Category Archives: Experiences at the Archives

No Justice No Peace

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Hello,

This clip is taken from a 1988 speech by Ahmed Obafemi of the New Afrikan People’s Organization in San Francisco. Obafemi speaks of the death of Michael Griffith, a Black youth murdered in a racist attack in Howard Beach, New York., and how the Black community came together following Michael’s murder.

 

Learn more about New Afrikan politics here.

No Justice, No Peace!

-Nathaniel

New Collection at the Archives

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Hello everyone,

My name is Casey and I’ve been an intern here at the Freedom Archives since September. As a recently-graduated university student earning a minor in Gender Studies, I was tasked to acquaint myself with the sub-collection “Feminism and Women’s Liberation” and get a feel of how I would incorporate new materials. However, after reviewing many of the materials it became clear that several had a reoccurring, specific theme of Gay Liberation and the LGBTQ movement. This realization led to the construction of our newest sub-collection, “Gay Liberation Movement/LGBTQ Community.”

From the “Feminism and Women’s Liberation” sub-collection, I added several articles, pamphlets, and periodicals specifically relating to the LGBTQ community and would be better placed in Gay Liberation Movement/LGBTQ Community. These materials included, “Artificial Insemination: an alternative conception,” “Confronting Homophobia: Notes on Creating a Lesbian Community, A Matter of Life,” “Ache Periodical” which highlights the voices of Black lesbians, and more…

Gender and Sexuality Collection

Gay Liberation Movement/LGBTQ Collection

Working with the Freedom Archives, with Claude and Nathaniel and the several other progressive volunteers and interns, has given me a wonderful opportunity and privilege in embracing such relevant and important history. Reading through the materials in both of the sub-collections mentioned has been incredibly educational and has opened my eyes to the progression of these social movements. Coming here is the highlight of my week and I am grateful for their necessary presence, organization, and overall engagement both in local and global communities. I will never forget seeing the 2nd-3rd wave Feminist documentary, “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry,” and getting giddy when they referenced exact materials I had personally handled, read, and been inspired by from our sub-collection “Feminism and Women’s Liberation.”

In solidarity, Casey

The Story of the TSU Five

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Hello,

This multi tsu-five-photo-2 part blog series highlights significant but relatively unknown moments of resistance to racist police violence as depicted in the pages of The Movement. When looking at the stories in The Movement, the continuity between historical events and the emerging movement against police violence comes into sharp focus. Police treatment of Black and Brown people has not changed much, if at all. The murders that are captured on smartphones today and streamed online are not a new phenomenon. They were happening in the 1960’s too, and they were met with rage and resistance then, just like they are today.

In early 1967, Texas Southern University (a historically black college) students and Black residents of Houston began organizing on and off campus. In March, students demonstrated against conditions on campus, which were significantly worse than those at the white college down the street. Their grievances included bad food, early curfews, and a lack of courses in fields like engineering and technology. The administration responded by throwing TSU’s Friends of SNCC chapter off campus, firing the group’s faculty advisor, and working with the local police to have a warrant issued for the arrest of a student organizer.

The administration’s crackdown only further angered students, and their protest expanded. They came forward with new demands, including an increase in faculty salaries, the disarmament of campus police, the removal of the campus dean from the local draft board, a student court for disciplinary cases, and the dropping of all charges against student activists.

In May studenttsu-5-photo-1s joined together with local Black residents to protest poor living conditions and city government neglect. A demonstration in the Sunnyside neighborhood was called after a child drowned in an unfenced city garbage dump. Another was held in Northeast Houston to protest the beating of Black high school students with ax handles and chains. The demonstrations gave city officials an excuse to retaliate against TSU students. On the night of May 16, police officers blockaded the campus. Students gathered and some threw rocks at the police. Soon, hundreds of armed police officers swarmed the campus. They arrested 489 students and opened fire on a dormitory. They shot between 3 and 5,000 rounds of AR-15 shells into the dorm. In the course of the raid, a student and a number of officers were shot, and one officer was killed, almost certainly from ricocheting bullets.

Although the ballistics and coroners reports confirmed that the officer was killed by a .30 bullet (the caliber used by Houston PD), the city used the death as a pretext for crushing the Black movement. They arrested five students known for their political activism–one of whom was actually in jail the night of the raid–and charged them with the murder of the police officer. The students became known as the TSU 5 among activists, who organized support for their defense. Despite the lack of evidence, it took over three years for them to be cleared of charges. In November 1970 a Houston judge finally dropped the charges and the state admitted that the officer probably died from a ricocheting police bullet.

The story of the TSU 5 is told in the pages of The Movement, check out the newspaper here: Page1 Page2

Please help us continue our educational work at the Freedom Archives. You can make an online donation here. Your support really makes a difference!

 

-Laura

Youth Empowerment at the Freedom Archives

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PL cover Spring 2016Hello,

This past spring, the Progressive Librarian, a journal for Critical Studies and Progressive Politics in Librarianship, published an article we wrote entitled “Don’t Trust Anyone Over the Age of 30”: Youth Empowerment and Community Archives. The spring issue recently became available online and we wanted to share the article with you! You can read the article by clicking here.

We’re happy to have been able to share our experiences working with young people and we are excited to welcome two new young people beginning internships with us in the next couple of weeks. You can find more about internships at the Freedom Archives here. Come build with us!!

-Nathaniel

The Political Thought of Afeni Shakur

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afenishakurAfeni Shakur, known to most of us as rap icon Tupac Shakur’s mother, passed away last month (2nd May 2016).  In his 1995 song  “Dear Mama”, Tupac Shakur speaks about  the deep appreciation for his mother and the difficulties she faced with drugs and poverty when raising him. But what many people are often not aware of is that Afeni Shakur was a revolutionary thinker and activist who shaped the political discourse of Black Liberation movements in the 70s. She joined the Black Panther Party in 1968 and was a crucial member in the NYC chapter.  In April 1969, she was accused of conspiring with 20 other Black Panther Party members to carry out bombings in New York. Afeni Shakur  defended herself in the so-called Panther 21 trail, earning an acquittal on all charges after serving a total of 11 months in jail.

In remembrance of Afeni Shakur’s legacy as a revolutionary, mother and activist, I have digitized sound bytes from an interview with Afeni Shakur in 1972, in which she speaks passionately about why she joined the Black Panthers, lessons to draw from the Panther 21 trail, and what it means to be a political prisoner as well as how to foster racial solidarity within and outside of the prison. Listening to Afeni Shakur does not only provide insights into the political climate of the early 1970s and the Panther 21 trail, but also evokes memory and inspiration of a recently departed ancestor.

Afeni Shakur: Joining the Black Panthers:

 

Afeni Shakur: Solidarity during Panther 21 Trail:

 

Afeni Shakur: On Racial Solidarity:

 

Afeni Shakur: On Lessons from the Panther 21:

 

The Freedom Archives  is a space that has allowed me to discover and learn more about Black history, prison movements and other national and international political movements.  It is dedicated to honoring lesser known revolutionaries, such as Afeni Shakur. To enable us to continue doing this type of work help support the Freedom Archives.

-Ismahan

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