Monday, April 30, 2012

Momentum for Racial Healing

A couple of months ago, I took one of my fairly frequent trips down to New Orleans to meet with Southern University Law School Professor Angela Allen-Bell and Keith Weldon Medley, author of We As Free Men ~ Plessy v. Ferguson about the fight against legal segregation. We met on the second floor of a bank building at what must surely be one of the best kept secrets in downtown New Orleans, over a delightful lunch of fried catfish, collard greens rich with flavor and buttered corn bread. And before we parted ways, I had bought Medley's book to add to my collection of autographed volumes.

Since then, I've been rushing -- as always -- through my life, barely hanging on by my fingertips, and I only just realized that a rash of emails I recently started getting, but to which I had not paid any attention, has been trying to make me aware of the work of the folks presented in this YouTube video.

I'm paying attention now, Keith. ;^)

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Phoenix Will Rise

“If you cannot remember or imagine what it is to lie down finally and wait for an end – that or deliverance; if you cannot consciously feel the pull of your wretched past or the pitiful attempts at a carefully planned life for yourself, there can be no windows or answering tools with which to say ‘this is so’ or ‘this is why.’ And there is no joy, no secret part of your thoughts that can exalt at simple pleasures, simple achievements. You must be fired in adversity, greatly torn, to take any satisfaction in having lived. Pity the poor who’ve never fallen, never lost; the sum of their losing now can be pitifully small and a great price for them alone.”  ~  Charles Ricehill (False Spring, 1974)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Release the Angola 3 Now!!

I will be in class today. I will be talking about religion as a social institution and the sociology of gender. I will be holding office hours and speaking with students on the campus about their grades or their extra credit or their problems. But my heart will be in Baton Rouge, standing on the State House steps with the other Angola 3 campaign supporters, with representatives of Amnesty International, the Congressional Black Caucus, the National Action Network, and others, to present a petition with tens of thousands of names from all over the world calling for the immediate release of Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace, the remaining members of the Angola 3 still incarcerated after forty years in solitary confinement.

Forty years. Forty years. Forty years. My heart cries. Because ten days ago, I stood in the visiting room, hugging Albert's neck and leaving him behind...again. Because solitary confinement is torture (see the film above). And because the administration at my place of employment demands that my presence in the classroom take precedence over my taking a stand personally on the State House steps today.

We are kept in position by our slavery to wages, but my soul will stand tall beside Albert's and Herman's on the State House steps this afternoon. If you look very hard at the faces in the crowd, you will see us there. As we always and forever will be wherever truth speaks to power.

Monday, April 16, 2012

By Way of Explanation

I have, from time to time, over the six years since I began writing this blog, been less available to it than usual. When this happens, it wrecks my life on some level, following me around at my heels like an orphan child asking for alms or food or attention. Still, it is what it is.

Do I have things to say about the socially-constructed, political notion of "race"? Oh, yeah. Do I walk around accomplishing the more pressing matters of my life with a half-baked post turning to stone in the oven of my mind? Ad nauseum. Yet, in the greater scheme of things, there are only twenty-four hours in the day and I'm already using seventeen of them -- on average -- at break-neck speed.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Are African-Americans Citizens Or Not?

"We refuse to believe this country, so powerful to defend its citizens abroad, is unable to protect its citizens at home."

~Ida Wells-Barnett, journalist/activist
April 9, 1898

Friday, April 06, 2012

Amnesty International Demands That Louisiana Do The Right Thing For The Angola 3!

The following is the text of a mass email Amnesty International sent out this week. If you didn't receive it or didn't as yet sign the petition to demand the release of Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace, please consider doing so now. I'll be going up to visit Albert tomorrow and I'd hate to have to tell him you weren't on board. (Yes, I would rat you out to him in a minute, so don't make me go there.)

Two Black men, confined to isolation in tiny cells for the last 40 years.

No human being deserves this.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Skolnik: From Martin to Martin (Hoodies Up On the Mountaintop)

The following was posted today by Michael Skolnik at Global Grind. Please read and pass it on.

The echo of Martin's last words ring in my head. It rained that night. A drizzle. Not a downpour, just a Memphis, Tennessee drizzle. It seemed like he knew. It seemed like someone had let him know. His words that night would be his last. The mountaintop. Not getting there with us. But, as a people, we would get there. Somehow we would get to the top of that mountain without Martin. He told us that, that night, his last night. And we believed him.