by Alton H. Maddox, Jr.
The “venerable” New York Times raised this question a few weeks ago. I have not read a single letter from a person of African ancestry chastising this newspaper for raising the question. If I had raised the question, letter carriers would be hiring Wells Fargo to take their wages to the bank.
Recently, I wrote an article entitled “Gil Noble and ‘Like It Is’ are not Synonyms”. A gratuitous reader went off. He accused me of, in effect, kicking Gil while he was in a coma. When he read the article, he was apparently smoking pot. Gil was a “royal guard” and since he has been hospitalized, no one is guarding “Fort Knox”. Blacks, similarly, lost Alexandria in Kemet and its reservoir of books.
While Rev. Sharpton may have “sold out”, an answer to this question is unnecessary. In July 1998, New York, forever, sealed his lips and the lips of C. Vernon Mason in Pagones v. Maddox et. al. A petit jury found that both Sharpton and Mason had defamed Pagones by falsely implicating him in the kidnap and rape of Tawana Brawley. Its erroneous findings are in the verdict sheet, a public record, in Dutchess County Supreme Court.
The same jury refused to seal my lips, in any fashion, however. In fact, Pagones’ attorney admitted that it was a mistake for Pagones to have sued me. The jury found that I had knowingly spoken the truth about Pagones while Mason and Sharpton only told the truth about him. Nonetheless, the Black community is keeping it a secret that I won this legal marathon.
In short, the petit jury found that I had done my homework. Every time I put pen to paper, I make sure that I have done my homework. Writing can be costly. It can be very costly to make a well-founded criminal accusation against a white man. The law is employed as a deadly weapon.
Nafissatou Diallo may be deported for accusing Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former chief of the IMF, of sexually assaulting her. She may also face a vindictive, perjury prosecution in New York. For a Black person, these actions results from having perpetrated seditious libel which is now only prosecuted under the slave codes
In Pagones v. Maddox et. al., Rev. Sharpton found out the drawbacks of losing a defamation trial. This was the longest civil trial in the history of New York. A defamation lawsuit is costly and it can have a chilling effect on free speech. If successful, it will seal lips.
Both Mason and Sharpton had to retain attorneys. Because I was unemployed, I had the shortest pockets but I had to incur the bulk of the common expenses pro se which exceeded $250,000. The Black community chose not to become a surety but Mason and Sharpton did have sureties.
Although I had won the defamation trial, I still lost. Black commercial radio banned me from its airwaves because I could and would continue to accuse Pagones of kidnapping and raping Tawana. After Wilbert Tatum made his transition, Elinor Tatum of the New York Amsterdam News also gave me the boot for my pro bono position of writing weekly, penetrating op-ed pieces. She was unable to handle nor afford the truth.
Instead of simply keeping his lips sealed, Rev. Sharpton has switched hats since People v. Sharpton. He now heads the Madison Avenue Initiative which is a consortium of advertisers. Its mission, among other things, is to censor outspoken radio guests who oppose white supremacy. Because Sharpton has earned an “A” for effort, MSNBC has awarded him with an evening cable program. This is, supposedly, a financial upgrade from his position on satellite radio.
Soon after I was wrongfully disbarred on May 21, 1990 for effectively representing him in a 67-count indictment, Sharpton admitted that his days as an outspoken public advocate had come to a screeching halt. There is no future in public advocacy when a Black person is unable to enjoy competent and zealous legal representation. Sharpton altered his profile on May 21, 1990.
In short, Sharpton said, “if you can’t beat them, join them”. With this advice, he has lived happily ever after. Of course, his final days as an outspoken public advocate happened when the federal government brought Justice Thurgood Marshall out of mothballs and he delivered an ultimatum to Sharpton. No Agitation! No Jail!
Sharpton and Mason both deserve credit for coming to my rescue in 1988. I had the legal knowledge but I needed two competent and courageous communicators to ward off media attacks and to rally the Black community. White supremacists would call them “professional agitators”.
The lesson to be learned is that anyone who speaks for Blacks must have some “heavy”, financial resources. This means a war chest. Neither the Black community nor UAM came close to giving me or them the necessary tools to combat white public officials in New York and also the white media. Blacks must learn that the spokesperson may be the victim but Black people are the target.
In Pagones v. Maddox et. al., it was David versus Goliath. Miracles still happen but Black people must stop being spectators and critics. They must be investors in human rights. Otherwise, our “leaders” will turn against us and become outright Judas goats. They are already inclined to do so. There is no “Alton Maddox” in New York. This is just the simple truth.
When a Black man in 2011 is accused of raping a white woman, white men will arrange for either a judicial lynching or an extra-legal lynching. Black men, on the other hand, readily toss their manhood when a white man is accused of raping a Black woman. In justifying the beating of attorney C.B. King, a local sheriff said: “I am a white man and he’s a damn nigger”.
In Diallo, only UAM, absent some female co-conspirators, and 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care stepped up to the plate. Dominique Strauss-Kahn was indicted by a grand jury and, without legal authority the district attorney moved to dismiss it and a local judge, without legal authority, granted the motion. The Black community made no waves. Something is wrong with this picture.
Blacks must blame themselves. Rev. Sharpton should not be used as a “scapegoat”. When Benedict Arnold betrayed the United States, he had to take flight. When someone sells out the “Black race”” he or she becomes a role model. No other people think this way.
When Charles Barron derailed, among others the dreams of Fannie Lou Hamer, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin L. King Jr. and Harry and Harriette Moore in 2010, he has now become a hero. Are we sick boss? The United States has a two-part system headed in the same direction. His mission was to undermine political competition.
The voices for the Black community are now limited to myself and 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care. I wish I could say UAM en masse or in toto but it is being influenced by “Judas goats”. On the other hand, Rev. Sharpton is being tied-tongued and it is having a chilling effect on all leading Blacks, Black selected officials and grassroots activists. They are eating the king’s meat. The Black community needs an inventory list. Sharpton has an excuse “of sorts”.
Too honest for the White Press and too black for much of today’s Black Press; bullet columnist Alton Maddox upsets the same people and status quo as he did as an uncompromising Defense Attorney. He is also a founding member of the Freedom Party. Contact him at c/o UAM P.O. BOX 35 BRONX, NY 10471