The Story of O.J.

I am going to work this into my African American Studies syllabus. I am just seeing and hearing Jay-Z’ s The Story of O.J. Still processing. I am hearing Black sellouts. Black and white capitalist. Black folk still enslaved by debt. Black folk without real material power and wealth. Black bourgeoisie. Black working class. Poor Black folk. I am hearing you still Black at the end of the day– Black rich sellouts. White supremacy. Black caricature –watermelon and fried chicken. Gentrification. Panthers keeping it real. Some Oceans here. Nina Simone. Colorism. O.J. aint Black — he is O.J. Black supporters of Trump — sellouts. Drugs. Materialism. Religion.

What is the 4th of July to Me — 2017

We are sitting out back reading and listening to Frederick Douglass ask What to the Slave (or Negro) is the 4th of July? This 4th of July is yours — not mine, as Douglass notes. White America elected a white supremacist in our age of furthering oppression. Though no longer slaves — I ask — how many white allies are with us in championing our missing voices — in leadership and in change. This 4th is not mine. Black folk — have you read this? Spend time pondering the language of Douglass, as he notes,

“…You may well cherish the memory of such men. They were great in their day and generation. Their solid manhood stands out the more as we contrast it with these degenerate times….This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, lowering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrecoverable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!”

AP National Conference, 2017

If you are attending the Advanced Placement National Conf. in D.C., my AP European History presentation is, Marxism and the Transformation of European Urban Centers, which takes participants on a narrative exploration into the contextual realities faced by the urban working class of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Participants will read short primary and secondary passages, reflecting the point of view of the bourgeoisie and how their relationship to the state set a class-conscious response via the rise of Marxist doctrines. What did it mean to be urban and poor without political or economic power? What did it mean to be working class and yet fail to make a working wage? The premise of gentrification before it was termed will showcase the challenges faced by urbanites, while their cities were transformed to reflect the desires of the state. We will examine the significance and impact of housing, education, public transportation, income distribution, leisure, and urban planning through the use of historical thinking skills.

Black and White Working Class

I wrote this essay on the past and current struggles of the Black and white working class in the United States. I noted that:

Racism has long divided the working class, and today is no different. Many white working class people voted for Donald Trump. And much like 2008, race was a reason. While some will salute a strong economy, in truth, wages have flattened for the working class. Because of this, and because white workers have grown suspicious of the burgeoning black power call by Black Lives Matter, the search for solidarity continues to escape a racially divided country, as noted by the current political climate.

This essay was published by the Hampton Institute here.

The Role of the Black Church

The Communist Party USA published my reading/presentation of an essay I wrote on the Black Church for African American History Month. This is an early part of my research addressing the shift of Black folk from religion to atheism, and the Black class struggle. “What was once called the Negro church in the course of the struggle for equality has emerged as a major force advocating, equality, democracy and social change. How did the transition from the Negro church to the black church take place; what were the class and social forces that helped shape it; how did these issues relate to the broader society issues in the U.S. during the 19th and 20th century?

The Communist Party and Working Class Liberation

This NY Times article is worth a read. It notes,”Communists believed that organizing the working class would work only if white workers realized that their liberation, too, was bound up with the fate of black workers. Facing this threat, anti-Communists and segregationists worked hard to sustain the fractures. They blamed Communists for fomenting “race mixing,” evoking sexualized fears that social equality would mean black men having sex with white women….The party inspired loyalty for reasons beyond simply an affinity for Marxist ideas. It was the campaigns Communists ran against police brutality, the practice of lynching and the Jim Crow laws that made their politics relevant to the lives of ordinary people.”

You can read it in its entirety here.