Black Liberation Matters as Movement and Moment

One senses that black people are having a moment. Around the world, the wretched of the earth are saying “Look, a Black Life” — does it matter? does anybody care? A Negro, death, young and old, but especially the young, the trans, the LGBTQ, women, children, the incarcerated, the communities more vulnerable to environmental racism, to the proliferation of guns and drugs, to for-profit institutionalized white supremacy. Yes, out of relative obscurity at any moment in time movements spring and for their time accomplish goals, or not, that contribution in net positive or negative ways to the struggle of oppressed people. We are living in a time where a movement is in the making from the might river of the black freedom struggle.

Many date the current movement moment from the death of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent acquittal of his murderer, George Zimmerman. I think we should look a few years before to the Jena 6 case. In the aftermath of Katrina, the young, digital generation began formulating a capacity to flash respond to critical instances injustice. That internetworked capacity tweeted out in a massive way the call for a Jena 6 National Walk-Out Day on 10/1/2007.

The execution of Troy Davis in Georgia on September 21, 2011, was another day when the emergence of a movement was evident. Twitter recorded 7671 tweets per second in the moments before word of Davis’s execution, making his death the second most active Twitter event in 2011. Rallies were held all over the country protesting his being put to death. “I am Troy Davis” was the battle cry.

So it was on the shoulders of these various campaigns that the killing of Trayvon Benjamin Martin  on February 26, 2012, sparked a massive response. The network began to look at ways to organize a campaign that would demand justice for 17-year-old African American youth. As case after case of homicide of young New Afrikans at the hands of white police as well as armed white civilians the movement for black lives has formally organized itself with its own agenda, principles of unity, campaigns, and rules of engagement.

http://movementforblacklives.org/category/news/

Active Journals Publishing in Africana Studies

African American Review
http://aar.slu.edu/index.html
Black Renaissance
http://www.nyubrn.org/
Black Scholar: Journal of Black Studies and Research
http://www.theblackscholar.org/
Callaloo
http://callaloo.tamu.edu/
Journal of African American History (Originally The Journal of Negro History)
http://www.jaah.org/
Journal of African American Studies
http://link.springer.com/journal/12111
Journal of Black Studies
http://jbs.sagepub.com/
Journal of Pan-African Studies
http://www.jpanafrican.org
NCBS’s International Journal of Africana Studies
http://www.ncbsonline.org/international_journal
Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ccbh/souls/about.html
Transition
http://www.jstor.org/page/journal/transition/about.html
Western Journal of Black Studies
http://public.wsu.edu/~wjbs/current.html

eBlack Studies has a list of over 80 journal titles at the link below:
http://eblackstudies.org/journals.html
WARNING: The page above is badly in need of being updated! Many of the links for the journals are not working or go nowhere. Some of the journals listed no longer exist. The ones I’ve listed above are very respected, have been consistently coming out through the years (except for the IJAS–but we’re coming back!), and not so bound to a [euro]traditional disciplinary perspective.

Fighting the KKK [Satire mode]

EricinKlanland

EricinKlanland is an editorial I published in The Spectator, the student newspaper of Monsignor Kelly High School in Beaumont, Texas, forty years ago. I was one of the student editor’s of the paper and my reading at the time Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland influenced how I wrote this piece. The image of me holding a pipe and the cartoon of Kluxers preparing to put me on a cross, was drawn by my friend and graphic artist for the paper, Mark Whitney.

The column’s title is a play on my paternal surname and Rhett Butler’s infamous response to Scarlett O’Hara, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” I sought to express my views on issues without giving a damn what authorities they might upset. As in Ephesians 6, I put on the full armor of god (Love), “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.”

One of my first columns landed me on the hot seat in the office of Sister Jane Meyer, the then principal of Kelly H.S., in 1976 when I was 15 years old. It questioned why my Catholic high school was admitting so many white non-Catholics whose only reason to attend Kelly was the fact that racial integration of the city’s public schools was beginning to be enforced. I linked my moral concern with white resistance to racial integration to Pope Paul VI’s Christmas 1975 enactment of the rite of closing the Holy Door. 

The Holy Father closed the two sides of an ancient Vatican door while reciting the words: “Christus heri et hodie, principium et finis; Ipse aperit et nemo claudit; claudit et nemo aperit. Ipsi gloria et imperium per infinita sæcula sæculorum” (Christ the same yesterday, and to day, the beginning and the end; He opens and no one shuts; shuts and no one opens. To him be glory and dominion throughout all the endless ages of the ages). For me this ritual and Il Papa’s words, called upon Catholics to follow the way of the Christ/Cross. It said don’t sell out and associate with Protestants on the grounds of white unity (racial supremacist false consciousness). Instead, live up to the ideas in  POPULORUM PROGRESSIO (The Encyclical of Pope Paul VI “ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLES” of MARCH 26, 1967).

Pope Paul VI and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

I cannot not find the banned article that inspired Sister Jane to ask me if I did not like the high school and wanted to be expelled? Alas, I withdrew it and published “Eric in Klanland.” Overall my journalistic efforts received more positive feedback than negative, and I salute Dr. Mary Gagné who taught me and supported me and did so much to help me be a better writer. She is today is director of The Texas Academy for Leadership in the Humanities on the Lamar University campus, founded in 1994 as a co-educational, residential, public institution for gifted Texas high school juniors and seniors.

Dr. Gagné (and Sister Jane) both signed my Outstanding Achievement in Journalism certificate when I graduated in 1977. She encouraged me to submit my work to the 6th Annual Texas Catholic Interscholastic League Rally for Non-Athletic Events held at the University of Dallas, March 11-12, 1977, for which I received the “Best Editorial” Award in the Newspaper area. Before that I won a medal for my piece “Twilight Zone” at the Interscholastic League Press Conference in competition with over 600 student writers from across the sate of Texas. She also nominated me to be one of ten high school students  from Southeast Texas to attend the 4th annual summer journalism workshop at Lamar University in 1975.

Also, through Dr. Gagné’s recommendation,  I wrote a features column for the daily newspaper The Beaumont Enterprise and worked (for pay!) as an assistant in the paper’s Sports Department to Joe Heiling. I knew very little about sports, but Heiling was a nice man and I later learned, as president of the Baseball Writers of America, he successfully lobbied to induct Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Roberto Clemente into the Hall of Fame in 1973, bypassing a mandatory five-year waiting period.

My loving journalism and writing had its foundation not in high school, however, but with my schoolteacher mother, who wrote beautifully and prodigiously. Also, my teachers at my all-black, segregated elementary and junior high schools instilled in me a love of well written stories, poems, letters, essays, and books. In the early 1970s, at John P. Odom Jr. High School, I contributed to our mimeographed paper, “What’s Happening.”

Such was the path that led me in 2009, being named a member of the Texas Institute of Letters for distinctive literary achievement, as well as my book Advancing Democracy, receiving The T. R. Fehrenbach Book Award, the History of Education Society Outstanding Book Honorable Mention, and being listed as an Essence Magazine Top-Ten Recommended Book, among other accolades.

The writing life continues despite the call that I received threatening my life four decades ago when I published this “Eric In Klanland.”

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On Leadership

The Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory

Choosing the Right Leadership Style for the Right People

http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_44.htm

The Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory was created by Dr Paul Hersey, a professor and author of “The Situational Leader,” and Ken Blanchard, author of the best selling “One-Minute Manager,” among others.

The theory states that instead of using just one style, successful leaders should change their leadership styles based on the maturity of the people they’re leading and the details of the task. Using this theory, leaders should be able to place more or less emphasis on the task, and more or less emphasis on the relationships with the people they’re leading, depending on what’s needed to get the job done successfully.

“Leading from any Chair”

A leader who can step back and encourage team members to put forward ideas in their areas of expertise will generally have a much more engaged, productive team.   One of my favourite books calls this “Leading from any Chair”.  The book is “The Art of Possibility”  by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander.  http://www.benjaminzander.com/book/   Benjamin describes how much better an orchestra could perform when the conductor allowed the orchestra members to suggest better ways to play the music and even to conduct sometimes.   Orchestras are traditionally very heirarchical and structured organizations.

The Secret: What Great Leaders Know — And Do

In the now classic business fable, The Secret, Debbie, a struggling leader finds herself about to lose her job due to poor performance. In a desperate attempt to save her career, she enrolls in a new mentoring program offered by her company. Much to her surprise, Debbie finds her mentor is the president of the company (Jeff Brown). Debbie decides that all she needs is the answer to one question, ‘What is the secret of great leaders?’ Over the next 18 months Jeff explains to Debbie that the secret is rooted in an attitude. He tells her that she must be willing to become a serving leader rather than a self-serving leader. The secret is that all great leaders Serve. The story unfolds as Debbie learns and applies each of these imperatives with her team. As a result, Debbie’s team goes from worst to first. They become the highest performing team within the company. In the end, Debbie understood that all the changes and improvements were the result of the choices she made as a leader. She realized that to Serve is a choice. Debbie decided once and for all, she would no longer be a self-serving leader, she would be a serving leader!

Servant Leadership: A Journey Into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness

By Robert K. Greenleaf

Servant leadership is both a leadership philosophy and set of leadership practices. Traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid.” By comparison, the servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Servant_leadership