“For we know that we are the children of God. He’ll fight my battles and I’ll be free someday. Stand together children, fight together children, worship together children. Don’t you get weary.” —Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. April 4th is a renowned date in Black America. Most blacks recognize it as the day civil rights icon… Continue reading King and Prince of Abyssinian: Reflections on Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. and Jr.
When I left Haiti in 1964, I was certainly aware of social and economic inequalities, as well as of those between men and women. I do remember, for instance, the enthusiasm of young people of my generation for projects of assistance and support to the needy, visits to the sick, and help in evangelization and… Continue reading A League of Their Own
Cocky. Self-assured. Reckless. Radical. Activist. Organizer. Leader. By the summer of 1966, any of these words would be used to describe the man who coined the term Black Power, signaling the official shift from the Civil Rights Movement to the Black Power Movement. No man made a greater contribution to the Civil Rights Movement while… Continue reading Stokely and the Birth of Black Power
Complex relationships are oftentimes the best relationships. Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack had a complex relationship. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel had a complex relationship. Lennon and McCartney had a complex relationship. But despite those complex relationships, all of them made beautiful music together. COMPLEX With Natives and black people, there were certainly many, many… Continue reading On Being Native and Black
“As an artist, you have to get outside of the concern with what other people think of what you do. I don’t do what I do to appease people. I do the opposite. I do stuff that makes you uncomfortable, that makes you get up and say ‘What are you saying? James, did you read… Continue reading Of Gods and Men
I had been anticipating Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book, Between the World and Me for all of three weeks. I must confess, I had not heard he was writing a book and I did not want to know too much of its content before reading it, in the same way that I detest previews and would rather watch… Continue reading Finding a Place Between the World and Ourselves
Delivered July 5, 1852; Corinthian Hall; Rochester, New York Mr. President, Friends and Fellow Citizens: He who could address this audience without a quailing sensation, has stronger nerves than I have. I do not remember ever to have appeared as a speaker before any assembly more shrinkingly, nor with greater distrust of my ability, than I… Continue reading What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?
The part of Florida I’m from is remarkably more like Mobile than Miami. From Grandma’s house, it’s a short drive to the Alabama border, the gateway to the Heart of Dixie. Riding in the backseat as kid, with Mom driving, I was always amused by the fact that, as we crossed that border, at some… Continue reading A Necessary Start
To the black men—and women—who died fighting for a country they believed in, even if it didn’t believe in them, we give eternal thanks.
Fifty years ago, in March of 1965, thousands of people protested restrictions on the voting rights of black citizens in Alabama by marching from the town of Selma to the state capital at Montgomery, a distance of 54 miles. State and local police beat marchers unconscious and white militia groups attacked and killed participants, all… Continue reading Remembering Selma