Category Archives: Blog Posts

Organization of AfroAmerican Unity

Program of the Organization of Afro-American Unity
Malcolm X, et al. (taken from
the Malcolm X Museum) via malcolm-x.org

note – this was originally supposed to be presented on Feb. 15, but since Malcolm’s home was fire-bombed, this was delayed for a week — Feb. 21, to be exact — the day he was assassinated…
also, the addresses at the end are probably no longer functional (to my knowledge, the OAAU no longer exists), so please don’t bother sending cheques or money orders to the OAAU

Pledging unity…

Promoting justice…

Transcending compromise…

We, Afro-Americans, people who originated in Africa and now reside in America, speak out against the slavery and oppression inflicted upon us by this racist power structure. We offer to downtrodden Afro-American people courses of action that will conquer oppression, relieve suffering, and convert meaningless struggle into meaningful action.

Confident that our purpose will be achieved, we Afro-Americans from all walks of life make the following known:

ESTABLISHMENT

Having stated our determination, confidence, and resolve, the Organization of Afro-American Unity is hereby established on the 15th day of February, 1965, in the city of New York.

Upon this establishment, the Afro-American people will launch a cultural revolution which will provide the means for restoring our identity that we might rejoin our brothers and sisters on the African continent, culturally, psychologically, economically, and share with them the sweet fruits of freedom from oppression and independence of racist governments.

1. The Organization of Afro-American Unity welcomes all persons of African origin to come together and dedicate their ideas, skills, and lives to free our people from oppression.

2. Branches of the Organization of Afro-American Unity may be established by people of African descent wherever they may be and whatever their ideology — as long as they be descendants of Africa and dedicated to our one goal: freedom from oppression.

3. The basic program of the Organization of Afro-American Unity which is now being presented can and will be modified by the membership, taking into consideration national, regional, and local conditions that require flexible treatment.

4. The Organization of Afro-American Unity encourages active participation of each member since we feel that each and every Afro-American has something to contribute to our freedom. Thus each member will be encouraged to participate in the committee of his or her choice.

5. Understanding the differences that have been created amongst us by our oppressors in order to keep us divided, the Organization of Afro-American Unity strives to ignore or submerge these artificial divisions by focusing our activities and our loyalties upon our one goal: freedom from oppression.

BASIC AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

Self-determination

We assert that we Afro-Americans have the right to direct and control our lives, our history, and our future rather than to have our destinies determined by American racists, we are determined to rediscover our true African culture, which was crushed and hidden for over four hundred years in order to enslave us and keep us enslaved up to today…

We, Afro-Americans — enslaved, oppressed, and denied by a society that proclaims itself the citadel of democracy, are determined to rediscover our history, promote the talents that are suppressed by our racist enslavers, renew the culture that was crushed by a slave government and thereby — to again become a free people.

National unity

Sincerely believing that the future of Afro-Americans is dependent upon our ability to unite our ideas, skills, organizations, and institutions…

We, the Organization of Afro-American Unity pledge to join hands and hearts with all people of African origin in a grand alliance by forgetting all the differences that the power structure has created to keep us divided and enslaved. We further pledge to strengthen our common bond and strive toward one goal: freedom from oppression.

THE BASIC UNITY PROGRAM

The program of the Organization of Afro-American Unity shall evolve from five strategic points which are deemed basic and fundamental to our grand alliance. Through our committees we shall proceed in the following general areas.

I. Restoration

In order to enslave the African it was necessary for our enslavers to completely sever our communications with the African continent and the Africans that remained there. In order to free ourselves from the oppression of our enslavers then, it is absolutely necessary for the Afro-American to restore communications with Africa.

The Organization of Afro-American Unity will accomplish this goal by means of independent national and international newspapers, publishing ventures, personal contacts, and other available communications media.

We, Afro-Americans, must also communicate to one another the truths about American slavery and the terrible effects it has upon our people. We must study the modern system of slavery in order to free ourselves from it. We must search out all the bare and ugly facts without shame for we are still victims, still slaves — still oppressed. Our only shame is believing falsehood and not seeking the truth.

We must learn all that we can about ourselves. We will have to know the whole story of how we were kidnapped from Africa; how our ancestors were brutalized, dehumanized, and murdered; and how we are continually kept in a state of slavery for the profit of a system conceived in slavery, built by slaves and dedicated to keeping us enslaved in order to maintain itself.

We must begin to reeducate ourselves and become alert listeners in order to learn as much as we can about the progress of our motherland — Africa. We must correct in our minds the distorted image that our enslaver has portrayed to us of Africa that he might discourage us from reestablishing communications with her and thus obtain freedom from oppression.

II. Reorientation

In order to keep the Afro-American enslaved, it was necessary to limit our thinking to the shores of America — to prevent us from identifying our problems with the problems of other peoples of African origin. This made us consider ourselves an isolated minority without allies anywhere.

The Organization of Afro-American Unity will develop in the Afro-American people a keen awareness of our relationship with the world at large and clarify our roles, rights, and responsibilities as human beings. We can accomplish this goal by becoming well-informed concerning world affairs and understanding that our struggle is part of a larger world struggle of oppressed peoples against all forms of oppression. We must change the thinking of the Afro-American by liberating our minds through the study of philosophies and psychologies, cultures and languages that did not come from our racist oppressors. Provisions are being made for the study of languages such as Swahili, Hausa, and Arabic. These studies will give our people access to ideas and history of mankind at large and thus increase our mental scope.

We can learn much about Africa by reading informative books and by listening to the experiences of those who have traveled there, but many of us can travel to the land of our choice and experience for ourselves. The Organization of Afro-American Unity will encourage the Afro-American to travel to Africa, the Caribbean, and to other places where our culture has not been completely crushed by brutality and ruthlessness.

III. Education

After enslaving us, the slave masters developed a racist educational system which justified to its posterity the evil deeds that had been committed against the African people and their descendants. Too often the slave himself participates so completely in this system that he justifies having been enslaved and oppressed.

The Organization of Afro-American Unity will devise original educational methods and procedures which will liberate the minds of our children from the vicious lies and distortions that are fed to us from the cradle to keep us mentally enslaved. We encourage Afro-Americans themselves to establish experimental institutes and educational workshops, liberation schools, and child-care centers in the Afro-American communities.

We will influence the choice of textbooks and equipment used by our children in the public schools while at the same time encouraging qualified Afro-Americans to write and publish the text books needed to liberate our minds. Until we completely control our own educational institutions, we must supplement the formal training of our children by educating them at home.

IV. Economic security

After the Emancipation Proclamation, when the system of slavery changed from chattel slavery to wage slavery, it was realized that the Afro-American constituted the largest homogeneous ethnic group with a common origin and common group experience in the United States and, if allowed to exercise economic or political freedom, would in a short period of time own this country. Therefore racists in this government developed techniques that would keep the Afro-American people economically dependent upon the slave masters — economically slaves — twentieth-century slaves.

The Organization of Afro-American Unity will take measures to free our people from economic slavery. One way of accomplishing this will be to maintain a technician pool: that is, a bank of technicians. In the same manner that blood banks have been established to furnish blood to those who need it at the time it is needed, we must establish a technician bank. We must do this so that the newly independent nations of Africa can turn to us who are their Afro-American brothers for the technicians they will need now and in the future. Thereby we will be developing an open market for the many skills we possess and at the same time we will be supplying Africa with the skills she can best use. This project will therefore be one of mutual cooperation and mutual benefit.

V. Self-defense

In order to enslave a people and keep them subjugated, their right to self-defense must be denied. They must be constantly terrorized, brutalized, and murdered. These tactics of suppression have been developed to a new high by vicious racists whom the United States government seems unwilling or incapable of dealing with in terms of the law of this land. Before the emancipation it was the Black man who suffered humiliation, torture, castration, and murder. Recently our women and children, more and more, are becoming the victims of savage racists whose appetite for blood increases daily and whose deeds of depravity seem to be openly encouraged by all law enforcement agencies. Over five thousand Afro-Americans have been lynched since the Emancipation Proclamation and not one murderer has been brought to justice!

The Organization of Afro-American Unity, being aware of the increased violence being visited upon the Afro-American and of the open sanction of this violence and murder by the police departments throughout this country and the federal agencies — do affirm our right and obligation to defend ourselves in order to survive as a people.

We encourage the Afro-Americans to defend themselves against the wanton attacks of racist aggressors whose sole aim is to deny us the guarantees of the United Nations Charter of Human Rights and of the Constitution of the United States.

The Organization of Afro-American Unity will take those private steps that are necessary to insure the survival of the Afro-American people in the face of racist aggression and the defense of our women and children. We are within our rights to see to it that the Afro-American people who fulfill their obligations to the United States government (we pay taxes and serve in the armed forces of this country like American citizens do) also exact from this government the obligations that it owes us as a people, or exact these obligations ourselves. Needless to say, among this number we include protection of certain inalienable rights such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

In areas where the United States government has shown itself unable and/or unwilling to bring to justice the racist oppressors, murderers, who kill innocent children and adults, the Organization of Afro-American Unity advocates that the Afro-American people insure ourselves that justice is done — whatever the price and by any means necessary.

NATIONAL CONCERNS

General terminologies:

We Afro-Americans feel receptive toward all peoples of goodwill. We are not opposed to multiethnic associations in any walk of life. In fact, we have had experiences which enable us to understand how unfortunate it is that human beings have been set apart or aside from each other because of characteristics known as “racial” characteristics.

However Afro-Americans did not create the prejudiced background and atmosphere in which we live. And we must face the facts. A “racial” society does exist in stark reality, and not with equality for Black people; so we who are nonwhite must meet the problems inherited from centuries of inequalities and deal with the present situations as rationally as we are able.

The exclusive ethnic quality of our unity is necessary for self-preservation. We say this because our experiences backed up by history show that African culture and Afro-American culture not be accurately recognized and reported and cannot be respectably expressed nor be secure in its survival if we remain the divided, and therefore the helpless, victims of an oppressive society.

We appreciate the fact that when the people involved have real equality and justice, ethnic intermingling can be beneficial to all. We must denounce, however, all people who are oppressive through their policies or actions and who are lacking in justice in their dealings with other people, whether the injustices proceed from power, class, or “race.” We must be unified in order to be protected from abuse or misuse.

We consider the word “integration” a misleading, false term. It carries with it certain implications to which Afro-Americans cannot subscribe. This terminology has been applied to the current regulation projects which are supposed]y “acceptable” to some classes of society. This very “acceptable” implies some inherent superiority or inferiority instead of acknowledging the true source of the inequalities involved.

We have observed that the usage of the term “integration” was designated and promoted by those persons who expect to continue a (nicer) type of ethnic discrimination and who intend to maintain social and economic control of all human contacts by means of imagery, classifications, quotas, and manipulations based on color, national origin, or “racial” background and characteristics.

Careful evaluation of recent experiences shows that “integration” actually describes the process by which a white society is (remains) set in a position to use, whenever it chooses to use and however it chooses to use, the best talents of nonwhite people. This power-web continues to build a society wherein the best contributions of Afro-Americans, in fact of all nonwhite people, would continue to be absorbed without note or exploited to benefit a fortunate few while the masses of both white and nonwhite people would remain unequal and unbenefited.

We are aware that many of us lack sufficient training and are deprived and unprepared as a result of oppression, discrimination, and the resulting discouragement, despair, and resignation. But when we are not qualified, and where we are unprepared, we must help each other and work out plans for bettering our own conditions as Afro-Americans. Then our assertions toward full opportunity can be made on the basis of equality as opposed to the calculated tokens of “integration.” Therefore, we must reject this term as one used by all persons who intend to mislead Afro-Americans.

Another term, “negro,” is erroneously used and is degrading in the eyes of informed and self-respecting persons of African heritage. It denotes stereotyped and debased traits of character and classifies a whole segment of humanity on the basis of false information. From all intelligent viewpoints, it is a badge of slavery and helps to prolong and perpetuate oppression and discrimination.

Persons who recognize the emotional thrust and plain show of disrespect in the Southerner’s use of “nigra” and the general use of “nigger” must also realize that all three words are essentially the same. The other two. “nigra” and “nigger” are blunt and undeceptive. The one representing respectability, “negro,” is merely the same substance in a polished package and spelled with a capital letter. This refinement is added so that a degrading terminology can be legitimately used in general literature and “polite” conversation without embarrassment.

The term “negro” developed from a word in the Spanish language which is actually an adjective (describing word) meaning “black,” that is, the color black. In plain English, if someone said or was called a “black” or a “dark,” even a young child would very naturally question: “a black what?” or “a dark what?” because adjectives do not name, they describe. Please take note that in order to make use of this mechanism, a word was transferred from another language and deceptively changed in function from an adjective to a noun, which is a naming word. Its application in the nominative (naming) sense was intentionally used to portray persons in a position of objects or “things.” It stamps the article as being “all alike and all the same.” It denotes: a “darkie,” a slave, a subhuman, an ex-slave, a “negro.”

Afro-Americans must re-analyze and particularly question our own use of this term, keeping in mind all the facts. In light of the historical meanings and current implications, all intelligent and informed Afro-Americans and Africans continue to reject its use in the noun form as well as a proper adjective. Its usage shall continue to be considered as unenlightened and objectionable or deliberately offensive whether in speech or writing.

We accept the use of Afro-American, African, and Black man in reference to persons of African heritage. To every other part of mankind goes this measure of just respect. We do not desire more nor shall we accept less.

General considerations:

Afro-Americans, like all other people, have human rights which are inalienable. This is, these human rights cannot be legally or justly transferred to another. Our human rights belong to us, as to all people, through God, not through the wishes nor according to the whims of other men.

We must consider that fact and other reasons why a proclamation of “Emancipation” should not be revered as a document of liberation. Any previous acceptance of and faith in such a document was based on sentiment, not on reality. This is a serious matter which we Afro-Americans must continue to reevaluate.

The original root-meaning of the word emancipation is: “To deliver up or make over as property by means of a formal act from a purchaser.” We must take note and remember that human beings cannot be justly bought or sold nor can their human rights be legally or justly taken away.

Slavery was, and still is, a criminal institution, that is: crime en masse. No matter what form it takes. subtle rules and policies, apartheid, etc., slavery and oppression of human rights stand as major crimes against God and humanity. Therefore, to relegate or change the state of such criminal deeds by means of vague legislation and noble euphemisms gives an honor to horrible commitments that is totally inappropriate.

Full implications and concomitant harvests were generally misunderstood by our fore-parents and are still misunderstood or avoided by some Afro-Americans today. However, the facts remain; and we, as enlightened Afro-Americans, will not praise and encourage any belief in emancipation. Afro-Americans everywhere must realize that to retain faith in such an idea means acceptance of being property and, therefore, less than a human being. This matter is a crucial one that Afro-Americans must continue to reexamine.

WORLDWIDE CONCERNS

The time is past due for us to internationalize the problems of Afro-Americans. We have been too slow in recognizing the link in the fate of Africans with the fate of Afro-Americans. We have been too unknowing to understand and too misdirected to ask our African brothers and sisters to help us mend the chain of our heritage.

Our African relatives who are in a majority in their own country have found it very difficult to gain independence from a minority. It is that much more difficult for Afro-Americans who are a minority away from the motherland and still oppressed by those who encourage the crushing of our African identity.

We can appreciate the material progress and recognize the opportunities available in the highly industrialized and affluent American society. Yet, we who are nonwhite face daily miseries resulting directly or indirectly from a systematic discrimination against us because of our God-given colors. These factors cause us to remember that our being born in America was an act of fate stemming from the separation of our fore-parents from Africa; not by choice, but by force.

We have for many years been divided among ourselves through deceptions and misunderstandings created by our enslavers, but we do here and now express our desires and intent to draw closer and be restored in knowledge and spirit through renewed relations and kinships with the African peoples. We further realize that our human rights, so long suppressed, are the rights of all mankind everywhere.

In light of all of our experiences and knowledge of the past, we, as Afro-Americans, declare recognition, sympathy, and admiration for all peoples and nations who are striving, as we are, toward self-realization and complete freedom from oppression.

The civil rights bill is a similarly misleading, misinterpreted document of legislation. The premise of its design and application is not respectable in the eyes of men who recognize what personal freedom involves and entails. Afro-Americans must answer this question for themselves: What makes this special bill necessary?

The only document that is in order and deserved with regard to the acts perpetuated through slavery and oppression prolonged to this day is a Declaration of condemnation. And the only legislation worthy of consideration or endorsement by Afro-Americans, the victims of these tragic institutions, is a Proclamation of Restitution. We Afro-Americans must keep these facts ever in mind.

We must continue to internationalize our philosophies and contacts toward assuming full human rights which include all the civil rights appertaining thereto. With complete understanding of our heritage as Afro-Americans, we must not do less.

Committees of the Organization of Afro-American Unity:

  • The Cultural Committee
  • The Economic Committee
  • The Educational Committee
  • The Political Committee
  • The Publications Committee
  • The Social Committee
  • The Self-Defense Committee
  • The Youth Committee
  • Staff committees: Finance, Fund-raising, Legal, Membership

For further information on the Organization of Afro-American Unity, write:
Organization of Afro-American Unity,
2090 Seventh Ave.,
Suite 128
New York 27, N.Y.

For speedier responses, address correspondence to a particular committee. For example, if you are interested in joining or establishing a chapter:
Membership Committee,
Organization of Afro-American Unity,
2090 Seventh Ave.,
Suite 128,
New York 27, NY.

We welcome your contributions in the form of checks or money orders.

MX Views on Women

The following is the 16th in a series of excerpts the Militant is running from Pathfinder Press’s latest book, Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power, by Jack Barnes, national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party. We encourage our readers to study, discuss, and help sell the book. The following is from a 1987 speech by Barnes printed under the title “Malcolm X: Revolutionary Leader of the Working Class.” Copyright © 2009 by Pathfinder Press. Reprinted by permission.

When Malcolm left the Nation [of Islam], he didn’t initially have much to say about the rights or social position of women. But in the Autobiography [of Malcolm X]—the draft of which had been completed, with the help of journalist Alex Haley, only shortly before the assassination—Malcolm tells a story that sheds light on the speed and degree of his later evolution on this question. (In reading the Autobiography, we should always keep two things in mind. First, that the interviews were begun while Malcolm was still in the Nation, with Elijah Muhammad’s approval. And second, that Malcolm was denied the opportunity to review and edit the final draft, or bring it in line with his views at that time. According to Haley, the assassination coincided with the days he and Malcolm had tentatively set aside for that review.)

Toward the end of the Autobiography, Malcolm is describing his visit to Beirut, Lebanon, on the last day of April 1964. Going out for a walk, he says,

immediately my attention was struck by the mannerisms and attire of the Lebanese women. In the Holy Land [Saudi Arabia] there had been the very modest, very feminine Arabian women—and there was this sudden contrast of the half-French, half-Arab Lebanese women who projected in their dress and street manners more liberty, more boldness. I saw clearly the obvious European influence upon the Lebanese culture. It showed me how any country’s moral strength, or its moral weakness, is quickly measurable by the street attire and attitude of its women—especially its young women. Wherever the spiritual values have been submerged, if not destroyed, by an emphasis upon the material things, invariably, the women reflect it. Witness the women, both young and old, in America—where scarcely any moral values are left.

So that’s how Malcolm still approached the question of women’s social position a month or so after his break with the Nation. The emphasis remained on religious standards of modesty and sexual morality.

At roughly this same time, Malcolm was still an unequivocal opponent of what he called “intermarriage.” In the Autobiography, once again, Malcolm writes: “I’m right with the Southern white man who believes that you can’t have so-called ‘integration,’ at least not for long, without intermarriage increasing. And what good is this for anyone? Let’s again face reality. In a world as color-hostile as this, man or woman, black or white, what do they want with a mate of the other race?” …

By the end of Malcolm’s second trip to Africa and the Middle East in 1964, between early July and late November, however, his views had undergone a striking change—one that paralleled the evolution of how he thought and acted on other social and political questions. At a news conference during a stopover in Paris following that trip, Malcolm said that one of the things he had noticed during his travels was that

in every country you go to, usually the degree of progress can never be separated from the woman. If you’re in a country that’s progressive, the woman is progressive. If you’re in a country that reflects the consciousness toward the importance of education, it’s because the woman is aware of the importance of education.

But in every backward country you’ll find the women are backward, and in every country where education is not stressed it’s because the women don’t have education. So one of the things I became thoroughly convinced of in my recent travels is the importance of giving freedom to the women, giving her education, and giving her the incentive to get out there and put the same spirit and understanding in her children. And I am frankly proud of the contributions that our women have made in the struggle for freedom and I’m one person who’s for giving them all the leeway possible because they’ve made a greater contribution than many of us men.

[ … ]

This is a very advanced level of political understanding: that you can measure the degree of progress and development of a society by the place of women in its social, economic, and political life. Unlike Malcolm’s remarks just a few months earlier about women in Beirut, where female “modesty” and religious “morality” had been his starting point, now Malcolm was using political criteria. He overcame simple prejudice—which is what Malcolm’s earlier views reflected, whether expressed by him or by anyone else—and began replacing them with facts about the social position of women. He began talking about what women can and do accomplish to advance human progress, to advance revolutionary change, if barriers erected against them begin to be torn down.

Malcolm also changed his mind on interracial marriage. Appearing on a television talk show in Toronto, in mid-January 1965, Malcolm was asked by the host, Pierre Berton, whether he still held his earlier views on this question. Malcolm replied: “I believe in recognizing every human being as a human being—neither white, black, brown, or red; and when you are dealing with humanity as a family there’s no question of integration or intermarriage. It’s just one human being marrying another human being, or one human being living around and with another human being.”

What needs to be attacked, Malcolm told Berton, is the racist society that produces attitudes “hostile toward integration and toward intermarriage and toward these other strides toward oneness” of human beings, not “the reaction that develops among the people who are the victims of that negative society.”

In assessing the evolution of Malcolm’s attitude toward women’s rights—including the place he had come to recognize women would occupy in coming revolutionary struggles in the United States and worldwide—we should also note the shattering impact on Malcolm of his discovery that Elijah Muhammad was sexually abusing young female members of the Nation of Islam. According to Malcolm, this was the single fact, more than any particular political conflict per se, that marked a turning point in his relationship with the Nation. It deeply shook Malcolm’s confidence in the religious, political, and moral integrity of Elijah Muhammad and of the Nation of Islam itself… .

Finally, Malcolm deepened his understanding of the importance of combating the oppression of women as he watched them help lead the fight for Black rights in this country. When Fannie Lou Hamer came to New York in December 1964 to win support for the freedom struggle in Mississippi, Malcolm spoke alongside her at a rally in Harlem and gave her a platform that night at the meeting of the OAAU [Organization of Afro-American Unity]. Malcolm also admired and worked with Gloria Richardson, who had refused to call off demonstrations in Cambridge, Maryland, in face of white-supremacist thugs and the National Guard—as well as public rebukes by conservative Black leaders—and who publicly solidarized with Malcolm’s call for the right of self-defense against racist terror.

I mentioned earlier Malcolm’s insistence that the aim of the movement he was working to build was to awaken Blacks “to their humanity, to their own worth.” During the final months of his life, Malcolm also deepened his understanding that the fight to liberate half of humanity from their oppression, and to assert in action their political worth, sharply increased the potential forces of revolution in this country and around the world.

Electronic Village

Mapping the Life of El-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz (Malcolm X)
I admire El-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz (Malcolm X) and the impact that he had on people of African descent. As such, I was pleased to see a Malcolm X exhibit on Second Life.

Drumbeats from Black Threads told us about the efforts of Moraine Valley Community College to analyze this autobiography in detail. The students of this community college map the life of Malcolm X, in geographic terms, based on the information provided in his autobiography.

Alex Haley’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X is at once inspirational, controversial, and historic. It is a novel that has had far-reaching success selling millions of copies and influencing Americans of all races and creeds.

This “autobiography” relates the life story of Civil Rights leader Malcolm X, who came of age in the segregated America of the 1940s and 1950s. He embraced religion while in prison and sought to free his people “by any means necessary.” By the end of his life, Malcolm X was one of the most prominent African American leaders. While on a journey to Mecca, he began to preach a more inclusive ideology that emphasized cooperation and understanding. The Autobiography of Malcolm X provides a valuable glimpse of America. More importantly, it is the story of one man rising up against oppression and learning, through his own experiences, how America might redeem itself.

Villagers have shared thoughts on the birth and death of Malcolm X in the past. I would love to hear from you again today. What is your lasting memory of El-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz (Malcolm X)?

Place Game

How Would You Improve Malcolm X Site?
The Malcolm X Memorial Foundation is partnering with Omaha by Design to host a Place Game workshop Saturday, Oct. 15. The event will be held from 10:00am to noon at the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation Center, 3448 Evans St. All interested community members are invited to participate. Registration begins at 9:45am.

The Malcolm X Memorial Foundation has acquired more than 10 acres of land surrounding the birth site of Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925. The site has been rough graded, a plaza has been constructed at the location of the Malcolm X home, and the foundation recently acquired a vacated church adjacent to the birth site that now serves as the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation Center.

The workshop, which will focus on the site, is an opportunity for community members to suggest potential short- and long-term improvements to the property. Trained facilitators will lead small groups through the site, asking them to observe what they see, hear and feel. The groups will then reconvene at the center for a brainstorming session.

During the past decade, Omaha by Design has conducted more than 65 Place Game workshops in the metro. It offers this service free of charge to neighborhood and civic groups from March through October.

In 2011, all groups that complete a Place Game workshop and apply for grant funding to implement one of their ideas will receive a free tree courtesy of Omaha by Design.

For more information, call 402.554.4010 or email info@omahabydesign.org.

Mental Liberation 9.3.11

Join us from 5-7pm at the Malcolm X Center at 3448 Evans Street (Malcolm X Center) on Saturday, October 8th.  This event will feature performances from Omaha’s talent in spoken word & hip hop.  Its a FREE event and open to everyone.  Mental Liberation is hosted by Self Xpression and will feature appearance from Drug War veteran Rodney Prince.  This event will include a discourse titled: Death By a Thousand Arrests.

History Exhibit and Spoken Word

Malcolm X Memorial Foundation and Nebraska Arts Council Sponsor Two-Day Visit by Black History 101 Mobile Museum and “Mental Liberation Poetry Jam” featuring Amir Sulaiman Sept. 2-3

The Malcolm X Memorial Foundation (MXMF), with the support of the Nebraska Arts Council, will host its first “Mental Liberation Poetry Jam,” headlined by acclaimed Spoken Word Poet Amir Sulaiman, Saturday, Sept. 3, 6 to 8 p.m., at the Malcolm X Center, 3448 Evans Street.

The Malcolm X Center also will host Nebraska’s SECOND visit by the renowned Black History 101 Mobile Museum with curator Khalid El-Hakim. The museum displays will be open to the public on Friday, Sept. 2, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 3, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be no admission charge to visit the Black History 101 Mobile Museum, but a free will donation is encouraged.

The performance by Amir Sulaiman will be $10 adults ($15 at the door), and $5 for youth under 18 and elders (senior citizens). This program will include guest appearances by Omaha spoken word artists and Hip Hop performers Prototype XX (Y’Shall Tarlon and J’Reed Maat).

“This is going to be one of the most informative, entertaining and inspiring Labor Day weekend events in Nebraska,” said Walter Brooks, Administrative Director of the MXMF. “We truly encourage all of Omaha to come out and experience this unique traveling Black History exhibit and the extraordinary mind and voice of Amir Sulaiman.”

Sulaiman intensely radiates the stories of life. From the silent cries of the battered wife to the painful resignation of the orphaned child in Malawi, the ailments of humanity are channeled through him into the eyes, ears, and hearts of the listeners. He carries the weight of the world on his shoulders, but he speaks of change, of growth, of reviving life.

Twice featured on HBO’s Def Jam Poetry show, Sulaiman has four albums to date. His writings were significantly influenced by the Black Arts Movement, the literary and artistic extension of the Black Power Movement of the ’60s and ’70s, and one of its cardinal figures, Amiri Baraka. While attending North Carolina A&T State University, Sulaiman built his reputation at spoken word forums on college campuses, coffeehouses, and bookstores. During his sophomore year, he released his first book of poetry, “Words of Love, Life and Death.”

Sulaiman self-released his first spoken word album, “Cornerstore Folklore,” in 2001. In 2004, he received his first national showcase on HBO’s Def Poetry show. He released two more albums in 2004 and 2006, “Dead Man Walking” and “Broad Daylight,” respectively.

Brooklyn MC/actor Mos Def, former host of HBO’s Def Poetry show, took Sulaiman on tour as his opening performer in 2005 and 2006. Then in 2007, Sulaiman released his critically acclaimed fourth album, “Like a Thief in the Night.” This album features appearances from Mos Def, Dead Prez’s M-1, and the Last Poets, the acknowledged “godfathers” of African American spoken word poetry.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of The Black History 101 Mobile Museum, an innovative traveling table top exhibit depicting Black memorabilia spanning from slavery to Hip Hop. Led by Founder/ Director Khalid el-Hakim, this museum has acquired over 3,000 original artifacts and includes pivotal displays on the Black Power Movement, Nation Of Islam, Civil Rights Movement, as well as sports, literature and music.  The Black History 101 Mobile Museum travels to colleges, universities, K-12 schools, conferences, and cultural events across the country.

The museum’s treasures include original documents from historic Black figures whose contributions helped shape the United States. Artifacts in this unparalleled mobile collection represent items from the categories of slavery, Jim Crow era, music, sports, the Civil Rights and Black Power era, and popular culture. A few prominent pieces in the collection’s archives include a rare slave bill of sale and documents signed by Booker T. Washington, Ralph Bunche, Rosa Parks, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Shirley Chisholm, Dr. Dorothy Height, Alex Haley, Ice T and others.

Khalid el-Hakim said, “History is important, because for years we’ve been told lies, we’ve been told a history of omission. People leave out parts of history. It’s my purpose and mission, as a teacher, to go out and fill in the voids that history has left out. My mission is to raise the consciousness of the human family by sharing artifacts that celebrate the contributions, achievements, and experiences of African Americans. I want people to walk away as inspired as I’ve been as a collector and student of this history.”

For more information, or tickets, contact Walter Brooks at 402-517-6459 or email walter@malcolmxfoundation.org.  Tickets are also on sale at the Aframerican Bookstore, 3226 Lake St., 402-455-9200.

Amir Sulaiman & Khalid El Hakim

We are very excited to have two exciting and informative presentations for this year’s fall programing; Amir Sulaiman & Khalid El Hakim.

We have invited Amir Sulaiman, an accomplished spoken word poet, activist, recording artist and a 2 time HBO Def Poet. Amir works regularly teaching kids by way of spoken Sulaiman and El-Hakimword and focusing on the union of art and education.

We will also have on hand, the very innovative Black History 101 Mobile Museum, with hundreds of relevant artifacts and memorabilia.  This is a cultural educational project and traveling museum, founded by Detroit Public School teacher Khalid el-Hakim of the Institute of Black Culture in Detroit.  He has customized his museum contents for this presentation with Malcolm X as the main focus.  He will present on his research, collection and passion and then lead tours of his mobile museum.

The Nebraska Arts Council, a state agency, supports this program through a matching grant funded by the Nebraska Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.  Visit http://www.nebraskaartscouncil.org for information on the agency and how individuals can support the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.

Middle School Students Unveil MX art

Malcolm X Mural Unveiled at 6 p.m. May 19

Omaha – The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Service-Learning Academy brought together Meredith Bacon’s UNO Minority Politics class and Gabrielle Gaines-Liwaru’s art students from Beveridge Magnet Middle School for Global Studies and the Arts, a program designed to create a mural for the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation (MXMF).

Gaines-Liwaru started the project by offering a signup sheet for those interested. “Beveridge students feel compelled to honor the positive traits of this slain civil rights leader, whose birth site has been a trash dumpsite in our North Omaha community,” she said.

Sharif Liwaru, MXMF president, was active in guiding the UNO students, as well as the Beveridge Art students, as they researched and sketched their ideas. Representatives of Beveridge’s art majors and art club visited the UNO campus in April for a presentation by UNO’s Minority Politics class to learn about Malcolm X beyond his highly publicized image. Students heard about his values for equality, justice and education, and used these as inspirations in collaborating to create the mural that portrays the accurate and honorable life story of this Omaha native.

The project’s culminating event will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 19, at the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation, 3448 Evans St.

At the celebration, the Beveridge students will unveil the mural they spent the last few months creating. Following the unveiling, MXMF will feature the play, The Meeting.

The UNO Service-Learning Academy facilitates partnership between the university and K-12 schools with the purpose of connecting curriculum to community needs through the development of academic service learning experiences.

For more information, contact:
• Lucy Garza Westbrook, UNO Service-Learning Academy: 402-554-3055 or lgarza@unomaha.edu
• Meredith Bacon, UNO Department of Political Science: 402-554-4858 or wbacon@unomaha.edu
• Gabrielle Gaines-Liwaru, Beveridge Magnet Middle School: 402-557-4000 or gabrielle.gaines@ops.org
• Luanne Nelson, Omaha Public Schools: 402-557-2070 or Luanne.Nelson@ops.org

From UNO Announcements

2011.05.11 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley – University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 – email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

* *

Follow UNO’s Twitter updates at www.twitter.com/unomaha. Become a fan of UNO on Facebook: www.facebook.com/unomaha. Watch UNO on YouTube: www.youtube.com/UNOMavTV.

The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

The Meeting

Malcolm X Center to Host Performance of Critically Acclaimed Play “The Meeting” on May 19

OMAHA, Neb. – The Malcolm X Memorial Foundation is proud to that there will be a performance of “The Meeting” – a play by Jeff Malcolm X Center, 3448 Evans St., on Thursday, May 19, at 6:30 p.m.

“The Meeting” is a powerfully performed play which depicts a meeting between Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Two initially, diametrically opposed, find that they are closer in have imagined. “The Meeting” deals with issues of race, culture, economics; how they affected that generation and how they are society today.

“The Meeting” is performed by VL Alston Productions, and Lee Alston as Malcolm X; Arthur Phillips as Dr. Martin Luther Williams as Rashad, the body guard of Malcolm X. The play will Paterson, Professor of Dramatic Arts at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

This play has been performed locally on several occasions, most first play ever performed at the John Beasley Theater and it also special tribute to the Martin Luther King Holiday by the Medical Center in 2005.

The May 19 performance is especially meaningful because it is the date of Malcolm X and the first time the play will be performed at home of Malcolm X.

The production is co-sponsored by the Nebraska Arts Council, American Achievement Council and OPS Title One. Ticket prices youth and senior citizens. On the day of the play, adult tickets will and senior citizen tickets will remain the same.

There will be a short ceremony before the play to present a large books for the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation Library; to Malcolm X Center Book Donation Drive, starting May 19 and the birth date of President Barack Obama; and to unveil donated Beveridge Middle School students.

Refreshments will be served. In addition, there will be a limited reading materials distributed to the audience members, including Myers and children’s books.

For more information on tickets or how to donate books, contact 402-517-6459 or email walter@malcolmxfoundation.org. Advanced be obtained at Aframerican Bookstore, 3326 Lake Street, Monday – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Life of Reinvention

Posted by Steve Sherman on Apr 1 2011 at Left Eye On Books, Progressive Book and News Reviews. Filed under Book Industry News, News Blog, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry.

Generally, we wait until a book is officially released to ‘pick’ it.  But today we honor Manning Marable, who just passed away at the age of 60.  Here’s back cover info on his exciting new book:

“Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins’ bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.

Manning Marable’s new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties. Reaching into Malcolm’s troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents’ activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.”

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