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Monday April 12th 2021

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“Judas and the Black Messiah” and “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners”

SOMETHING I SAID

By DWIGHT HOBBES

Dwight Hobbes

There are times you have to question how seriously black folk take our own history. Two examples are the films currently arching eyebrows, turning heads and topping just about everyone’s must-see list, “Judas and the Black Messiah,” and 2012’s “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners” (LionsgateDVD). When you consider what Fred Hampton, chair of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense Illinois Chapter and iconic activist Angela Davis went through so the bourgeoisie could blithely change its tune from “We Will Overcome” to “I have overcome” it truly is saddening.

The plain facts are that even in the 60’s, while even middle class blacks rallied around Martin Luther King’s social protest, freedom fighters like Hampton, Davis and Malcolm X weren’t socially acceptable. They were too angry for assimilationists. Today, scores of African Americans less interested in the African as anything but a way to look cool around white liberals, are no longer interested in struggles, period. They have their equality, content that some black men, women, and children are more equal than others.

The Panthers, no less than the hallowed American Revolutionaries, battled to throw off the yoke of oppression. An aspect you never hear much about is part and parcel of that war against the white system was not race hatred but simple self-empowerment, which included by the end of 1969 setting up kitchens across this country, sending impoverished kids to school mornings with a hot meal in their stomachs. Angela Davis constantly spoke before thousands, standing on the premise, Free your mind and your a— will follow.

FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was so terrified by and angered at young Fred Hampton’s (21 years old) success at inspiring resistance to ruthless subjugation he had him drugged and murdered in his sleep – if that sounds like an irresponsible accusation, look it up. Or view the stark dramatization , Judas and the Black Messiah. Hampton had the chance to run for it and refused, standing his ground for the movement. Davis was not about to be gunned down like those before her and went underground, eventually acquitted of trumped up charges by, of all things, an all white jury in ultra conservative Orange County, California.

This soul brother and sister were among legions who devoted their lives improving black life. To improving it for us all, not just those eased their way into material success via affirmative action tokenism whereupon they pulled the ladder up after themselves, not interested, much less invested in social progress beyond their front door.

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