Memories of More Martyrs than Martin and Malcolm.

There are more  martyrs than just Martin and Malcolm.Read about: Patrice Lumumba- who fought for his people in the Congo , Assata Shakur- who fought for her people in America and is now in exile in Cuba,  George Jackson and Jonathan Jackson -the court case that inspired the last verse to Easy-E’s lyrics to Boyz in the hood!

It is Black History month- but any time of the year you should read about: Amilcar Cabral, Emmett Till,  Kwame Ture,  Geronimo Pratt… and this young man named “little Bobby Hutton”- a founding member of the Black Panther party who was killed by the Oakland Police…

This post is partially inspired by a fellow Howard Bison and talented writer from New York who’s latest posting on her “Mother’s Chronicles” WordPress page, asks the readers to “learn your Black History“. After reading her feelings about the tunnel vision that is Black History month in popular culture,  the powers that be- and a text message from a good friend lead me to a presentation on the legacy of Chairman Fred Hampton Sr.

The presentation was organized by Howard University’s History Graduate Students Association, and was titled “The Assassination of Fred Hampton, The Black Panther Party, and Black Power in the Diaspora”. The keynote speakers were former member of the Black Panther Party Lynn C. French Esq., Attorney and author Jeff Haas, and author Quito Swan.

The portion of the presentation I chose to focus on was author Jeff Haas’ new book titled ” The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther”.

For those unfamiliar with the story of  Fred Hampton’s death, in brief: Chairman Fred Hampton Sr.  was an acclaimed organizer in Chicago, Il. His position within the Black Panther Party caused the local and federal law enforcement to take note of his momentum in terms of what he was doing to empower his community. This caused Hampton to be the subject of a document later discovered, called “COINTELPRO“, which was a signed government document to put an end to the perspective of “the rise of a Black Messiah” within many revolutionary circles, including those who fought for civil rights.

Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were also named targets on this document. But the distinguishing aspect of Chariman Fred Hampton’s death is the amount of evidence. Below pictured are the actual blueprints of Chairman Fred Hampton’s apartment as with held by the US government.

FBI Floor Plans of Fred Hampton’s House

The author of the recent book depicting Chairman Hampton’s story, Jefferey  Haas,  spoke from the perspective of the late Hampton’s attorney; and as the attorney Haas was privy to first hand interviews with Hampton’s widow who was 8 months pregnant at the time of the raid and subsequent execution style murder of Hampton.

Chairman Fred Hampton- dead.

Although Haas’ story is interesting, and any information on a topic such as this one needs to be published to the American People, I couldn’t help but looking at this white man as an intruder. A man who happened to be at the right place at the right time. A man that happened upon this story, and is now capitalizing off of it as he goes on tours and sells Chairman Fred Hampton’s story in order for personal profit.  In Haas’ speech, he told the crowd that the Black Panther Party of Chicago initially hired Haas as a public defender to represent them in a case concerning being evicted from their apartment.  This was just months prior to the night of December 4, 1969- Chairman Fred Hampton’s last night. Now Haas tells this story as if he was “with the movement”.

Amazing,  Carter G. Woodsoon’s concept of Black History week has grown to a month of Black history- complete with corporate commercials shining light on “this moment in Black History”, and other forms of Black History tied into capitalism. Its wild- not only will the concept of American capitalism make sure to make money off of anything done in America’s name- they do it all, and turn our history into his-story.

Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. and company in Chicago's Little Black Pearl Cafe
Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. Myself and company.

The greatest story ever told is your own story. This Black History month- tell your own story…

I’ll start… here is a picture of me and Chairman Fred Hampton Jr.

Much respect to him and the Prisoners of Conscious Committee  (P.O.C.C) …yea, read about that too!

much respect to the memory of Chairman Ferd Hampton Sr. and all of my ancestors mentioned in this post. peace.

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Photo Essay: A Walk Down MLK Ave. in South East D.C. on MLK Day 2010

He fought for Love. He fought for peace. He fought to uplifting Christ. And he fought to take down racism… But in the end Dr. King knew it was all about the allotment of resources in America.

His famous, “I Have a Dream” Speech, could have easily went down in history as the “Bounced Check ” speech. He spoke of America’s failure to include African-American’s into the greater society post-slavery. He acknowledged African-American’s role in the disenfranchisement, as many passively accepted what was given.

And now, 42 years after Dr. King’s assassination we have been given a National holiday in celebration of his birthday, and a Martin Luther King Jr. Ave in every major US city.

Every Martin Luther King Jr. Ave I have ever been fortunate enough to bare witness to runs through the most economically downtrodden part of the city.

I decided to take a walk down Martin Luther King Jr. Ave in the Nation’s Capitol, and this is what I saw…

Dr. King's Ave. in South East Washington DC

Martin Luther King Jr. Ave in South East Washington D.C. is a main artery through a predominantly African-American community. The area is in the transitional phase; the dilapidated structures of yesteryear still loom as a reminder of the 1968 riots after King’s death, the influence of crack cocaine in the 1980’s, and the economic turmoil that has plagued many Black communities since their creation- and through the current recession America is facing.

vacant housebuilding frame.Historically Black Community: For Sale

And like Every Black community in America, there were check cashing stores, liquor stores, heaps of trash in the street and graffiti on the walls

check cashing storeLiquor store. Good Hope.trash heapStanton Crew

But right next to the graffiti was something that started to open my eyes to the depth of the spirit present in the Anacostia community….

Islam on the riseSheik

Islam was far from the only religion present, in fact the number of Baptist churches was comparable to the amount of corner stores…Baptist church signUnion Temple

Fittingly enough, while attempting to take a shot of the church, another dominant force in the community conveniently intervened in my photo…

Cops and God.

But the governing bodies are also taking initiatives to aid the community…

A Government Savior?the plan...

dept. of Housing.

I don’t doubt the necessity for government aid in the Black community, but nothing trumps knowledge of self and knowledge of the land in which you reside. And in the community of South East Washington, D.C. there are numerous reminders of how fertile those grounds are, and how deep Black roots run through here said grounds.

Malcolm X centerFrederick Douglass' houseClara Muhammad schoolThurgood MarshallBlack owned Fish spotPeaceBlack familyBig Chair

And most of all… the words and image of Dr. King himself

MLK mural

On January 15th 2010 Dr. King would have been 81 years of age. To his memory, I give my respect.