poetry.

                    Dr.Ivan Van Sertima- They Came Before Columbus

They Came Before Columbus reveals a compelling, dramatic, and superbly detailed documentation of the presence and legacy of Africans in ancient America. Examining navigation and shipbuilding; cultural analogies between Native Americans and Africans; the transportation of plants, animals, and textiles between the continents; and the diaries, journals, and oral accounts of the explorers themselves, Ivan Van Sertima builds a pyramid of evidence to support his claim of an African presence in the New World centuries before Columbus. Combining impressive scholarship with a novelist’s gift for storytelling, Van Sertima re-creates some of the most powerful scenes of human history: the launching of the great ships of Mali in 1310 (two hundred master boats and two hundred supply boats), the sea expedition of the Mandingo king in 1311, and many others. In They Came Before Columbus, we see clearly the unmistakable face and handprint of black Africans in pre-Columbian America, and their overwhelming impact on the civilizations they encountered.

                        Dr Ivan Van Sertima - Black Woman In Antiquity

This unique research provides an overview of the black queens, madonnas, and goddesses who dominated the history and imagination of ancient times. The authors have concentrated on Ethiopia and Egypt because the documents of the Nile Valley are voluminous compared to the sketchier records in other parts of Africa, but also because the imagination of the world, not just that of Africa, was haunted by these women. They are just as prominent a feature of European mythology as of African reality. The study is divided into three parts: Ethiopia and Egyptian Queens and Goddesses; Black Women in Ancient Art; and Conquerors and Courtesans. The second edition contains two new chapters, one on Hypatia and women's rights in ancient Egypt, and the other on the diffusion into Europe of Isis, the African goddess of Nile Valley civilizations. Black Women in Antiquity provides a dramatic account of the role black women have played in the history and development of civilization.

                    Golden Age of The Moor By Ivan Van Sertima 

This work examines the debt owed by Europe to the Moors for the Renaissance and the significant role played by the African in the Muslim invasions of the Iberian peninsula. While it focuses mainly on Spain and Portugal, it also examines the races and roots of the original North African before the later ethnic mix of the blackamoors and tawny Moors in the medieval period. The study ranges from the Moor in the literature of Cervantes and Shakespeare to his profound influence upon Europe's university system and the diffusion via this system of the ancient and medieval sciences. The Moors are shown to affect not only European mathematics and map-making, agriculture and architecture, but their markets, their music and their machines. The ethnicity of the Moor is re-examined, as is his unique contribution, both as creator and conduit, to the first seminal phase of the industrial revolution.

                    African Presence in Early Europe

This documentary is based on the study of the African in world civilization, in particular his little known contributions to the advancement of Eurpe. A major essay on the evolution of the Caucasoid discusses recent scientific discoveries of the African fatherhood of man and the shift towards albinism (dropping of pigmentation) by the Grimaldi African during an ice age (the Wurm Interstadial) in Europe. The debt owed to African and Arab Moors for certain inventions usually credited to the Renaissance is discussed, as well as the much earlier Afro-Egyptian influence on Greek science and philosophy. The book is divided into six parts: The First Europeans: African Presence in the Ancient Mediterranean Isles and Mainland Greece; Africans in the European Religious Hierarchy (madonnas, saints and popes); African Presence in Western Europe; African Presence in Northern Europe; African Presence in Eastern Europe.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Dr. John Henrik Clarke

                   John Henrik Clarke: The Pan-African Scholar

Dr. John Henrik Clarke was born Jan. 1, 1915, in Union Springs, Alabama. The youngest child of John (a sharecropper) and Willie Ella (Mays) Clarke (a washer woman), (who died in 1922). With the hopes of earning enough money to buy land rather than sharecrop, his family moved to the closest milltown, Columbus, Georgia.

Counter to his mother's wishes for him to become a farmer, Clarke left Georgia in 1933 by freight train and went to Harlem, New York as part of the Great Migration of rural blacks out of the South to northern cities. There he pursued scholarship and activism. He renamed himself as John Henrik (after rebel Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen) and added an "e" to his surname, spelling it as "Clarke."

Arriving in Harlem at the age of 18 in 1933, Clarke developed as a writer and lecturer during the Great Depression years. He joined study circles such as the Harlem History Club and the Harlem Writers' Workshop. He studied intermittently at New York University, Columbia University, Hunter College, the New School of Social Research and the League for Professional Writers. He was an autodidact whose mentors included the scholar Arturo Alfonso Schomburg. From 1941 to 1945, Clarke served as a non-commissioned officer in the United States Army Air Forces, ultimately attaining the rank of master sergeant.

In the post-World War II era, there was new artistic development, with small presses and magazines being founded and surviving for brief times. Writers and publishers continued to start new enterprises: Clarke was co-founder of the Harlem Quarterly (1949–51), book review editor of the Negro History Bulletin (1948–52), associate editor of the magazine, Freedomways, and a feature writer for the black-owned Pittsburgh Courier.

Clarke taught at the New School for Social Research from 1956 to 1958.  Traveling in West Africa in 1958–59, he met Kwame Nkrumah, whom he had mentored as a student in the US, and was offered a job working as a journalist for the Ghana Evening News. He also lectured at the University of Ghana and elsewhere in Africa, including in Nigeria at the University of Ibadan.

Dr. Clarke is the author of numerous articles that have appeared in leading scholarly journals. He also served as the author, contributor, or editor of 24 books. In 1968 along with the Black Caucus of the African Studies Association, Dr. Clarke founded the African Heritage Studies Association. In 1969 he was appointed as the founding chairman of the Black and Puerto Rican Studies Department at Hunter College in New York City.

Dr. Clarke was most known and highly regarded for his lifelong devotion to studying and documenting the histories and contributions of African peoples in Africa and the diaspora.

Dr. Clarke is often quoted as stating that "History is not everything, but it is a starting point. History is a clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day. It is a compass they use to find themselves on the map of human geography. It tells them where they are, but more importantly, what they must be."

If you expect the present day school system to give history to you, you are dreaming. This, we have to do ourselves. The Chinese didn't go out in the world and beg people to teach Chinese studies or let them teach Chinese studies. The Japanese didn't do that either. People don't beg other people to restore their history; they do it themselves.
John Henrik Clarke

Clarke was a self-taught man whose mentors included Black Puerto Rican historian and scholar Arturo Alfonso Schomburg. Clarke was a professor of Black and Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College of the City University of New York from 1969 to 1986, where he served as founding chairman of the department. He also was the Carter G. Woodson Distinguished Visiting Professor of African History at Cornell University’s Africana Studies and Research Center.  Additionally, in 1968 he founded the African Heritage Studies Association and the Black Caucus of the African Studies Association.

In its obituary of Clarke, The New York Times noted that the activist's ascension to professor emeritus at Hunter College was "unusual... without benefit of a high school diploma, let alone a Ph.D." It acknowledged that "nobody said Professor Clarke wasn't an academic original."  In 1994, Clarke earned a doctorate from the non-accredited Pacific Western University (now California Miramar University) in Los Angeles, having earned a bachelor's degree there in 1992.

This documentary is about Dr. John Henrik Clarke our Grandmaster Scholar Warrior. This documentary is Narrated and Director by none other than Wesley Snipes. It focuses on how Dr. Clarke started studying African History and covers thousands of years of history. It is accentuated with dozens of pictures and film clips. This documentary is a must see and should be part of anyones collection.

                                 A Great and Mighty Walk 
 Dr. John Henrik Clarke - The African Rise of Christianity
    Dr John Henrik Clarke - Exactly Who or What is a Jew

                   Dr. John Henrik Clarke on Religion



Sunday, June 11, 2017

14-year-old boy, Naji Tribble, Suffers Fractured Skull from Police Officer

      14-year-old boy, Naji Tribble, Suffers Fractured Skull from Police Officer

Naji Tribble, a 14-year-old boy, who was roaming through local shops as part of his routine with his friends on Thursday, May 11, is now being treated at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia after an off-duty police officer slammed his head into the ground and fractured his skull.

Around 5:45 p.m. on May 11th, Naji Tribble, a 14-year-old Brewerytown resident, and four friends stopped by a Dollar Tree near the corner of 26th Street and Girard Avenue as part of the group’s afternoon routine of checking out the stores up and down Girard. After buying some snacks, the boys decided to go next door for the first time to Steelworks Strength Systems, a new gym that had recently replaced a state store they’d never been allowed to enter.

The incident began as Naji and his friends entered the new gym . When they entered the gym a group of white men, who were working out, began to verbally accost them with racial slurs, so Naji and his friends left the gym. After they left, one man followed them, and some of Naji’s friends threw stones at the man. His friends decided to run, but Naji did not because he felt he “didn’t do anything wrong.” The man then caught up to Naji at the intersection of Girard and College avenues and grabbed Naji by the shirt, shook him around and called him a “little n***er” and made more threats towards him.

Once the man released him, Naji ran to his house nearby to tell his parents. His father, Alfred Tribble, 57, was upstairs asleep, racked with grief over a cousin who had been pronounced dead earlier that day after being shot in Northeast Philadelphia. Naji’s mother, Antoinette, 47, was downstairs with his 19-year-old sister, Nayanda. When Naji said what had happened, Nayanda stormed out the door with him as their mother put on her shoes and attempted to call Alfred down.

The following account of what happened next — a violent encounter with an off-duty police officer, a hospital arrest, bureaucratic runaround, and nearly three weeks of increasingly concerning medical visits for Naji that culminated in an emergency admission to CHOP on May 31st and the discovery that he had a fractured skull — was assembled from multiple interviews with the family, neighbors who witnessed the incident, and Naji himself. Police will confirm only that the family’s complaint is being investigated, and the officers allegedly involved have not been available for comment.

THE SOUNDS OF A MAN YELLING had already begun to draw neighbors from their homes as Naji and his family returned to the intersection of Girard and College. The situation almost immediately took an unexpected and brutal turn.

“The man was still down the street from us,“ says Nayanda, “and when I went over to him, he choked-slammed me to the ground. Next thing I know, he grabs Naji and slams his head to the ground …. I can hear his head hit against the pavement.”

“By the time I get out the door, I see this man grabbing my son and throwing him to the ground … I run over and he pushes me down,” says Antoinette. “I remained on the ground holding my son. I knew then that he was injured badly.”

By this point, around 6 p.m., roughly 20 neighbors had gathered and began to confront the man, later identified in an incident report as Kevin Furman, an off-duty Philadelphia police officer. As some of the neighbors argued with Furman and others were caring for Antoinette and her children, an unknown individual called 911 for police and an ambulance. The commotion woke up Alfred Tribble, who soon noticed that his front door had been left open. He ran to the now-chaotic scene in a mood that he described as “angered.”

“I wanted to know what happened to my family … I saw my son laying on the ground barely conscious,” Alfred says. “The string of cop cars began to come, and that’s when Kevin Furman starts playing victim.”

Police arrived on the scene around 6:20 p.m., about 15 minutes after Naji had been slammed to the ground. Alfred claims that an officer who identified himself as Sgt. Soto of the 22nd District asked to hear from Furman first, and that Furman “falsely accused Naji of punching [Furman’s] wife in the back of her head.” (According to a Family Court document filed the day after the incident, provided to Philadelphia magazine by the Tribble family on June 7th, this allegation resulted in a simple assault charge against Naji.)

Alfred maintains that the allegation was “clearly a lie — there was no woman even around to claim such a thing …. My family and the neighbors told Soto and the other officers that Kevin Furman physically harmed my wife and children …. He wouldn’t listen to us.” (Philadelphia magazine has been able to confirm that a Sgt. Soto works out of the 22nd District but has not been able to confirm his first name.)

Furman then apparently identified himself to Soto as an off-duty officer, and this “provoked” other officers to “throw Naji in the back of the police car,” says Alfred.

“The police didn’t make matters any better. They escalated the entire situation — I saw the entire thing,” says a neighbor who requested not to be named. “After that white man [Furman] said he was a cop, Sgt. Soto called us all ‘motherfuckers’ and said he would ‘lock us all up’ if we didn’t back away from the scene.” Philly Mag spoke to three other residents who said they were present during the incident and that Soto cursed at neighbors repeatedly while putting Naji in the police car. “Soto yells to the crowd that my son attacked a cop,” Alfred says. “He says this lie as a way to justify throwing my child in a police car.”

Moments later, an ambulance arrived, and Naji’s family told the EMTs that he was unconscious. The lead EMT asked to see him in the police car, and after examining him briefly requested permission from Soto to take him to a nearby hospital. Alfred went with Naji in the ambulance. The police then begin to disperse.

Naji was taken to Hahnemann Hospital and was considered in stable condition by 8 p.m. “I told the doctors to give him a CAT scan … they tell me they have already and that nothing is wrong with him,” Alfred says.

Around 10 p.m., police officers came to Naji’s hospital room and handcuffed him to the bed while the hospital finished his medical tests. “I was shocked that the police were doing all of this to a small child who couldn’t hurt a fly,” says Alfred, “but I just follow their orders, because you know how the system is to black folks.”

While Alfred and Naji were at Hahnemann, Antoinette traveled to the 22nd District station at 17th Street and Montgomery Avenue to request information about filing a formal complaint against Furman. “Soto yelled that he will arrest me if I don’t leave,” Antoinette says. “He told me that I already had my moment to tell my story, and if I didn’t leave he would lock me up.”

Around 11 p.m., when Hahnemann cleared Naji for release, police officers arrested him on charges of simple assault and recklessly endangering another person, and took him into custody. Alfred caught up with his wife and headed to the 9th District station on North 21st Street, where they arrived before Naji was processed. They say they briefed two female desk officers on the details of the incident and aftermath. “The moment he came in the room, they understood something bizarre had occurred, and they said they would make sure he’s OK,” Alfred says. “The women were very empathetic and told us they would keep Naji in the main office, feed him, and made sure they would call us in the next few hours.”

Alfred and his family slept in a car outside the station until they received a phone call from one of the female officers at 4 a.m. that they could pick Naji up. According to his parents, he was not questioned by police while in custody and, as the women promised, had not been placed in a cell.

The family immediately took Naji to CHOP for additional checkups. Alfred soon left the hospital to attend Naji’s arraignment on the assault charges at the Juvenile Justice Services Center at 48th and Haverford. Though the family steadfastly maintains Naji’s innocence of all the charges, Alfred agreed to a deal on Naji’s behalf for him to participate in a 60-day program that would completely expunge the arrest and charges his record. “I didn’t want him to go into the system … I know what they do to black men,” Alfred says. “This would at least give him a second chance.”

BACK AT CHOP, doctors informed the family that they could not find anything wrong with Naji and, Alfred says, refused to do a CAT scan on him because “they don’t want to expose him to any radiation.” After being discharged, the family says, he struggled to get better.

“For the past three weeks, we had to take Naji back and forth to CHOP because he just wasn’t the same,” Antoinette says. “He would have minor seizures, stay in the house all day, and not be able to focus in school. My child is very active, and suddenly his behavior changed drastically.” Then on Wednesday, May 31st, Naji’s school notified his parents that he was displaying signs of abnormal behavior. The family again rushed Naji to the hospital.

“The teacher told us he was extremely incoherent and was not speaking English,” Alfred says. “CHOP finally did a CAT scan on him and it came back that he had a fractured skull. I knew it was something more serious than what they were telling me. He had three major seizures on Wednesday.”

That same day, the family finally heard back from the PPD’s Internal Affairs Division on the status of the compliant they had finally been able to file on the May 11th incident. “We would go back and forth to the 22nd District station and ask for the proper forms to file a complaint, and they gave us the runaround each time,” Antoinette says. “Eventually, we got the paperwork from another facility and filed a formal complaint [around May 24th].” When a police officer Alfred knew from his early boxing days came to the hospital to assess the situation, “things sped up,” Alfred says. “The officer came and checked on my son, and then walked out and made a phone call. Two hours later two investigators from Internal Affairs came to CHOP and asked my family questions about the incident — they told us they would be looking into the matter.”

“We have received the formal complaint from the family, and Internal Affairs has now launched an open investigation into the matter,” says Tanya Little, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Police Department’s Office of Media Relations. “They are currently in the process of interviewing people named in the complaint and looking into all other information surrounding the incident.”

Naji was released from CHOP around 6:30 p.m. on June 6th, shortly after this story was published. Naji was connected to an IV and prohibited from eating any solid foods or liquids due to the severity of sporadic seizures his parents say began to occur only after his injury on May 11th. Naji appeared very exhausted but attentive as he tried to play games on his laptop while the nurse treated a burning sensation he was feeling caused by the IV tube.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

New Poor People’s Campaign for a Moral Revival in America.

              New Poor People’s Campaign for a Moral Revival in America.
 Rev.Dr.William Barber
In a spectacle of religious hypocrisy last week, preachers who say so much about what God says so little — and so little about what God says so much — stood in the Rose Garden as a backdrop for President Donald Trump’s executive order on “religious liberty.” As they celebrated this administration’s willingness to let them use religious freedom as an excuse to force their “values” on someone else, Trump pointed to the legacy of the African-American church as an example of faith in public life.
In every con, there’s a grain of truth, whether the person who is speaking knows it or now.

I know the prophetic African American church tradition that grew up on the edges of plantations and spoke clearly for the first time into this nation’s public life when Hariet Tubman and Frederick Douglass first escaped from slavery to freedom. On my mother and father’s side of our family tree combined, I count more than eight hundred years of public ministry in that tradition. We do not know how to preach without engaging the powers in the public square. Whenever I open the Scriptures, I read about a God who hears the cry of the suffering and stands on the side of the oppressed for justice.

As I have prayed and read the Scriptures this year, I hear a resounding call to the very soul of this nation: We need a new Poor People’s Campaign for a Moral Revival in America.

In response to this deeply spiritual call, I announced last week that I am stepping down from leadership of the North Carolina Chapter of the NAACP to respond to an invitation from impacted people, activists, and moral leaders across the nation to serve with them in leading a new Poor People’s Campaign. On Monday, May 15th at 10am Eastern, we are inviting members of the Resistance across the nation to join us by livestream for a press conference where we will outline plans for the campaign in 2017/18.

Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King called for a “revolution of values” in America, inviting people who had been divided to stand together against the “triplets of evil” — militarism, racism, and economic injustice — to insist that people need not die from poverty in the richest nation to ever exist. Poor people in communities across America — black, white, brown and Native — responded by building a Poor People’s Campaign that would demand a Marshall Plan for America’s poor.

This is the true legacy of religious freedom in America.

Dr. King, along with many other impacted people and moral leaders in the Poor People’s Campaign of 1967/68, began an effort to build a broad, fusion coalition that would audit America, demanding an accounting of promissory notes that had been returned marked “insufficient funds.” We have not finished their work. Though Trump’s presidency is the culmination of a violent backlash against the Second Reconstruction that Dr. King and many others led, the future of our democracy depends on us completing the work of a Third Reconstruction today.

This is why I hear the Spirit calling us to build a new Poor People’s Campaign.

The fights for racial and economic equality are as inseparable today as they were half a century ago. Make no mistake about it: We face a crisis in America. The twin forces of white supremacy and unchecked corporate greed have gained newfound power and influence, both in statehouses across this nation and at the highest levels of our federal government. Sixty-four million Americans make less than a living wage, while millions of children and adults continue to live without access to healthcare, even as extremist Republicans in Congress threaten to strip access away from millions more. As our social fabric is stretched thin by widening income inequality, politicians criminalize the poor, fan the flames of racism and xenophobia to divide the poor, and steal from the poor to give tax breaks to our richest neighbors and budget increases to a bloated military.

Americans across the country are crying out in defiance — and for change. Bringing this cry into the public square, a Resistance has emerged: The Fight for $15, the Movement for Black Lives, Moral Mondays, the Women’s March, The People’s Climate March and No Ban/No Wall protesters have taken to the streets. We are, indeed, The Majority, crying out against the hijacking of democracy by the richest cabinet in U.S. history and a Congressional leadership that does its bidding.

             The Souls of Poor Folk

At such a time as this, we need a new Poor People’s Campaign for Moral Revival to help us become the nation we’ve not yet been. I don’t just know this because the river of resistance in my tradition echoes its truth down through the centuries. I know it because I have seen it in North Carolina.

Four years ago, when extremist forces took over all three branches of government in my home state, people cried out in resistance. “Moral Mondays” protests drew tens of thousands to our state house in 2013 and inspired the largest state-government-focused civil disobedience campaign in U.S. history. Through sustained moral fusion organizing, we were able to push back against extremism for four long years; to see political change in the defeat of an extremist Republican governor, the election of a progressive majority to our state Supreme Court, a federal court order for special elections to address racial gerrymandering in state legislature districts, and the overturning of a monster voter suppression law that targeted African-Americans, according to a federal court, “with almost surgical precision.”

What began with an outcry in North Carolina became a sustained movement for political change through moral, fusion organizing, led by poor and impacted people. Throughout America’s history — from abolition, to women’s suffrage, to labor and civil rights — real social change has come when impacted people have joined hands with allies of good will to stand together against injustice. These movements did not simply stand against partisan foes. They stood for the deep moral center of our Constitutional and faith traditions. Those deep wells sustained poor and impacted people who knew in their bones both that power concedes nothing without a fight and that, in the end, love is the greatest power to sustain a fight for what is right.

This moment requires us to push into the national consciousness a deep moral analysis that is rooted in an agenda to combat systemic poverty and racism, war mongering, economic injustice, voter suppression, and other attacks on the most vulnerable. We need a long term, sustained movement led by the people who are directly impacted by extremism.

I am grateful for my sister, Dr. Liz Theoharis, and many friends at the Kairos Center who have laid the foundation for this campaign over the past decade. Much like Septima Clark and the Highlander Center’s Citizenship Schools in the 1950s and 60s, they have identified and connected grassroots leaders across the nation who are ready to join hands with new allies for sustained direct action that can fundamentally shift the narrative about who we are and who we want to be in this land.

To share this story about the America that can and shall be, I am joining my brother, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, and others to produce “The Gathering: A Time for Reflection, Revival and Resistance,” a monthly program, beginning June 4th, 2017, that will bring together Movement music, interviews with impacted people in the Poor People’s Campaign, a timely sermon for the public square and an “altar call” to action as we continue to build this movement. We hope you’ll join us and invite others to come along as we commit to go forward together, not one step back!

Martin Luther King Jr. wanted to shut down Washington in the spring of 1968. He was organizing what he hoped would be the longest-running protest in the history of the nation's capital.

King called it the Poor People's Campaign. He intended to dramatize the suffering of the nation's poor by bringing them to the capital. Poor people would live together on the National Mall - the long strip of land between the U.S. Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial - and engage in widespread civil disobedience. King wanted to force the federal government to deal with poverty.

In 1967, King spoke frequently about a "new phase" of the civil rights movement. It would focus on economic justice for poor people. While the civil rights movement had won the desegregation of public accommodations and broad new voting rights for black citizens, King said these victories had done little to vanquish one central problem: poverty.

"For King and many others, there's a very depressing realization in 1965 that what they thought would represent victory turns out not really to represent anywhere near the degree of fundamental change that they previously had imagined it would," says David Garrow, author of Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. So long as black people remained poor, they would never really be free, King declared. He felt it was his job to steer the movement in a new direction.

Rev. Barber Transitions from NC NAACP President to Poor People's Campaign Leadership

May 15th, 2017 - In an emotional press conference, friends, mentors, co-workers and clergy of the North Carolina NAACP and Forward Together Moral Monday Movement, speak to the character of Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II as he announces his transition from NC NAACP President to a leadership position in the New Poor People's Campaign.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Josephine Baker at the London Palladium 1974

Josephine Baker's final TV Interview: Bobino '75

Josephine Baker and the Rainbow Tribe

During this time period, Baker took the notion of equality into her own life, as she began adopting children who she referred to as “The Rainbow Tribe.” According to CMGWW, she wanted to prove that “children of different ethnicities and religions could still be brothers.” In total, she adopted twelve children: daughters Marianne and Stellina, and sons Jeannot, Akio, Luis, Jari, Moïse, Brahim, Koffi, Noël, Mara and Jean-Claude. In her later years, Baker took her family with her when she toured cross-country, so that they could share in the sights and sounds of the world.

Baker died as a result of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12th, 1975. She was the only American-born woman in history to receive full French military honors at her funeral.

Richard Oakes: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Native American activist Richard Oakes is the Google Doodle today. Learn about his influential life and his tragic death here.

AV Highlights Ship's Reporter

Despite being based in France, where she would spend most of her life, Baker was a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s. She published articles about segregation in the United States, she traveled to Tennessee to give speeches at Fisk University, and, most notably, refused to perform for segregated audiences. In one instance, a Miami nightclub offered her $10,000 to do so, and she flatly refused. Her insistence was largely responsible for the move towards integrated crowds comes the 60s. Baker also worked closely with the NAACP, to the point where the organization dubbed May 20th “Josephine Baker Day.” Watch an interview from the inaugural 1951 ceremony above.

Joséphine Baker: The 1st Black Superstar

JOSEPHINE BAKER: 1926 Banana Skirt

KETC | Living St. Louis | Josephine Baker

The Gathering: A Time for Reflection, Revival, & Resistance

                   The Gathering: A Time for Reflection, Revival, & Resistance

by Repairers of the Breach

The Gathering: A Time for Reflection, Revival, & Resistance
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II & Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove will co-host a monthly program to equip communities with resources for faithful reflection and public action on moral issues. “The Gathering” will include an introduction to a moral issue, immersion in freedom songs that inform how we engage the issue, an interview with someone who is directly impacted by the issue, and a theological engagement with the issue that names a specific call to moral action.

Live in Raleigh, North Carolina, “The Gathering” will be livestreamed and podcast as a formation resource for individuals and communities (to register your group for livestream, https://goo.gl/forms/ZGvT4kNanwBwOPPe2). This resource is intended to serve as a multi-media "periodical" to connect and inform the Moral Movement.

When: Sunday, June 4, 2017
Where: Church on Morgan, 136 E. Morgan St. Raleigh, NC 27601
Free parking is available across the street from church on Morgan and in the City Lot off Wilmington Street.
Time : 6:00pm -7:30pm
If you are not able to join us in-person, please join us via livestream at www.breachrepairers.org
Everyone is welcome
For more information contact National Social Justice Organizer Rev. Erica Williams at ewilliams@breachrepairers.org

                      Repairers of the Breach
Repairers of the Breach, Inc. is a nonpartisan and ecumenical organization that seeks to build a progressive agenda rooted in a moral framework to counter the ultra-conservative constructs that try to dominate the public square. Repairers will help frame public policies which are not constrained or confined by the narrow tenets of neo-conservatism. Repairers will bring together clergy and lay people from different faith traditions, with people without a spiritual practice but who share the moral principles at the heart of the great moral teachings. Repairers will expand a “school of prophets” who can broadly spread the vision of a nation that is just and loving.
Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.    — Isaiah 58:12

Our communities are torn apart by hateful violence and words, often in the name of opportunistic and hypocritical interpretations of the world's oldest holy books and teachings.  To repair the breaches caused by centuries old systems of racial and gender inequality, we need thousands of clergy and lay leaders who will dedicate their lives to rebuilding, raising up and repairing our moral infrastructure.  They shall be called, "The Repairers of the Breach: The Restorers of Our Communities".
            "When Silence is Not an Option" | Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II

April 2nd, 2017 - In the spirt of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Repairers of the Breach President and Senior Lecturer, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II delivers a powerful sermon to reflect the current time at the historic Riverside Church in New York City. The Riverside Church is where Dr. King preached his controversial "Beyond Vietnam" sermon 50 years ago on April 4th, 1967, exactly one year before his death.

Friday, June 2, 2017

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama: BET's Love and Happines

Watch the final White House concert hosted by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama: BET's Love and Happines

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Daisy Lee Gatson Bates

                               Daisy Lee Gatson Bates

Daisy Bates (1914-1999) is renowned as the mentor of the Little Rock Nine, the first African Americans to attend Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. For guiding the Nine through one of the most tumultuous civil rights crises of the 1950s, she was selected as Woman of the Year in Education by the Associated Press in 1957 and was the only woman invited to speak at the Lincoln Memorial ceremony in the March on Washington in 1963. But her importance as a historical figure has been overlooked by scholars of the civil rights movement.

Daisy Lee Gatson Bates November 11, 1914 – November 4, 1999 was an American civil rights activist, publisher, journalist, and lecturer who played a leading role in the Little Rock Integration Crisis of 1957.
                  Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock  

Daisy Lee Gatson was born on November 11, 1914. She grew up in southern Arkansas in the small sawmill town of Huttig near the Louisiana line. She was raised by the closest friend of her father, Orlee and Susie Smith. He left the family shortly after her mother's death. In The Death of my Mother, Bates recounted learning as a child that her birth mother had been sexually assaulted and murdered by three local white men. Learning of her mother's death and knowing that nothing was ever done about it fueled her anger.

Daisy's adoptive father Orlee Smith gave her some last advice while on his death bed.
         He said, "You're filled with hatred. Hate can destroy you, Daisy. Don't hate  white people just because they're white. If you hate, make it count for something. Hate the humiliations we are living under in the South. Hate the discrimination that eats away at the South. Hate the discrimination that eats  away at the soul of every black man and woman. Hate the insults hurled at us by white scum and then try to do something about it, or your hate won't spell a thing."

Daisy Gatson attended the segregated schools in Huttig, but it has not been determined how much formal education she received. It is unlikely her education went beyond the ninth grade and may have been no more than four grades.

At the age of fifteen, she met her future husband, L. C. Bates, then a traveling salesman living in Memphis, Tennessee. After the death of her foster father, she apparently moved to Memphis in 1932. Little is known about her until she and her future husband moved to Little Rock in 1941.

In Little Rock they started the Arkansas State Press, a weekly statewide newspaper devoted to advocating civil rights for African Americans. Gatson and Bates were married on March 4, 1942, in Fordyce (Dallas County). Although she rarely wrote for the paper, Bates gradually became active in its operations and was named by her husband as city editor in 1945.

As ardent supporters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), both Bates and her husband were active in the Little Rock branch. In 1952, she was elected president of the Arkansas Conference of Branches, the umbrella organization for the state NAACP. She and her husband worked closely with other members of the Little Rock branch as the national strategy of the NAACP shifted in the 1950s from advocating a position of equal funding for segregated programs to outright racial integration.

Although well known in the black community, Bates came to the attention of white Arkansans as a civil rights advocate in 1956 during the pre-trial proceedings of the federal court case, Aaron v. Cooper, which set the stage for the 1957 desegregation of Central High School.

The case was filed for the purpose of enforcing the rights of black children in Little Rock to attend schools with whites in accordance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. Questioned by Leon Catlett, an attorney for the Little Rock school board, Bates refused to allow herself to be called by her first name. She told the attorney, “You addressed me several times this morning by my first name. That is something that is reserved for my intimate friends and my husband. You will refrain from calling me Daisy.” Without hesitating, Catlett shot back, “I won’t call you anything then,” to which Bates responded, “That’s fine.” This challenge to one of white supremacy’s oldest traditions—that of controlling and intimidating African Americans by treating them as though they were children—became part of the front-page story in the next morning’s Arkansas Gazette.

The federal courts at the time allowed the Little Rock school district to set its own pace for desegregation of its public schools, but they could not prevent Bates’s involvement with the first nine students who attended Central High School during the school year of 1957–58. Although Wiley Branton of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) was the local attorney for the NAACP and handled much of the litigation, Bates, in her capacity as president of the Arkansas Conference of Branches, was recognized as the principal spokesperson and leader for the forces behind school desegregation. In this role, she was in constant contact with NAACP leaders and in constant conflict with segregationists using intimidation in Arkansas. For much of the school year, she was in daily contact with the national office of the NAACP in New York as segregationists battled to destroy the NAACP in Arkansas as well as to intimidate her, her husband, and the Little Rock Nine and their families into giving up the struggle. On occasion, individuals attacked the Bateses’ home in Little Rock, forcing them to stand guard nightly.

"…Daisy Bates and her charges arrived at the school. With surprising ease, they were admitted through one of the less conspicuous entrances. Seconds later, a white female student climbed through a first-story window and yelled that she wasn’t going to school with ‘niggers’. … The sweep of the television cameras showed a crowd that was calm. Many were smiling. None was visibly armed in any way. Things were moving so calmly that the cameramen were observed staging some action. A black was shown on film being kicked in the seat of the pants, but I was told by authorities on the scene that this had been staged. In the crowd, however, were some eight agitators known to the Federal Bureau of Investigation who were there for no good purpose but to create as much chaos as possible. These recruits did not come from Little Rock. They had no children in the school; they were provocateurs. They began to mount on car tops and scream to the crowd. … The agitators first tried to bully the police into defecting. … Tempers began to rise … The leaders of each assault on the police lines were collared and put into police wagons and taken to jail. More than forty persons were taken into custody. No one in the crowd tried to intervene to prevent the arrests and removal of the troublemakers. No one in the crowd had clubs or weapons of any kind. These two points convinced me that 98 percent of the people there were not part of an organized mob…."

                    Daisy Bates (second from right standing) with fellow "Little Rock Nine."

In recognition of her leadership, the national Associated Press chose her in 1957 as the Woman of the Year in Education and one of the top ten newsmakers in the world. In 1959, as a result of intimidation by news distributors and a boycott by white business owners who withheld advertising, the Bateses were forced to close the Arkansas State Press.

Bates remained at the center of the desegregation battle on behalf of the NAACP and the civil rights movement in Arkansas until June 1960 when she moved to New York to write a memoir of her desegregation experiences in Little Rock, The Long Shadow of Little Rock. She remained president of the Arkansas Conference of Branches until 1961, when she was succeeded by George Howard, Jr., who later became a federal judge. Chosen to fill a vacancy on the national board of the NAACP in 1957, Bates was reelected to successive three-year terms through 1970.

Her prominence as one of the few female civil rights leaders of the period was recognized by her selection as the only female to speak at the Lincoln Memorial at the March on Washington on August 28, 1963.

In 1968, Bates moved to the all-black town of Mitchellville (Desha County) to become executive director of that community’s Economic Opportunity Agency, a federal anti-poverty program. She remained there until 1974, commuting to Little Rock on the weekends to be with her husband. This began a new phase in her life that was marked by a commitment to demonstrating that poor African Americans could achieve economic self-sufficiency in partnership with government. Bates secured grants and donations for several improvements in the community, including a sewer system and a Head Start program.

Bates revived the Arkansas State Press in 1984, but it was financially unsuccessful. She sold the paper in 1988 to Janis and Darryl Lunon.

In ill health the last years of her life, Bates died of a heart attack on November 4, 1999, at Baptist Medical Center in Little Rock. She is buried in Haven of Rest Cemetery in Little Rock.

In 2001, the Arkansas legislature enacted a provision that recognizes the third Monday in February as “Daisy Gatson Bates Day.” Thus, her memory (along with those of American presidents) is celebrated on that date as an official state holiday. There are streets in various towns in Arkansas, including Little Rock, which bear her name. In February 2012,

Friday, May 19, 2017