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Sunday, January 28, 2024

African Drumming in The African Diaspora: Kwe Kwe (Queh Queh) Drumming

Kwe Kwe Dance Company, Atlanta, Georgia: Drumming at Guyana Day During Atlanta Carnival Weekend 2018

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Saturday, July 8, 2023

Comrade Dr. Mutulu Shakur Now Walks With the Ancestors as reported by Charmaine Simpson

Comrade Dr. Mutulu Shakur has joined the ancestors. Dr Mutulu Shakur was a member of the Black Liberation Army. He was a relentless fighter for African Liberation who never repudiated our anticolonial struggle for freedom.
Dr Mutulu Shakur was born in Baltimore and raised in New York City. He came into political life as a teenager as part of the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM). He subsequently joined the Republic of New Afrika and then the Black Liberation Army.

Dr Mutulu Shakur was a licensed Acupuncturist and organised against the heroine epidemic placed upon our community as part of the counterinsurgency war waged on the African Revolution of the 1960s by the US government. His organizing is chronicled in the documentary Dope is Death.

Dr Mutulu Shakur spent 36 years captive in the colonial prison system in the US. He was recently released in November 2022. He had bone cancer. Dr Mutulu Shakur was the husband of Afeni Shakur and stepfather to Tupac Shakur.

May Comrade Mutulu Rest In Uhuru! We must continue our struggle until Africa is redeemed and all Africans are free!

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Abeng #DubPoetry : Kwayana's Meditation (The Wisdom of The Drum)

 Kwayana's Meditation (The Wisdom of The Drum)

Greetings Bredren and Sistren; Idren and Idren. Big up and Bless up.
This dub poem Kwayana's Meditation, is actually a tribute and ode to Baba Eusi Kwayana and the Working Peoples' Association (WPA).

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Join Kaya on Uncle Pablo's Kreolese Korner

 Pablo's Kreolese Korner

Join Uncle Pablo as interviews me, Kaya Omodele, on Pablo's Kreolese Korner on Saturday, May 7th, 2022. I will recite my dub poem Kwayana's Meditation (Wisdom of The Drum) from my debut book, Cries of Redemption.

The featured band is Creole Rock featuring Gavin and Chucky

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Bad Friday 1963: The Rastafari Persecution at Coral Gardens


Coral Gardens lies on the North Coast of Jamaica, W.I., in the eastern outskirts of
Montego Bay; it's a part of the Rosehall Estate. Back in the late 1950s and early 1960s, groups of Rastafarians squatted on the land and farmed ganja on a small scale in the area. The landowners and businessmen around Coral Gardens had it in their minds to make the area a tourist haven, but Rastas stood in the way. Tension engulfed the authorities and Rastas like thick ganja smoke.

Now this is before Bob Marley and other reggae artists helped swing Rastafari into the mainstream. Back then, anti-Rasta sentiment choked much of Jamaican society. Many saw Rasta locksmen as vagrants, degenerates, and even referred to them as "Blackheart Man"; and police and people would often gang up on Rastas, beat them and sometimes kill them. Because of the brutality much of the society meted out, Rasta bredren and sistren would avoid public spaces, preferring to gather in their own encampments and yards. Even so, police and soldiers would storm, raid, and turn their homes upside down. They would evict Rasta and destroy their shanty homes.

Rastafari Plight in The 50s Jamaica 

Leonard P. Howell and The Burning of The Pinnacle

"...the streets of Jamaica (Kingston and St Catherine in particular) were energised by the inspired preaching and teachings of the Honourable Leonard Howell, one of the earliest Rastafarian pioneers." ~ Yasus Afari, Overstanding Rastafari-Jamaica's Gift to the World
In 1940, Leonard Percival Howell (also called Gonganguru, G.G. Maragh, and The "First Rasta") formed the Pinnacle commune at Sligoville, high in the hills of St. Catherine, Jamaica. Pinnacle was the first autonomous, self-governing, self-sustaining Rastafarian village. Members of the community farmed food for their own consumption, then sold the surplus at markets in Spanish Town and Kingston. Howell and members of Pinnacle operated a bakery; created handcraft; burned hardwood, then consumed and sold charcoal from that burnt hardwood. They also farmed ganja, which they smoked as the sacrament (and also used for medicine) and the surplus was another source of revenue, one that led to economic independence for the entire community. The Pinnacle commune was enterprising, and it thrived with thousands of residents.

From its inception, police raided Pinnacle multiple times. However, there was a ten-year period of peace (from about 1944 to 1954),
Pinnacle Gate Ruins
when the community flourished without police harassment. But Howell was a problem for the state- philosophically, socially, and, because he had become a leading ganja cultivator, economically. His calls for Black people to stop hailing the King of Great Britain and turn to The Emperor of Ethiopia led to his arrest for sedition earlier in the 1930s. His ganja production was the pretext for the 1954 raid on Pinnacle, where over 100 colonial police officers and detectives seized £3000 in cash and burned three tons of ganja stash. The authorities destroyed much of the Pinnacle, and after the last raid in 1958, no residents lived in the community.

Back o' Wall/Dungle and Coronation Market

Back o' Wall/Dungle was a sufferers' community in downtown Kingston-where Tivoli Gardens now stands, and it comprised roughly 5,000 people, an overwhelming amount of them Rastafarian. In 1958, Prince Emmanuel Charles Edwards kept the first-ever national "Groundation". This Nyahbinghi grounding took place in Back o' Wall and lasted for 21 days. After the convention, Rastas marched over to Coronation Market and planted their flag. The police promptly beat them, trimmed their dreadlocks, and locked them up. Later in May, police arrested Prince Emmanuel and burned down his Rastafarian camp.

Back o Wall
From The Jamaican Daily Gleaner
Many describe this inaugural national Groundation as a decisive point in the antagonism between the Rastafarian movement, and the government and the public. The public, the police and security forces, and the media propagated the so-called anti-social elements of Rastafari. Society held disdain for the Rasta people. Later that year, more skirmishes: Police raided a Rastafarian camp in Westmoreland; in Linstead, a group of Rasta attacked two police officers, who shot and killed one of the dreadlocks. The police rounded up and arrested four more Rastas, who no one saw or heard from again.

In 1959, a Rastafarian security guard (or "gatekeeper") at Coronation Market (which stood next to Back o' Wall) had a dispute with a police officer on duty. The police beat this Rasta severely, which enraged the witnessing vendors at the market. Rasta, vendors, and sympathizers set state vehicles ablaze (allegedly). Police reinforcements rushed to the scene, clashed with the uprising, and moved their brutality over to nearby Back o' Wall where they unleashed retribution on the Rastas and other poor people living there. They kicked down doors; destroyed homes; arrested 57 Rastafarians, beat them, and further humiliated them by forcibly trimming their dreadlocks.

The Coral Gardens Incident 

Rudolph Franklyn had moved up from Moore Town, embraced the Rastafarian movement, and had grown a following amongst younger Rastas in the Coral Gardens/Montego Bay area. Franklyn did some small-scale farming on land in the Tryall Farm (land reportedly owned by the Kerr-Jarrett family) of Salt Spring. Landowners and local government officials planned to develop much of the local areas around Montego Bay for tourism. The police harassed the Rastafarians in the area continuously; they'd do all they could to run the Rastas off. Once they raided Franklyn's farm and reaped all the ganja they wanted, they chopped down the rest. Another time, they did the same. But Rudolph Franklyn was defiant; he insisted he was not squatting on anyone's land.* The police told him he was operating too close to Rose Hall.

At some point, the Kerr-Jarrett family sold their land to a man named Ken Douglas. In around October 1961, the new landowner sent the police to evict Franklyn, but this time, violence rang out. When the police rolled up to his farm, Franklyn was working with a cutlass or machete in hand. The police demanded he drop it. Franklyn refused. The police shot him five times in the stomach. (Some reports state they hit him with three shots; some report six shots. The police clearly shot him multiple times.)

The police left him for dead where he'd fallen and school children later discovered him. People rushed him to the hospital, and Franklyn received surgery. But a doctor informed him he wouldn't have a long life. 

"The headman of the property, Edward Fowler...brought a policeman to evict the brother (Franklyn) off the land. The unarmed brother was shot six times by the police, and believed to be dead, and was not taken to hospital until hours after. The brother recovered after months of medical treatment, although he was told by the doctor that he would live for only a short period. He was immediately sentenced to six months imprisonment on a charge of having ganja." - Journalist John Maxwell, in his article in Public Opinion, April 27, 1963
Franklyn was angry. He felt he was wrongly persecuted, shot maliciously and without cause and chronically injured. And though he was innocent in many people's view, he was tried, convicted and sentenced. According to people who knew him, when he was released in early 1963, Franklyn was a bitter man. And when police harassed him further, that did it. Franklyn desired revenge.

Before 5am on 'Holy Thursday', April 11, 1963, Franklyn and a group of Rasta bredren set fire to the Shell gas station owned by Ken Douglas. By midday that day, eight people were killed, including Franklyn, two of his bredren, two officers and three civilians (one being the headman of the Rose Hall property, Edward Fowler). Another three of Franklyn's crew had escaped, but were later captured and eventually hanged. 

"Bring in all Rastas, dead of alive!" - Prime Minister Bustamante, further telling police and soldiers that what the jails couldn't hold, the morgue would.


Police and soldiers rampaged over the next few days. They rounded up over 150 Rastafarians in four Jamaican parishes. Since the leader of the incident had already been killed, and his five accomplices killed or accounted for, most of the Rastafarians rounded up in the aftermath had nothing to do with the incident. Still, they were beaten and tortured, hair and beards trimmed; some were shot, and some killed. Civilians formed vigilante groups that also hunted and brutalized the Rastafarian bredren, stoning, beating them, and cutting them with glass bottles.

* In the film Bad Friday, Rudolph Franklyn's daughter stated that Franklyn had farmed on land that his father had left him. 


Campbell, Horace. Rasta and Resistance: From Marcus Garvey to Walter Rodney

Maxwell, John and Desta Planno, Mortimo Togo. "Rastafari and the Coral Gardens Incident". The Jamaica Reader: History, Culture, Politics, edited by Diana Paton and Matthew J. Smith, New York, USA: Duke University Press, 2021, pp. 302-306.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Garveyism: Ujamma Is The Abeng Collection Mission

The Abeng Collection: Our Mission - Garveyism 

When Marcus Garvey trod the world in the early 1900s, he noticed that people of African descent filled the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder in most societies he encountered. Garvey recognised the need for Africans to uplift themselves: mentally, spiritually and economically. He realised the importance that men and women of African descent unite, under one accord, Africa for Africans at home and abroad. He preached cooperative economics (ujamaa) and started black-owned businesses that encouraged world-wide trade between people of African descent. Wherever he travelled, Marcus chanted. "Up, Up, Ye mighty nation, you can accomplish what you will!" 

In the spirit of The Right and Honourable Marcus Mosiah Garvey, The Abeng Collection steps forth with our mission to unite Africans at home and in the diaspora. The principle of Ujamaa (cooperative economics) steeps our mission. By bringing African and African diaspora designers to the world market, we link people together through economics by establishing commerce and trade between Africans in North, South and Central America, the Caribbean and Africa. The Abeng Collection's goal is to control every link in the supply chain, from means of production through distribution to retail. 

"Take advantage of every opportunity; where there is none, make it for yourself!" ~ Marcus Garvey


The Abeng Collection by House of Dalle: The Abeng Collection, fitted, custom designed clothing with african styles and tones.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Protoje Interviews With i Never Knew TV: Talks About Walter Rodney's and Marcus Garvey's Influence

Protoje Explains How Reasoning With Jah 9 About Marcus Garvey And Walter Rodney Helped Him Transition Towards A Greater Musical and Lyrical Consciousness

Protoje says that reading helped him become more socially aware. His lyrical content became more upful and positive once he began studying conscious leaders and writers like Garvey and Rodney.

The Interviewer asks: "What were some of the books that opened up your heavens?

Protoje answers: "The first book that changed everything for me was Groundings With My Brothers by Walter Rodney...
Jah 9 brought me to iNation and he had heard my music and he was like these is what I need to give you to read. And I think he gave me Groundings With My Brothers and he gave me a Marcus Garvey book..."

Words matter. Lyrical content matters. 

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Kaya Omodele's Cries of Redemption eBook on Smashwords at a Special Earthday Price

Cries of Redemption at A Special, Smashwords Rate!

From now through my Earthday in September, I am offering Cries of Redemption on Smashwords for just one dollar. 

My debut book, Cries of Redemption is comprised of Short Stories, Poetry and Essays with themes of the Caribbean and the African Diaspora. The stories are highly vivid and most are didactic or educational, while being entertaining. Along with being literary, this book also makes a great gift for teenagers and college students. It is an exotic and visually appealing coffee table or bedside, nightstand piece.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Walter Rodney's The Groundings With My Brothers at 50: The Production of a Seminal Text (speech by Ewart Thomas)

Ewart Thomas Stanford University (Presented at the Walter Rodney Symposium, Atlanta, GA, 3/23/18)

I’m very grateful to Pat Rodney, Asha Rodney and the Walter Rodney Foundation for inviting me to join in this retrospective on Walter’s 1st book, The Groundings with My Brothers (1969).  This year is the 50th anniversary of the conception of the book. 
It is important that we find time to share our memories and impressions of significant social and political events, like the publication of this book.  This is partly as a corrective for the distortions that must occur over time in individual memories, and partly because the information going into each individual memory is almost certainly incomplete.  None of us gets the full context, and the full picture, and we need to pool our memories to fully appreciate the event.

For example, a couple of weeks ago, I called Richard Small, who wrote the Introduction to the 1st Edition of Groundings, to see if he was coming to this Symposium.  He wasn’t sure, but we got to talking about Groundings, and he gave me some fascinating details about how the book was partially funded through the sale of a poster of the Madonna and Child, created by Ras Daniel Hartman.  I never knew about the connection between the posters and the book. 
The memory that I had, but Richard did not have, was of a conversation I had with Walter during one of his visits to Stanford.  He said that, if he were deciding on the title, he probably would have chosen The Grounding with My BrothersThat is, he would have used the singular noun to indicate the type of activity taking place in all the sessions, rather than the plural, Groundings, which refers to the set of individual sessions.  

Walter was a preeminent historian and political activist.  But, to my mind, he was, first and foremost, the quintessential intellectual who enjoyed debating the finer points of language and logic – and who enjoyed debating, period.  He played a mean game of chess, and he was a connoisseur of languages! For example, when he was researching his thesis on the Upper Guinea Coast, he would come across archival documents in Spanish, which he spoke fluently, and in Portuguese, which he hadn’t yet learnt.  To most of us, this would be a big problem, but to him it was a source of excitement – how could he use his high school French, Spanish and Latin to figure out the Portuguese that was in the documents. Later on, he told me that he was thinking of writing something that relied on his languages (which included Portuguese at that point!), rather than on history per se.  He never got around to this project!

Speaking of Walter’s archival research (this is not directly about Groundings), when he was working on The History of the Upper Guinea Coast, the archives he went to for documents also had materials on Guyanese history, and he would uncover some gems from time to time.  For example, he told me about the Rev. Robert T. Frank, a minister of the Congregational Church in New Amsterdam, Berbice. Frank, it turns out, was a nationalist who broke away from the Congregational Union and started his own church in 1911, Independent Congregational Church, renamed Frank Memorial Church after Frank’s death.  I attended the “mainstream” Mission Chapel Congregational Church in N/A, and we would only go to Frank Church for the occasional funeral or other special event. It was only after that conversation with Walter that I realized that there must have been an important person named Frank, after whom the church was named, and that there might be an interesting history behind the relationship between those two churches.

The Groundings with My Brothers

Let’s turn now to the story about GroundingsAs I said earlier, no one person knows all the details.  The simple version starts with Walter being refused re-entry into Jamaica in October 1968, after he attended a conference in Montreal.  Walter was a socialist, had visited Cuba and the USSR, and spent a lot of time grounding with the Rastas, and the poor, trying to raise their political consciousness.  The JLP government felt that he was a danger to Jamaica.  UWI students demonstrated on the Mona campus, then marched to the PM’s residence, and then to the parliament building in Kingston.  On the way, others joined in, the march became violent, several people were killed, and there was property damage to the tune of $$M.  

There was outrage in the Caribbean and elsewhere; and there were demonstrations at the Jamaican Tourist Board in London.  A group of Walter’s friends in London discussed ways of responding to the high-handed action of the J’can govt After all, UWI is a West Indian institution, not a J’can one. This group included Jessica and Eric Huntley, Richard Small, Chris Le Maitre, Andrew Salkey, Errol Lloyd, John La Rose, Barbara Joseph, and others.  Richard had a copy of the lectures Walter had given to the Rastas during the nine or so months he lived in Jamaica, and the decision was made to try to publish them as a book.  This initial group then recruited others to help, people like, Waveney Bushell, Claire Jean-Pierre, Fitzroy Griffith, Anne Johnson, Margaret Busby, Dale Saunders, and others.  I was in this later group, and we worked together to get Groundings published, and then sold out against long odds.  

In order to publish a book, we needed a publisher who would find the contents “attractive.”  It didn’t take long to realize that we would have to form our own publishing house.  We were reluctant to do so, because we had no experience in publishing, and Richard was about to return to Jamaica.  Anyway, Jessica and Eric decided to forge ahead, and we had to come up with a name. I think Richard suggested L’Ouverture (after Toussaint, the 18th century Haitian general who defeated the French), Chris suggested Bogle (after Paul, who led the 1865 Morant Bay Rebellion), and Andrew suggested combining them to get Bogle-L’Ouverture Publications.  While I was editing the manuscript, I noticed that most publishers have a logo, so I sat down and created one with the B, L and P superimposed on top of each other!  John La Rose recommended us to his printer, Villiers Press. We managed to raise the 300-500 pounds required for the initial run of 1000 copies.  And so the book was published!

That’s the simple version.  Of course, this raises a host of issues, such as, how to explain the motivation of this group of publishing neophytes, and their success in getting the book published.  There were two small Black publishing houses at the timeNew Beacon Books, founded in 1966 by John La Rose and Sarah White, was the 1st independent publisher of Caribbean and Black interest writings in the UK.  Then there was Allison and Busby, founded by Margaret Busby and Clive Allison in 1967 – their first book was The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1969) by Sam Greenlee.  And that was it, as far as Black publishers were concerned – and they were trying to get established.  They were both very supportive, but there was a limit. So the founding of BLP was a milestone in the development of an independent, radical Black publishing space in Britain; and it merits much further study by today’s researchers.  Part of the explanation for our success in the late 1960s lies in the broader societal movements occurring around that time; and part lies in the interpersonal ties within the group, and how that affected individual choices.

Societal movements:  Many of these are being discussed at this weekend’s Symposium: 
  • The Black Power movement in the USA, 
  • The Black Power salute at the Mexico games (We’re honored to have John Carlos as our featured speaker!), 
  • The activism contained within the independence movements in the former British colonies, 
  • The student movements in Europe, 
  • The increasing awareness of racial disparities in education in London, in particular the growth of ESN schools (for Educationally Sub-Normal children) that were separate from the mainstream schools.  (There was a 1967 report of the Inner London Education Authority, Immigrant Children in ESN Schools, that was leaked to Bernard Coard, PhD student at Sussex, by his cousin, an ILEA employee.  Bernard presented the findings at a conference in 1971; led to his 1971 book on the topic.)
  • The activism, leadership and community support provided by the West Indian Students’ Centre in Earls Court.  (They had presentations by Caribbean leaders, debates, fêtes, and a restaurant with cheap food – they even had a shower, this at a time when many homes in the UK did not have baths or showers!)

Personal Attitudes and Interpersonal Ties: Many in the BLP group were personal friends of Walter Rodney and of the Huntleys.  The role of the Huntleys is well described in a 2013 book, Doing Nothing Is Not An Option: The Radical Lives of Eric & Jessica Huntley, by Margaret Andrews.  Some members of the group had well-formed political attitudes, but others, like myself, were driven more by interpersonal ties.

How did Richard get copies of Walter’s lectures?  Roger met Walter at a Cuba conference for Caribbean students – Roger representing students in Britain, and Walter Rodney representing UWI students.  Then they were members of a study group in London, convened by CLR James – a group that included Eddie, Walter’s older brother, Darcus Howe, CLR James’ nephew.  Then Roger Small and Walter went to a conference in Moscow in 1966.  Later that year, Walter left for a teaching position at the University College in Dar es Salaam.  When Walter went to teach at UWI in Jamaica in early 1968, Roger Small's brother, Bongo Jerry Small (who is also at the Symposium), introduced Walter to the Rastas.
Roger Small also attended the 1968 conference in Montreal (from which Walter was denied reentry into Jamaica).  At this conference, Walter Rodney gave Roger Small copies of the lectures and asked him to see about getting them published.  Roger brought them back to London, and that is how they were available when we were considering our response to the Jamaican ban on Walter.

Then there was the impact Walter Rodney had on other students, like myself, in outlining what he saw as the proper role of the intellect-worker in society.  There is no question that I was motivated to help in the production of The Groundings With My Brothers because of Walter’s example of participation in political movements.
These interpersonal networks were also crucial in raising the initial funds to publish GWMB, and then to sell the book.  So-and-so would take 3 or 6 copies, and try to sell them, and bring back the appropriate multiple of 6 shillings and 6 pence!  As expected, there was some leakage at this point of exchange, but getting the message out was more important than the profit motive!

The Broader Impact of Groundings: Finally, we might also assess the broader impact of GWMB - as the engine of growth for BLP, which led to the Walter Rodney Bookstore, which, in turn, became a community hearth, sponsoring education and cultural programs.  

Groundings impact on College curricula, on Black Studies programs; 

1953:  Politics and Walter enter my life this year.  My father ran for the Berbice River constituency, as an Independent candidate, in the fateful elections, the first under adult suffrage.  That year, we both get Scholarships to attend Queen’s College, and are in the same forms up until “O” Levels. Politics is a major theme in the lives of Guyanese – suspension of the Constitution, one of the most advanced among the colonies; occupation by British forces; split between Jagan and Burnham and Apaan Jaat; debates about Communism, Socialism, Capitalism.  
For “A” Levels, Walter stays in the Classical stream to do History, Spanish and English Lit, while I switch to the Science stream to do Maths, Physics and Chemistry.
1955-58:  Robert (Bobby) Moore comes from UCWI to teach us W.I. History, and Debating.  He works with Walter to rid him of “ze” for “the.UCWI is described as an Elysian plain, with beautiful women, and we all intend to go there after QC!  We were both in “K” (Cunningham) House, which dominated the Academic Points competition among the 10 Houses.
1958-60: Brazil beats Sweden 5-2 in the World Cup final, and we see a grainy film of it at school.  We hear about Fidel and Ché, the Sierra Maestra. We went to a lot of the same parties.    We take the UWI Open Scholarships exam in early 1960, and the rumor was that 5 of the 7 scholarships available to the entire Caribbean went to Guyanese, including Walter.  The university then had to expand the number to 10, so that the proportion of Guyanese winners could drop to a more respectable 50%!
1960-63.  UWI, W’s trip to Cuba in the summer of 1962 (he met Richard Small there for the 1st time).  Lots of debating.  1st class honors in History, scholarship to SOAS to do his PhD.
1963-66.  WR at SOAS.  Soap box lectures at Hyde Park Corner.  Archival research on Guyana, as well as Africa.  Groundings at CLR’s home in London with Darcus Howe, Richard Small, Eddie Rodney.
During the past few months, I’ve been cleaning out my office, having retired from Stanford on Aug 31, 2017.  I found some documents about Walter from around the years 1979-81, and I am sending them to his widow, Pat. 
Four pages of these documents contain my notes for introducing Walter when he spoke at Stanford in 1980, and notes for other occasions that I don’t recall.  These four pages are quite special to me, and reading them brings back powerful memories. I got a chuckle out of the reference to “the Morant Bay rebellion in Jamaica, and Walter whispered ‘page 85’.”  It referred to an occasion when Walter readily gave me ‘illegal’ help – such was the friendship between us. For most of the Lower 4th, Upper 4th and 5th Classical forms, Walter’s and my desks were next to each other, near the middle of the classroom, one row from the back.  He was to my right; Keith Isaacs and Colin Moore had desks nearby. We got into a lot of mischief from that perch!

I’ve found about 3 inches of documents and a dozen audiotapes from 1980-82 relating to Walter’s life and the reactions to his murder - letters about fundraising, establishing his legacy, etc., from Richard Small, Pat, Ned Alpers, etc.  The tapes are of a seminar that a group of us ran on African history, Walter’s historiography, and Walter’s political work.  This group included Kennell Jackson, Prof of History at Stanford, Noel Samaroo, a Guyanese graduate student in Education, Percy Hintzen, a professor at UC Berkeley who used to come down each week for the seminar, and many others.  One theme from that seminar was that Walter’s seminal contributions to the historiography of Africa were seriously underappreciated within African Studies. I recall Kennell Jackson telling us that Walter was the first historian to treat the region, Upper Guinea Coast, as an integrated system within the Atlantic slave trade.  Before then, historians treated the different countries (Nigeria, Gold Coast, etc.) as separate entities – as dictated by the way European powers divided up the continent.  Much is lost when Africa is studied in this piecemeal manner. I don’t know what has happened in the discipline since 1980.

From my Introduction of Walter at Stanford U in 1979:  “… And a few of you might remember the shortest of his books called The Groundings with my Brothers,” which happens to be my favorite book for a number of reasons. It is a living testimony of how the black intellectual can move beyond his or her own discipline and challenge the social niche that is invariably structured in a Eurocentric way. This brief book also shows how the black academic can develop his or her ideas in a positive way by attaching himself or herself to the activities of the black masses…”

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