Black Angry Women

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Black Glimpse of Yesterday

Some gifts that are given to us by God should not be played with — at least that is the belief of BlackParentSpeaks.

The ‘late’ Stokely Carmichael — lka Kwame Ture — said that most difficult in life will be the commitment to ‘live for our people’. Brother Stokely expressed that anyone can die. Stokely’s thoughtful question was ‘Can YOU live for our people?’

BlackParentSpeaks has been intimately and honestly ‘involved’ in the Black Movement for what seems like a lifetime and before. My commitment has remained intact and I have, thus far, maintained my integrity. No lures, no temptations, have swayed my commitment to my people nor my commitment to justice and righteousness.

God blessed me to work alongside of such now-widely-known Brothers as Stokely — lka Kwame Ture, Marion Barry, Martin Luther King, David Eaton, Chuck Stone, and others. I witnessed our journeys together as we shared militancy, actions, emotions, thoughts, purpose, and death. Each of us was unique and yet the same. We dealt with entrapments, barriers, threats, detainments, and ever-present dangers to our livelihood, families, friends, and selves.

As part of my unique talent, I was allowed much. I remember my ‘argument of the century’ with Imamu Baraka– eka LeRoi Jones. I recall my refusal to ‘discuss’ with H. Rap Brown. And, I recall my persistent disagreement with some of the positions espoused by most-serious and astute brother Malauna ‘Ron’ Karenga. I well remember the likes of CORE’s Roy Innis and what he did that caused me to feel ‘total’ DISrespect and contempt for him! I likewise remember Andy Young and James Bevel and their ‘betrayal’ (read: “A Black Manifesto on ‘The June 24th Trick Bag’ from The Black United Front of Washington, D.C.” passed unanimously on 25 June 1968).

I think about my times of travel with the son of the Ambassador to Pakistan, the meals and talks at the home of Tanzanian Ambassador Gosbert Rutabanzibwa, my time at the OSOB while working for Senator Stephen M. Young of Ohio, dancing with Representative Charles Diggs, and more. I remember turning down a job offer from the ‘late’ Robert Kennedy and later turning down a job offer made by his brother Senator Ed Kennedy. I smile as I recall my refusal to allow Black actor Robert Hooks to pay for my meal at Ed Murphy’s Supper Club in DC.

And, I smile wryly as I remember law enforcement ‘taking me in’ for questioning because I traveled on an airplane with Dr. King’s brother — give me a break! I think about government attempts to ‘involve’ me in prison breaks and alleged ‘contracted’ killings. I remember the FBI questioning of my parents and others in the Portland, Oregon area relative to my childhood, activities, etc. As my father told me later, my father told the agents that they should be out eradicating ‘White’ racism rather than wasting monies harassing his daughter….

I remember law enforcement agents telling me that there was a contract out on my life and me telling them that the ‘moment we are born, we begin to die’…. I remember UNwanted searches, wiretaps, and more. I recall my response to law enforcement during questioning relative to Brother Muhammad Ali: ‘I knew nothing and could remember even less’.

Today, I think about the Sister who suffered a miscarriage following a scary and unexpected invasion of her home by law enforcement. Officers with guns had busted into her home as she lay in her bed. News of the invasion quickly traveled throughout DC and the ‘Word’ was that I would likely be the next target. Strapped brothers including Rev. David Eaton and Marion Barry immediately stepped forth to protect me from experiencing a similar illegal ‘surprise’ invasion….

I have always been a child of God and God has known me from the very beginning. God blessed me to work with amazing and committed individuals — Black folk devoted to righteousness. Many of the folk who I worked so intimately with have likely already ‘given up the ghost’ and moved on. BlackParentSpeaks, however, remains on earth for whatever God’s reason….

BlackParentSpeaks’ vigilance and commitment to righteousness continues. Whatever the final chapter, it has yet to be written.

‘Don’t forget our reparations’.

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Undying love for Black people!

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Black Trip and Black Slip

It seems that I have always respected and valued communication with my Black and Original ancestors. Although I admittedly do not always follow their counsel, I do look to them often for direction, overstanding, forgiveness and more.

On one particular night during my 1960s – 1970s ‘Movement’ days, Stokely ‘Black Power’ Carmichael (lka Kwame Ture) and I both felt a sudden uneasiness while riding through the streets of Washington, DC. Stokely was at the wheel of the car and I was seated in the passenger side. For no apparent reason, I felt a sudden uneasiness; squirmed and quickly turned around. Almost simultaneously, Stokely voiced a similar uneasiness.

As was often typical, Stokely and I saw that we were being followed by folk we ‘assumed’ to be FBI/CIA. This time, however, their presence in the car that trailed us was not met with ‘comic relief’ or gestures. Instead, Stokely and I instantly knew that the evening was not ‘intended’ to end well.

Stokely pressed down on the gas pedal hard as we raced through the streets of DC with the car that was following us in hot pursuit. Quickly, Stokely and I prepared for a probable violent confrontation should the car manage to overtake us. We overstood the seriousness of the situation….

As Stokely and I discussed tactics over the blare of our car’s radio, we spoke words to one another and to our ancestors. Stokely told me that he did not have his drivers license; we both knew that that fact alone would provide an ‘out’ for law enforcement to justify their ‘intended’ violence towards us. No matter the cost, Stokely and I both knew that we could not let that happen. Me, I did have my drivers license….

So, as our car raced on sidewalks and streets throughout the DC area, Stokely and I did what we had to do. (Today, I marvel at the protection and agility our ancestors provided us with….)

While gunning the pedal to the metal, Stokely and I somehow managed to change places with me winding up in the driver’s seat of the car.

Having made the switch while the car was in full motion, there was no time or way to adjust the driver’s seat, etc. to accommodate my shorter body frame. Stokely continued to operate the steering wheel throughout the duration of the ‘chase’ as I managed to slip my foot under his on the gas pedal. I kept my foot grounded on the car’s gas pedal as Stokely and I continued to travel the streets of DC.

Stokely and I drove through alleys, on sidewalks, on streets – you name it. And, although the pursuing car tried to continue the chase, we eventually – with the help of our ancestors – managed to leave that car in our dust.

In time, Stokely and I ditched the car and ran via our feet through various buildings and more until we reached a ‘safe’ destination amongst DC’s Black population. As Stokely and I sat amongst the safety of our people, we both laughed heartily and long and spoke of how we had managed to do that which many had thought to be ‘impossible’….

Needless to say, both Stokely and yours truly lived to fight another day and another night!

Undying love for Black people!

Feel free to share this BlackAngryWomen blog with others. We are all works in progress.

‘Don’t forget our reparations’.

Do YOU know what time it is?

 

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Black Winners and Studies

Secretive and sensitive information was often anonymously relayed to me during my days and nights in the 1960s and 1970s Black Movement.  Whether or not the information was factual or a ploy, I know not.  However, I was faced with the task of evaluating the info and ‘wisely’ handling or not handling it.

Stokely ‘Black Power’ Carmichael (lka Kwame Ture) would say that living for your people will prove to be more difficult than dying for your people.  He explained that anyone can die.  Stokely’s question to me was:  Can you live for your people?

The emotional upheaval was heavy for yours truly.  I saw many of the brothers and sisters who gave and gave and gave literally ‘lose it’ behind their ever-reaching desire to bring about righteousness in America.  America was a cesspool of racism and Whites played that ‘race card’ with ease.  Whites openly argued that nothing-of-worth existed without White validation or White discovery.

Whites equated words like black and dark as negatives while equating words like white and light as positives.  Whites did not like Black people’s use of the word ‘Black’ in describing ourselves.  And, Whites were made uncomfortable when ‘Black’ was linked with the word ‘Power’.  Whites were sent off-kilter by Black men and Black women who rejected being called “girl” and “boy”.  A sister who wore a natural was looked upon with suspicion by Whites who felt it was a sting and a rejection of White values and limits.

Ralph Featherstone (Feather) — a young Black man in the ‘Movement’ — would often and regularly ask me if there was a ‘contradiction in a sister, clad in a mini-skirt, wearing a natural’.  Sadly, Feather died in a car bomb explosion before I ever had the insight or the wherewithal to answer his question.  For a myriad of reasons, Feather’s death – like many others’ — will likely remain etched in my memory forever….

We in the ‘Movement’ realized the seriousness of winning.  We knew that Black people needed to see us win.  Stokely emphasized that our people needed to see us win – regardless of the costs.

There was a real disconnect between Washington, DC’s ‘Black’ Howard University and the Black community of DC.  As we formed and organized the ‘original’ DC Black United Front (the Front), one of the many issues we confronted was the separation of Howard students from the community.  Folk in the community said that the Howard students thought they were ‘better than and different from’  the Blacks in the community.  They spoke of how the students shunned the community and rarely—if ever – lifted a finger to help the community.

In response to the Howard University ‘problem’, we in the Front knew we had to act.  After careful deliberation and strategizing, the Front decided to push for student involvement in the community as well as a Black studies program at the school.  We reached out to ‘active’ Howard students and they reached out to us.

We knew that administrators of Howard University would be most resistant to community involvement.  And, we knew that the strongest possible resistance would come from ‘Black’ Howard University’s administration to formulating a Black studies program at the school.  But, we were determined and, as Stokely explained:  When Howard falls, the other universities and colleges will prove to be ‘mickey mouse’ to us who mean ‘business’.

Stokely’s assessment and familiarity with Howard University was right-on-target.  Active resistance was employed by the University and the school ‘forced’ its students to organize sit-ins and more.  Eventually, Howard University’s administration responded by having its students tear gassed, etc. and the campus was soon ablaze in fire.  Vehicles were overturned and the campus appeared as a ‘war zone’.  In the end, however, the students and community won as Howard University agreed to a Black studies program and more….

Following Howard University’s agreement to institute Black studies, the DC Front sent letters to other colleges and universities reminding them of ‘what had gone down at Howard’….  Needless to say, the response received from other schools was overwhelmingly positive and inviting….  Thus, the advent of Black studies on campuses throughout America resulted from the blood and sweat of both the Black community and Howard’s Black students.

Stokely was never really comfortable with the label “leader”.  He saw himself as a community organizer and often spoke of himself in that manner.  In private and intimate conversations with me, Stokely shunned the idea of being referred to as a Black ‘leader’.

It is interesting that Stokely, Marion Barry, Rev. David Eaton, and so many of us came together in DC at a particular time to help in organizing and formulating a Movement that brought such impactful racial change to America.  How many people know that Stokely used to teach Sunday school to children, Marion studied Chemistry in school, etc.?  Each of us – and others — stepped away from that which was comfortable in order to fight the good fight.  What we accomplished was nothing short of a miracle.  We willingly gave our lives and our dreams to the ‘Movement’….

Black folk in the 1960-1970’s Black Movement knew each other.  It did not matter whether the organizers – or ‘leaders’ as some chose to be called – were from California; New York; Oregon; DC; Philadelphia; Atlanta; or NewArk, New Jersey….  We soon got to know each other as a result of our ‘Black’ activism.

I remember my first time meeting Stokely ‘Black Power’ Carmichael.  The DC head of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (lka Student National Coordinating Committee) vouched for me, and Stokely and I immediately became fast friends and more.  Although I had spoken to David Eaton on numerous occasions via phone, I well remember the first time we met.  David and I, likewise, formed a fast and intimate friendship and more.  Often, we were involved in ‘political’ trips together and I became a part of his ‘family’.  I recall the first time I met Lester McKinney, Dick Jones, H. Rap Brown, Imamu Baraka, Malauna Ron Karenga, Jesse ‘the Country Preacher’ Jackson, and so many many others.

I learned a lot before I ever had the privilege of meeting particular people in the Movement.  I learned a lot while working with and for specific folks in and out of the Movement.  And, I have learned a lot since.  When I was but a child, my father told me that I would soon learn that the more I learn, the more I will grow to realize how ‘little’ I actually do know.  My Daddy was right!

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Black Purpose and 2014 New Year

There are times when each of us should take leave of ‘self’ in order to truly see.  Our lives do have purpose even if we know not the purpose.  Have a useful, purposeful, and committed 2014 New Year.

In my thirst to learn and grow, I listen to what people say and I hear some things that are unsaid by others.  I see that which is oft-times unseen and I tap into my ancestors for overstanding.  I allow myself to hear and feel as I welcome and seek the wisdom that comes with Black consciousness.

We who are Black must be grounded in who we are.  The trappings of temptation abound and many of us wake up one night to discover that we, too, are lost in lascivious lifestyles that are void of purpose and commitment – void of Blackness.

Do not idolize or put on a pedestal any man, woman, or child.  None of us is perfect.  We are human and we are all capable of doing wrong and making mistakes.  Some of our mistakes and wrongs afford us and others additional opportunities to learn and grow.

Material possessions do not make any of us better than others.  Attributes that matter include involvement in and supporting us who give of ourselves for the betterment of future generations.

We who are Black must look at accountability and we must keep it relevant to who we ‘really’ are and what we should be about….  Excuses and apologies are not attractive; we must ‘keep it real’!

Offers to compromise our Blackness and to sell-out our fellow Blacks have been around for a long time.  The lures include money, sex, drugs, the facade of power, authority, stardom, celebrity status, a ‘position’ – you name it, the lures are plentiful.  Know that temptation can be a very powerful magnet.

So, we who are Black must be aware.  We must periodically give ourselves a self-constructed litmus test.  We must not get so caught up in ourselves that we become arrogant and think we are above temptation.  Strength demands awareness.  And, we must remember that ‘as long as there is breath, there is hope’.   We must love each other in spite of our mistakes.  Again, ‘as long as there is breath, there is hope’.  Undying Love for Black People!

My litmus test measures who I am.  And, it measures how far I have – or have not — progressed along the line of Black commitment.  As pointed out in an earlier post:  ‘many are called, few are chosen’….  I truly believe that I was ‘chosen’ and my life had — and continues to have — ‘purpose’.

I am in awe at the force that brought the likes of Marion Barry, Rev. David Eaton, Stokely ‘Black Power’ Carmichael (lka Kwame Ture), KoKo Hughes, Chuck Stone, Francis Welsing, Calvin Rolark, Betty Diggs, myself, and so many others together in DC during the 1960s.  Our commitment and work ignited a ‘Black’ force that reverberated throughout the world.  So many things were accomplished and we truly did ‘raise the bar’.  Many many people have benefitted as a result of the things we did and the actions that we took to bring about real change for Black people and all people.

In remembering the past, I think about Martin (Dr. King) and his ‘side’ trip to DC to speak with some of us before he returned to Memphis.  I think about Martin’s words – which I recorded — questioning whether or not White folk, in fact, had a conscience.  I think about the fact that Martin and I both knew that he would likely never return from Memphis and I remember that he was okay with whatever the future held for him.  I remember our talk and I remember that the ‘word’ was out that Martin would be killed if he returned to Memphis….

There are a lot of stories yet to be told.  Fact is, however, most of the stories from the 1960s and 1970s Black Movement will remain untold….

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