Saturday, April 05, 2008

where are our black leaders?

there are some who ask: why don't we african americans have more black leaders at the helm? the answer is, they killed them.

martin luther king, jr. wasn't the only one who was murdered. here's my personal favorite: fred hampton -- pre-law student, leader and tireless organizer for the black panthers. fred was shot down at the age of 20 in a chicago police raid. when a crossdressing closeted j. edgar hoover decided fred and his constituents were dangerous, the CIA, the FBI and the Chicago police department worked in concert to murder him and many others. of course, no one was jailed for any of this.

what was so dangerous about fred, anyway? was it the free breakfast program that the black panthers facilitated for underprivileged black children? was it his ties to communism and socialism? or was it his reigning cry: power to all people -- black, white and otherwise?

i think the argument was shifting from a racial to an economic one, and this made the government and the status quo very uncomfortable. remember: upon his death, dr. king was planning another march on washington, this time for the poor and disenfranchised. it had been building up for months in other parts of the country in 1967 - 1968. many thought that there would be some sort of an insurrection. and then they killed king, and the march never happened.

ever since then, the unspoken mantra seems to be -- distract them with race and gender issues, so no one will address economic issues. while we're squabbling, they're running us into the ground with outsourced jobs, non-electric cars, wars we don't want and debt that we could never hope to pay.

but i digress.

i love the way fred addresses a crowd. he talks as though he's speaking to one person, not a hundred. like it's just him and you, discussing things. and the call and response he initiates -- so southern, just like that twangy accent he refuses to gentrify. it's almost like he's chewing what he says before he says it. i LOVE that.

mostly, i love how impassioned he is and how knowledgeable and how much he cares.  he would have been a tremendous leader...

No comments: