By Alton H. Maddox, Jr.
Ninety-eight years ago, this month (March 10, 1913), Harriet Tubman made her transition. Today, we recognize February 21, 1965 as the date of the assassination of Malcolm X in Harlem and, on April 4, 1968, we recognize the assassination of Dr. Martin L. King, Jr in Memphis but no one will mention the date of Harriet Tubman’s death.
If there had been no Harriet Tubman, there would have been no Malcolm X nor a Dr. King. This is an example of genderphobia which is rooted in the U.S. Constitution and, along with the slave codes, it still shapes the behavior of descendants of enslaved Africans. We still refuse to recognize the impact of the slave codes on our behavior today.
When Harriet Tubman slipped on to a plantation, she was armed to the teeth. The pistol was not only for slaveholders and bounty hunters but also for enslaved Africans who she was risking her life to liberate. This fear still must exist today for anyone who seeks to liberate Blacks from the Democratic plantation.
If you are a leading Black or a Black elected official, the Black flock will mindlessly follow you. This was not the case, for Khallid Muhammad. We praise Rev. Jesse Jackson for taking out a full-page ad in the New York Times condemning him for exercising First Amendment rights. After Congress passed a bill of attainder, there was an attempted assassination on Khallid Muhammad’s life. Later, he was poisoned.
No one loved Blacks more than Khallid. Black love, however, is not reciprocal. The same applied to Harriet Tubman. The Freedom Party held its first fund-raiser last year in or about September. From May through August, UAM was virtually the sole financier for the Freedom Party. This means that UAM was not only soliciting signatures in New York City but throughout the state including Buffalo.
In Syracuse, for example, last year, Bro. James Patnaude and I were soliciting signatures for the Freedom Party. When I returned from a grocery store, Bro. Patnaude was engaged in a violent confrontation with two “brothers” who had refused to sign the petition. They had said that Harriet Tubman was irrelevant and dead and, in any event, there was nothing she could do for Black people in 2010.
At the same time, Freedom Retreat for Girls had traveled to Auburn, NY to visit her home and later to visit Syracuse University where Black professors annually host, twice during the summer, Freedom Retreat for Boys and Girls. This is the only sleep-away, African-centered, summer camp in the nation. “The hands that rock the cradle rules the nation”. The public school system is teaching our children self-hatred.
This was not only the intent of the United Sates but also of the NAACP. Ironically, Plessy v. Ferguson was producing racial pride and racial unity. To engage in a collective struggle, there must be an identified enemy. Jim Crow and white supremacy did the trick. Today, Jim Crow Esq. has replaced Jim Crow and Blacks are up the creek without a single Black lawyer to confront Jim Crow, Esq.
Between Black lawyers and Black elected officials, Blacks made more progress with Black lawyers than with Black elected officials. The first Black elected official in the United States and the first, Black elected judicial officer was sworn in before the Civil War. It was Black lawyers and not Black elected officials who played key roles in the Civil Rights Movement.
Our condition has worsened since 1965 as we have elected more Black elected officials. The key though is that every Black elected official has been “selected” by whites through the “white” primary. Whites have made very few mistakes. This list of exceptions include, Cong. Adam Clayton Powell, Cong. Gus Savage, Cong. Cynthia McKinney and Mayor Marion Barry.
Freedom Retreat for Boys and Girls will be making its annual pilgrimage to Auburn and Syracuse in July 2011. To transport, feed and house the children, UAM must raise more than Ten Thousand Dollars. Black parents are unable or unwilling to finance this pilgrimage. Our next fund-raiser is March 25, 2011 through a play and the sale of raffle tickets.
UAM will be hitting the streets this weekend. If you are interested in the survival of our children, please e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) immediately to see what role you can play as a volunteer. In 1994, our vision was a Freedom Retreat for Boys and Girls and eventually a freedom university. Send this SOS to your friends. Let’s make it happen.
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