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Mumia: Women of the World

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  • ummyakoub
    WOMEN OF THE WORLD by Mumia Abu-Jamal Who can think of the world s women, and not marvel? There is no area of human endeavor upon which the mark of woman has
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 10, 2003
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      by Mumia Abu-Jamal

      Who can think of the world's women, and not marvel? There is no area
      of human endeavor upon which the mark of woman has not been made, and
      made well.

      Every year, around the time of International Women's Month,
      advertisements in the newspaper trumpet the accomplishments of women,
      but usually they shy away from the women who have fought for the
      revolutionary rights of women and others, or who have fought against
      the partriarchal status quo. As in Black History Month, those who are
      celebrated tend to be 'safe' women; those who are acceptable to men
      because they haven't rocked the boat, or, if they did so, they did so

      I will not address such women here; they are represented elsewhere

      Let us think of women who are usually ignored; or who are feared, or
      who are shunned by the corporate media. Women like those nameless
      billions who (according to the UN Conference of Women in Copenhagen in
      1980) perform between two-thirds and three-quarters of the work in the
      world (and produce 45% of the world's food!). They labor against
      great odds, and keep body and soul together for billions of children.
      They are heroines.

      Let us think of women like Tarika Lewis, who was the first woman to
      join the Black Panther Party as a rank-and-file member, and with her
      courage and ability, paved the way for thousands of others to follow
      her path; while her name may not be known nor famous, history should
      record her proud contribution of resistance to the racist repression
      of the 1960s and '70s.

      Tarika, like millions of other Black women, came from traditions of
      woman warriors all along the West African coast.

      While some have suggested otherwise, the 18th Century ex-slave, sailor
      and writer, Olaudah Equiano noted clearly, when telling memories of
      his tribe, wrote: "All are taught the use of these weapons; *even our
      women are warriors*, and march boldly out to fight along with the
      men." [fr. *The Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus assa, the
      African* (orig., 1789), p. 16]

      Equiano recalled seeing a battle while nestled in a tree, his mother
      in the thick of the battle, armed with a broad sword!

      Let us not suggest that brave women warriors were rare or relegated to
      the dusty pages of dry history books. The name, Fred Hampton, is
      legendary, yet few remember his young wife, Akua, who lay beside him
      as he was slaughtered by the State, and now continues as a leader in
      the struggle. While Fred is remembered, and perhaps Mark Clark, few
      remember that two Panther women were among the wounded that night:
      Verlina Brewer and Brenda Harris were each shot twice by the state and
      federal death squad, and both were seriously wounded, but they
      survived, and bravely continued the resistance as Panthers.

      There has been no true popular struggle in African-American history,
      American history, or world history, that was not, in part, supported
      or sustained by women. Women were at the very heart of the Abolition
      Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Liberation Movement,
      and the Anti-War Movements. That they are not well-known is due to
      their being disappeared from the annals of history.

      Let us not forget Ruby Robinson (1942-1967) who was a fiery militant
      activist with SNCC; Claudia Jones (1915-1964) a Trinidadian-born
      radical journalist and communist who led the Free Mandela campaigns in
      London; Lolita Lebron, who fought for Puerto Rican independence from
      the U.S.; Petrona Chacon, who was a leading figure in the 1840 slave
      revolt in Cuba; Ernestina "Titina" Sila (1943-1973) African
      revolutionary leader, fought for the PAIGC (African Party for
      Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde); Septima P. Clark (1898-1987),
      who established 'Freedom Schools' in the apartheid South, worked with
      the SCLC; Cherry Turner, wife and co-conspirator with the Black rebel,
      Nat Turner, of the August, 1831 Insurrection that shook the South to
      its roots; Ella Baker (1903-1986), founded SNCC, organized Mississippi
      Freedom Democratic Party, worked with Puerto Rican Solidarity
      Committee; affectionately called "Fundi", Swahili for 'teacher';...
      and these are but a few.

      Let us not forget them, and millions like them; mostly unknown, erased
      from 'official' history; remembered in the realm of the heartfor their
      strength, their courage, their powerful will to be free, which
      inspires us all... still.

      Copyright© 2003 Mumia Abu-Jamal
      From: nattyreb@...

      Harlem Anti-war march and rally on April 5th

      Brothers, Sisters, friends and Supporters: US polls indicate
      overwhelming Black opposition to the racist and illegal war of "shock
      and awe" against the people of Iraq. People of African descent
      understand well the US doctrine of "shock and awe" terrorism to
      expand its empire that drips with the blood of people of color. On
      April 5th in the historic village of Harlem thousands of African
      descendants in the US along with people of color allies will raise
      their voices in protest against this WAR FOR OIL. We will debunk the
      myth that People of Color do not have a visible voice or presence in
      the anti-war movement. We will speak to our issues, give our analysis,
      and support allies without conditions. This is a historic moment for
      the world, and especially for people of color. It is no accident that
      African Americans comprise 30% of the 40% people of color serving as
      cannon fodder for the US military. A bleak future of minimum wage
      employment or the prison industrial complex drives our sons and
      daughters into the military. Instead of educating our kids public
      schools have become fertile ground for military recruitment while
      every obstacle is put in place to prevent our children from obtaining
      higher education. It is no accident that New York State's courts have
      ruled the public school system has the obligation to only provide our
      children with an 8th grade education. Not to mention the continued
      daily brutality and death of our young people at the hands of the
      police. If this is not enough, now they want the blood of our children
      to fight in the Middle East in a campaign of endless war (Iraq is only
      the first target in the region). ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! JOIN US ON APRIL

      nellie hester <nelliehester@...>

      Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination
      By Robin D. G. Kelley
      Beacon Press, 2002. $25.00
      Review by Daphne Muse

      Intelligence, and how you use it, matters. And the resounding truth
      of that lies in the multiply profound words contained in a series of
      essays in Robin D.G. Kelley's Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical
      Imagination. Often it takes writers, philosophers and historians like
      Kelley to help us put our minds on redial and recall those who
      inspired our dreams and helped to shape our thinking and our visions.

      Early on in Freedom Dreams, Kelley notes:
      "Sometimes I think the conditions of daily life, of everyday
      oppressions, of survival, not to mention the temporary pleasures
      accessible to most of us, render much of our imagination inert. We
      are constantly putting out fires, responding to emergencies, finding
      temporary refuge, all of which make it difficult to see anything other
      than the present."

      There is absolutely nothing inert about Kelley, as he navigates ever
      so facilely back to the past, dances in the present and drums up the
      future while listening as Bootsy reminds us, "We need da funk. Gotta
      have dafunk." But even Bootsy would concur that this current funk may
      be the mother of all funks, as America nose dives into the tailspin of
      war on Iraq.

      But Kelley's irrepressible energy, intellect and optimism have come
      together to forge a vision capable of giving us pause for brilliant
      and vital new possibilities. As a contemporary preeminent historian,
      Kelley's intellectual rigor delivers us the dreams of intellectuals
      and renegades throughout the African Diaspora clearly noting that
      people are drawn to social movements because they respect their
      historical legacies, believe in the future and value life. But the
      dreams of poet Jane Cortez one of his mentors, activist and artist
      Paul Robeson and billions of everyday people are so radically
      different from the world we've inherited. In language that's
      accessible, Kelley leads us into revisiting conversations and thinking
      about how our dreams can become a "nation" or an integral part of the
      sustainable foundation of the country in which we live.

      Where others get bogged down in taking theoretical depositions, Kelley
      navigates with a kind of historical confidence and ease, usually worn
      by seasoned historians who've clocked decades. But in every essay,
      Kelley the historian and cultural critic clearly demonstrates
      intelligence matters and how we use it matters even more. From Third
      World liberation movements to Communism and the imaginative mindscapes
      of Surrealism to the transformative unmet potential of radical
      feminism, Kelley bypasses the usual rhetorical quagmires and fluidly
      reopens old conversations with scores of brilliant dreamers, producing
      historically sustained encounters that take us "Roaring from the East:
      Third World Dreaming," to "This Battlefield Called Life": Black
      Feminist Dreams soaring upwards to "A Day of Reckoning": Dreams of
      Reparations" and landing at the feet of "When History Wakes": A New

      "In the Battlefield Called Life" he points out that "Black women don't
      usually appear in histories of "second wave" radical feminism, except
      as frustrated critics of white women. But a few were there at the
      very beginning. Florynce "Flo" Kennedy and Pauli Murray, both
      attorneys with a long history of civil rights and feminist activism,
      were founding members of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in
      1966. I would urge Kelley to add Aileen Hernandez to that list.
      Hernandez was NOW's second National President and a founding member of
      the organization. She is a former
      Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission, a former
      Assistant Chief of the Division of Fair Employment Practices for
      California and was the Education and Public Relations Director for the
      Pacific Coast region of the International Ladies' Garment Workers'
      Union who continues the legacy she, Murray and Kennedy set into motion
      some thirty-seven years ago. While "the radical feminist vision of
      revolution paid little attention to race or the unique position of
      women of color," it did not deter women like Murray, Kennedy or
      Hernandez from dreaming their dreams into visions and making them
      operational imperatives in the lives of a generation of colored girls who
      became even bolder black women. At times both witty and graceful, he
      has us standing with Robeson, dreaming out loud with his Momma,
      "Hipping the Hip" with poet and veteran radical Ramon Durem, and
      guarding "Africa's memory" with Ted Joans while climbing scaffolds of
      struggle to watch the building of revolutions once under construction,
      destroyed sometimes by their own weight but most often annihilated by
      those who tried, and often succeeded in marketing of us out of
      our dreams.

      In his final essay, never presumptuous Kelley states, ""I won't
      propose much more since the design and realization of such a space
      ought to be the product of a collective imagination shaped and
      reshaped by the very process of turning rubble and memory into the
      seeds of a new society." His writing constantly beckons me not to
      inhale the vapors of terrorism, nor allow the drums of war to drown
      out my dreams. Like Alice Walker's poem "Revolutionary Petunia's,"
      David Walker's Appeal, Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I A Woman," and Mos
      Def and Talib Kweli's Black Star, he challenges me to keep Dreaming
      in Freedom.

      And like a sculptor maybe we will get to take the current maelstrom of
      destruction and mould it into a long standing monument to life,
      everyday, everyday life. I sure hope millions of people, especially
      young folk will get their reading groove on and get down with the mix
      brother Kelley represents in these pages, cause I want to "dis-course"
      and speak on it with them and young people steeped in struggle, like
      Youth4Reparations, as well as others whose lives are void of this kind
      of dreaming.
      Daphne Muse©msmusewriter@...,
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