Tag Archives: Black Liberation

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

The Story of Ahmed Evans and the Glenville Shootout

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Part 2 in our blog series on histories of resistance to racist police violence, as depicted in the pages of The Movement newspaper.

Fred "Ahmed" Evans

Fred “Ahmed” Evans

By the summer of 1968, tensions had been mounting between the Black residents of Cleveland and the police department for over a year. In the spring of 1967, riots broke out after the police shooting of two children, one Black and one white. That fall, a young Black lawyer named Carl B. Stokes rode a wove of Black disaffection into political office when he won the city’s mayoral race. Many Black residents had high hopes for a Black-led Democratic administration to usher in an era of meaningful change, but by 1968 some were becoming disillusioned as they witnessed police harassment of Black militants intensifying.

In the late 1960’s Cleveland had a vibrant Black nationalist scene, which centered around Fred “Ahmed” Evans’ Afro Culture Shop and Bookstore in the Glenville neighborhood. Evans had opened the shop after returning home from serving in the Korean War, and had dedicated himself to creating a meeting place for Black residents interested in Black nationalist culture and politics. Evans’ shop was burned down multiple times, and undercover police were permanently stationed across the street in order to monitor the activities of Evans and others who frequented the shop.

On July 23, Evans was in bed when he realized the cops were outside his house. He looked out the window to see what looked like officers shooting down a Black man who was running away from them. Evans took his gun into the bushes outside his home and began shooting. A fifteen-minute gun battle ensued, leaving 15 wounded and 7 dead. Police officers and Black militants on the scene offered conflicting accounts of the event, with Evans insisting they had been ambushed and police claiming they had been attacked by snipers from Evans’ home. After a stand off, Evans surrendered to the police.

National Guard on patrol in Glenville.

The next day, Cleveland broke out into rebellion. The Black residents of Glenville protested in the streets for three consecutive days. On the night of July 23, fires burned on ten blocks of Superior Avenue. Mayor Stokes called in the National Guard in order to quash the rebellion. On September 22, Evans was sentenced to death by electric chair for allegedly killing three officers. His sentence was later commuted to life in prison. He died of cancer in prison in 1978.

He remained unrepentant after his sentencing, stating: “I don’t think there is any doubt that the people of my race have every right in the world and have every reason in the world to resist and to reach out and become what they were created, men–not symbols, I mean–not half anything, but whole as I am whole. I fully understand the ways of life as they are now, and the truth of the matter is I have no regret….This is to be expected. I mean, you just can’t say that you are going to turn away from a world of iniquity and walk along a red carpet. It is not that way.”

Check out the full story here

-Laura

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

New Arrivals at the Freedom Archives

Hello,

clifford-glover-school

Over the summer we’ve been going through old piles, re-organizing the archive space and re-arranging book shelves. Needless to say we found some cool stuff.

This image is taken from the Clifford Glover Contingent’s Coloring Book published by the May 19th Communist Organization. Clifford Glover was a 10-year-old black youth murdered by Thomas Shea, a white on-duty, undercover policeman, on April 28, 1973. His death, and the policeman’s later acquittal for a murder charge, led to an urban rebellion in the South Jamaica section of Queens, New York. The inside cover of the coloring book reads:

“We want our children to be part of building this new socialist society. That is why we built the Clifford Glover Brigade for our young people to march with us today, under the leadership of the Black Liberation struggle. We want them to understand that a system that survives through the murder of Black children by killer cops and the klan provides no future for them. But for them to live in a better world, they must start fighting for it by fighting white supremacy now. That is the way that they will learn new values and can grow into young revolutionary women and men.”

-Solidarity Statement from May 19th Communist Organization in recognition of New Afrikan Freedom Fighter Day, July 18, 1981.

Stay tuned, more new arrivals to come…

-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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