• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

SPRING FUNDRAISER

Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

A New Book Probes Old Civil Rights Lessons

Why would anyone need to read another book, however handsomely produced, about the Civil Rights Movement?

After all, hundreds of black studies courses have been established in universities around the world; the U.S. Post Office has issued stamps with the visages of heroes ranging from Malcolm X to Paul Robeson to Martin Luther King; award winning television series have been produced including “Eyes on the Prize” and “Roots.”

The answer may well lie in a CD track produced and performed by a member of the hip-hop generation who calls himself JADAKISS. The track, called “Why?” asks:

Why does a n—– always want what they can’t get?

Why Denzel have to be crooked to get an Oscar?

Why all the young n—–rs in jail?

Why is the industry designed to keep you in debt?

Why that bullet have to hit that door?

The rapper concludes that the answers lie in his location–that since they have him “in the system” he can expect nothing less.

The need for the present generation of youth of all races to understand the cyclical nature of systemic change in our democracies points to the relevance of a new book, We Shall Overcome. Written by journalist Herb Boyd, the book is accompanied by two CDs that present the sounds of the civil rights movement, narrated by actors Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.

The book and aural discs capture in written words highlighted by moving photographs accompanied by spoken and sung words of participants in the freedom struggle the surges for access to voting booths, lunch counters, schoolroom desks and bus seats by the one group of humans designated by the Constitution as only sixty percent human.

Yet the real value of the multimedia production may lie in the heart of the listener who hears not only the passion of commitment of those who placed their bodies on the altar of service but listens to the sober organizational lessons learned and passed on to the new generations.

One learns why the upstanding character of Rosa Parks was as important as her willingness not to yield her seat in the decision of NAACP leaders to use her protest as a test case in starting the Montgomery bus boycott. The lawyers knew if she had any dirty laundry, the racist media would use it to distract from the cause.

The chasm between attempts to merge leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee(SNCC) with the Black Panther Party is similarly explored. The SNCC workers had much more discipline and organizational tutoring from seasoned leaders like Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King. The Black Panthers were much less seasoned and inclined to angry, thoughtless actions.

These maturing insights have much relevance for current youths who have taken the nickname “son” in addressing each other. Perhaps this paternal reference has its roots in the lack of mentoring available for them in their upbringing.

The need for constant refinement of goals is heard on the first CD when the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth of the Birmingham Movement as he explains to his followers that after two days of assaults on marchers by police dogs that the police have stopped bringing out the dogs. He reminds the marchers that ‘they still have those dogs” so they can rightfully see progress.

This hunger for spiritual, intellectual, and organizational wisdom needed in these times may be satisfied in part by sharing the insights found in We Shall Overcome.

These victories and values are rendered even more critical when one considers the current youth infatuation with being “locked down” in prison as a step to claiming adulthood.

Billboards have recently sprung up in major cites promoting a new brand of pants called “State Property.” The ad shows seven young black men surrounded by what appears to be some kind of holding pen. The inference is that these young men are now wards of some type of penal institution. Why would an aware descendent of the jailed descendents of the 60’s wish to wear pants proclaiming him as “state property?”

The answer may well lie in the musings of Professor Cornell West who reflects in his latest book, Democracy Matters that the pervasive depression and disaffection of youth, the flight of so many adults into mindless escapism.the plunge into frenetic consumerism to offset our restlessness all reveal the fissures in our life.”

The billboard promoting the State Property brand of pants also encourages the viewer to spend his or her hand-earned dollars on admission to a forthcoming movie called “State Property II. This movie probably does not mention Martin Luther King or Fannie Lou Hamer or U.S. Representative John Lewis-all of who endured severe beatings while they were “state property” to allow the youth market to sit in integrated movie theatres and eat meals afterwards at any counter they desire.

Professor West hails the necessity for a questioning mind such as JADAKISS’s as the key to achieving what James Baldwin saw as a “kingdom new of making it honorable and worthy of life.” The questions that consume youth and propel them to look for mentors can be addressed by assessing the lessons of We Shall Overcome.

Author Herb Boyd will read from his book on December 16 at the Nubian Book Store in New York City at 125th Street and Fifth Avenue between 6 and 8 p.m. The reading and following question and answer session will be screened at a later date on the C Span television station.

FREDERICK B. HUDSON is a columnist for A Good Black Man. He can be reached at: FHdsn@aol.com

 

More articles by:
June 04, 2020
Helen Yaffe
Leading by Example: Cuba in the Covid-19 Pandemic
John Davis
Our History is Our Future
Fred Baumgarten
Chamberlain v. White Plains: A Crack in the Wall for Police Killings?
Steven Newcomb
Domination and the Murder of George Floyd
Jen Moore
Defending Land and Water From Mining Profiteers in the Time of Covid-19
Jim Hightower
I Remember the Lynchings of the 60s. They’re Still Happening
Prabir Purkayastha
U.S. Abandons Open Skies for New Age Space Weapons
M. K. Bhadrakumar
NATO Returns to Libya to Challenge Russia
Dave Lindorff
Redistribution by Another Name
Thom Hartmann
How Immunity for Cops and Facebook Kills Americans
George Wuerthner
The Problem With Chainsaw Medicine: the Forest Service’s Move to Cut Oregon’s Big Trees
Victor Grossman
An Idea on Providing Coordination and Leadership
Rebecca Gordon
How the Credibility Gap Became a Chasm in the Age of Trump
Tom Clifford
With USA in Retreat, China Reassesses Its Options
Rafael Bernabe – Manuel Rodríguez Banchs
A Proposal from Afar: Trump Must Resign!
Binoy Kampmark
To the Commercial Heavens We Go! SpaceX, NASA and Space Privatisation
Brett Heinz
The UN’s Anti-Poverty Proposal for Latin America: a “Basic Emergency Income”
Peter Harrison
Four Aphorisms
June 03, 2020
Anthony DiMaggio
Revolution, Not Riots: Prospects for Radical Transformation in the Covid-19 Era
Jennifer Loewenstein
From Mississippi to Minneapolis: Leaving the ‘Abyss of Despair’
Kenneth Surin
The UK Compared With Other Countries on the Pandemic
Paul Street
“Total Domination”: Popular Rebellion in the Shadow of Trumpism-Fascism
Kenn Orphan
The Sadism of American Power
John Pilger
The Coup Against ‘The Most Loyal Ally’
Eric Murphy
The Police Are The Out-Of-Towners Provoking Violence
Melvin Goodman
How the Washington Post Accommodates Disinformation
Rev. William Alberts
It’s the Worshippers Who Are “Essential”
Georgina Downs
No, the Public Fury Will Not “Move On” Prime Minister!
George V. Wright
It is Happening Here
M. G. Piety
Tales from the Dark Side of Customer Service, or “Christians” Giving Christians a Bad Name
Chandra Muzaffar
A Superpower in Chaos
Thomas Knapp
Time to Stop Messing Around and Strike at the Root of Police Violence
Thomas M. Hanna
The Oligopoly That Controls Our Digital Infrastructure Has Deepened Economic and Racial Divides
Andrew Stewart
The Ethics of Police Murder Video Exhibition: Democratizing The News Feed, Re-Traumatizing The Survivors, Or Both?
Binoy Kampmark
Death, Protest and George Floyd
David Rovics
Who’s Trashing Downtown Every Night and Why?
Harvey Wasserman
Trump Is No Accident
Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi
Biden and the Common Sense Voter
Timothy Ingalsbee
Ecosystems, Logging and the Definition of Insanity
Elliot Sperber
The Birds of Brooklyn
June 02, 2020
Zoltan Grossman
Deploying Federal Troops in a War at Home Would Make a Bad Situation Worse
Nicholas Buccola
Amy Cooper is Christian Cooper’s Lost, Younger Sister 
Manuel García, Jr.
Global Warming is Nuclear War
Patrick Cockburn
An Unavoidable Recognition of Failure: Trump’s Withdrawal From Afghanistan
John Feffer
Is It Time to Boycott the USA?
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail