Category Archives: Freedom Archives Events and Trips

Robert and Mabel Williams Preservation Project

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Radio Free Dixie Poster

Hello,

During our recent trip to Detroit we began to assess and plan the preservation of Robert, Mabel and John Williams’ artifacts, papers, audio and video materials and more. Here are some pictures of a couple of the amazing artifacts we were able to engage. We’ve already done sizable work around preserving the legacy of both Robert and Mabel, and this current effort continues a long political and personal relationship with the family.

Portrait of Robert and Mabel Williams

Spending time in the Williams family home in Baldwin, MI was an amazing experience. Seeing the family’s thousands of books, sorting canisters of Black and White 16mm film from China and organizing boxes of correspondence and personal papers not only allowed me to see an enormous wealth of history, but also to get a glimpse of the personal side of Robert and Mabel, often unseen in documentaries or written about in books. We are truly grateful to Lisa Williams for her constant guidance, support and love. Stay tuned for further updates on our work to preserve the Williams family’s legacy including assisting in releasing a three memoirs (Robert, Mabel and John); a complete set of transcripts and recordings of Radio Free Dixie and a complete reprint of the Crusader newsletter. You can check out our archival collection here.

-Nathaniel

Protest the US Post Office Ban Against the Crusader Stamp

Baldwin, MI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activist Archiving 101

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Hello,

During our recent trip to Detroit, we collaborated with Sine Hwang Jensen, librarian at the UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies Library, to present a session at the 19th annual Allied Media Conference entitled Activist Archiving 101. Held every summer in Detroit, the Allied Media Conference brings together a vibrant and diverse community of people using media to incite change: filmmakers, radio producers, technologists, youth organizers, writers, cultural artists and more.

 

Our session was intended to empower activists to be stewards of their and/or organizational archives and share basic tools, strategies and resources that already exist that we can draw from to ensure that future generations will have access to our ideas, materials, experiences and lessons. Important conversations around the importance of human relationships and accountability to our communities, blurring the line between documentation and journalism and corporate control of social media made for a vibrant and engaging session. We were thrilled to be joined by over 50 people clearly demonstrating that documentation and the legacy of our movements is something many people are thinking about.

You can find tools, resources, principles from our session on activist archiving and more HERE. More from our trip to Detroit soon!

Also, if you haven’t gotten a chance to donate to our summer fundraising campaign, please take a moment and help us continue the important work we do. Your SUPPORT makes all this possible.

-Nathaniel

Handala

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Color Images taken in Dheisheh Refugee Camp outside Bethlehem (March 2016); Black and White Images taken from Democratic Palestine (Sept. 1987).

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Color Images taken in Dheisheh Refugee Camp outside Bethlehem (March 2016); Black and White Images taken from Democratic Palestine (Sept. 1987).

 

Recently, the Freedom Archives was a part of the first US delegation to Palestine focused on political imprisonment and designed to strengthen the solidarity between Palestinian and US prisoners. During our ten day trip, we were empowered and humbled by stories of the ways many Palestinians maintain their culture and dignity while resisting the brutality of the Zionist colonial project. One of the methods of resistance is through revolutionary art, an example being the image of Handala.

Handala, created by political cartoonist Naji Al Ali, is a child refugee who always has his back turned to the audience as he watches policies and events unfold. Handala is now an icon of Palestinian defiance and is seen the world over as a symbol of resistance to oppression.

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Top: The names of villages of origin are inscribed on the ceiling at the Ibdaa Cultural Center in Dheisheh Refugee Camp (March 2016). Black and White Image taken from Democratic Palestine (Sept. 1987).

Al Ali spent most of his childhood in refugee camps and began sketching outside and inside of his family’s tent. He also developed his drawing skills in prison after he was arrested by the Lebanese military intelligence. His political cartoons are critical of the Israeli, Arab and United States governments. Al Ali’s cartoons effectively called for change and revolution, making him a threat to Israeli occupation.

Al Ali was assassinated on July 23rd,1987 by the Israeli military.

The following images weave the historical representations of Handala with some of what we saw during our trip. Truly Palestinian resistance is still alive!

You can learn more by visiting our collection on Palestine.

The Burning Urgency of Now

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herman bell imageDo not condemn these men to prison for life as they’ve already spent decades there. Be not in a rush to throw fresh stones at this misfortune without taking a long look in your own mirror and see the face of injustice that has long been a bane to the long suffering of Black people so that others might exact from the sweat of their brow, stripes across their backs, and terrorist lynchings to attain the untold wealth and prosperity that this nation currently enjoys. And even today you continuously lock them in your prisons in unprecedented numbers. The urgency of now is upon us.

When is “enough is enough?” The burning urgency of now calls for change, for a sharp turn into the headwinds of new possibilities for ourselves, for our children and for our nation. We want these men home. Release of them would be symbolic. Thus retribution for retribution sake is liken to a dead letter with no forwarding address.

-Taken from a recent letter written by political prisoner Herman Bell. Read at Freeing Our Political Prisoners, San Francisco, California on October 23, 2015. Herman Bell is a former Black Panther who has been locked up since 1973. Since his imprisonment, Herman has continued his work as an educator and activist.

Prisoners and Politics: from the San Quentin Six to Pelican Bay

SQ6 defendants Fleeta Drumgo; Hugo Pinell; and David Johnson stage an impromptu sit in at San Quentin in 1975 when trial jurors toured the prison
SQ6 defendants Fleeta Drumgo; Hugo Pinell; and David Johnson stage an impromptu sit in at San Quentin in 1975 when trial jurors toured the prison.

Greetings,

Last Wednesday we co-sponsored Prisoners and Politics: from the San Quentin Six to Pelican Bay with Shaping San Francisco. 518 Valencia was standing room only with the space packed to capacity. The four panelists all shared interesting perspectives and drew important connections between historical and contemporary prison resistance. If you missed it, or just want to hear it again, follow the link below to a podcast of the entire event. We’ve also included the approximate timing for each panelists if you want to jump around. Thanks to everyone who helped make this a great event!

Prisoners and Politics Podcast

Author of Captive Nation Dan Burger (08:00- 32:00); original member of SQ Six David Johnson (32:30-48:00); original member of SQ Six Luis “Bato” Talamantez (48:00-54:30); National Lawyer’s Guild attorney Caitlin Kelly Henry (54:30-1:12:00); Q and A (1:12:00-end).

-Nathaniel

 

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