Farrakhan in Memphis

MEMPHIS–Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan issued blunt warnings in this Southwestern Tennessee city Oct. 18–commemorating the 14th anniversary of the Million Man March which took place in Washington, DC.

Another Memphis was the ancient capital of the first nome of Lower Egypt, and of the Old Kingdom of Egypt from its foundation until around 2200 BC and later for shorter periods during the New Kingdom, and an administrative centre throughout ancient history.

Washington, DC, the site of the Historic Million Man March and Holy Day of Atonement is the seat of the United States government, and it is designed and constructed, many scholars insist, on an ancient Egyptian axis as well.

Min. Farrakhan’s warning was directed at the U.S. government, the Black community at large, and to Black clergy and other leaders, that conditions today in this country are as bad as they were before the historic march, except that now there is not enough time before a catastrophe that is looming, to stage another march to save Black people and the country. Continue reading

Long Live the Spirit of the Million Man March

The Million Man March at Noon: Oct. 16, 1995The headline on this photograph was inspired by the poignant Wesley Snipes/Woody Harrelson film “White Men Can’t Jump.” The photograph and headline appeared on the front page of the News Dimensions newspaper (Oct. 19, 1995 issue) edited by the late Barry Murray, who originated the headline to accompany the picture and a feature article. At the time, the U.S. Park Police had estimated the crowd size of the Million Man March to be a mere 400,000. That figure was challenged and disproven by several professional analysts, including the highest Metro Subway usage to date (at that time), and it led to the Park Service declining to do any further crowd estimates.

This photograph was taken at Mid Day. Notice the shadows in the foreground of the men standing on the West Steps of the U.S. Capitol. Their shadows are perpendicular to the National Mall, cast by the Sun overhead in the South. The Sun is in this position, shortly after Noon at this time of year, proof positive that the National Mall was full and filling with many, many, many hundreds and hundreds of thousands of men, as many as 2 million in all.

Notice also the men on the side streets, as well as men on the Mall all the way back to the Washington Monument at 16th Street. This photo was taken several hours before The Hon. Min. Louis Farrakhan spoke at approximately 6:00 p.m. The picture was taken when tens of thousands of men were still arriving at the Mall.

Long Live the Spirit of the Million Man March!

John Brown’s Body

If I had lived in the time of John Brown, I wonder what I would have done.

On Oct. 16, 1859 “Captain” John Brown, led a small column of men consisting of 16 Whites, three free Blacks, one freed slave and one fugitive slave on what was tactically an unsuccessful attack, but which hastened the onset of the Civil War, and the end of what was delicately referred to as America’s “Peculiar Institution.”

John Brown was a bold captain, a role model for Brother Malcolm X and militant North Carolina NAACP leader Robert Williams (author of Negroes With Guns, published in 1962), among others.

Just about 100 years before Bob Williams and Brother Malcolm first saw the light and struck out on their own courses to bring liberation to Black people in America, Capt. Brown led small groups of volunteers during the Bloody Kansas border war in 1856.

John Brown called for violent action in response to Southern, slaveholder aggression against the abolition movement. “These men are all talk,” Brown reportedly said of his contemporaries. “What we need is action – action!” He was no pacifist. Continue reading

Edward Kennedy’s Last Quorum Call

Sen. Edward Kennedy's Last Quorum Call 

I joined more than 5,000 people at the East Plaza of the U.S. Capitol Aug. 29. It was the only opportunity for members of the general public here in Washington to pay respects to Sen. Edward Moore Kennedy of Massachusetts, the last surviving brother in a political dynasty and one of the most influential and longest serving senators in American history. He died Aug. 25 at his Hyannis Port home after a 15 month-long struggle with brain cancer. He was 77.

Where did they hide their tears? I wondered as I watched his family members assemble for a brief prayer outside the Senate chamber. They were so stoic. It was, after all, their hurt, their loss, their father, their uncle whose remains were at the front of that long, long cortege.

Dozens in the crowd who knew him only by reputation, wiped away tears or sobbed silently. How did his family members retain their composure? Where were their tears? Had they cried themselves out in private?

The sun dipped behind the Capitol Building before his body arrived. There were periods of sun, then the buttermilk sky looked like it might rain. Onlookers reminded one another that rain at a funeral was a good sign, from Heaven. Continue reading

Ramadan for everyone

Growing up in the United States, it’s impossible to not know when Christmas and Easter come around. It may be difficult to figure out in advance when Easter arrives each year (it is the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox, by the way), but everyone in this country pretty much knows when it’s Christmas and Easter time.

In one of my favorite songs by The Queen of Soul–Aretha Franklin–she sings a line almost as if she knows everyone already knows it: “We must believe in each other’s dreams.” Indeed.

So, along comes this Muslim Tide in the United States (converts as well as immigrants), and all of a sudden it’s the 21st Century and there are millions of Muslims here and they are observing “Ramadan,” a month-long fast during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. And because the Islamic calendar is measured in lunar time, rather than solar time, it’s almost as hard to figure out the precise dates of Ramadan as it is guessing the date Easter will fall next year. The lunar calendar is about 11 days shorter than the solar calendar.

Ramadan began this year following the sighting of the New Moon on Friday Aug. 21. It should end around Sept. 21 or 22 with a celebration called the “Eid-ul-Fitr,” the Feast of Thanksgiving.

We must believe in each other’s dreams. Continue reading

Why not Medicare for all?

Yeah 

It doesn’t matter how you dice it–swastikas this time, nooses in the past, and don’t forget lynchings–there is a consistent theme in American White male thinking which must be openly repudiated if America is to survive, let alone reform the healthcare industry: and that is: “If you’re White you’re right. If you’re Black get back.”

This healthcare debate has brought all kinds of skeletons out of the closets. It even goes deeper than some White Guys just wanting to re-decide the Civil War in favor of the Confederacy, they really want to re-decide The Crusades of 1,000 years ago. And they’ve got a lot of White people gung-ho about it!

So, all of this swastika painting at the office of Georgia Congressional Black Caucus member David Scott is like a burning cross in the days of yore, by someone who did not want to get arrested: Send the message of racial hatred, but don’t show your face.

A lot of this hatred is coming to the surface now, because there is a Black President of the United States. And that is what is so counter-intuitive in the typical white supremacist-mind and is the source of confusion and frustration. “Now therefore you are cursed, and some of you shall always be slaves, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.”–Joshua 9:23. That verse from the Bible, True Believers believe, refers to Black folks.

That is why there can be no Medicare for all in the United States, because it can’t be segregated for Whites only. Continue reading

Farrakhan on Michael Jackson

Minister Louis Farrakhan, July 26, 2009

CHICAGO–Minister Louis Farrakhan preached a sermon July 26 about “The Crucifixion of Michael Jackson.”

That’s a curious subject.

As I awaited the Minister’s entrance, three sisters came forward offering a singing tribute to Michael Jackson. It was thrilling! It was almost too good to be something you’d expect at a religious service.

But then again, what would choirs of angels look and sound like anyway?

At your typical Nation of Islam meeting, you always hear shouts and cheers, from the faithful–they call it “Bearing Witness to The Truth.” Their enthusiasm adds an exciting element to his lecture. “Teach us!” “Wake us up!” it’s almost like being at a live concert or a sports event.

Min. Farrakhan’s subject: “Crucifixion of Michael Jackson.” Why compare MJ to crucifixion of Jesus, the Minister asked. Continue reading

Cynthia McKinney’s no martyr

Cynthia McKinney back in Washington, July 8, 2009

Former six-term Congress member Cynthia McKinney is no martyr. Although the political establishment gives her “no respect,” she is no Rodney Dangerfield. Her plight is identical to that of millions of people around the world.

Snakebit, is an accurate way of describing the scorn in which she is held throughout the corporate-owned media.

For an entire week she languished in an Israeli jail, with only e-mail notices reporting on her whereabouts and her well being. No helicopter gun-ships were sent off the offending country’s coast. No warships. Not even any threatening diplomatic language.

On June 28 out on the open seas, a boat on which she was a passenger was hijacked by Israeli Defense Forces and the 21 persons on board–including Ms. McKinney and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire were arrested. The boat was carrying humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip and it was captured on the open seas!

“This is Cynthia McKinney and I’m speaking from an Israeli prison cellblock in Ramle. [I am one of] the Free Gaza 21, human rights activists currently imprisoned for trying to take medical supplies to Gaza, building supplies – and even crayons for children, I had a suitcase full of crayons for children,” Ms. McKinney said in a statement released by the Green Party July 4. Continue reading

Remembering why, I Like Mike

Good. Michael Jackson, Jan. 16, 2004

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t “Like Mike.”

Even though men aren’t quick to confess it, there was probably a time in every boy’s life when that boy still believed in Santa Claus, when he thought he’d like to fly like Peter Pan (or some other fantasy-land character) and when he thought fairies (or some other fantasy-land characters) would make fine friends.

That’s the substance of the worst thing you can say about 50-year-old Michael Jackson: he lived in a fantasy world, where he never grew up.

I like mike.

I once compared the Million Man March to Michael Jackson.

I unsuccessfully argued to an executive producer of a network news broadcast, that just as Michael Jackson was the first American Superstar who sang Black Music in a Black body; the Million Man March was the first grassroots movement expressing the “body” of Black discontent, which had a Black “head” on the body.

The editor wasn’t buying it. While conceding that American vocal superstars Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley both arguably sang Black Music, and that Michael Jackson’s accomplishments had certainly equaled or surpassed those two Original, Old School American Idols, that was as far as I was permitted to go with my metaphor. Continue reading

Holocaust murder: where is the shame?

It was an ugly scenario. A White racist killed a Black man at a Jewish shrine. At a shrine intended to remind the world of an unthinkable horror, the murder, the extermination of millions of people simply because they were Jewish. Where is the shame?

It happened here at the Holocaust Memorial Museum June 10, an 88-year-old avowed White supremacist and neo-Nazi, an ardent denier that the Holocaust even took place, allegedly took a gun so old to the museum that it could not even be traced, where it is alleged, he shot Stephen Johns, a 39-year-old security police officer in the chest, mortally wounding the innocent man.

The shooter, James von Brunn was shot in the face when other guards returned fire. He has been charged with first-degree murder, which seems to kind because of the depth of hate which fueled his alleged crime. Authorities believe he will survive his wounds.

But his own son has disavowed the shameful act, saying the shooting was unforgivable and he wished his father had died instead of the guard. Erik von Brunn told ABC’s “Good Morning America,” that he and his father shared a bond of familial love, but that they didn’t like each other. The interview followed ABC’s earlier release of comments by the son that his father had long burdened their family with his white supremacist views. His is a powerful disavowal of his own father which should embarrass all his father’s right-wing ideological “fellow travelers,” who carry similar, ugly baggage.

But there are many others who think like the elder von Brunn. They reside in all levels of government, and the corporate world. They were judge’s robes. They administer programs. They are legislators. They are CEOs. They’re on TV, radio. Continue reading