Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER L to R: Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba) Credit: Matt Kennedy/©Marvel Studios 2018

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER
L to R: Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba)
Credit: Matt Kennedy/©Marvel Studios 2018

Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER Forest Whitaker as Zuri, Daniel Kaluuya as W'Kabi, Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia, Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther/T'Challa, Angela Bassett as Ramonda, Danai Gurira as Okoye, and Letitia Wright as Shuri photographed exclusively for Entertainment Weekly by Kwaku Alston on March 18, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kwaku Alston © 2017 MVLFFLLC. TM & © 2017 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER
Forest Whitaker as Zuri, Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi, Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther/T’Challa, Angela Bassett as Ramonda, Danai Gurira as Okoye, and Letitia Wright as Shuri photographed exclusively for Entertainment Weekly by Kwaku Alston on March 18, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Kwaku Alston © 2017 MVLFFLLC. TM & © 2017 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

..Next month is my birthday Feb. 16th..on that day a film about a fictional character I have loved for over fifty years gets a big budget film treatment…The Film “Black Panther” and no it’s not about me and my fellow comrades ..revolutionaries in the 60s and early 70s. It’s about a super hero. Who is the king of an ancient kingdom in Africa that has long isolated itself from the culturally and scientifically backward outside world..Their tech makes 21 century America look stone age. Their King steps out of the shadows for the sake of helping to save the planet…hey !! This character was imagined in 1966 ..long before the hopeful dogma of “Afro-centrists” Who wouldn’t love this.??..well I don’t have to tell you that there is an epidemic of stupidity in the America of today…At first it was STUPID white people who complained after seeing stills from the film ( and the pictures were magnificent) that the cast was much too black…and many threatened to boycott the film MUCH TOO BLACK..hello? it’s about an African country…Now we see that being stupid works on all races.. The latest Boycott threat comes from groups of Black people upset by the fact that one of the actors in the film ( not the star ) Michael B. Jordan.has been seen dating a woman who is white..I love my people…God knows I love my people. I have put my life on the line for my people on three continents..been shot, been beaten, been trampled by a Alabama state policeman on a horse, fought in two wars in African countries to end colonialism, been jailed and imprisoned over a dozen times….But I have to say.. that this just might be the dumbest thing I have ever heard of…Now let me be completely frank here. In my life I have known a few Black men who have rejected Black women and will only date a white woman…I consider that some sick sh*t..but hey. I never would judge the brother. ..On the other hand I have known many, many people who have fallen in love ..married and have built beautiful families..with a person of another find someone who shares your values and commitment and or intellectual interests commit to each other and it can make no difference what race they are..To confuse one kind of relationship with the other is moronic…it sounds like a cliche but real love ..that old fashioned long lasting love is very hard to come by.. and if it’s a fucked up world we live in…Judging a person on the basis of the race of who they love is backward, ugly and ignorant …no matter who it comes from. And this group of intellectual midgets are going to try to stop millions of people from enjoying what my be a groundbreaking film over a silly concept that should have been put to sleep a long time ago…I HOPE THE LINES ARE AROUND THE BLOCK..

Return to political commentary ..Alabama election

I am sorry I have been neglecting this blog lately I have had some medical issues to deal with….But I wrote this for face book today…I think it really belongs here…I have not been posting on facebook much lately ..I simply have some other issues to take care of. When people in my community asked what happened to me ..I tried to post just a few things about the kids and my family..just to show I was still around..last night a group of seniors who have done voter registration with me for almost thirty years..brought me food..and asked to come in. “It is your voice we miss” they said..”we know you are not well and can’t always show up like before”..Well first I let them know that I was not “that” sick , just going for some treatments..along with “pulmonary rehab”..I excepted the food…fried chicken (something I almost never eat anymore) and a huge salad. We talked until I had to leave to pick up my wife at the train station.SO….here is MY voice…What I need to say here is that these people …who have worked on every election in Philly for over thirty years with me. And knocked on thousands of doors .. and last night we tried to figure out just how many but we think we have registered at least 15 thousand voters just in the last few years. With the exception of me and a few college students who help us out every fall. This has been entirely a force of Black women…It was with Black women and Black college students that I began my life as a community organizer back in 1964. Black women have always been a major force in the conscience of America going all the way back to the original American feminist Sojourner “Ain’t I a Woman.” Truth. They were the
proof in the pudding who showed us that NO, Bernie Sanders would NOT have had a better shot at winning last years election..because the most consistent voters in the Black community for the most part had NO IDEA who or what he was ..and would not have voted for him. And last night it was the power of not just the vote of Black women but the “boots on the ground” Black women organizers who got out the vote..and totally upset the “red state” of Alabama.I have complained a lot in the last year about the white men who try to dominate both the opinions and the actions of the so called American Left..and even white women on the alleged left for the most part have shown the same arrogance..and general dismissive behavior when it comes to minority people and our voices…well while those people are in a “tale spin” over the Hillary crowd or the so-called Bernie crowd question….( love it when they try to call the Hillary crowd “corporate Democrat” …Ha..ha ha. they are ALL corporate Democrats.)..they fail to see that to us …you are all the same “not yet allies”…Congrats to the State of Alabama….and to the white alleged left….get over yourself and learn to pay attention.
Alabama_Senate_Moore_76853-8a32b-4202 Sojourner_truth_c1870 m03640-kt-1-fe6d457db6daadadcfabab458b7b9ab3dc288561-1440x1080

Just a few thoughts as the fall political season begins September 2017

I talked with a huge group of college students and faculty today. They mostly wanted me to talk about the “glory days” of my being in SCLC then SNCC and then the Black Panther Party. For some it’s “sexy”..exciting and they always ask the same predictable questions.. the guns, the FBI..and as usual when I get to the part of being an African American. who not only worked for equality in America but went to prison doing that in Israel. as well as taking part in the anti-colonial wars in several African really shakes them up….you know…a Black American taking the struggle to an international’s still hard for a lot of people to wrap their minds around’s supposed to be all about “we shall overcome”, or leather jackets and shotguns…Well today I spent less time on that and went to what bites my ass today. My state, Pennsylvania , has a republican ruled country…the good old USA has a republican Senate as well as the House…and what are most of the people who would be and should be organizing the opposition to Trump…and or looking for candidates to help take these legislatures back doing ?? Well a lot of them are still ….yes still demonizing Hillary Clinton..they act like the Democratic primary is still on And just like during the election they have an obsession with making Hillary..who is no longer running for office the villain . Something totally of no consequence now. I have been doing my normal fall voter education and registration stuff. As well as trying to identify communities were voter participation have been traditionally low…My people in Chester Pa. have registered 1200 new voters in the last two weeks. I will be checking on  my regular folks working in N.W. Philly next week ..but I know they have been having “teach-ins” and forums on how to run for office …and finding good candidates and how to help them win….this is NOT MMe and FDRove.On .org…nor the local “missionaries” that call themselves Neighborhood Networks…these are just ordinary people from churches and campuses and senior citizens homes working in their OWN communities…and then I come home to see all the so-called “activists” doing nothing but bitching about HIllary on facebook..this stupidity is a big part of the matrix of things that cost us the election. Grow up …get over it….get to work…or at least if you are still doing the “get Hillary” thing SHUT UP…it would be a great help

A fond goodbye to Comic, mentor, activist Dick Gregory

We should all be so lucky as to have lead as full a life as the great Dick Gregory..To my generation Gregory at first was important because in a time when we never saw black people on tv doing anything but being the maid or tap dancing, and sometimes we got to see singers.. Dick Gregory was one of the first along with George Kirby to get to do non-demeaning stand-up comedy outside of just a black audience . The first time I saw Gregory I was a kid ..who went to work one night at the local Atlanta Black nightclub “The Royal Peacock” my dad..a chef at a white restaurant by day worked many nights as a cook at the club..some of my first work experiences was being the “ice boy” ferrying large containers of ice from the kitchen to the bar..and walking behind the stage for each trip..I was just a kid but had heard other comics before ..Gregory worked “blue” a lot but he even then ( about 1959-60 ) was the only one who talked about the movement…probably a lot of people have said today how Dick Gregory got to be the first Black comic who got to sit down with the host of the “Tonite Show” after doing his set…it was not Johnny Carson then …it was Jack Paar..and it seemed the more acceptable Gregory got the more militant and topical his “sets” became. As the civil rights movement got more intense Gregory along with Harry Belafonte were the biggest entertainers who faces were always there…But Gregory presented a much angrier face than Belafonte..and by the mid 1960s he began to “turn off” a lot of the white audience. But my biggest exposure to Dick was when he actually ran for president in 1968..on the “Peace and Freedom Party” ticket..Gregory published his second book “Write me In ” for the campaign…I wore out two copies because I think in 1968 I carried that book everywhere I went. Those were some great times, when many of us were waking up to just what a “devil” America well as how we could be proud of ourselves and our history…and so-called activists today have no idea how it all felt when it was so new …so freeing and still so forbidden…Dick Gregory was one of those people who helped us make the transition from “colored” to Black…I can remember being the first kid in my high school who stopped saying colored and insisted on being called “black” teachers hated me…fellow students made fun of me…and those people who went to High school with me and have re-connected on facebook ..YES in those days you all made fun of me…and I would whip out Dick Gregory’s first book was called simply “Nigger” and wave it in the air as proof that we didn’t have be called “colored” any more…I remember how teachers would gasp in horror…yes this is all true…but Dick Gregory ..more than just a comedian was just that inspiring…later on when the sixties were over Gregory settled in to being one of the go to elders of the struggle and even though most people in the last 20 years have no memory of him as a comic..anybody serious in the movement. knows of his commentary on the issues of the the day and Gregory still never “held his tongue”… His way to age is the way I would like to do it.still..the rebel ..and truth teller until the end.. Rest in Power..Richard Claxton Gregory (October 12, 1932 – August 19, 2017)

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Edward Kitch/AP/REX/Shutterstock (6626297a) Dick Gregory, comedian and civil rights activist, discusses his fast which is in its 35th day, protesting the Vietnam war in Chicago, . He says his weight is now 105 pounds, down from 158 at start of fast. He has been living on water since Thanksgiving Day Dick Gregory 1967, Chicago, USA

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Edward Kitch/AP/REX/Shutterstock (6626297a)
Dick Gregory, comedian and civil rights activist, discusses his fast which is in its 35th day, protesting the Vietnam war in Chicago, . He says his weight is now 105 pounds, down from 158 at start of fast. He has been living on water since Thanksgiving Day
Dick Gregory 1967, Chicago, USA


About me and my Dad …thoughts on Father’s Day 2017

This post is another fond remembrance of my Dad. Who had the unfortunate task of raising me as a son. I was that kind of kid who questioned everything..But mostly the “Jim crow” apartheid system he was forced to make a life for his family under. Like a lot of young “newly militant” people of that time we made the stupid mistake of thinking that because our parents took up the challenge to take care of their families even in that evil system. That it meant that our parents were somehow “okay” with being 3rd class citizens in our own country…It took a lot of growing up for me to see that my Dad fought me so hard about joining SNCC, about joining the Black Panther Party..about going to Africa..was because every person he had ever known who openly challenged the “status quo” of white supremacy …..was dead..And not just him, as I grew older it seemed almost every family had a tale of somebody who had challenged the way things were …back in the 1920s..or during WW II or even back in WW I..those stories all ended with a person who died under “strange circumstances” like my Dad’s father..or had to secretly leave town “forever” like my Moms Uncle Arthur..or sometimes they just hung you from a tree..My Father fought me on those things out of love…….and fear. When he passed away in 1984 …I found out from my brother and from my Dad’s old army buddies that he not only gave money secretly to SCLC and SNCC..but that at night when he drank with his VFW buddies he would brag about his son who had the “whiteys” so scared…it’s awful that I didn’t really know that side of my father while he was alive. But when I talk about him today I always mention the guts and bravery it took to dare to just take good care of your family in that awful time that I grew up in..This picture is from the late fortys or early 50s…my Dad walking to work in downtown Atlanta. He was the Chef in a white Restaurant that he was NOT allowed to eat at himself…He once during the civil rights movement beginnings told me about how he saw all the Black students picketing the place..and getting beaten up by the cops…He made me and my sister promise that we would never get involved . what he didn’t know is that I already knew them all…But what I didn’t know it that it was not lost of Dad that he cooked there all day long and could never bring his family in for a meal…Dad helped to bail out several of those people…that was called “The Atlanta Student Movement”..19247586_10211490822737714_1723158322210788754_n Those people….those parents were ALL heroes.And I salute ALL the Black fathers of those times..and a profound apology to my Father.


18491839_10211175347331026_7198973368837060910_oI did not want to write this, I have been busy getting over chemo, as well as a cardiac procedure that came later. And the simple business of being there for my family has gotten complex since my daughters accident . But both at the supermarket yesterday as well as just now at the Sunoco station several people want to know how I feel about this District attorney’s race. First just in case you don’t know is I have NEVER jumped on a “bandwagon” in my life. I have NEVER chose a candidate to vote for because it was trendy or “cool” to do so. Or because I wanted to party with the “hip” people….and oh yeah ….the hardest part of this choice is remembering that there are NEVER any “perfect” candidates.Now with all that being said….nobody is going to like this who is with the “in” crowd..I’ve been out of circulation …but I have not been dead…There are three candidates that stick out for me …with good reason to vote for them …but they ALL still have many negatives… My three choices are Joe Khan…a scary former federal prosecutor with all that ” mandatory minimum sentences” well as having gone along with other questionable policies ..but he has risen to seem like the most competent of the candidates running.and he is an “outsider”.but running the D.As office is something I would trust him with..this would be my choice if I just wanted to “play it safe”…then there is Rich Negrin..he knows all the right people…a lot of people feel they owe him favors for shadowy things we don’t know about.worst of all this man is the choice of both the local police unions…he is indeed scary ….stinky ..but many, MANY people I trust and have worked with over the years have “stepped in line” to endorse him…he certainly knows city hall ….knows everybody in city council …and knows where ALL the bodies are buried…but again even with that smell..I would consider him another safe choice…third candidate is Lawrence Krasner ..just like Negrin he has a HUGE bandwagon following..both trusted old comrades as well as the clueless elite liberal hordes have jumped into this following…what gives me cause to again have to hold my nose is even though I have seen Krasner be there for Black Lives Matter..and step in for what he calls civil rights cases….I have to admit that in all five case where I have encountered the man in person….that old arrogant patronizing “white liberal thing” where he talks to white people in one tone of voice …and talks to black people like they are children.was ALWAYS there..But after the last election I have taken to talking about this particular “malady ” more…because it’s time for it to stop…this is a struggle white people have to look inside themselves and have the courage…or even the balls to admit and deal with…and I have to say that Krasner shares this problem with about half the “white liberal males” I know……and a lot of the women he is not alone …Hey after 52 years as an activist and organizer maybe this is something I’m tired of running from…So these three are who I think would be the best choices…and to say what about 30 people on the street asked me just today. With EXTREME caution I am voting for Lawrence Krasner….not for ANY of the reasons you hear in his adds…but simply because with the District Attorney’s department we have had for the last few decades I WANT SOMETHING BETTER….I can’t stand Krasher but like I said ..the “perfect” candidate does not exist….so I’m taking a chance…a leap of faith…or hey it could be something else..I’m also voting for Mark B. Cohen the son of my “Philly politics” mentor David Cohen..for judge of the court of common pleas…..there I said it all ….you may not like it ..the thing is you get to make your own choice when you vote tuesday ….but PLEASE VOTE


It’s 1955, I’m in grade school playing in the little tree in front of our apartment in “Carver Homes” housing project in Atlanta Georgia. My visiting Grandmother sitting on the front porch is tapping her feet and clapping her hands. I already was addicted to music  so I had to run over and see what she was listening to.  The  radio next door was blasting  “Maybellene, why can’t you be true.” I sat there listening to it with her, we loved it…It was maybe a month later that I found out this guy’s name was Chuck Berry. Throughout my childhood and teens I got to see and hear a lot about this guy. By 1965 I’m a teen but already making money as a musician ..for a lot of my peers Chucks era is already over. But as a drummer I cut my teeth on those  beats in his songs and even at that age I got picked to be the drummer at what they were already starting to call “oldies” shows .It’s 1970 I’m in the Black Panther Party I have gotten into the habit of showing up at “Rock “ concerts….meaning music shows for the white kids and selling the Black Panther Party newspaper. Back then we actually lived on the money we made doing that…and those “hippies” thought buying our paper was really cool. On this day the show was headlined by Chuck Berry, with Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes as the opening act and Berry’s back up band. Of course we had no money to get in. And the old “Hill street “ arena where the concert was held was not exactly a negro friendly place. When the show was over I was waitng for my ride when these nasty looking white boys on motor cycles roll up and ask …”how many papers you sell”…one of them says “how much money you got?…a voice to the side of me said …”none of your god damn business”….I didn’t know until they got on their bikes and road off that it was Mr. Berry……with what looked like an ax handle…I admit …I was shaking..he put a hand full of bills in my hand and said it was to pay for breakfast for them kids,

Chuck Berry in 1958, posing with his Gibson hollow-body electricÂ

Chuck Berry in 1958, posing with his Gibson hollow-body electricÂ

voyager1_high Chuck Berry was indeed a genuine “badass” and he took that right on stage with his guitar…I was not listening to a lot of music at that time other than my newly discovered Taj Mahal records. But for about five years or so after that I started haunting swap meets and yard sales buying up Chuck Berry records ..making up for the years when I was mostly into STAX and Motown…Cut to 1975..I now live in Philadelphia , but drive back to Atlanta about twice every year..My old 1970 Mustang…the first car I ever bought with my own money only had an AM radio..and for some reason it seemed every town we drove through from Philly to Atlanta …we heard some station playing …”My Ding-a-Ling”… I have come to hate that song. Chuck didn’t write in but this “novelty” song got him gigs at all the white colleges…and think about how many of his contemporaries couldn’t get a gig..It seems like Berry went the whole trip…from being a scary figure bringing that “dangerous jungle negro rock and roll” into the homes of America…( and trust me from about 1955 until the mid sixties you could always find editorials and documentaries about this dangerous music.) To being kind of “frat boy” joke at that time. But in his heyday  Chuck Berry who was older than Elvis or Little Richard …who were both almost a decade younger..was aiming his music directly at Americas kids. To them he was no kid ….but as they ..the white authority, used to say a “full grown buck” out to get our children… I lived through that 1950s “cold war” years and I can tell you white people were scared of EVERYTHING, commies, bombs, comic books, the growing civil rights movement…and now in the middle of all that these negroes are spreading this “jungle music” to our kids’…And in those days it did not help that so much of Berry’s music was about school days…and sweet little sixteen year olds…It today amazes me that he was so defiant…and did as he pleased..knowing he was always being watched …particularly for whether he was some how corrupting some of their “ youths”….And for a time it looked like Berry was cooperating with the police…Chuck went to jail and or paid fines for corrupting some “little girl” often in those days..even being convicted under the Mann Act…the act made it a crime to transport women across state lines “for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose.” Berry continued to perform on a regular basis well into the 1980s.Doing anywhere from 70 to 100 one nighters a year .And I read last month that he is releasing another record featuring his son Charles Jr. and his daughter Ingrid. I was saddened when I heard that Berry was found yesterday “unresponsive.” Rock and Roll …still lives…….sort of has today “morphed” into what is largely marketed as a “white” musical genre..But even that still holds some of the old element of  “danger” and rebellion . But when we see “rock” artist today..they still depend for the most part on a lot of the guitar riffs and “swagger” that Chuck Berry brought to the table. I really hate it today when people try to argue about just who invented Rock and Roll music . There was no person who invented Rock and roll music. It grew out of the sheer intensity of post WW II American culture. The growing numbers of young people who would by the records …and YES I will say it. The Black music that was the heart of Rock..Yeah a lot of that “swagger” and attitude we really do owe to Chuck Berry.and to Little Richard…who by the force of his musicianship…as well as his very personality and his “crazyness” refined the culture of the “outlaw” musician…Elvis …well Elvis really has more in common with acts like .”The Monkees” due to the fact that in many ways he was a “manufactured” know the old Sam Phillips line “If I could find a white man who had the Negro sound and the Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars.'” …well they found a boy who was almost there and built the rest..Not to take anything away from Elvis..after all he had to get out there and “do it”…And if it were not for him the “marketing” of Rock and the world wide phenomenon it became may have never happened…So we say goodbye to Charles Edward AndersonChuckBerry (October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017) but in many ways ..he will always be with us. I think the best tribute to just how important Chuck was is that fact his music..”Johnny B. Goode” went into the depths of outer space on the Voyager space probe ..representing a big part of the culture of human beings…I would love to see the reaction of the first alien who hears it.


la-na-spider-martin-photographer-selma-bloody-sunday-20150308…..I just had breakfast, a breakfast of food that I would never eat at home. The person who invited me to have breakfast with her on this special morning is the only person I know of in Philadelphia who participated in “Bloody Sunday” or any of the real civil rights movement for that matter..That horrific march where we were attacked on that bridge in Selma Alabama. We sat there with instant coffee, a scrambled egg and fried baloney. ( shut the f*ck up to all my “healthy” eating friends… it was all she had, and I remember back when I was in the Black Panther Party I would be happy to get that ) we talked about those days when we were so young. But really wanted to change the world…For those among you who don’t know. Most of us were motivated by not wanting to see another generation grow up thinking “Jim Crow” was normal. We talked about how our post movement lives had turned out, as many of my friends have heard me me say , for many of us old soldiers we still live marginalized lives …struggling still light years away from any wealth. But in these times we can always think of some relative or friend who really did well when we finally got a little bit of a level playing field for or people. For me it’s my ( “little” brother ) who is a lead accountant for a huge company..a man who when he was three years old cried all night when he had to wet himself because we couldn’t find a “colored” bathroom at the farmer’s market…I can still hear that little voice saying “I don’t want to be colored anymore…Back when I was in the movement that memory was always helpful to motivate me to get the hell up and move on to the next thing…That brother hates my guts today but his success always makes me feel good.The woman I was dining with could not have any children…due to a botched “backalley” abortion …in that same year as the march, 1965. Her sisters had been taking care of her. That’s why she left Jackson Miss. to come to Philly. She spent her whole life taking care of her two sisters kids. When they both died she got left with nothing but minimal Social Security about 350 $ a month. But her eyes light up when she talks about the education and careers of her sister’s children….I get that….I really understand it I know a lot of people from the old days like that. And it makes me angry a little when some people in the current generation say that we didn’t do enough back during those days….they totally take for granted how many things they can do than most of us NEVER could….What happened on Bloody Sunday lead directly to the passage of the Voting Rights act of 1965….today the process of gutting the act a piece at a time threatens to undo a lot of that work….alright “smarty pants” “Millennials” .since you think you know every fu*king thing. I challenge you to try to help us save it…video just shows what we went through on that one day…don’t forget there was also bombing, arson and lynchings…..all directed at us.


Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith were African American men who were lynched on August 7, 1930, in Marion, Indiana, after being taken from jail and beaten by a mob. They had been arrested that night as suspects in a robbery, murder and rape case. A third African American suspect, 16-year-old James Cameron, had also been arrested and narrowly escaped being killed by the mob. The teenagers had been accused of murdering a white man and raping a white woman. The noose was removed from the neck of one of the three, James Cameron, when a woman, by one account, shouted, “Take this boy back! He had nothing to do with any raping or killing.” Mary Ball later testified that she had not been raped. According to Cameron’s 1982 memoir, the police had originally accused all three men of murder and rape. After the lynchings, and Mary Ball’s testimony, the rape charge was dropped.

The two 1930 lynchings before thousands of whites, some of whom returned home with body parts and other souvenirs, were captured in an iconic photo. But today nothing in Marion memorializes the lynchings.”The night of the lynching, studio photographer Lawrence Beitler took a photograph of the crowd by the bodies of the men hanging from a tree. He sold thousands of copies over the next 10 days, and it has become an iconic image of a lynching.
In 1937 Abel Meeropol, a Jewish schoolteacher from New York City and the adoptive father of the sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, saw a copy of Beitler’s 1930 photograph. Meeropol later said that the photograph “haunted [him] for days” and inspired his poem “Bitter Fruit”. It was published in the New York Teacher in 1937 and later in the magazine New Masses, in both cases under the pseudonym Lewis Allan. Meeropol set his poem to music, renaming it “Strange Fruit”. He performed it at a labor meeting in Madison Square Garden. In 1939 it was performed, recorded and popularized by American singer Billie Holiday. The song reached 16th place on the charts in July 1939, and has since been recorded by numerous artists, continuing into the 21st century.
After years as a civil rights activist, in 1988 James Cameron founded and became director of America’s Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, devoted to African-American history in the United States. He intended it as a place for education and reconciliation.
In 2007, artist David Powers supervised the creation of a mural, titled American Nocturne, in a park in downtown Elgin, Illinois. The mural depicts the bottom half of the Beitler photograph, showing the crowd at the lynching but not the bodies of Shipp and Smith. The artwork was intended as a critique of racism in American society. In 2016 there was a public controversy when the similarity between the mural and the photo was posted on social media. The mural was moved from the park to the Hemmens Cultural Center.The Elgin Cultural Arts Commission then recommended to the city council that the mural be permanently removed from public display.mural5526039c2a740.image

My favorite woman leader from the 1960s civil rights era Gloria Richardson

This is one of my favorite historical pictures of all time ….This is Gloria Richardson…and she was one of Malcolm X’s heroes …Gloria Hayes Richardson was born on May 6, 1922 in Baltimore, Maryland to parents John and Mabel Hayes. During the Great Depression her parents moved the family to Cambridge, Maryland, the home of Mabel Hayes. Young Gloria grew up in a privileged environment. Her grandfather, Herbert M. St. Clair, was one of the town’s wealthiest citizens. He owned numerous properties in the city’s Second Ward which included a funeral parlor, grocery store and butcher shop. He was also the sole African American member of the Cambridge City Council through most of the early 20th Century.

Gloria attended Howard University in Washington at the age of 16 and graduated in 1942 with a degree in sociology. After Howard, she worked as a civil servant for the federal government in World War II-era Washington, D.C. but returned to Cambridge after the war. Despite her grandfather’s political and economic influence, the Maryland Department of Social Services, for example, refused to hire Gloria or any other black social workers. Gloria Hayes married local school teacher Harry Richardson in 1948 and raised a family for the next thirteen years.

When the civil rights movement came to Cambridge in 1961 in the form of Freedom Riders, the town was thoroughly segregated and the African American unemployment rate was 40%. Gloria Richardson’s teenage daughter, Donna, became involved with the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee’s (SNCC) effort to desegregate public accommodations. Gloria, however, refused to commit herself to non-violence as a protest tactic.

When the SNCC-led protests faltered in 1962, Gloria and other parents created the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee (CNAC) which became the only adult-led SNCC affiliate in the civil rights organization’s history. CNAC enlarged the scope of grievances to include housing and employment discrimination and inadequate health care. Richardson was selected to lead CNAC.

This Richardson-led effort differed from most other civil rights campaigns of the era. It took place in a border state rather than the Deep South. It addressed a much wider array of issues rather than the one or two that motivated other campaigns. Since Richardson and her followers refused to commit to non-violence as a philosophy or a tactic, CNAC protests were far more violent and confrontative. Protests in 1963, for example, prompted Maryland Governor J. Millard Tawes to send in the Maryland National Guard. The Guard remained in the city, which was effectively under martial law, for nearly a year. The Cambridge Movement also drew the attention of U.S. Attorney General Bobby Kennedy who unsuccessfully attempted to broker an agreement between Cambridge’s white political leaders and Richardson’s CNAC.

By the summer of 1964 Richardson resigned from the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee citing her exhaustion from leading nearly two years of continuous demonstrations. Richardson, who had divorced Harry Richardson in the late 1950s, married freelance photographer Frank Dandridge. The couple moved to New York City with Richardson’s younger daughter Tamara.521618_4987366773452_1067897297_n