Category Archives: Human Rights

Coming Soon! ~ Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence

Killing Trayvons

Skin privilege. When you’re black it seems the hardest thing to explain to whites. Even the most conscious or liberal whites sometimes don’t quite get it. Or as Langston Hughes once said, “A liberal is one who complains about segregated railroad cars but rides in the all white section.”

The killing of Trayvon Martin in February 2012 rang yet another alarm about the costs of that privilege. Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence tracks the case and explores why Trayvon’s name and George Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict symbolized all the grieving, the injustice, the profiling and free passes based on white privilege and police power: the long list of Trayvons known and unknown.

With contributions from Robin D.G. Kelley, Rita Dove, Cornel West and Amy Goodman, Thandisizwe Chimurenga, Alexander Cockburn, Etan Thomas, Tara Skurtu, bell hooks and Quassan Castro, June Jordan, Jesse Jackson, Tim Wise, Patricia Williams, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Vijay Prashad, Rodolfo Acuna, Jesmyn Ward and more, Killing Trayvons is an essential addition to the literature on race, violence and resistance.

Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence is set to be released early Summer 2014.

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Editors:

Kevin Alexander Gray is a civil rights organizer in South Carolina and author of Waiting for Lightning to Strike!: The Fundamentals of Black Politics.

Jeffrey St. Clair is the editor of CounterPunch. His books include Whiteout (with Alexander Cockburn), Grand Theft Pentagon, and Born Under a Bad Sky.

JoAnn Wypijewski regularly writes for The Nation and CounterPunch. Her books include Painting by Numbers.

Published by CounterPunch Books.

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The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley (audiobook)

El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965)

El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz
(May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965)

Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. His mother, Louise Norton Little, was a homemaker occupied with the family’s eight children. His father, Earl Little, was an outspoken Baptist minister and avid supporter of black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. Earl’s civil rights activism prompted death threats from the white supremacist organization Black Legion, forcing the family to relocate twice before Malcolm’s fourth birthday.

Malcolm’s siblings: (in order of birth) Ella, Earl and Mary (half-siblings from Earl’s previous marriage); Wilfred, Hilda, Philbert, Reginald and Yvonne.

Rev. Little was found dead in 1931 after being beaten and left on the train tracks, where he was run over by a streetcar. Malcolm was 6 at the time. No one was ever convicted of the crime but his death is widely attributed to the Black Legion. Malcolm’s mother spent the next 26 years in a Kalamazoo mental institution because of the uncertainty and paranoia around her husband’s murder, as well as the stress from her failure to provide for her 6 children at the height of the Great Depression.

Malcolm X was with the Nation of Islam during the 1950s and ’60s, where he worked under NOI leader, Elijah Muhammad expanding the group’s membership among black Americans nationwide. Due largely to his efforts, the NOI grew from 400 members at the time he was released from prison in 1952 to 40,000 members by 1960.

Malcolm X became the minister of Temple No. 7 in Harlem and Temple No. 11 in Boston, while also founding temples in Hartford and Philadelphia. In 1960, he established the national newspaper, Muhammad Speaks, in order to further promote the message of the NOI.

In 1963, Malcolm X became disillusioned when he learned that Muhammad had violated his own teachings by carrying on many extramarital affairs. Malcolm’s feelings of betrayal, combined with Muhammad’s anger over Malcolm’s comments regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, led Malcolm leaving the NOI in 1964.

That same year, Malcolm X went on a trip through North Africa and the Middle East. The trip was a turning point in his life. He learned to place the American Civil Rights Movement within the context of a global anti-colonial struggle, embracing socialism and Pan-Africanism. Malcolm X also made the Hajj, the traditional Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, during which he converted to traditional Islam and changed his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.

Malcolm X announced the establishment of the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) at a the Audubon Ballroom on June 28, 1964. He had written the group’s charter with John Henrik Clarke, Albert Cleage, Jesse Gray, and Gloria Richardson, among others.

Malcolm X, along with Clarke, wrote the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) Basic Unity Program:

  • Restoration: “In order to release ourselves from the oppression of our enslavers then, it is absolutely necessary for the Afro-American to restore communication with Africa.”
  • Reorientation: “We can learn much about Africa by reading informative books.”
  • Education: “The Organization of Afro-American Unity will devise original educational methods and procedures which will liberate the minds of our children. We will … encourage qualified Afro-Americans to write and publish the textbooks needed to liberate our minds … educating them [our children] at home.”
  • Economic Security: “After the Emancipation Proclamation … it was realized that the Afro-American constituted the largest homogeneous ethnic group with a common origin and common group experience in the United States and, if allowed to exercise economic or political freedom, would in a short period of time own this country. We must establish a technician bank. We must do this so that the newly independent nations of Africa can turn to us who are their brothers for the technicians they will need now and in the future.”
Taken February 21, 1965, the day Malcolm X was assassinated.

Taken February 21, 1965, the day Malcolm X was assassinated.

At a speaking engagement in the Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965 three gunmen rushed Malcolm onstage. They shot him 15 times at close range. The 39-year-old was pronounced dead on arrival at New York’s Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.

Fifteen hundred people attended Malcolm’s funeral in Harlem on February 27, 1965 at the Faith Temple Church of God in Christ (now Child’s Memorial Temple Church of God in Christ). After the ceremony, friends took the shovels away from the waiting gravediggers and buried Malcolm themselves.

Later that year, Betty gave birth to their twin daughters Malikah & Malaak.

Malcolm’s murderers, Talmadge Hayer, Norman 3X Butler (Muhammad Abdul Aziz) and Thomas 15X Johnson (Khalil Islam) were convicted of first-degree murder in March 1966. The three men were all members of the Nation of Islam.  Aziz was paroled in 1985; Islam was freed in 1987. Hayer (the only murderer that confessed), now known as Thomas Hagan, was freed in 2010. 

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

“The Autobiography of Malcolm X was published in 1965, the result of a collaboration between human rights activist Malcolm X and journalist Alex Haley.  Haley coauthored the autobiography based on a series of in-depth interviews he conducted between 1963 and Malcolm X’s 1965 assassination. The Autobiography is a spiritual conversion narrative that outlines Malcolm X’s philosophy of black pride, black nationalism and Pan-Africanism. After the death of his subject Haley authored the book’s epilogue, which describes their collaboration and summarizes the end of Malcolm X’s life.

While Malcolm X and scholars contemporary to the book’s publication regarded Haley as the book’s ghostwriter, modern scholars tend to regard him as an essential collaborator who intentionally muted his authorial voice to allow readers to feel as though Malcolm X were speaking directly to them. Haley also influenced some of Malcolm X’s literary choices; for example, when Malcolm X left the Nation Of Islam during the composition of the book, Haley persuaded him to favor a style of “suspense and drama” rather than rewriting earlier chapters into a polemic against the Nation. Furthermore, Haley’s proactive censorship of the manuscript’s antisemitic material significantly influenced the ideological tone of the Autobiography, increasing its commercial success and popularity although distorting Malcolm X’s public persona.”

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Pardon Gregory Boertje-Obed, Sister Megan Rice, and Michael Walli.

Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014
Pardon anti-nuclear activists Gregory Boertje-Obed, Sister Megan Rice, and Michael Walli.

Pardon anti-nuclear activists Gregory Boertje-Obed, Sister Megan Rice, and Michael Walli.

U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar in Knoxville, Tenn. sentenced 84-year-old Sister Megan Rice, a Catholic nun, to 35 months in prison and three years probation. Rice is a sister in the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. She became a nun when she was 18 and served for 40 years as a missionary in western Africa teaching science. Thapar sentenced 58-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed, an Army veteran who lives at a Catholic Worker House in Minnesota, and Michael Walli, a 64-year-old two-tour Vietnam veteran who lives at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker house in Washington DC, to five years in prison and three years probation as well.

The activists were found guilty on May 8 of sabotaging the plant and damaging federal property at the Y‑12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  Officials said “there was never any danger of the protesters reaching materials that could be detonated or made into a dirty bomb…”

Protesters were engaged in a symbolic act to bring attention to America’s stockpile of nuclear weapons, which they view as both immoral and illegal …  

Gregory Boertje-Obed, Sister Megan Rice, and Michael Walli

Gregory Boertje-Obed, Sister Megan Rice, and Michael Walli

Boertje-Obed, Sister Megan Rice, and Michael Walli are members of Transform Now Plowshares, “an effort by people of faith to transform weapons into real, life-giving alternatives, to build true peace.”

Sister Megan Rice told the judge: “Please have no leniency with me … To remain in prison for the rest of my life would be the greatest gift you could give me.”

Their attorneys asked the judge to sentence them to time they had already served, about nine months, because of their record of good works throughout their lives.

A sentence of time served is fair.

Please sign both of the petitions asking President Barack Obama to pardon the three activists.

Thanks,

Kevin Alexander Gray

White House ~ https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/pardon-anti-nuclear-activists-gregory-boertje-obed-sister-megan-rice-and-michael-walli/hTh4PRLQ

Change.org ~ http://www.change.org/petitions/president-barack-obama-pardon-anti-nuclear-activists-gregory-boertje-obed-sister-megan-rice-and-michael-walli?recruiter=3098064&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=petition_invitation

NEWS STORIES:

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/national-international/NATL-Nun-84-Megan-Rice-Sentenced-Almost-3-Years-Prison-Break-In-Nuclear-Plant-Peace-Protest-Uranium-246059071.html

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/02/18-8

http://gazette.com/nun-gets-nearly-3-years-in-prison-for-nuke-protest/article/feed/91065#M8mlktzxz1LpOUOd.01

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February 19, 2014 · 4:53 am

Proud To Be

Watch the #BigGame commercial the NFL would never air. Get involved by contacting the Washington Professional Football Team, the NFL and the Washington Post.

DC Team@redskins
Facebook.com/redskins
http://www.redskins.com/footer/contac…

Roger Goodell & NFL

@NFL
@NFLcommish
https://www.facebook.com/NFL

Washington Post, DC’s hometown paper is still using the R-word in its coverage of the team.

@WashingtonPost
@PostSports
https://www.facebook.com/washingtonpost

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February 2, 2014 · 5:57 pm

Monique Reymond interviews Kevin Alexander Gray

So, I’m sitting on a bench outside the recording studio on Sunset and a woman dressed all in black rolls up on her bike and asks can she interview me… ~

Monique Reymond

Monique Reymond

The woman asking the questions is “Foley Artist” Monique Reymond.  Ms. Reymond is also a comedian.

 | July 13, 2013 ~ Why the Zimmerman Trial Made Me Ill ~ http://progressive.org/zimmerman-trial-made-me-ill

| July 17, 2013 ~ “No Rights That Any White Man is Bound to Respect” - http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/07/17/what-it-feels-like-to-be-black-in-america/

| July 17, 2013 ~ Why the Zimmerman verdict is more important that O.J. ~ http://progressive.org/zimmerman-verdict-more-important-than-oj

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Iraq: 10 Years After Invasion | Costs of War

Iraq: 10 Years After Invasion | Costs of War.

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Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address

Saturday, March 4, 1865

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At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.

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One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

President Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address (1865) ~ http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?doc=38

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