Category Archives: Pan Africanism | Afrocentrism | Africana Studies

The Sunday Show with Philip Maldari | KPFA 94.1 FM Berkeley

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Kevin Alexander Gray joins Philip Maldari on Sunday July 3 @12 noon to 1:00pm (Eastern) 9:00 to 10:00am (Pacific) to talk about Independence Day

On July 2, 1776, the “anti-slavery clause” was removed from the Declaration of Independence at the insistence of Edward Rutledge, delegate from South Carolina. Rutledge threatened that South Carolina would fight for King George against her sister colonies. He asserted that he had “the ardent support of proslavery elements in North Carolina and Georgia as well as of certain northern merchants reluctant to condemn a shipping trade largely in their own bloodstained hands.” Fearful of postponing the American Revolution, opponents of slavery, who were in the clear majority, made a “compromise.” Thus, July 4, 1776, marks for African Americans not Independence Day but the moment when their ancestors’ enslavement became fixed by law as well as custom in the new nation.

If only anti-slavery foes had said “no compromise!” to South Carolina and rejected slavery and white privilege, the United States would have begun as a principled nation instead of a hypocritical one..,” Kevin Alexander Gray.

(From “Dispatches From South Carolina: Same as it ever was” | Published May 2, 2000.)

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Uncle Tom’s Cabin Reading Marathon

The Uncle Tom’s Cabin  reading marathon will be held on April 12 beginning at 8:00 am at the The Modjeska Monteith Simkins House at 2025 Marion Street in Columbia and will run until the entire novel has been read.
 
The event is being held on April 12th  in response to the many Civil War “commemorations” going on across the South and nation this year. April 12th is  the 150th anniversary of the start-up date of the Civil War.   The date is also significant in that the Confederate flag was first placed atop the SC Statehouse dome in 1962 during the centennial observances of the Civil War.
 
Since many of those commemorating and celebrating the “Lost Cause” want to write African enslavement out as a core reason for the war, many of us feel that it’s important to set the record straight in a historically connected way.
 
We want to tell the enslaved Africans and abolitionists’ side of the story. 
 
Why This Book?  When Abraham Lincoln met the Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1862 he is said to have remarked, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”

Though slave narratives were immensely popular, Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin reached the broadest audience prior to the Civil War.  Stowe’s anti-slavery message was less threatening to white audiences than were ex-enslaved Africans.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin had a tremendous impact.  Most blacks responded positively to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Frederick Douglass was a friend of Stowe’s; she had consulted him on some sections of the book, and he praised the book in his writings.  Most black abolitionists saw it as a tremendous help to their cause.  Some opposed the book, seeing Uncle Tom’s character as being too submissive and criticized Stowe for having her strongest black characters emigrate to Liberia.

The character Uncle Tom is an enslaved African who retains his integrity and refuses to betray his fellow slaves at the cost of his life.  His firm Christian principles in the face of his brutal treatment made him a hero to whites.  In contrast, his tormenter Simon Legree, the Northern slave-dealer turned plantation owner, enraged them with his cruelty. Stowe convinced readers that the institution of slavery itself was evil, because it supported people like Legree and enslaved people like Uncle Tom. Because of her work, thousands rallied to the anti-slavery cause.

Only 5,000 copies of the first edition were printed. They were sold in two days. By the end of the first year, 300,000 copies had been sold in America alone; in England 200,000 copies were sold.  Southerners were outraged, and declared the work to be criminal, slanderous, and utterly false. A bookseller in Mobile, Alabama, was forced out of town for selling copies. Stowe received threatening letters and a package containing the dismembered ear of a black person. Southerners also reacted by writing their own novels depicting the happy lives of slaves, and often contrasted them with the miserable existences of Northern white workers.
 
Individual participants will read for 10 minutes. Slots are filling up but we are still asking fraternities and sororities, high school and college english classes, churches, social groups, politicians, theater people, kids, etc., to get involved.
 
The event is being sponsored by the Harriet Tubman Freedom House Project, the Columbia Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and the South Carolina Progressive Network.

Partial List of Participants: Vanzell Haire, Rev. Sandy Jones, Rev. David Edmonds, Tom Clements, Bill Roberson, Hi Bedford Roberson, Kevin Alexander Gray, Scott West, Frances Close, Eva Moore, Tom Turnipseed, Lyn Phillips, Don Frierson, Cassandra Fralix, Gerald Rudolph, Mattie Haynes, Roland Haynes, Becci Robbins, Marjorie Hammock, Michael Watts, Brett A. Bursey, Efia Nwangaza, Catherine Fleming-Bruce, Meryl Truesdale, William Felder, Patricia Daniels, Guy Fowler, Marjorie Trifon, Camille Gray-Felder and many others.
 
For more information and press inquiries call 803.386.4759 or email Kevin Gray @ kevinagray57@gmail.com.
 
http://uncletomscabin.clarity-dev.com/

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Martin Luther King Jr. | Where Do We Go From Here?

Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Atlanta, Georgia
16 August 1967

Now, in order to answer the question, “Where do we go from here?” which is our theme, we must first honestly recognize where we are now. When the Constitution was written, a strange formula to determine taxes and representation declared that the Negro was 60 percent of a person. Today another curious formula seems to declare he is 50 percent of a person. Of the good things in life, the Negro has approximately one half those of whites. Of the bad things of life, he has twice those of whites. Thus half of all Negroes live in substandard housing. And Negroes have half the income of whites. When we view the negative experiences of life, the Negro has a double share. There are twice as many unemployed. The rate of infant mortality among Negroes is double that of whites and there are twice as many Negroes dying in Vietnam as whites in proportion to their size in the population.

In other spheres, the figures are equally alarming. In elementary schools, Negroes lag one to three years behind whites, and their segregated schools receive substantially less money per student than the white schools. One twentieth as many Negroes as whites attend college. Of employed Negroes, 75 percent hold menial jobs.

This is where we are. Where do we go from here? First, we must massively assert our dignity and worth. We must stand up amidst a system that still oppresses us and develop an unassailable and majestic sense of values. We must no longer be ashamed of being black. The job of arousing manhood within a people that have been taught for so many centuries that they are nobody is not easy.

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Dr. Benjamin Hooks | “Are there no more cats to bell?”

Benjamin Lawson Hooks (January 31, 1925 – April 15, 2010)

Dr. Hooks erved as executive director of the NAACP from 1977 to 1992.  In this speech –  “Civil Rights and Social Justice: Past, Present and the Future” delivered at The Hooks Institute at The University of Memphis – Dr. Hooks’  asks: “Are there no more cats to bell?”

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Stokely Carmichael speaks at the University of California’s Greek Theater, Berkeley, California, October 29, 1966

Stokely Carmichael, initially an acolyte of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and his philosophy of nonviolent protest, became a leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), but was radicalized when he saw peaceful protestors brutalized in the South.

In the mid 1960s, Carmichael challenged the civil rights leadership by rejecting integration and calling on blacks to oust whites from the freedom movement. Following his arrest during a 1966 protest march in Mississippi, Carmichael angrily demanded a change in the rhetoric and strategy of the civil rights movement. “We’ve been saying ‘Freedom’ for six years,” Carmichael said. “What we are going to start saying now is ‘Black Power.”

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