One of the most eloquent voices of the pains, passions, and dilemmas that was (and still is) The Black Experience in a western-dominated world, James Baldwin traveled the globe learning, growing, teaching, and seeking peace. His unfiltered/no nonsense analysis of societal ills to me only can be compared to the level of genius presented to us by Malcolm X (aka El Hajj Malik El Shabazz). Relevant then, and relevant now, we must continue to study the insights Baldwin provided us-and use them as out tools to create the brighter future he surely hoped we would already have by now. So in memory of The Great James Baldwin, on the anniversary of his passing, here are a few quotes and videos to soak up and apply going forward…
Ericka Huggins spent 14 years as a vital force of leadership within The Black Panther Party; and played a highly instrumental role in spreading The Party’s influence across the nation and beyond. Having joined The BPP in 1968, at the age of 18, Ericka Huggins would ascend higher through the ranks of leadership in spite of her husband John Huggins being murdered (along with comrade Bunchy Carter) on the campus of UCLA just one year later. Now unsealed documents and other testimonies confirm that the incident had been instigated by The FBI and local police. The FBI and LAPD had been working feverishly to exacerbate tensions between The Panthers and Maulana Karenga’s US Organization; and this ultimately culminated in an on campus shooting that left the two BPP leaders dead. John an Ericka had just welcomed their newborn daughter into this world, just three weeks prior…
After moving to Connecticut, and opening a new BPP Chapter Office there, Ericka Huggins and Bobby Seale would be arrested on conspiracy to commit murder charged. The government attempted to tie them to the alleged torture and murder of Alex Rackley, who was believed to have been an FBI Informant. Though there was no evidence that could adequately support those claims, both Huggins and Seale would spend the next two years in jail. Ultimately the charges would be dropped in 1971.
Fifty years later, Ericka Huggins continues to work as an activist and educator via multiple platforms. We at The Wandering Eyes Blog salute you!
SOURCES AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Fancying myself as a student of revolutionaries, and revolutionary movements, many times I figured however foolishly that I knew at least a little about them all. But once every few years, I come across the story of another one purposely buried deep in the dark corners of revisionist history. Upon watching a documentary called “The House On Coco Road,” I discovered yet another in Maurice Bishop of Grenada. Greatly influenced by the works of Julius Nyerere and Frantz Fanon, this Aruba-Born Titan of The People would briefly establish what came to be referenced as a “Black Utopia” on the small Caribbean Island of Grenada from 1979 until his execution in 1983.
After earning his law degree from The University Of London, Bishop formed The Movement For Assemblies Of The People or MAP. Shortly thereafter MAP would merge with The Joint Action For Education Welfare & Liberation also known as JEWEL. Together the two united organizations would come to be known as The New Jewel Movement or The NJM. In 1976, Maurice Bishop would be elected to Grenada’s House Of Representatives, and three years later would seize power away from then Prime Minister Eric Gairy of whom the masses believed had only been elected due to illegal tampering with the vote count. Additionally, he reportedly ruled under a campaign of fear via his secret police (The Mongoose Gang) and with the backing of Chile & The U.S. Governments. So in the Spring of 1979 a new People’s Revolutionary Government was launched in Grenada. Bernard Coard was named Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade, Finance, Planning & Industry. Phyllis Coard was named Deputy Secretary Of Information & Culture; and Jacqueline Creft as Minister Of Education. This bloodless coup led to massive improvements in Education, Healthcare, Housing, Infrastructure, and The Economy. Free Healthcare became recognized as a right, and not just as a privilege. Major resources were launched toward improving literacy, more low-income housing was made accessible to the masses, and unemployment dropped from a reported 49% down to just 14%. New schools were built, agricultural projects launched, and new construction advanced forward. Grenada and its people had suffered through centuries of slavery and colonial exploitation; but now it was poised to become A Black Utopia. The country had only gained its independence in 1974; but Grenada was now all about the people. Even 800 American medical students had now moved there to enroll in Grenada’s Medical School St. George’s University. And this is when the trouble began...
“I think Washington fears that we could set an example for the rest of the region if our revolution succeeds. In the Caribbean region you’re talking about small countries with small populations and limited resources, countries that over the years have been classic examples of neo-capitalist dependencies. Now you have these new governments like Nicaragua and Grenada that are attempting a different experiment.”
Many of the improvement initiatives launched under the new People’s Revolutionary Government were made with financial assistance from Cuba and The Soviet Union. Fearing the spread of Socialism, and that more US-backed puppet regimes in the region may soon see similar changes, then-President Ronald Reagan’s regime began seeking to undermine Grenada’s progress. And by 1981, U.S. Military exercises had been initiated simulating an invasion of the tiny island. In 1983, Ronald Reagan would go on live television alleging that The Soviet Union had begun construction of a military base in Grenada. The assertion was positioned to instill the fear that this would be a base to launch terrorist attacks and ultimately lead to a Communist Invasion into America. In all reality, the construction project was Grenada’s first ever airport. Prior to this the island simply had a small airstrip into the mountains, that had been deemed too dangerous to use. Nevertheless, on October 25th, 1983, “Operation Urgent Fury” was launched. Just weeks prior, a power struggle had erupted within the government leading to Prime Minister Bishop being placed on house arrest. Bishop’s own childhood friend, Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard had betrayed him and seized power. And only days later, Coard would be deposed by General Hudson Austin. On October 19th, a large crowd of people would stage an uprising to restore Bishop to his power. Bishop was released from imprisonment, and the crowd would then descend upon the island’s military complex Fort George. The military would respond with gunfire to squash the uprising. Maurice Bishop, Jacqueline Creft, and several other members of the government would be executed via firing squad. Though much of the chaos was the result of American Covert Activities, even General Austin would find himself out of power after the U.S. Invasion. Austin would be sent to prison for the murders of his former comrades; and would remain there until 2008. Herbert Augustus Blaize would be elected Prime Minister in 1984, and Grenada returned to its status as amongst nations with the boot of Imperialism firmly pressed on its throat. Ironically, the very airport that was used as the catalyst to end the regime of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and The People’s Revolutionary Government would be re-named Maurice Bishop International Airport in 2009. Others attempted similar moves to install governments that were truly For The People and By The People; but like Maurice Bishop they would also become targets to be eliminated via American Obstruction. Their memories will live on forever though; and hopefully the next wave will finally succeed long term.
I saw a picture floating around on social media earlier today that got me to thinking. The picture showed several different examples of the Beautiful Black Couples that graced the television screen during the Eighties and Nineties. That along with a few other stories, and interactions, got me to thinking. Relationships, in general, are pretty bad nowadays. almost all of those images of Black Love are long gone. And today it is a far more popular trend for Black women to date White Men and for Black Men to chase so-called Mixed Girls and the lighter skinned variety of Latina. Take a moment to do a Google Image Search "Black On Black Love," and you will get mostly images from the past and abstract art. But do a Google Image Search for "Black Relationships" and you will be bombarded with mostly pictures of Us Arguing or in Interracial Pairings. SMH
Few want to admit or acknowledge it, but the majority of the problems I will attempt to speak on in this post go back to slavery and colonialism. And before you start shaking your head in disagreement, please consider that for any person or group of people to dominate or control another-they must be able to dominate and control their minds. Physical force can only go so far. So in order to be able to enslave millions of once-proud Africans, colonize their lands, control of all of the natural resources of said lands, and subject those people to varying degrees oppression and apartheid for the next 500+ years, one would have to systematically destroy certain elements of logical thinking and dehumanize them so that others will not step in on their behalf.
Whatever you want to call it, Willie Lynch Syndrome or Cognitive Dissonance, the fact remains that a dishonest picture was projected on US and to US so as to systematically maintain the system of Global White Supremacy. Even those with only the most basic understanding of the slave-breaking process know that families were broken apart and the strongest were savagely beaten and killed so as to instill deep-rooted fear in the other slaves. Both the men and women became tools for breeding, hard labor and perversion only. In order to justify these actions, myths had to be created in regard to how lazy, ignorant, and savage we were supposed to be. That Black Woman could not have raped, because she was so promiscuous and uncontrollably sexual in nature. that Black Man somehow deserved whatever cruel and inhumane treatment he got, because he had to have done something to make it warranted. Even after slavery was sort of abolished, laws would be put in place that would reinforce those standards for at least another 100 years. Sadly many of those attitudes still permeate how we view things today. #MikeBrown somehow deserved to be shot six times, somehow #TamirRice and #JohnCrawford did something to deserve being shot on sight, and #DanielHoltzclaw was able to get away with repeatedly raping at least 12 Black Women-before he finally did it to the wrong one. Even while on trial, the defense still focused their efforts to save his freedom by painting the picture of these Whorish, Drug-Addicted, Low Class Black Women. But let me not get off of the main point.
Today those same ideals run rampant like never before in the age of big media. It has always been happening; but now the tools to push that agenda cast so much wider of a net. From music to television and movies, the images of the irresponsible and slightly coonish Black Man and the angry-but fragile vindictive Black Woman is pushed on us Seven Days A Week and 24 Hours A Day. Ever wonder why we can make an infinite number of movies, songs and social media posts about killing each other and disrespecting each other; but make a comment against others and it will be immediately attacked. We can be a million punks, bitches and hoes-but rarely ever Kings and Queens. Movies and music with true substance can win awards and gain critical acclaim; but you won't see or hear about them on mainstream radio and television. How many movies and sitcoms show a happy Black Couple working together for the greater good? Meanwhile sneaky, conniving, angry and over the top Black characters dominate the airwaves and movie screens. Black women struggle to persevere, while the Black Man runs off because he wasn't man enough to handle the pressures of real life. And nowadays the storyline goes further to have her eventually fall into the arms of the sensitive, caring and patient "White Knight." Even the characterizations of successful and well to do Black Men usually still have some major character flaw that precludes them from having a full degree of humanity-while at the same time painting the picture that if a man doesn't have all of these shallow material gains to show off, then he is somehow inferior and not worthy of a Black Woman's Love and Commitment. What message does this convey to the Black Man or Woman that has been hurt or disappointed? Rather than learn the lessons required to go forward with our lives, we instead find ourselves blaming each other and no growth occurs. Before long it becomes "these n___as ain't shit," or "these b___hes ain't shit." as a result, most begin to either buy into the pathology of hurting others before we get hurt or closing ourselves off and looking to other races for what we have been programmed into thinking that we can't get from our own. slowly the Black Family Structure declines, fewer Black children are Born (and too many of those born are born into dysfunctional families), and begin to take on the very stereotypes that were once used to justify our oppression. today they don't even have to put much effort into propagating these myths, because we exceed their efforts in our own mindless behavior. Multiple generations blindly accept this as the norm, and subconsciously go out of their way to defend the very system that exploits us.
So HOW DO WE FIX IT???
Self discipline. We must have a code. We must stop supporting the media companies that profit off of this foolishness. Boycott the movies, television shows, and radio shows that put priority on the negative-with little if any regard for balance. Write complaints to these companies and post comments on social media, letting them know that we require them to do better OR ELSE! Demand that radio PROGRAM Directors balance out their playLISTS with more balance. Support those more positive artists and filmmakers. At the end of the day money is the key; and even those with the worst of intentions will adjust to what will keep money coming in. And let's be honest, most of those in positions of power truly think they are giving US what WE want. More importantly, let's take an honest and critical look at how we treat ourselves and each other. NEVER LET ANYONE ELSE DEFINE WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT'S BEST FOR YOU!!! That Black Woman you mistreat is someone's Daughter; and that Black Man is someone's Son. And WE ALL COME FROM THE SAME DIVINE ESSENCE; so let's begin to train our minds to treat each other as such. There is nothing more Beautiful and Powerful as The Children Of The Sun. We are the Fathers and Mothers of Civilization, and The Backbone of All things In Existence. Don't you think it's time for US to get back to acting according to Our True Nature??? The journey won't be an easy one; but the sake of future generations, don't you think fighting this battle is worth it??? P.E.A.C.E.
WRITER'S NOTE: Some will wish to point out the few, and I do mean few, examples of happy Black Families in TV & Movies. But be honest with yourself. They are so outnumbered in reference to those that push more negative narratives of Black Life. Part of Mental Enslavement is to make the minds of the oppressed just be thankful of what little they are allowed to have, and not question why more isn't being done.
"We Respect Nonviolence. But to Sit, And Watch Ourselves Be Slaughtered, Like Our Brother (Martin Luther King), We Must Defend Ourselves. Like Malcolm X Said, By Any Means Necessary."
Last week (December 4, 1969) marked the 46th year since Our Brother Chairman Fred Hampton Sr. was EXECUTED by Chicago Police Officers in a pre-dawn raid. Working in conjunction with The FBI, Cook County State's Attorney Edward Hanrahan sent Fourteen officers to Chairman Fred's apartment on The West Side of Chicago. Officers surrounded the house and immediately fired off an estimated 100 bullets-mostly in the direction of Hampton's bed. When the gunfire stopped, 21 Year Old Fred Hampton & 22 Year Old Mark Clark lay dead. Several other Panther Party members were wounded, and seven were arrested for Attempted Murder. Official Police Reports claimed that there was a shootout, and authorities put out photos of the carnage to the media. Shortly thereafter the photos claiming to show bullets being fired toward the cops were exposed as being nail heads. it would later be confirmed that only one bullet had been fired in the direction of the cops & THAT BULLET WAS FIRED FROM A COPS GUN. Four years later it would be discovered that Chicago Black Panther Party Chief of Security William O'Neal was a paid informant for the FBI, and had not only provided a layout of the apartment-specifically citing the location of Chairman Fred's bed; but had also drugged him in the hours leading up to the raid. Black Panther Party Leaders led Chicago residents on tours through the crime scene to show the corrupt & savage nature in which the Chicago Police Department had enacted the raid (as Police had clumsily left the scene unsecured). After a 1971 break in at a Pennsylvania FBI Office, by The Citizens Commission to Investigate the FBI , over a thousand documents were liberated that confirmed that the Chairman Fred's assassination was part of a larger plan to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, and otherwise neutralize" Black Organizations. More specifically to Chairman Fred Hampton, to "Prevent a coalition of militant black nationalist groups" & "Prevent the rise of a messiah who could unify and electrify the militant nationalist movement." At the time of Chairman Fred's death, The FBI had already compiled at least 4,000 pages of reports on him. Chairman Fred was a brilliant organizer and had established community service programs, called "Survival Programs," that included Free Breakfast Programs for the youth, Free Medical Care for the public, and Political Education Classes. The BPP Free Breakfast Program was the model for the State & Federal Sponsored programs that we see today. Most importantly Chairman Fred had successfully brokered a Non-Aggression Pact between several of the cities most powerful gangs, and a "Rainbow coalition" of Black and Puerto Rican youth. Fearing that these street organizations would soon become revolutionary organizations, The FBI initially tried to manufacture tension between The Panthers & Jeff Fort. When that failed, Hampton was marked for assassination. Fred's legacy lives on to this day, not only in the hearts & minds of our consciousness; but in the work of his son Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. And as he said in a comment on an earlier (post) from 2014, "The Cubs are Coming...The Cubs are coming...The Cubs are Coming...The Black Panther Party Cubs are here!"
No One Ever Went To Jail For Chairman Fred's Murder. With the current climate of injustice, political fuckery, and police brutality, we must honor the example set forth by our pioneering Leaders to take up the mantle to teach & mobilize our masses. They must not be allowed to have died in vain.