|01-10-2007, 07:35 PM||#72|
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|01-13-2007, 10:07 AM||#73|
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And since we were talking about African presidents, here is another one I want to add to this list eventhough it's said that he was "a controversial figure". Maybe some of our African members can add some additional background informations and details about the controversy.
Jomo Kenyatta and his second wife Edna Clarke
Jomo Kenyatta was a Kenyan politician, the first Prime Minister (1963–1964) and President (1964–197 of an independent Kenya. He is considered the founding father of the Kenyan Nation. Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is named after him.
Jomo Kenyatta entered politics in 1924 when he joined the Kikuyu Central Association. In 1928 he worked on Kĩkũyũ land problems before the Hilton Young Commission in Nairobi. In 1928 he began to edit the newspaper Muigwithania (Reconciler).
He published his revised LSE thesis as Facing Mount Kenya in 1938 under his new name Jomo Kenyatta. During this period he also was an active member of a group of African, Caribbean and American intellectuals that included at various times C.L.R. James, Eric Williams, W.A. Wallace Johnson, Paul Robeson, and Ralph Bunche. He also was an extra in the film Sanders of the River (1934), directed by Alexander Korda and starring Paul Robeson.
In 1946 Kenyatta founded the Pan-African Federation with Kwame Nkrumah. In 1947 he became a president of the Kenya African Union (KAU). He began to receive death threats from white settlers after his election.
His reputation with the British government was marred by his assumed involvement with the Mau Mau Rebellion. He was arrested in October 1952, accused of organizing the Mau Mau and on April 8, 1953 was sentenced to seven years in prison and hard labour. Contemporary opinion linked him with the Mau Mau but later research claims otherwise. Kenyatta was in prison until 1959. He was then sent into exile on probation in Lodwar, a remote part of Kenya.
The state of emergency was lifted in December 1960. In 1961, both successors of the former KAU party, the Kenya African National Union (KANU) and the Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU) demanded his release. On May 14, 1960, Kenyatta was elected KANU president in absentia. He was fully released on August 21, 1961. He was admitted into the Legislative Council the next year when one member handed over his seat, and contributed to the creation of a new constitution. His initial attempt to reunify KAU failed.
In elections in May 1963 Kenyatta's KANU won 83 seats out of 124. On June 1 Kenyatta became prime minister of the autonomous Kenyan government, and was known as mzee (a Swahili word meaning old man or elder). At this stage he asked white settlers not to leave Kenya and supported reconciliation. He retained the role of prime minister after independence was declared on December 12, 1963. On December 12, 1964, Kenya became a republic, with Kenyatta as executive president.
Kenyatta was a controversial figure. He is accused by his critics of having left the Kenyan republic at risk from tribal rivalries, given that his hitherto dominant Kikuyu tribesmen did not like the idea of having a president from a different tribe. He was succeeded by Daniel arap Moi.
He married Englishwoman Edna Clarke who gave birth to his son Peter Magana in 1943. He later left her to return to Kenya in 1946.
Read whole biography here
Woman offers Awori Mzee's 'original' wedding certificate
Police have blocked a meeting between Vice-President Moody Awori and a woman who claimed to have the original certificate of Mzee Kenyatta's marriage to an English woman. Security officers stepped in at the last minute to stop the woman from seeing Mr Awori, whom she was to give what she claimed was the original marriage certificate of the 1942 union between Edna Clarke and the man who would become Kenya's first president.
Edna, who died in 1995 at the age of 86, was Kenyatta's second wife. Mzee was an agricultural labourer in England, earning £4 a week when the two met three years before he returned home to join the nationalist struggle.
Their wedding – recorded in the certificate Dhiri offered the government – took place on May 11, 1942, at the Chanctonbury registry office at Storrington in Sussex. Kenyatta left Edna in England when he returned to Kenya in 1946 and married Mama Ngina.
Edna and Kenyatta had one child, Peter Magana, who worked for many years as a BBC producer and was a frequent visitor to Kenya.
It was after his return to the country that Kenyatta married Mama Ngina. His first wife, Wahu, mother of Margaret Kenyatta Peter Muigai, lives in Nairobi's Dagoretti area.
Edna had been working as a governess at an English couple's home when she heard of Kenyatta, who was described as a "very interesting Abyssinian". Abysinnia was the colonial name for present day Ethiopia.
Not even the fact that Kenyatta was already married to another woman back home – Mama Wahu – affected his relationship with Edna. She would later tell interviewers she never expected to return to Kenya with him.
Former Vice-President Joseph Murumbi and former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta welcome Edna on her arrival into the country for Kenya's 1963 independence celebrations.
Edna visited Kenya as a special state guest during the Uhuru (independence) celebrations. Among the people who received her at the airport was Mama Ngina.
Whole article here
|01-14-2007, 08:51 AM||#75|
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James "Jimmy" Boggs and his wife Grace Lee Boggs
James Boggs, born 1919, was a prominent African-American political activist, auto worker and author. He was married for forty years until his death in 1993 to Chinese American socialist and feminist activist, Grace Lee Boggs.
An African American born and raised in Alabama, Jimmy Boggs migrated to Detroit in the 1930s and worked for three decades as an autoworker and labor organizer. An organic intellectual, his book The American Revolution (1963) has been widely read by radicals within the US and around the globe.
From back of book American Revoution 1963:
"James Boggs, born in Marion Junction, Alabama in 1919: never dreamed of becoming President or a locomotive engi- neer. He grew up in a world where the white folks are gentle- men by day and Ku Klux Klanners at night. Marion Junction is in Dallas County where as late as 1963, although Negroes made up over 57 percent of the total county population of 57,000, only 130 Negroes were registered voters. After graduating from Dunbar High School in Bessemer, Alabama, in 1937, Boggs took the first freight train north, bumming his way through the western part of the country, working in the hop fields of the state of Washington, cutting ice in Minnesota, and finally ending up in Detroit where he worked on WPA until the Second World War gave him a chance to enter the Chrysler auto plant. He has been an auto worker ever since, and a rebel for as long as he can remember. The American Revolution has been translated into French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Catalan, and Portuguese."
Boggs was active in the far left organization, Correspondence Publishing Committee led by C.L.R. James from around the time it left the Trotskyist movement in the early 1950s until Boggs and Grace Lee Boggs led a split in 1962, breaking with C.L.R. James. In later years, he would play an influential role in the radical wing of the civil rights movement and interacted with many of the most important civil rights activists of the day including Malcolm X, Ossie Davis and many others. Read more here
Grace Lee Boggs (born June 27, 1915) is an author, lifelong anti-racist activist and feminist. She is known for her years of political collaboration with C.L.R. James and Raya Dunayevskaya in the 1940s and 1950s. She eventually went off in her own political direction in the 1960s with her husband of some forty years, James Boggs, until his death in 1993.
Grace Lee Boggs is an activist, writer and speaker whose more than sixty years of political involvement encompass the major U.S. social movements of this century: Labor, Civil rights, Black Power, Asian American, Women's and Environmental Justice.
Born in Providence, R.I. of Chinese immigrant parents in l915, Grace received her B.A. from Barnard College in l935 and her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Bryn Mawr College in l940. In the l940s and l950s she worked with West Indian Marxist historian C.L.R. James and in l953 she came to Detroit where she married James Boggs, African American labor activist, writer and strategist. Working together in grassroots groups and projects, they were partners for over 40 years until James death in July l993. Their book, Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century, was published by Monthly Review Press in l974.
In 1992, with James Boggs, Shea Howell and others, she founded DETROIT SUMMER, a multicultural, intergenerational youth program to rebuild, redefine and respirit Detroit from the ground up, which completed its twelfth season in the summer of 2003. Currently she is active in Detroit Summer and with the Freedom Schoolers, and writes for the weekly Michigan Citizen. Her autobiography, Living for Change, published by the University of Minnesota Press in March l998, now in its second printing, is widely used in university classes on social movements and autobiography writing.
Her many awards include:
1993: Human Rights Day Award, Center of Peace and Conflict Studies, Wayne State University.
1998: Zenobia Paine Drake Award, Black Family Development.
2000: Discipleship Award from Groundwork for a Just World.
2000: Distinguished Alumnae Award, Barnard College.
2000: Chinese American Pioneers Award, Organization of Chinese Americans.
2001: Women's Lifetime Achievement, Anti-Defamation League.
2002: Legacy Award, Museum of Chinese in America, New York City.
2004: Grassroots Peacebuilder Award, Peace Action of Michigan.
2004: Senior Celebrity Award, Bridging Communities, Detroit.
2004: Doctor of Humane Letters degree, College of Wooster.
2004: Interfaith Committee on Worker Issues Award.
2004: Lifetime Commitment Award, Michigan Coalition for Human Rights.
2005: Lifetime Achievement Award, Michigan Women's Federation.
2005: Community Honoree Award, WAND (Women's Action for New Directions).
2005: Urban Woman Writer in Residence, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, Wayne State University.
2005: Lifetime Achievement Award, Detroit City Council.
2006: May - Marygrove College,The Theresa Maxis Award for Social Justice.
A plaque in her honor is displayed at the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York.
Read more here
Grace, Jimmy, love & vision
by Jack Lessenberry
If there is a more fascinating story of love and an intellectual partnership anywhere, I certainly don’t know it. Jimmy Boggs was a black autoworker from Alabama whose formal education stopped after a poor segregated high school.
Grace Lee was an older Chinese-American woman from Rhode Island. She had a Ph.D. in philosophy from Bryn Mawr and was a follower of an esoteric West Indian Marxist and cricket enthusiast, C.L.R. James. They met in Detroit in the early ’50s, where she had come to put out a newsletter. She invited him over to dinner.
They barely knew each other. He showed up an hour late; he said he didn’t like her lamb chops and sneered at her taste in music. Then — that same night — he asked her to marry him. She agreed, and what followed was an amazing 40-year partnership.
What could a half-educated Chrysler worker have to say to a philosopher? Well, plenty. Grace’s mentor opposed the marriage, in part because he feared she would become a follower of his. Jimmy Boggs was — there is no other word — brilliant.
This, however, might not have been immediately apparent to a journalist or even a higher species of pseudo-intellectual. Boggs often talked like an Alabama sharecropper, liked to work under the hood of a car, and would cheerfully tell you how a hog once mistook his toe for a sweet potato and nearly bit it off.
Yet after working on the line all day, he would stretch out on the floor of the aging house they rented and write rapidly in longhand, on a legal pad. The passage at the start of this essay comes from his first and probably greatest book, The American Revolution: Notes From a Negro Worker’s Notebook, which was published in 1963.
Essentially, the book says that “Marx’s concept of socialism had become irrelevant,” Grace Lee Boggs remembers, talking to me about her husband in the very room where he wrote his book. Marx wrote in a time of material scarcity, when capitalists could not make money if workers refused to work.
James Boggs, one of those workers, saw clearly — long before most labor leaders and sociologists — that machines were making work disappear and many workers irrelevant. “The time had come,” Jimmy wrote, “to stop depending on Marx and to do for our time what Marx had done for his,” remembers Grace, her eyes shining, her mind as clear and incisive as ever. That’s what the two of them tried to do together, for decades.
They wrote and they marched and demonstrated. Grace and Jimmy organized neighborhood groups to fight crime by discouraging the purchase of “hot goods,” to demand to be treated with dignity, to try and figure out how to create a more fully human life for everyone. They fought incessantly to make a new American Revolution in a postindustrial Detroit that was largely crumbling and abandoned. They were, for most of their lives, ignored by the local media — and celebrated internationally.
Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee were visitors at the house on Field Street. Kwame Nkrumah told Grace, quite seriously, that if she had married him they could have changed all Africa. Shortly after Jimmy’s book was published, without much fanfare by the little Monthly Review Press, he got a fan letter from Bertrand Russell, the best-known philosopher of the age. A correspondence followed in which Boggs — respectfully — lectured the grand old man on what the duty of philosophers should be.
Tragically, Jimmy Boggs was a heavy cigarette smoker, which ended up killing him in July 1993. He was writing pointed letters to the Free Press and speaking to classes right up until just a few days before he died. Almost the last thing he did was inspire the still-flourishing Detroit Summer, which brings older generations together with kids every year to “rebuild Detroit from the ground up.”
Last thing he did in life, that is; he is still inspiring people. Grace still lives in the home they rented for decades on Field Street. She has a new landlord now: The Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership bought the house, and has converted the second floor to a combination office, conference area and dormitory. For further details on what she and the center are doing, check out www.boggscenter.org.
Grace herself is still going strong; writing a weekly column in the Michigan Citizen, lecturing, traveling, mentoring. She doesn’t turn 88, after all, till later this month.
WHole article here
|01-14-2007, 09:00 AM||#76|
Join Date: Jul 2005
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And one for the artists among us ...
Jean-Michel Basquiat and Suzanne Mallouk and Madonna
Jean-Michel Basquiat (December 22, 1960 - August 12, 198 was an American artist born in Brooklyn, New York City. He gained fame, first as a graffiti artist in New York City, and then as a highly successful Neo-expressionist artist in the international art scene of the 1980s. Many recognize Basquiat as a leading figure in contemporary art, and his paintings continue to command high prices in the art market.
Born in 1960 to a Puerto Rican mother and Haitian father, Basquiat left home and school at eighteen. His art was decisively shaped by years spent scratching a living in squats, and doing tags alongside partner Al Diaz under their shared name “Samo” (Same Old Shit). Despite a wealth of visual references to both contemporary and classic art that came to nourish the main body of his work, Basquiat´s work remained marked by his graffiti. Samo, the Basquiat-Diaz duo, began to gain recognition from 1978 through the graphic and poetic quality of their tags. But real success came in the eighties. After breaking up with Diaz in 1979, the young Basquiat exhibited in the Bronx with Jenny Holzer, Kiki Smith and Kenny Sharf.
During the next few years, he continued exhibiting his works around New York alongside artists such as Keith Haring, Barbara Kruger, as well as internationally, promoted by his gallarists Annina Nosei, Larry Gagosian, Mary Boone and Bruno Bischofberger. By 1982, Basquiat was showing regularly alongside Julian Schnabel, David Salle, Francesco Clemente and Enzo Cucchi, thus becoming part of a loose-knit group that art-writers, curators, and collectors would soon be calling the Neo-expressionist movement.
The same year, he was exhibiting alongside Keith Haring, and Robert Mapplethorpe at the “New York/New Wave” show, which led on to collaboration and joint shows with Warhol. His was a brief, but brilliant career, one of the highlights being his contribution in 1984 to the exhibition “An International Survey of recent painting” marking the reopening of the MoMA in New York. In 1985 Basquiat appeared on the cover of The New York Times Magazine in a feature entitled "New Art, New Money: The Marketing of an American Artist". As Basquiat's international success heightened, his works were shown in solo exhibitions across major European capitals.
Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol did a number of collaborative works. They also painted together, influencing each others' work. Some speculated that Andy Warhol was merely using Basquiat for some of his techniques and insight. Their relationship continued until Warhol's death in 1987. Warhol's death was very distressing for Basquiat, and is speculated by Phoebe Hoban, in Basquiat, her 1998 biography on the artist, that Warhol's death was a turning point for Basquiat, and that afterwards his drug addiction and depression began to spiral.
Basquiat´s popularity was already sky-rocketing shortly after his death in 1988. Today he is one of the most expensive artists of his generation. He produced some 800 to 900 paintings, and around 1,500 drawings. Most are already in private or public collections. Demand for his work already exceeds supply, and good quality Basquiats are becoming more and more difficult to come by. With so few pieces around, buyers tend not to be picky about any one period or technique in his work.
Basquiat's greatest masterpiece, knocked down for 5,000,000 US$ (EUR 5,487,000) at Christie´s in May 2002.
The catalogue states about Profit I:
"Executed in Italy in 1982 at the height of his creative development and fame, this epic canvas can be seen both in its scale and ambition to be his equivalent of Picasso's Guernica. Here Basquiat shows his understanding of the expressionist brushwork of de Kooning and Kline, and the frenetic graphic languarge of Cy Twombly. He mixes art historical precdent wih the raw primitivism of urban graffiti to paint an image of a black crucified hero, that is partly a self portrait and partly African warrior and Voodoo shaman."
Suzanne Mallouk first met painter Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1980; she served drinks in a smoky Manhattan dive named Night Birds while he played Eartha Kitt's "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" over and over on a jukebox. Basquiat moved in with her weeks later, his only possessions including a broken radio and a tin can full of crayons.
Four years later, he was famous. Four more and he was dead, of a heroin overdose.
Suzanne Mallouk, to all intent and purpose, and if you want to talk in such poetic and potentially archaic terms was Basquiat's main muse.
A Panel Of Experts
There are several lovely paintings in which Mallouk appears, notably one called A Panel Of Experts where she is pictured in a boxing match with Madonna (He started dating Madonna in the fall of '82). In the painting the word 'Madonna' is crossed out, and the word 'Venus' (his term for Suzanne) left untouched.
The reason? Suzanne won the fight.
Read more here and here and here
|01-17-2007, 09:44 AM||#77|
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Henry Louis Gates Jr. and his wife Sharon Adams
Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr. (born September 16, 1950, Piedmont, West Virginia) is a literary critic, educator, scholar, writer, editor, and public intellectual. Gates is the W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities at Harvard and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research there. Educated at Yale and Clare College of the University of Cambridge, he taught English literature and Afro-American studies at Yale and at Cornell before joining Harvard in 1991.
Gates discovered The Bondwoman's Narrative which is the first known novel written by an African American woman who had been a slave. He along with Anthony Anthony Appiah edited Africana; The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.
He is also general editor of the The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, co-editor of Transition magazine, a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of essays, reviews and profiles in other magazines, scholarly periodicals and newspapers.
Honors granted to him include the Zora Neale Hurston Society Award for Cultural Scholarship, the Norman Rabb Award of the American Jewish Committee, the George Polk Award for Social Commentary and the Tikkun National Ethics Award. He has been a Mellon Fellow at Cambridge and the National Humanities Center, a Ford Foundation National Fellow and a MacArthur Prize Fellow. Gates is also a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board.
Henry Louis Gates Jr. emerged from Mineral County, West Virginia, to become one of the leading black scholars in the nation. He was one of the first African-American students to attend the newly desegregated public schools of Piedmont following the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954. Gates took an interest in local civil rights issues and with three other blacks, known as the "Fearsome Foursome," pressured the Blue Jay restaurant and nightclub to integrate.
Henry Louis Gates Jr. was the first African-American to be awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship. The recipient of more than 30 honorary degrees and numerous academic and social action awards, Gates was named a MacArthur Fellow in 1981 and was listed among Time Magazine’s “25 Most Influential Americans” in 1997. As a literary historian committed to the preservation and study of historical texts, Gates has been integral to the Black Periodical Literature Project, an archive of black newspapers and magazines created with financial assistance from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Henry ("Skip") Louis Gates Jr. with African American Literature Book Club Founder Troy Johnson
Raised in the mill town of Piedmont, West Virginia, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who initially enrolled at Potomac State College, transferred as an undergraduate to Yale University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and met Sharon Adams, a white campaign worker for Jay Rockefeller. He married her seven years later.
Henry Louis Gates Jr. -- the first African American in Piedmont openly to date white women
Gates's childhood memoir, Colored People (1994), written for his daughters, Maggie and Liza, who "didn't have a clue about who I was or why", describes how his school had "integrated without a peep" after the desegregation ruling of Brown v Board of Education in 1954. With blackpower, he "stopped being a Negro, turned black and grew the first Afro in Piedmont".
He was also the first African American there openly to date white women. Phillips saw the memoir as a "rose-tinted" version of the Jim Crow South. Yet Gates describes how doctors blamed a crippling injury at 14, which needed a series of operations and left him with a permanent limp, on his being an "over-achiever" - racist code for uppity. His mother hated white people.
"No one who met my mother would have thought she was a black nationalist," says Gates. "But the scars of racism are deep." He became a born-again Christian for a period through watching her suffer depression due to "severe menopause - a profound hormonal imbalance. She got better but never fully recovered; she was treated as a hypochondriac." She died in 1987.
"I was raised to be a doctor, like all smart black kids," Gates says. But after pre-med studies ("where 'nigger' was hung on me so many times that I thought it was my name"), he fled north to Yale and switched to history. He was among the first large intake of black students, in 1969-73. "I was in heaven; Yale was full of nerds who loved books; I met black people like me who wanted to be professors."
He was fascinated by black nationalism, yet distant from it. "I'm a little country boy," he says. "People from the hills of West Virginia are blessed with a hard-headed common sense. I was at a rally and said to a friend, 'I'm worried I'm not black enough'."
In a 1996 essay, "The Parable of the Talents", Gates criticised "black bourgeoisie-bashing" saying "where Du Bois saw saviours, who would uplift the race, a new generation saw only sellouts". He says, "Do you stop being black by being successful? In the 50s, the blackest thing you could be was a doctor or lawyer. But after the 60s, 'genuine' blackness was equated with rebellious identity, the hip-hop ideal. That's a travesty of our tradition."
Aged 20, he went to Tanzania with the Peace Corps, working at a mission hospital. "From the time I was 10 I wanted to visit Africa," he says. "We were growing Afros and wearing dashikis; I went to immerse myself in blackness. I hitch-hiked across the equator with a white fellow - the trip of a lifetime."
He discovered a cultural and genetic continuity between the old and new worlds "that had been systematically denied", and was struck that "most social problems we thought were race-based were class-based: race was a metaphor".
These insights fed his later work. He met his wife, Sharon Adams, who is white, in 1972, when she was working for Jay Rockefeller's campaign for governor of West Virginia, about which Gates planned to write a book.
"He lost, but I met my wife. She was so different from me - beautiful, brilliant and subtle." An artist and potter, she became a garden designer. Their two daughters are now at university.
Read more here and here and here
|01-17-2007, 01:24 PM||#78|
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Grand Rapids
Posts: 161Rep Power: 21
Movers and Shakers
You have many Blacks who are married to each other who are not politcally and socially active.
I do agree the stereotyping of Black males with non-Black female partners is wrong. However, I can understand where the stereotype comes from. There are cases of Black men and women in these relationships who feel disconnected with the Black community and contributes nothing to Black America. However, this has nothing to do with the fact they are in an interracial relationships but with their own issues of self hatred and dealing with their own feelings of intra-racism before they entered into an IR relationship. As far as I am concerned, as long as you are contributing to the true liberation of people of color whether it be here or internationally, I can really care less if your wife or husband is Asian, White, Hispanic, or Other. Even if you did not contribute a thing, you are a human being and are entitled to your power of choice. If those choices is not causing me immediate physical harm and I am not being verbally harrassed, then I have no right to physcially or verbally attack you because of the mate you choose. If I don't like it--keep my mouth shut, look the other direction, and show respect for the relationship.
|01-17-2007, 02:47 PM||#80|
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,725Rep Power: 29
Re: Movers and Shakers
I was wondering how long it would take you to find this thread. As a fellow scholar & researcher you should just sit back and enjoy the enlightenment that Silver is providing in this particular realm. I know personally it has opened my eyes up to alot of things concerning history and especially the worldwide fight for equality & freedom that goes on even today.
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