Zuma Announcing Death of Mandela

Nelson Mandela ImageNelson Mandela, South Africa’s Anti-apartheid Icon, is Dead
By Atlanta Black Star, December 5, 2013

South African President Jacob Zuma has announced that Nelson Mandela’s is dead. Here is what he said:

Fellow South Africans, our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation, has departed. He passed on peacefully in the capital ….

Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father. But though we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of the profound and enduring loss. Continue reading

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The Media and MLK

MLK TroubleThe Martin Luther King You Don’t See on TV
Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon

It’s become a TV ritual: Every year in mid-January, around the time of Martin Luther King’s birthday, we get perfunctory network news reports about “the slain civil rights leader.” The remarkable thing about this annual review of King’s life is that several years—his last years—are totally missing, as if flushed down a memory hole. 

What TV viewers see is a closed loop of familiar file footage: King battling desegregation in Birmingham (1963), reciting his dream of racial harmony at the rally in Washington (1963), marching for voting rights in Selma, Alabama (1965), and finally, lying dead on the motel balcony in Memphis (1968). Continue reading

Was Nat Turner Right?

U122 Nat Turner MarkerhistoryThe Real Nat Turner
By Dr. Molefi Kete Asante (2009)

There are those who say that history is indifferent, though enough has been written to distort African American history to suggest that someone is playing a game with us. This is quite clear in the case of Nat Turner, born 200 years ago. It is as if he could be sheathed in an interpretative garment with so many layers that you could never really know him. Yet there are some interesting developments around Turner’s bicentennial.

Symposia and seminars are planned and even a conference at Temple University on “The Meaning of Nat Turner” is scheduled for the Spring, 2000. There is even talk of Spike Lee making a movie of Nat Turner based on the discredited William Styron’s novel, The Confessions of Nat Turner. Although this novel won a Pulitzer Prize it was roundly attacked and severely criticized by some of the major African American writers and historians of the day.

Thus, it is clear that the African American people have both a historical and emotional investment in Nat Turner and this interest in Nat Turner is not a new discovery, it is a permanent condition. Nat Turner’s image in our consciousness does not come and go; it is a historical presence. Continue reading

The Confessions of Nat Turner

Confessions of Nat Turner THE
CONFESSIONS
OF
NAT TURNER,
THE LEADER OF THE LATE
INSURRECTIONS IN SOUTHAMPTON, VA.

As fully and voluntarily made to

THOMAS R. GRAY,

In the prison where he was confined, and acknowledged by him to be such when read before the Court of Southampton; with the certificate, under seal of the Court convened at Jerusalem, Nov. 5, 1831, for his trial.

ALSO, AN AUTHENTIC

ACCOUNT OF THE WHOLE INSURRECTION,

WITH LISTS OF THE WHITES WHO WERE MURDERED,

AND OF THE NEGROES BROUGHT BEFORE THE COURT OF SOUTHAMPTON, AND THERE SENTENCED, &c.

Baltimore:

PUBLISHED BY THOMAS R. GRAY.
Lucas & Denver, print.

1831 Continue reading

Whose Confessions of Nat Turner?

An engraving depicting the Massacre in Virginia during Nat Turner’s Rebellion, circa 1831. (Getty Images)

The Truth About Nat Turner
On the 180th anniversary of the slave revolt, this author says his “Confessions” were a lie.
By Sharon Ewell Foster (2011)

“The Confessions of Nat Turner, the Leader of the Late Insurrection in Southampton, Va.,” as told to Thomas Gray, is accepted as the primary historical source document on the slave uprising in the predawn of Aug. 22, 1831, that left more than 50 whites dead. The pamphlet was the basis of novelist William Styron’s [fantasy] novel of the same name. Continue reading

King Henri Christophe and Haiti

HenriCristophe
On June 10th, 1767, Henri Christophe was born. He was a West African slave and became an early black king in the Western Hemisphere (Haiti).

Christophe was born on the island of Grenada, a British colonial acquisition. His parents were slaves brought to Grenada with thousands of other West Africans to work in the sugar industry. These slaves in the sugar industry were known for their fierce and determined nature to resist the institution of slavery. The revolutionary nature of Henri Christophe has its roots deeply embedded in his African ancestry. Christophe’s obstinate, argumentative, and obdurate nature led his father to sell his services to a French ship’s captain as a cabin boy, before had reached the age of ten.

The ship’s captain sold Henri to a French sugar planter in the French province on the island of Saint Dominique called Haiti, which was a Carob Indian name meaning “the land of the mountains.” Continue reading

Remembering Martha Pitts

Martha PittsREMEMBERING A REVOLUTIONARY
By Assata Shakur

This is not an easy statement for me to write. Somehow, I thought that Martha would always be here. In my mind she was like Mt. Kilimanjaro, always strong, always solid, always standing tall. I met Martha about 30 years ago. She was a proud intelligent, irreverent black woman. She had a sharp mind and an even sharper tongue. She wore her hair in a buck wild Afro, and she wore her clothes like she did not give a damn. She was never into trends and fashions; she wore torn jeans and sneakers with holes way before it became fashionable. She didn’t give a damn about appearances. She cared about the essence of people and the essence of life. Martha loved people. She had a deep special love for African people. She was always analytical, always critical, but she supported our struggle for freedom with all her heart and soul. Continue reading