Category Archives: Black Culture | United States

Killing Trayvons ~ “American Violence at the Intersection of Race & Class”

kag3with Kevin Alexander Gray

Co-editor [with Jeffrey St. Clair and JoAnn Wypijewski] of Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence, and author of Waiting for Lightning to Strike: The Fundamentals of Black Politics for an evening of analysis, dialogue and performance.

Killing Trayvons

Gray is a civil rights organizer in South Carolina. He is a contributing editor to Counterpunch, on the boards of RESIST & Savannah River Site Watch. He served as a national board member of the American Civil Liberties Union for 4 years & is a past eight-term president of the South Carolina affiliate of the ACLU.  Advisory board member of DRC Net (Drug Policy Reform Coalition), & was Jesse Jackson’s ’88 SC campaign manager. 

“There’s no keener mind, no sharper eye, focused on the condition of black politics. Gray’s take is radical, so his focus is always ample and humane.”

Adam Gottlieb

 joining Kevin will be Adam Gottlieb

Adam is a poet-emcee/teaching-artist/singer-songwriter/revolutionary from Chicago. As a teen, he was featured in the 2009 documentary film “Louder Than A Bomb.” Since then, he has gone on to perform and teach widely throughout Chicago and the U.S. In 2012 he co-founded the Royal Souls open mic in the East Roger’s Park neighborhood of Chicago. He is a founder of the Chicago branch of the Revolutionary Poets Brigade, and performs with his band OneLove.

Also featuring . . . Chicago poets active in the ‘Let Us Breathe’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, along with members of high school teams in the 2015 Louder than a Bomb spoken word competition.

The presentation by Gray and the performances by the artists will be followed by a conversation with the author, poets and audience!

Join Us for an evening of analysis, dialogue and performance!

Saturday, April 11th.  6 – 8 PM
Powell’s Books Chicago
1218 South Halsted

Sponsored by: The Chicago Consortium for Working Class Studies & the RevolutionaryPoets Brigade, Chicago

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Filed under 1ST LOOK | KAG Book Promotion, Actions | Events, American Politics, American Progressive Politics, ART | CULTURE | WRITING, Black Culture | United States, FREE SPEECH, Friends & Comrades, Hip Hop, Poetry, Police Abuse|Brutality|Killings, Political Ideology, Protest, racism, Uncategorized, white supremacy

Now Available! ~ 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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Filed under 1ST LOOK | KAG Book Promotion, American Culture, American Politics, Black Culture | United States, Black Politics, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Criminal Justice, Cultural Essays, Drug Policy, Human Rights, Law Enforcement, Obama Administration, Poetry, Police Abuse|Brutality|Killings, Protest, The Obama Administration, The Press, white supremacy, Work of Comrades

Question Bridge: Black Males

“… if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves.”
~ Junot Diaz
Question Bridge Blueprint Roundtable

Question Bridge Blueprint Roundtable

Join the discussion and find out more about Question Bridge: Black Males, a transmedia art project that seeks to represent and redefine black male identity in America. The roundtable will provide a safe setting for necessary, honest expression and healing dialogue on themes that divide, unite and puzzle black males in the U.S. This program is a partnership between

Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia

Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia

Friends of African American Art and Culture (FAAAC) of the Columbia Museum of Art, Sumter Gallery of Art and Richland Library. Panelists include: Darion McCloud, Kevin Alexander Gray, Alvin A. McEwen, Willis Thomas, Steve Benjamin and  Charles Whitherspoon.

Scott Trafton

Scott Trafton

Question Bridge: Black Males opens a window onto the complex and often unspoken dialogue among black men, creating an intimate and essentially genuine experience for viewers and subjects. This project brings the full spectrum of what it means to be “black” and “male” in America to the forefront. “Blackness” ceases to be a simple, monochromatic concept.

Kevin Alexander Gray

Kevin Alexander Gray

By creating an identity container (e.g. “Black” and “Male”), then creating a way of releasing the diversity of identities and thought within that container, we can break the container. Question Bridge strives to make it more difficult to say, “Black Males are___.” If we succeed in deconstructing stereotypes about arguably the most opaque and feared demographic in America, then the Question Bridge model can work to overcome limiting assumptions about any demographic, therefore moving the needle on implicit bias.

Darion McCloud

Darion McCloud

Remember to come to the Richland Library – Lucy Bostic Auditorium for Question Bridge Blueprint RoundtableThursday, October 10th @ 6PM.

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Filed under Actions | Events, American Culture, ART | CULTURE | WRITING, Black Culture | United States, South Carolina, Special Events

After Trayvon: Revisiting MLK’s “Triple Evils” | Pamela Brown

In the 20th century, Martin Luther King Jr. defined the problem of America under the weight of the “triple evils” of racism, economic exploitation and war. In the 21st, the case of Trayvon Martin has created an existential crisis for black Americans and allies engaged in the struggle for racial justice. It underscores, again, that for many millions of people the “ism” felt as the greatest threat is not capitalism or militarism. Yet these effusions of persistent racism are enmeshed in a context: of growing inequality under neoliberal economic regimes and of wide-scale state-sponsored violence globally.  It is time for all people to revisit MLK’s “triple evils” in forming a strategy for resistance and a vision of the future — re-imagining what freedom might look like and how it might be achieved.

Pamela Brown

Pamela Brown

Kopkind’s 2013 Harvest Late Brunch fundraiser will be held Sunday, October 13, at 2 pm.  Our speaker is Pamela Brown.

Pam was deeply involved in Occupy Wall Street and has continued in its offshoot organizing and educational projects, at the convergence of race, class and debt. She is a columnist for Tidal Magazine and an organizer with the People’s Investigation of Wall Street. She was a founding member of Strike Debt and the Rolling Jubilee, and has been involved in campaigns and writing projects including the student debt pledge of refusal and the Debt Resistors Operations Manual. With a background in philosophy and media arts, Pam is currently a doctoral student in sociology at The New School.

Kopkind is a living memorial to the great radical journalist Andrew Kopkind. Each summer since 1999 it has been bringing together journalists, activists and filmmakers for week-long seminar/retreat sessions with the aim of thinking deeply, acting consciously, living expressively and extending the field for freedom, pleasure and imagination.

Out-of-towners, we have some rooms and cabins, so contact us if you’d like to stay the night.

Please Come! We Look Forward To Seeing You!

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Filed under Actions | Events, American Politics, Black Culture | United States, Black Politics, Civil Rights, Feminist Leaders, Police Abuse|Brutality|Killings, Political Ideology, Protest, Work of Comrades

LIVE AT THE ICE HOUSE: EPISODE 4 ~ “ROCK AND ROLE MODELS”

Judah 1

American roots-rock duo William Pilgrim & The All Grows Up return with a brand new episode of Live at the Ice House, the duo’s socially conscious ongoing music web series. In the latest installment, titled “Rock & Role Models,” Ishmael Herring, aka William Pilgrim, and his musical cohort PM Romero, take the show on the road to East West Studios in Hollywood, CA, where they are currently finishing a new record for Orange County-based label, Moonlight Graham Records that is scheduled for release in early 2014.


Exene Cervenka and Kevin Alexander Gray

Exene Cervenka and Kevin Alexander Gray

In this episode, William Pilgrim and PM Romero are joined by the legendary Blind Boys Of Alabama, and other friends from previous Live at the Ice House segments including Modern Poet and Renaissance Man David “Judah 1” Oliver from Episode 3, singer Lesedi Lo-Fi from Episode 2, and Exene Cervenka of the celebrated band X, who narrated the series’ debut episode that focused on teen homelessness. Social and political blogger/author Kevin Alexander Gray also stops by for a heated but good natured and insightful discussion with Pilgrim and Romero.

Blind Boys Of Alabama at East West Studios In Hollywood

PM Romero with the Blind Boys Of Alabama & friends at East West Studios In Hollywood

The Blind Boys of Alabama are notably featured on a track on William Pilgrim & The All Grows Up’s forthcoming sophomore release, titled Epic Endings. The five-time Grammy Award winning gospel group was in the process of cutting tracks at East West Studios and, drawn to the message of Live at the Ice House, asked to join in the roundtable discussions. The Blind Boys’ soulful style and spirituality prove an ideal complement to William Pilgrim’s haunting, bluesy vocals. X singer Exene Cervenka is also featured in a duet with William Pilgrim on the upcoming release and in this Live at the Ice House episode she speaks on the inspirations and meanings behind that song.

Ishmael Herring, aka William Pilgrim and Kevin Alexander Gray

Ishmael Herring, aka William Pilgrim and Kevin Alexander Gray

“Last episode we tried to demonstrate the power we all have with the words we choose and how we use them,” says William Pilgrim. “In this episode we move to focus more on music.  Music was an integral part of the 60′s fight for civil rights and it spoke out against our destruction of the people of Vietnam and to the tightening grip of American business over our government and public policy.  We believe music, performers and songwriters have a responsibility today to pick up where our 60′s predecessors left off.”

“Music is a tremendously powerful force for change and can inform and raise awareness but also impact people on a deeply emotional level, and this is where the seed for real social change must take root,” says PM Romero. “With no resonating voice within government or the media to challenge our misguided understandings of civics, economics and history, music and the artists that craft songs can become major influences to break through our corrupted common sense and reason.  Music can be the voice that unifies and organizes people around a common good.”

Live at the Ice House, “Rock & Role Models,”  is also available now on http://liveicehouse.com.

Live at the ICE HOUSE

Live at the ICE HOUSE

Additional information on William Pilgrim & The All Grows Up Is available at: https://www.facebook.com/williampilgrimmusic.

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Filed under American Culture, American Politics, Black Culture | United States, Movement & Message Music, Music History, Poetry, Political Ideology, R&B, Rock, Soul, Work of Comrades

CHURCH & COMMUNITY TRIBUTE BENEFIT for Efia Nwangaza, The Malcolm X Center for Self Determination & WMXP Community Radio

Efia Nwangaza

Greenville’s black leadership is calling on local churches and civic organizations to rally in tribute and aid of human rights organizer Efia Nwangaza, the Malcolm X Center and WMXP/95.5fm Community Radio which were founded by Nwangaza. The Church and Community Benefit will be held on Sunday, September 16th, 5:00pm, at Tabernacle Baptist Church, 400 South Hudson Street in Greenville, South Carolina. The Tribute will feature gospel music, praise dance, acknowledgment of her community service and a “Giving March of Presentations.”

For over 20 years, The Malcolm X Center for Self Determination (http://wmxp955.webs.com/aboutus.htm ), also known as the Afrikan Amerikan Institute, has served as a volunteer grassroots, community based, volunteer staffed, owned and operated action center. Founded in 1991, it serves as a non-profit, public space for developing, testing, training and implementation of approaches to popular education, strategic planning, and communications skill enhancement for human rights, self-determination, self-advocacy and wide ranging performing and organizing skill development. The bookstore, reading room and multimedia action center serves as a community based think tank  to insure broad based community analysis.

The Malcolm X Center & Bookstore

WMXP-LP 95.5 FM – The Voice of the People (http://wmxp955.webs.com/) is a community based, volunteer programmed, listener and local business supported non-commercial educational radio station. It’s mission is to give voice to the voiceless with local music, local talk, local news, local people doing local programming.

The Greenville Leadership Breakfast Group, which is sponsoring the fundraiser, is a broad based coalition of religious and civic organizations. It includes elected, appointed, and volunteer leaders— professional and grassroots of all ages— who meet monthly to address issues that effect the African American community. It’s work has ranged from challenging the disproportionate expulsion of Black students to challenging recent redistricting.

Donations may be made directly and securely online at www.wmxp955.com or by mail at P.O. Box 16102, Greenville, SC 29607. All proceeds are used for community services and programming. WMXP is FCC licensed to and a project of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement for Self Determination, housed at the Malcolm X Center, 321 W. Antrim Dr, Greenville, SC 29607.

CONTACT: : Brenda Murray, Coordinator bmurray@divaex.com, Leola Robinson Simpson ~ robinsimp@charter.net, Rev. Oliver T. Hill,DD~ Othill2009@gmail.com, Efia Nwangaza 864-239-0470~ enwmxp@gmail.com Continue reading

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Filed under Actions | Events, Black Culture | United States, Black Politics, Events, Harriet Tubman Freedom House Project, Human Rights, Pan Africanism | Afrocentrism | Africana Studies, Political Ideology, South Carolina, South Carolina Politics, Work of Comrades

Malcolm X | The House Negro vs. The Field Negro

SPEECH TO SNCC WORKERS, SELMA, ALABAMA

FEB.4,1965

To understand this, you have to go back to what [the] young brother here referred to as the house Negro and the field Negro — back during slavery. There was two kinds of slaves. There was the house Negro and the field Negro. The house Negroes – they lived in the house with master, they dressed pretty good, they ate good ’cause they ate his food — what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near the master; and they loved their master more than the master loved himself. They would give their life to save the master’s house quicker than the master would. The house Negro, if the master said, “We got a good house here,” the house Negro would say, “Yeah, we got a good house here.” Whenever the master said “we,” he said “we.” That’s how you can tell a house Negro.

If the master’s house caught on fire, the house Negro would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would. If the master got sick, the house Negro would say, “What’s the matter, boss, we sick?” We sick! He identified himself with his master more than his master identified with himself. And if you came to the house Negro and said, “Let’s run away, let’s escape, let’s separate,” the house Negro would look at you and say, “Man, you crazy. What you mean, separate? Where is there a better house than this? Where can I wear better clothes than this? Where can I eat better food than this?” That was that house Negro. In those days he was called a “house nigger.” And that’s what we call him today, because we’ve still got some house niggers running around here.

Malcolm speaks

This modern house Negro loves his master. He wants to live near him. He’ll pay three times as much as the house is worth just to live near his master, and then brag about “I’m the only Negro out here.” “I’m the only one on my job.” “I’m the only one in this school.” You’re nothing but a house Negro. And if someone comes to you right now and says, “Let’s separate,” you say the same thing that the house Negro said on the plantation. “What you mean, separate? From America? This good white man? Where you going to get a better job than you get here?” I mean, this is what you say. “I ain’t left nothing in Africa,” that’s what you say. Why, you left your mind in Africa.

On that same plantation, there was the field Negro. The field Negro — those were the masses. There were always more Negroes in the field than there was Negroes in the house. The Negro in the field caught hell. He ate leftovers. In the house they ate high up on the hog. The Negro in the field didn’t get nothing but what was left of the insides of the hog. They call ‘em “chitt’lin’” nowadays. In those days they called them what they were: guts. That’s what you were — a gut-eater. And some of you all still gut-eaters. Continue reading

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Filed under American History, Black Culture | United States, Black Politics, Pan Africanism | Afrocentrism | Africana Studies, Political Ideology, white supremacy