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Sunday, December 30, 2018

Abeng Essay: The Beginnings and Development of Racism in The U.S.: Some Implications for Black Americans (Part 1) by Dr. Cicely A. Rodway

The Beginnings and Development of Racism in The U.S.: Some Implications for Black Americans (part 1)
by Dr. Cicely A. Rodway
copyright 1987 C. A. Rodway

"I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races; I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes nor qualifying them to hold office... I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And in as much as the cannot so live, while they do remain togerher, there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."  
~ Abraham Lincoln 1895

Lincoln, in this statement, presented a viewpoint which was not atypical in his time nor in the times before and after his presidency. It is a viewpoint which is based on the belief that black peoples are inferior to whites. It is a viewpoint which has led to individual and governmental acts and policies which have attempted to dehumanize Black people in the United States and to circumscribe their individual and group efforts.Finally, it is a viewpoint which has had devastating psychological repercussions on blacks as well as whites.

These views are steeped in prejudice, which prejudice as defined by James Jones, "is a negative attitude toward a person or group based upon a social comparison process in which the individual's own group is taken as a positive point of reference." (p. 3) He goes on to point out that the "behavioral manifestation of prejudice is discrimination - those actions used to maintain own-group characteristics and favored position at the expense of the comparison group," (p. 3)

Implicit in a position such as Lincoln's is the need to ensure that the roles of black and white people are clearly defined and positions of inferiority and superiority maintained. In order to ensure that whites maintain the superior position it often becomes necessary to set up structures within the society and to implement policies with this in mind. Carmichael and Hamilton have defined such policies as racism which they define as "the predication of decisions and policies on considerations of race for the purpose of subordinating a racial group and maintaining control over that group." (p. 1)

Individual Racism and Institutional Racism

Carmichael and Hamilton in continuing their discussion of racism in the United States, make a clear distinction between what they refer to as "individual racism" and "institutional racism". Individual racism is described as being overt and is therefore easily recognizable as it manifests itself by causing "death, injury or the violent destruction of property." The second type of racism, institutional racism, is much more insidious as it is less identifiable for it "originates in the operation of established and respected forces in the society." They give us examples of institutional racism, situations in which,
...five hundred black babies die each year because of lack of proper food, shelter and medical facilities, and thousands more are destroyed and maimed physically, emotionally and intellectually because of conditions of poverty and discrimination in the black community... or when black people are locked in dilapidated slum tenements, subject to the daily prey of exploitative slumlords, merchants and loan sharks and discriminatory real estate agents. (p. 4)

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Heri Za Kwanzaa from The Abeng

Heri Za Kwanzaa

Nguzo Saba (The Seven Principles)

Day One (December 26)
Umoja (oo-MOH-ja)
building a community that holds together

Day Two (December 27)
Kujichagulia (koo-jee-cha-goo-LEE-yah)
defining, naming, creating ourselves; speaking for ourselves; planning and strategizing our own objectives and goals; realizing our right to plot our own destiny

Day Three (December28)
Ujima (oo-JEE-mah)
collective work and responsibility
coming together and helping others within the community

Day Four (December 29)
Ujamaa (oo-JAH-ma)
cooperative economics
supporting our community businesses; understanding that supporting each other helps build a stronger economy within our community

Day Five (December 30)
Nia (nee-AH)
setting goals that benefit our community; commitment to learning and teaching black history and culture

Day Six (December 31)
Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah)
making the community better and more beautiful

Day Seven (January 1)
Imani (ee-MAH-nee)
knowing we can create positive changes for our community, present and in the future; day of assessment

The Seven Principles
Nguzo Saba ~ Seven Principles


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Abeng Collection: Practicing Garveyism

The Abeng Collection by House of Dalle: Application of Garveyism 

"Be Black, buy Black, think Black, and all else will take care of itself." ~ Marcus Mosiah Garvey
Holding fast to Garvey's vision by bringing members of the African diaspora into a creative collective and economic cooperation, The Abeng has partnered with Benny Dalle to bring forward The Abeng Collection by House of Dalle. Our new collaboration injects Afrocentric styles and ideas into fashion but also reflects principles that Garvey and so many other leaders propagated, self-sufficiency through building black businesses and trade. 
"For many years white propagandists have been printing tons of literature to impress scattered Ethiopia, especially that portion within their civilization, with the idea that Africa is a despised place, inhabited by savages, and cannibals, where no civilized human being should go, especially black civilized human beings. This propaganda is promulgated for the cause that is being realized today. That cause is colonial expansion for the white nations of the world."Marcus Mosiah Garvey

House of Dalle Bernadette "Benny" Dalle is a creative, hard-working young woman living in Lagos, Nigeria who began designing and sewing her own clothes because, she longed to wear the latest fashions she saw in magazines, on TV and online. Her attention to detail is amazing and if you know Benny, you know she works her finger to the bone. Benny is the sole owner of House of Dalle, which creates custom clothing and keeps three people (two who are tailors) in Lagos employed.

The Abeng Collection

I, Kaya, don't know a thing about sewing or tailoring; I just love wearing what I like wearing. But I've dreamed about starting a business that would bring people of the African diaspora together and serve as a vessel for economic empowerment. I really wanted to create a venture where people of the African diaspora could control the supply chain, from manufacturing straight down to the user. 

The Abeng Collection is custom, fitted clothing and we just received our first shipment all the way from Lagos. I look forward to growing our partnership and business and am extremely proud to collaborate with Benny. Today, we're a humble hustle but with nuff  brain pumping and eye-brow furrowing, we goh definitely wave Garvey flag and turn this into a proud, black-owned business. 

"We must give up the silly idea of folding our hands and waiting on God to do everything for us. If God had intended for that, then he would not have given us a mind. Whatever you want in life, you must make up your mind to do it for yourself." ~ Marcus Garvey   

Marcus Garvey quotes about reading.

The Abeng Collection

Monday, October 15, 2018

Abeng Op Ed: Systematic Racism in America (Part 2)

Continued from Sytematic  Racism in America (Part 1) 
by Le'bert A. Gordon

Institutional Racism

Institutional Racism can be defined as the collective failure of an organization to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their color, culture, or ethnic origin. This kind of racism is currently taking place in the form of the senseless killing of unarmed minorities by police officers without there being any criminal consequential results. Police officers are literally getting away with murder. And despite the fact that communities and individuals have risen up to shine the spotlight upon this injustice, (e.g., Black Lives Matter) day after day we hear about another Trayvon Martin, An­twon Rose, Autumn Steele, and Stephon Clark, etc. Unfortunately, this kind of racism has become an intrinsic part of our society today and is occurring more frequently with the targeting and discrimination against a certain group based upon their race. 

People who are affect­ed by Institutional Racism experience it in both the social and poli­tical institutions of society, in such disparities as those regarding Employ­ment, Housing, Health Care, the Criminal Justice System, and Education.

Systematically, minorities in this country suffer from a higher rate of unemployment. People of color are more likely to be subjected to some form of discrimination when applying for a job, seeking a well-earned promotion, or with receiving the same salaries as their Caucasian counter-parts. Even when a person of color is more educated and has more experience than their Caucasian co-worker, they often still find themselves being forced to be subservient to them.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Blessed Earthday, Winnie Mandela

Bless Up, Winnie Madikezela Mandela... Blessed Earthday.
 Amandla! You meant so much to so many all across the African Diaspora and around the world.

We love you, Mama. Never Gone! Never Forgotten!


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Perspectives From The African Diaspora: Seven Names in a Lifetime

African Diaspora: Seven Names in a Lifetime
written by Nana Kwabena Osei-Boadi (kongo wattu)

Akan culture says a human being lives to be called seven names in a lifetime.
1. Asukɔnoma - the water fetching bird. Feeds in fluids. Breastmilk, water, porridge, etc.
2. Abɔfra - just a part of creation and at peace and in harmony with nature. Crawling in all fours, eating earth does no harm. They tug on the dog's tail and the dog enjoys it.

3. Akoadaa - Always the slave. The being is up and standing and has learnt to walk and run. Enjoys running errands with the new abilities.
4. Aberaanteɛ (male) - the one who disobeys rules. Puberty and adolescence. Wɔ hyɛ mmra anaa wɔ bra no a ɔnnte.
Ababaawa (female) - the fashionable one. W'aba so. Fantse Akans refer to this stage as Akataasiewa. The one who should be covered and hid. At this stage the gender of the being is taken into consideration for the first time..
5. Opaanii - the worker. Odi paa.
6. Abansiriwa - the senior citizen who protects the walls from collapsing. The experienced one who is in a position to give help with wisdom or saved finances after a long working life.
7. Aberɛwa (female) - the tired one. Nea wabrɛ.
Akɔkora ( male) - the one who is indoors and out of sight. Wakɔ kora.

After having been called these seven names the person after death has a black stool placed in the family prayer room or shrine (nkondwadan mu). When prayers are said and ancestors are listed and called upon to carry the prayers into the spirit world and the creator, their names (akradin) are mentioned.
Food for Thought.
~ Nana Kwabena Osei-Boadi; Kongo Wattu

African culture is rich in traditions. Many of us in the African diaspora have retained and/or reclaimed many of our traditional customs. 

Sankofa - "Go back and get it"; reconnect with the past and learn from it

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Abeng Op Ed: Systematic Racism In America (Part 1)

Systematic Racism In America
written by Le'Bert A. Gordon; edited by @TheAbeng

The term Systematic Racism, developed by Sociologist Joe Feagin, is both a theoretical and reality-based concept which has become a po­pular way of explaining the significance of race, both historically and socially, within today's social sciences and humanities. The de­velopment of this theory was influenced by other scholars of race, such as, Frederick Douglas, W.E.B. DuBois, Oliver Cox, Anna Julia Cooper, Kwame Ture, Frantz Fanon, and Patricia Hill Collins, among others. Systematic Racism is rooted in a foundation composed of in­tersecting, overlapping, and co-dependent racist institutions, po­licies, practices, ideas, and behaviors. 

Feagin used historical evidence and demographic statistics to create a theory which asserted that the United States was founded in racism. His theory noted that the Constitution classified black people as the property of whites, and that this legal recognition of slavery is a cornerstone of a racist social system - a system in which resources and rights are given to white people and unjustly denied to people of color. However, while Feagin developed his theory based on the history and reality of anti-black racism in the United States, it is now use­fully being applied to understanding how racism functions generally, both within the United States and around the world.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Wanted: Abeng Guest Bloggers, Writers and Contributors

Greetings, all Writers, photographers and content creators!

The Abeng and My Conscious Pen is seeking short stories, news reports, articles, profiles and essays from the Black (African) Diaspora. Pieces/work must shed light on the black experience, its struggles and triumphs. Content must be informative, enlightening, inspirational and engaging; writers must express and reveal the human condition. Please keep in mind that an Abeng is a symbol of freedom and Conscious Pen refers to the writer's inward awareness (spiritual, conscientious, psychological) of the outward/worldly object or experience about which he/she is writing.
Sound di Abeng
We are looking for global voices from writers and/or bloggers who wish to utilize our platform so their voices can be heard. Please send submissions to Editor

Tell a friend!
*The Abeng and My Conscious Pen does not currently purchase content; if chosen, your work can serve as a published article for your personal portfolio and each writer WILL retain ALL copyrights. Full credit will be given for your writing.

You can also query Editor about being a regular contributor. Regular contributing writers will be given a profile on our page. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Reading is The Right and Honorable Thing, Quotes by Marcus Mosiah Garvey

Marcus Garvey's father had an extensive library in his home and as a boy, Marcus spent countless hours reading every book he could dig his nose into. Garvey's ideas were definitely BIG, grand, outside the box, imaginative. His Pan-African  thinking was so far advanced for his time. For example, he imagined an African Union before there was such a thing and dreamed of the motherland being developed by Africans, at home and abroad. 
Moral of the story: Read! And start a library for your youth.

"Read!" Marcus Garvey instructed.
"Use every spare minute you have in reading. If you are going on a journey that would take you an hour carry something with you to read for that hour until you have reached the place. If you are sitting down waiting for somebody, have something in your pocket to read until the person comes. Don't waste time. Any time you think you have to waste put it in reading something. Carry with you a small pocket dictionary and study words whilst waiting or travelling, or a small pocket volume on some particular subject. Read through at least one book every week separate and distinct from your newspapers and journals. "

"Never forget that intelligence rules the world and ignorance carries the burden."

"The greatest men and women in the world burn the midnight lamp. That is to say, when their neighbours and household are gone to bed, they are reading, studying and thinking. When they rise in the morning they are always ahead of their neighbours and their household in the thing that they were studying[,] reading and thinking of. A daily repetition of that will carry them daily ahead and above their neighbours and household. Practise this rule. It is wise to study a couple of subjects at a time. As for instance a little geography, a little psychology, a little ethics, a little theology, a little philosophy, a little mathematics, a little science on which a sound academic education is built."

"One must never stop reading. Read every thing that you can that is of standard knowledge. Don't waste time reading trashy literature... The idea is that personal experience is not enough for a human to get all the useful knowledge of life, because the individual life is too short, so we must feed on the experience of others."

"Read history incessantly until you master it, This means your own national history, the history of the world - social history industrial history and the history of the different sciences; but primarily the history of man. If you do not know what went on before you came here and what is happening at the time you live, but away from you, you will not know the world and will be ignorant of the world and mankind."

"A reading man or woman is a ready man or woman; but a writing man or woman is exact."

If you want more Marcus Garvey quotes, check these out!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Dutty Boukman in Bwa Kayiman (Bois Caiman)

Dutty Boukman in Bwa Kayiman (Bois Caïman

It is told that on the steamy, Caribbean night of August 14th, back in 1791 a slave named Boukman  ignited the Haitian Revolution during a secret vodou ceremony in Bwa Kayiman (Kreyol meaning literally, Alligator or Caiman Woods: Bois Caiman in French) in Morne Rouge, which is in northern Haiti. Boukman was a hougan (priest) and along with mambo (female priest) Cecil Fatiman, officiated the meeting where they planned the insurrection and held religious, vodou ritual, in preparation for what would become the most successful revolt and the greatest, far-reaching event in Caribbean history - The Haitian Revolution.

Dutty Boukman

Boukman is said to have been a big, strapping, fierce man, and like many of the early leaders of the Haitian Revolution, he held a position of power on his plantation (he was a slave driver and eventual coachman). Many of the 200-300 attendees at the Bwa Kayiman ceremony held such positions, or were chosen leaders of their specific plantations. The meeting held both political and religious significance - it culminated months of insurrectionist planning and strategizing; and, it served as spiritual, inspirational rally for the impending revolution. At Bwa Kayiman, the beginning of the Haitian Revolution was set for one week later.

Much of the information about Boukman and Bwa Kayiman was written many years after the event, so it's difficult to separate fact from myth. Many say that he was a literate Jamaican slave, Bookman, who taught other slaves in Jamaica to read and so was sold to a plantation in Saint Domingue. Some staunch Haitian historians insist that he was pure Haitian, and suspect that foreign people of African descent are trying to high jack Haitian history to support their own agendas. Since the 1990's, there has been a mostly African-American movement (but which included former Haitian president Aristide) to "Islamasize" Bwa Kayiman and Boukman, claiming Bookman was a "man of the Book" (Koran) and that Bwa Kayiman was in fact Bwa Kay Iman the woods by the Iman's house).

To be continued

Boukman's Prayer in Kreyol

"Bon Dje ki la . Ki soley ki klere nou enro. Bon Dje ki soulve  lanmè. Ki gronde loray. Bon Dje nou ki gen zorey pou tande. Ou ki  kache nan niaj. Kap gade nou kote ou ye la. Ou we tout sa blan nou sibi. Dje blan yo  mande krim. Bon Dje ki nan nou an vle byen . Bon Dje nou an ki si bon,  ki si jis, li ordone  vanjans. Se li kap kondui branou pou nou ranpote la viktwa. Se li kap ba  nou asistans. Nou tout fet pou nou jete potre dje Blan yo ki swaf dlo  lan zye. Koute vwa la libète kap chante lan nou."

Boukman's Prayers as translated by C.L.R. James 

"The god who created the sun which gives us light, who rouses the waves and rules the storm, though hidden in the clouds, he watches us. He sees all that the white man does. The god of the white man inspires him with the crime, but our god calls upon us to do good works. Our god who is good to us orders us to revenge our wrongs. He will direct our arms and aid us. Throw away the symbol of the god of the whites who has so often caused us to weep, and listen to the voice of liberty, which speaks in the hearts of us all." 

Boukman's Prayer as translated by

"Good Lord who hath made the sun that shines above us, that riseth from the sea, who maketh the storm to roar; and governteth the thunders. The Lord is hidden in the heavens, and there He watcheth over us. The Lord seeth what the blanc (whites) have done. Their god commandeth crimes, ours givethe the blessings upon us. The Good Lord (Bondye) hath ordained vengeance. He will give strength to our arms and courage to our hearts. He shall sustain us. Cast down the image of the god of the blanc, because he maketh the tears to flow from our eye. Hearken unto Liberty that speaketh now in all your hearts."

Boukman's Prayer Translation by

"The god who created the earth; who created the sun that gives us light.The god who holds up the ocean; who makes the thunder  roar. Our God who has ears to hear. You who are hidden in the clouds; who watch us from where you are. You see all that the white has made us suffer. The white man's god asks him to commit crimes. But the god within us wants to do good. Our god, who is so good, so just, He orders us to revenge our wrongs. It's He who will direct our arms and bring us the victory. It's He who will assist us. We all should throw away the image of the white men's god who is so pitiless. Listen to the voice for liberty that sings in all our hearts."

Cecile Fatiman

Monday, July 30, 2018

Abeng Op-Ed: Trevor Noah Wasn't Wrong About Africans Born in France

After France won the 2018 FIFA World Cup earlier this month, South African comedian Trevor Noah cracked a joke about the fact that France's victory was also an African accomplishment, since so many players on the French national team are of African descent. I and many people of African descent around the world hold similar views. As a matter of fact, many of us posted our comments and expressed our sentiments all over social media. Personally, I supported Senegal and Nigeria (the two Sub-Saharan African countries in the tournament), then I cheered for other teams with players of African descent as well. From my pan-African eyes, I love to see all people in the African diaspora excel. But is this, my perspective, racist?

"No Matter Where You Come From" / "I Know No National Boundary"
I grew up in an era when blacks in the African diaspora were reclaiming our roots. Omodele is a name my mother chose, Tesfa and Feyishola and Shango and Imani and Sudi are some of my cousins; Shaka and Dingane and Olatunji are some of my childhood, family friends. My mother and her sisters and brothers celebrated everything African. She was the younger sister and close friend to true life revolutionaries. Black culture was exalted; Fela, Miles, Hugh, Satchmo, Marvin, and them were Kings. "No Matter Where You Come From" by Peter Tosh was the national anthem. And Madiba was a living martyr. (When I was just fifteen, my cousin and I marched in a Free Nelson Mandela rally in Central Park) So, I know no national boundary where black people are concerned, the whole world is my province...

So, like many blacks in the Diaspora, I was turnt up that France's winning World Cup squad was comprised of so many players of African descent. When a French ambassador chastised Trevor Noah for bigging up the African-ness of Les Bleus (The Blues), pointing out that the black French players were French nationals, French-born, and trained in France, I understood this ambassador's view - that no matter these players were sons of immigrants, they were French, regardless of race or religion. And I admit that's seems a commendable and noble view coming from the French diplomat. My biggest question, is this a case of "You're not like those others."?

A couple years ago, I interviewed the Quai54 Streetball creator Bah-Pna Dahane, a French national of Chad origin, who stated in that interview:
"France's racism is different than the United States'; France's racism is more a gas you can't smell but will kill you slowly from the inside."
And, I've read lately about racism rearing its head during the selection process of this said French national team. So, although the ambassador has good intentions, maybe, we won't pretend that brothers and sisters living in France don't feel marginalized, at the very least.
I'd love to hear from our French bredren.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Atlanta - Area Bookstores Carrying Cries of Redemption

As an independently published author, it can be a challenge getting your book placed in a bookstore, especially chain bookstores like Barnes & Noble, etc. But then you find Brothers and Sisters who are willing to give a first-time author a place on their bookshelves, in their small businesses, their bookstores and Afrikan culture shops. This is truly the spirit of Marcus Garvey in us, pan-Africanism in its purest, socio-economic form. 
Black Dot Cultural Center & Bookstore

Now to tell you de truth, is not like they just take the book and throw it up on their shelf, ehn-ehn. Each one of them reviewed the book, in some way, time or form. (And I still have five more stores reviewing Cries of Redemption right now) So my writing pass over their test-bar; and when they read it and loved it, we (me and me book) get right up in these stores. I'm giving thanks for taking a chance on a Brother. If you find yourself in the Atlanta area, drop in and support them, nuh. Hand wash hand and the two together wash face clean. 
And ask your bookstores for Cries of Redemption by  Kaya Omodele.
Bless up.

Nubian Bookstore
1540 Southlake Pkwy, Ste 7A
Morrow, GA 30260
Phone: 678-422-6120

Black Dot Cultural Center & Bookstore  
6984 Main St,
Lithonia, GA 30058
Phone: (404) 519-8107

Axum Culture
1065 Ralph D Abernathy Blvd
Atlanta, GA
Phone: 470-225-7235

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