Archive for March 2012

He’s my son, one last time, please by Penny Liberty   Leave a comment

It is all he has left a video of him. I watch it often. Of when he graduated from kindergarten, you know how they do those parties. He was wearing his cap, a shirt and a tie,” Lopez said.

Fidmar Fidel “Merlos-Lopez lost his son in a fire last week in a Shenandoah row house along with his cousin, aunt and 7-month-old half-brother. The funeral is set for Monday, with burial the followi day.  He wants to see his son one last time.

He can’t, despite his attornies attempts, A Mexican national said he has been barred from entering the United States to bury his 10 year  old boy.

 I told the customs officer that all I want is a permit to see my boy for one last time. They treat me as if I am a criminal,” Lopez, 34, a bus driver, said in an interview Saturday. “Right now, I need their support, and they are refusing to help me.”  He still waits with hope at the U.S. Mexican border near Laredo, Texas since word of the fire.

Can you imagine? Your son is dead in a fire and you can’t even get across. It’s clear they are giving us the runaround,” said Elizabeth Surin, his Philadelphia-based immigration lawyer.

A spokeswoman for the border agency did not return a phone message left at her office Saturday.

Lopez was a teenager when he entered the United States illegally in 1995 and wound up in Shenandoah, a blue-collar town with a large Hispanic population. He married a U.S. citizen who gave birth to Damien in 2002. He later divorced Damien’s mother and married his current wife, Danielle Lopez, who’s also a U.S. Citizen.  Unfortanately, in 2007, police in nearby Frackville stopped Lopez for running a red light and turned him over timmigration authorities.   He agreed to leave the U.S. voluntarily and began the process of applying for legal permanent residence.

Surin, his immigration lawyer, said he was well on his way to getting his green card and rejoining his family in Shenandoah when tragedy struck.

umanitarian parole is granted to immigrants who have a compelling emergency that requires temporary entry into the United States. It is used sparingly: The government approves only about 25 percent of the 1,200 applications it gets each year.

Surin said Lopez qualifies. In fact, the Mexican husband of Tiffany Sanchez, the 29-year-old woman who died in the fire, was granted humanitarian parole to attend the funeral, she said.

Surin said border officials told her that Lopez was denied entry because he didn’t have a relationship with Damien. She said it’s just the opposite: Lopez shared partial custody of Damien and paid his ex-wife child support before leaving the United States.

Lopez, who worked as a mechanic in Shenandoah, said he was very close to his son.

“Though he hadn’t seen Damien in more than three years, they spoke over the phone twice a week.

“He used to tell me, ‘Come back, come back,'” he said. “I have been thinking that maybe it’s my fault because there may have been a reason he asked me that.”

His current wife said Lopez, who lives in Naucalpan de Juarez, a suburb of Mexico City, had been looking forward to returning to the United States. Now he’s desperate to get back, if only for a few days. But time is running out.

“I don’t think it’s fair,” said Danielle Lopez, 28, a hairdresser who was born and raised in Shenandoah. “It’s his child, his flesh and blood, his firstborn son. It’s horrible.”


Posted March 31, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in MY OWN BLOGS AND WRITINGS

A matter of black and white, by Penny Liberty   2 comments

For a while now, we’ve known that black men are more likely to end up in prison than white men. Why isn’t this changing?

Whether you’re a serial killer or as pure as a poster child for the Scouts, nothing counts as much as your race when it comes to encounters with police and the criminal justice system in the United States.

It’s even true for Colorado, a state with a population close to 90 percent non-Hispanic white.

As a result, a disproportionate number of African-Americans, particularly men, wind up spending more time in prison — and are more likely to wind up on death row — than their white and Latino counterparts charged with similar offenses.

This is based on evidence provided by data from U.S. departments of corrections, the U.S. Department of Justice, and public-policy research organizations such as the Justice Policy Institute, and it was reiterated on Feb. 19 by the speakers at a conference in Boulder spearheaded by a law student troubled by the lack of attention given to this subject in general.

“It was in the spring of ’08 that I heard about this, about four months after the Supreme Court ruled on the drug sentencing law as it pertains to selling cocaine,” says Jennifer Ford, who is due to graduate in early May. “I thought, ‘This deserves more than one day in my criminal justice class.’”

The result was an unprecedented event for its kind at CU, as far as Ford or England s of 2008, the latest census data, Colorado had a population of 4,939,456, 89.7 percent of which is non-Hispanic whites, compared to 20.2 percent Hispanic and 4.3 percent African-American — the two largest ethnic minority groups.

The reasons for racial disparity aren’t always based on overt racism in the criminal justice system, or the implied higher criminality within racial minority communities, according to law enforcement insiders and analysts at the Boulder conference.

It’s more about the persistence of false perceptions, inefficient criminal justice practices, and some very poor law-making — issues Colorado reform activists say have created a perfect storm of incarceration rates for African-American

“Racial disparity is on all levels,” says Christie Donner, executive director and founder of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition based in Denver. “And it starts with more blacks and Hispanics being stopped and detained for questioning than white people, regardless of where they happen to be. Let’s face it; this isn’t happening in white suburbia, even though we know there are more white people committing crimes.”

Not so fast, says Dr. Tracie Keesee, a black woman who rose through the ranks to become division chief for research, training and technology for the Denver Police Department.

“We hear from people in these communities where the stops are happening that this is working, that it’s making a difference in reducing the amount of crime in their neighborhoods. So who do we listen to? In the end, it really should be about making sure everyone understands the law and why it is being applied. And making sure that, for whatever the reason, you are applying the law equitably.”

However, evidence of justice skewed by race becomes even more marked, reform advocates say.

“Where there is discretion to be exercised by judges and parole departments, we are not seeing it [equity],” Donner says. For instance, she says, “harsher penalties are generally given to blacks and Hispanics for the same [drug] offenses committed by whites. And there is more mitigation of sentences in favor of whites.”

Where there is little leeway in sentencing, mandatory guidelines may offer their own form of unequal justice.

For instance, the 2007 Supreme Court ruling in Kimbrough v. United States recognized that under then-mandatory federal sentencing guidelines, a dealer of crack cocaine — the form most popular among black users — was subject to the same sentence as a trafficker dealing in 100 times more of powder cocaine — the form most popular among whites and non-white Hispanics.

The court’s decision in that case granted judges greater discretionary power in sentencing dealers who sell cocaine — but it wasn’t retroactive for those already in prison.

Drug offenses, a category that includes simple possession of illegal drugs, are responsible for the greatest number of incarcerations and are blamed for the explosion in prison population growth over the years. Again, African-Americans in Colorado are far more likely to be sentenced for these offenses than their white counterparts, despite federal studies that show that, number-wise, whites account for most of the drug abuse.

Proponents for change in Colorado have proposed legislation, considering the changes to be much-needed reform in the past. But opponents say the changes are bureaucratic meddling that will only assist criminality.

For example, the governor-appointed Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice was formed in 2007 to study Colorado’s criminal sentencing and advise legislators on how to deal with the skyrocketing costs of ever-expanding incarceration.

But when its recommendations resulted in a bill last year that would have reduced penalties for nonviolent crimes, particularly first-offense drug crimes, and given judges more alternatives to incarceration, state prosecutors quickly opposed it, and it was defeated.

Reformers tried again this year. House Bill 1201, sponsored by Rep. Karen Middleton, D-Aurora, (and in the Senate by Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver), was approved by Colorado’s House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 22, and is currently slated for a second reading and preliminary vote on the House floor.

It addresses one of the perennial complaints of minority communities — the police stop of a person, whether in a car or as a pedestrian, without probable cause. It was written with the input of law enforcement.

The bill would require police when requesting a search, without probable cause, of a person’s body or car to read a statement informing that person of his/ her right to refuse that search, and to get written consent for such searches.

Among the opponents of the bill is the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council, a private trade group that represents 20 out of Colorado’s 22 district attorneys.

Executive Director Ted C. Tow says the group’s position is that the bill overreaches, taking a problem he says is “more of concern to Denver” than the rest of Colorado and “going beyond what even the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled regarding the subject.”

“The bill is about keeping criminals from being prosecuted,” he said in a phone interview. “It won’t stop racial profiling, if that’s what proponents are hoping for. It’ll just scare police officers from pursuing a search if they think it’s necessary. It won’t stop people from claiming they gave written consent under duress, or protect any evidence lost if a police officer forgets to have a piece of paper signed. It will create confusion and an extra hoop for police officers to have to jump through.”

At the Colorado’s House Judiciary Committee hearings, advocates of the bill said it was about putting balance in an area where the police have complete discretion to ask for a search without any probable cause, let alone a reasonable suspicion.

“There have been other states and jurisdictions that have chosen to regulate consent-searches,” said Mark Silverstein, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, who at the hearing singled out New Jersey, Rhode Island and Minnesota as examples. “And the sky has not fallen in.”

Middleton said she proposed the bill at the request of her constituents.

“My main focus is usually education,” Middleton said at a recent town hall meeting in Aurora. “This is a bill that I brought because this is what my constituents asked for. It’s clear from what my constituents were saying that there’s a lot of confusion around ‘consent searches’ under current law.Individuals are often unaware of their right to choose.”

Middleton later said in a statement, “The intent of the bill is to provide consistency and a transparency to consent-search proceedings. It merely clarifies an existing right, and I believe provides a new tool to law enforcement to enhance trust within our local communities.”

Art Way of the Denver-based Colorado Progressive Coalition, who also testified at the hearing, agreed.

“Even in communities that have asked for more policing. This causes so much resentment that it understandably builds up distrust of the police and a resistance to cooperating.”

“Ideally, this bill will help deal with a lot of underlying problems to racial disparities by reaffirming everyone’s Fourth Amendment rights,” he said during a recent interview. “If we can improve the respectful interaction between police and the community, we can improve safety generally.”

Posted March 31, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in MY OWN BLOGS AND WRITINGS

One in Three Black Men can Expect to Go to Prison, Penny Liberty   Leave a comment

This month the United States celebrates the Selma-to-Montgomery marches of 1965 to commemorate our shared history of the civil rights movement and our nation’s continued progress towards racial equality. Yet decades later a broken criminal-justice system has proven that we still have a long way to go in achieving racial equality.

Today people of color continue to be disproportionately incarcerated, policed, and sentenced to death at significantly higher rates than their white counterparts. Further, racial disparities in the criminal-justice system threaten communities of color—disenfranchising thousands by limiting voting rights and denying equal access to employment, housing, public benefits, and education to millions more. In light of these disparities, it is imperative that criminal-justice reform evolves as the civil rights issue of the 21st century.

Below we outline the top 10 facts pertaining to the criminal-justice system’s impact on communities of color.

1. While people of color make up about 30 percent of the United States’ population, they account for 60 percent of those imprisoned. The prison population grew by 700 percent from 1970 to 2005, a rate that is outpacing crime and population rates. The incarceration rates disproportionately impact men of color: 1 in every 15 African American men and 1 in every 36 Hispanic men are incarcerated in comparison to 1 in every 106 white men.

2. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in three black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime. Individuals of color have a disproportionate number of encounters with law enforcement, indicating that racial profiling continues to be a problem. A report by the Department of Justice found that blacks and Hispanics were approximately three times more likely to be searchedduring a traffic stop than white motorists. African Americans were twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police.

3. Students of color face harsher punishments in school than their white peers, leading to a higher number of youth of color incarcerated. Black and Hispanic students represent more than 70 percent of those involved in school-related arrests or referrals to law enforcement. Currently, African Americans make uptwo-fifths and Hispanics one-fifth of confined youth today.

4. According to recent data by the Department of Education, African American students are arrested far more often than their white classmates. The data showed that 96,000 students were arrested and 242,000 referred to law enforcement by schools during the 2009-10 school year. Of those students, black and Hispanic students made up more than 70 percent of arrested or referred students. Harsh school punishments, from suspensions to arrests, have led to high numbers of youth of color coming into contact with the juvenile-justice system and at an earlier age.

5. African American youth have higher rates of juvenile incarceration and are more likely to be sentenced to adult prison. According to the Sentencing Project, even though African American juvenile youth are about 16 percent of the youth population, 37 percent of their cases are moved to criminal court and 58 percent of African American youth are sent to adult prisons.

6. As the number of women incarcerated has increased by 800 percentover the last three decades, women of color have been disproportionately represented. While the number of women incarcerated is relatively low, the racial and ethnic disparities are startling. African American women are three times more likely than white women to be incarcerated, while Hispanic women are 69 percent more likely than white women to be incarcerated.

Posted March 31, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in MY OWN BLOGS AND WRITINGS

The world according to Al Sharpton   2 comments

It’s a name in which many white folks roll their eyes, Al Sharpton.  He is put into many categories and stereotyped as a troublemaker, an instigator, an antagonist and just plain in-your-face, angry would be another one.

I see Al Sharpton through different eyes, and I’m white.  I see Al Sharpton in a sense as a hero and I could care less what anyone says because it’s true.  Allow me to ask just this one question, what would the black community and people do without him.  Many complain about him citing another crime, asking where Sharpton is now if it includes an African American.  Hey, look, that’s not his agenda, it’s not what he does.  He shows up for the underdog and yes he has an agenda, whether self serving or not, it is effective.

Right now, Sharpton is the shadow of the Sanford Police Department. He is out there organizing and protesting.  His message is if George Zimmerman is not arrested for the shooting of Trayvon Martin soon he will call for an escalation in peaceful civil disobedience and economic sanctions, although he wouldn’t say it would be against Sanford.

If not him, then who?  Who would stand for the racial predjudice and crimes against blacks if not for Sharpton, he is effective and knows how to capture the media’s attention.  I have no problem saying that I believe racism exists, and anybody who is white who says it doesn’t is a liar.  I know too much, there is less justice for the African American person than the caucasion.

There too me is no justifying what happened to Trayvon, and I see no better person for the case.  Zimmerman should be brought to swift justice and the judge should throw the book at him, he killed a kid.  He is a bully, a menace, and heartless despite how much his family protests in the other direction.

If anything, I would hope Al Sharpton would be grooming someone to act in his stead in case something ever happened to him, because he is needed.  I have no doubt in my mind this was a racial crime, nobody is going to convice me otherwise, Zimmerman got a gun, wanted to play cop and killed a kid.  Send him up the River, and rock on Sharpton!

Posted March 31, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in MY OWN BLOGS AND WRITINGS

Anna Brown was her name   28 comments

Richmond Heights, MO

Anna Brown was just beginning to make progress.  Several months back, her children were taken away from her because her home was disheveled, and she needed medical treatment for depression.

Her children were taken to stay with her mother and in the interum, Anna sought refuge at several homeless shelters.  Her family said she was thriving at the St. Louis Empowerment Center and was determined to get her life together.

Then why is she dead!  Several weeks back, Anna’s leg began to throb and she went to the emergency room to find out what was wrong.  They sent her away, she went twice more begging for help and was again turned away.  Finally on the third attempt to receive medical treatment, she refused to leave, she had enough pain and wanted to find out why her foot was swollen and she was unable to walk.

She was arrested for refusal to leave the hospital, she was at this point screaming.  The hospital was convinced she wanted nothing but drugs, so they sent for security.  At this point, Anna, mother of two children was screaming for help when a physician told the police she was fit for incarceration.  She tried desperately to appeal to them all by telling them she could not walk, instead of looking deeper into the problem in which there were symptoms that perhaps something was wrong, they sent her to jail from the hospital.

At the police station, and at this point, she could not walk, she was in too much pain, so the police dragged Anna to a cold concrete jail cell where they left her on the floor.  She died 15 minutes later.

Her family is outraged and wants answers, and to tell you the truth so do I.  Anna Brown was homeless, destitute, and needed help.  The hospital’s main concern was getting rid of a homeless person to the extent that they sent her off to die in a jail cell.  She was only 29 years old, and that dream she had would never come to pass.

Her family is of course, outraged and is seeking justice, but I look at the bigger picture.  Just how many Anna Brown’s are there in our society, and how many die because they cannot seek medical treatment for conditions which are deadly.  This was a tragedy, this woman should not have died, in fact, her life was looking up.  The hospital showed no mercy.

Anna Brown’s relatives will have to explain to her children that their mother is not coming home, Anna Brown will never fulfill her dream of pulling her family together, she is just another homeless person and written off and deemed unworthy.

Her name was Anna Brown, she was a person, a human being, she deserved better than what was dished out to her in her final hours.  She deserved like any other to die a dignified death, but instead she was the victim of smug doctors who I do hope lose what they have worked for all these years to become a doctor.  They don’t deserve to be doctors, they failed their oath and because of them, others were affected and hurt.

Anna Brown, just another John Doe

Posted March 31, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in MY OWN BLOGS AND WRITINGS

Trayvon, An American Tradgedy   6 comments

So now what?  Although we will never know exactly what happened the night of February 26th, 2012 to Trayvon Martin, we must rely on common sense and statements made from George Zimmerman.

Yet, I get the impression that Zimmerman isn’t going to speak the truth, he comes across dishonest and angry.  So do we re-enact the scenerio, or do we just simply go by the facts and use good old fashion common sense.

Zimmerman has a history of violence, yet he was deployed as the Neighborhood Watch Volunteer, which many said went to his head.  His persoanlity indicates that the man had a thirst for power and also a fetish for young black men.   On one occasion, he was fired from a job to secure parties when one woman got a little out of line due to alchohol.   Zimmerman picked her up and threw her across the room and this resulted in a sprained ankle for the woman.  Who does this, I ask?

His co-workers and people aquainted with him across the board stated he had a wicked side and that his personality was hot and cold.  The son of a white judge and his mother an hispanic court clerk, he seemed to evade trouble in the past after being arrested for domestic violence and violating an officer.  All I’m going to say for sure is this guy was a real card, ready to blow at any given time.  He had no business in law enforcement although it was his dream to become a police officer, this guy should not ever had access to a gun with his mental state.  He wanted to be a hero.

On February 26th, Trayvon walked home from the convenience store and entered the gated community in which his father lived with his girlfriend. Zimmerman pursued him immediately, following him and stalking him as Trayvon spoke on the phone with his girlfriend.  The last words she heard were “why are you following me” before the phone became muzzled.  Nobody except Zimmerman what happened after that, but something doesn’t make sense.  Let’s just look at Zimmerman’s size compared to Trayvon’s size, tell me what this indicates.  And from this point forward, I commence my own theory that Zimmerman scared this kid out of his wits, Trayvon asked repeatedly according to the girlfriend, “why are you following me”, and I would be scared too.  Zimmerman did everything wrong, he called 911 disbatch who told him explicitly not to follow Trayvon.  He was told that a car was being disbatched with the real law, but Zimmerman refused to listen.

After that it doesn’t much matter does it, Zimmerman was always the aggressor, we could speculate all we want, but the fact remains that Zimmerman wanted to be a cop, a hero, and had something to prove.  Trayvon must of figured he was in big trouble and decided to man up and defend himself rather than bring trouble to his home for who knew who this nut was.  As I read the reports on that night, I cannot see anything Trayvon did wrong, he was frightened, Zimmerman did not communicate to him why he was being followed, what was Martin supposed to think.  He defended himself, and paid with his life.  Dead – at the tender age of 17 years old, leaving scores of loved ones behind to try to make sense of an unnecessary tradgedy.

I’ve known people like Zimmerman, and believe you me, these are not the type of people you ever offer a position of authority.  I don’t know what the personality complex is, but these people crave power and abuse it, they stretch it as far as they can and are usually hated.  Zimmerman was one of them, a man trying to make a name for himself and ended up being a wannabe cop.

That would be all well and good except for the fact that he killed a kid, and here’s where I have big problems with the justice system.  This was a screw up from the beginning, the crime scene was tainted, the cop assumed everything Zimmerman told him despite the fact that Trayvon was without a weapon.  Being brought in for questioning, they let him go, now that is where I have to stop and pause.  Let him go?  Shooting a kid in cold blood, a kid who was unarmed, the differentials in sizes of victim and perpetrator?  Were the police asleep or am I dreaming.

Trayvon Martin’s body was sent to the morgue and it took three days before his frantic parents found him.  A mess is what I call it, a rotten mess.  I indict the police department for failing to do their job in investigating the background of George Zimmerman especially in light of a murder, where they would have found he had a zest for violence.  Instead of admitting they bungled the investigation, they chose to protect the police officer who investigated the crime scene, they chose that!  That was their choice, and for that they should be held accountable, this guy killed a kid.

It took some time before the press got wind of it, and of course there is outrage all over the country, both blacks and whites want justice for Trayvon.  More troubles me, the fact that Zimmerman’s father and brother are now coming forth defending Zimmerman’s actions stating he was afraid he was going to die.  It is truly sad and outrageous.

Zimmerman is still free, not on bond, but free.  He hasn’t been charged or indicted, but word has it he is crying for himself.  Many people are coming forward to speak openly about Zimmerman’s aggressive behavior in the past and still, no arrest.

Nobody’s going to tell me with my fine mind that Trayvon turned into a monster the night of February 26th while talking on the phone with his girlfriend.  This case is all wrong, and it won’t be righted until Zimmerman is behind bars doing a lofty sentence.

This guy wanted to be a hero, he had a fetish for young black men as it is told by many, he was predjudice and a child is dead.  No justice, no peace is what is being chanted now and I couldn’t agree more.  It is time to take a closer look at the criminal justice system, and in my opinion, those cops are just as guilty as Zimmerman.  They let this happen, and they should pay the price.

As for Trayvon’s family, I pray for you, you have had no time to grieve, no privacy even to grieve.  You lost your beautiful son at the hands of a maniac and as a parent, I know this will haunt you forever.  But what’s worse is what they have to go through just to get justice for their son, this shouldn’t be, no.  They have to live every day knowing Trayvon’s murderer is out there roaming free.

Zimmerman has been protected by his father for too long, he’s too much of a coward to come forth now and his family is protecting him, yet he owned a gun.  No sense at all. 

There will never be any justice for Trayvon Martin, there can’t be, this kid lost his life, he will never go to college, he will never marry or have children.  He will never experience life in any sense which is natural, the child is gone.

Zimmerman needs to be put away, he was always a ticking bomb, time to put him where he belongs, with all the other dreamers in the penetentiary.  Keep him there while your at it!

Posted March 31, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in MY OWN BLOGS AND WRITINGS

Malcolm X, Civil Rights Leader   Leave a comment


To the Black People who were forced to come to this land, Black Nationalism was a top priority. Self-government was what Blacks wanted more than anything else. Between 1850 and 1860, Blacks became more daring in their determination to rule themselves. For 250 years they had expressed their nationalistic desires by rebelling against whites, terrorizing whites and establishing camps that were governed by Black People.

Those espousing nationalist or separatist philosophies have envisioned nationalism in quite different ways. For some, Black Nationalism demanded a territorial base; for others, it required only separate institutions within American society. Some have perceived nationalism in strictly secular terms; others, as an extension of their religious beliefs. Black Nationalists also differ in the degree to which they identify with Africa and African culture.

The movement, which can be traced back to Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association of the 1920s, sought to acquire economic power and to infuse among blacks a sense of community and group feeling. Many adherents to black nationalism assumed the eventual creation of a separate black nation by African Americans. As an alternative to being assimilated by the American nation, which is predominantly white, black nationalists sought to maintain and promote their separate identity.

Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey, founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), deplored black acceptance of white standards of beauty, for example, in preferring straight hair or a lighter skin color. During the 1920s he refused to place advertisements for hair straighteners or purported skin whiteners in Negro World, the UNIA newspaper. In the 1960s black nationalists embraced the political slogan Black Power, but they also proclaimed that “black is beautiful.”

W. E. B. Du Bois, one of America’s foremost black intellectuals and a leading figure in the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People(NAACP), had strong ties to Africa. In 1919 he organized the first Pan-African Congress. During the 1920s he traveled to Africa. Yet for most of his life, Du Bois rejected Black Nationalism. In the 1920s he opposed Marcus Garvey and the UNIA. During the 1930s, as Du Bois grew more radical, he turned to socialism and internationalism rather than to Black Nationalism. But during the harsh anticommunism of the Cold War era, Du Bois lost his faith in American society. In 1961 he abandoned the United States and settled in Ghana, where he died two years later, shortly after taking Ghanaian citizenship.

In 1966 Bobby Seale and Huey Newton founded the Black Panther Party, which advocated militant self-defense and Black Nationalism. The Black Panther Party, like SNCC Black Power advocates, embraced a Black Nationalism that was primarily secular and political. By contrast, Nation of Islam leaders Elijah Muhammad and the charismatic Malcolm X grounded their goals of racial separation in religious precepts. Black Muslims sought to establish separate economic enterprises, finding a religious justification for a racially separate business life.

In the late 1960s, at the height of the Black Power Movement, two acquaintances of Malcolm X, Gaidi Obadele and Imari Abubakari Obadele assembled a group of 500 militant black nationalists in Detroit, Michigan, to discuss the creation of a black nation within the United States. On March 31, 1968, 100 conference members signed a Declaration of Independence outlining the official doctrine of the new black nation, elected a provisional government, and named the nation the Republic of New Africa (RNA). The Republic of New Afrika took the concept of Black Nationalism to its ultimate stage when, in 1968, it declared Black People to be free and independent of the United States government.

The Republic of New Afrika declared Black People’s independence because it “believes that Black People in Amerikkka make up a nation of people, a people separate and apart from the Amerikkkan people. The RNA also believes that as a nation of people, We are entitled to all of the rights of a nation, including the right to land and self-determination. The RNA further believes that all the land in Amerikkka, upon which Black People have lived for a long time, worked and made rich as slaves, and fought to survive on is land that belongs to Us as a People, and it is land We must gain control of because, as Malcolm X said, land is the basis of independence, freedom, justice and equality. We cannot talk about self-determination without discussing it within the context of land. Therefore, the RNA [identified the five states of Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina as Black People’s land and] believes that gaining control of Our land is the fundamental struggle facing Black People. Without land, Black Power, rights and freedom have no substance.

According to Wilson Jeremiah Moses in his famous work Classical Black Nationalism, African nationalism as a philosophy can be examined from three different periods giving rise to various ideological perspectives for what we can today consider what African nationalism really is.

The first being pre-Classical African nationalism beginning from the time the Africans were brought ashore in the Americas to the Revolutionary period. After the Revolutionary War, a sizable number of Africans in the colonies, particularly in New England and Pennsylvania, were literate and had become disgusted with their social conditions that had spawned from Enlightenment ideas. Certain organizations as the Free African Society, African Masonic lodges and Church Institutions would serve as early foundations to developing independent and separate organizations.

By the time of Post-Reconstruction Era a new form of black nationalism was emerging among various African-American clergy circles. Separate circles had already been established and were accepted by African-Americans because of the overt oppression that had been in existence since the inception of the United States. This phenomenon led to the birth of modern African nationalism which stressed the need to separate and build separate communities that promote strong racial pride and also to collectivize resources. This ideology had become the philosophy of groups like the Moorish Science Temple and the Nation of Islam. Peaking in the Sixties African Nationalism brought on a heightened period of religious, cultural and political nationalism.

Posted March 11, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Civil Rights