Frankly Speaking

November 14, 2014

Fighting the KKK [Satire mode]

Filed under: News article,Philosopher — Shabazz @ 12:52 pm

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.”

# # #

 

August 21, 2014

On Leadership

Filed under: Uncategorized — Shabazz @ 9:11 am

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

 

 

July 25, 2014

Keynote presentation on Du Bois

Filed under: Upcoming — Shabazz @ 10:33 pm

WHeritagePoster

February 8, 2014

Discovering Langston and the Historical Dialectic

Filed under: Uncategorized — Shabazz @ 10:21 am


Here’s a Langston Hughes poem from 1943. Beaumont, TX and Detroit, MI, were the locations of two “race riots” in a series of pogroms that swept the land from May 12 to August 29, 1943, at the height of U.S. involvement in WW II. It’s a good example of Hughes’s ability to write to immediate social and political events. It holds special relevance for me because I grew up hearing about how my family had to directly respond to the “war at home” in my hometown of Beaumont. Coincidentally, a young filmmaker has asked me to review the script for a movie on the “riot” that is in progress. Here’s the poem:

Beaumont to Detroit: 1943

Looky here, America
What you done done–
Let things drift
Until the riots come.

Now your policemen
Let your mobs run free
I reckon you don’t care
Nothing about me.

You tell me that hitler
Is a mighty bad man.
I guess he took lessons
from the ku klux klan.

You tell me mussolini’s
Got an evil heart.
Well, it mus-a been in Beaumont
That he had his start–

Cause everything that hitler
And mussolini do,
Negroes get the same
Treatment from you.

You jim crowed me
Before hitler rose to power–
And you’re STILL jim crowing me
Right now, this very hour.

Yet you say we’re fighting
For democracy.
Then why don’t democracy
Include me?

I ask you this question
Cause I want to know
How long I got to fight
BOTH HITLER–AND JIM CROW.

One might consider this poem alongside the Pisan Cantos, or the poems from Trilogy, or Moore’s “In Distrust of Merits,” How does it expand our idea of the range of poetic responses to WW II?

April 30, 2013

2013 JUNETEENTH JAMBOREE in the Pioneer Valley

Filed under: ORGANIZE!,Upcoming — Shabazz @ 8:46 am

WELCOME TO THE 2013 JUNETEENTH JAMBOREE
COMMUNITY BLOCK PARTY 
IN THE PIONEER VALLEY!

* ART | CULTURE | FUN | FAMILY |AWARDS |YOUTH EMPOWERMENT *

Juneteenth observes the June 19th, 1865, proclamation of the abolition of slavery in Texas. It celebrates freedom for people of all backgrounds, with a focus on its meaning for today’s youth.

June

Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 1-7PM | Amherst Town Commons map

Amherst Human Rights Commissioner Kathleen Anderson invites you:

YouTube Preview Image

Additional events to take place in Springfield along with special Amherst Human Rights Commission awards ceremony, details below:

We will focus on Youth Empowerment and offer community recognitions to a number of individuals who have made significant contributions to freedom in our community

All proceeds raised will benefit The Youth Action Coalitionyouthactioncoalition.org

This event is organized by the Sankofa Coalition which is made up of many organizations and individuals working together, including:

Town of Amherst Human Rights Commission:  http://amhersthumanrights.blogspot.com/p/events.html

PAHMUSA, The Pan-African Historical Museum USA in Springfield, MA: pahmusa.mysite.com/contactus.html

Preecha Kungo and Igziabeher                                Onawumi Jean Moss. Your Soulful Storyteller

2050 Legacy:  www.2050legacy.org/                    TRGGR Media Collective:  trggradio.org/

Trevor Baptiste, Member of the Amherst-Pelham Regional School CommitteeEdward Cage, Vice President and Chair of the Fundraising Committee of the Amherst Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; and Amilcar Shabazz, Vice Chair of the Amherst Regional Public School Committee.

TO BE A SPONSOR/SUPPORTER, CONTACT: amilcarshabazz@gmail.com

Portions of the various event will be videotaped for airing on Amherst Media and on the web.

Here is the PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE thus far:

1 to 3PM – Sounds of Freedom

Preecha Kungo and Igziabeher — roots reggae music

Black Kasbah — outer space sounds

TRGGR Media Collective — “aesthetics of justice” hip hop music

3 to 4:45PM – BHM Unplugged Program Segment

Emceed by Amherst Reg. High School Students: Camila Carpio &c

Storyteller: Onawumi Jean Moss

2050 Legacy | Musical-Poetry Set, 20 minutes

Speaker: Tosh Foerster, Governor’s Statewide Youth Council

New Africa House Ensemble | Jazz Set, 20 minutes

Speakers and Other youth performances on historical and current struggles

4:45 to 6:15PM – Human Rights Commission’s Heroism Awards ceremony

4:50 – 5:00 PM Greg Bascomb opens 9th Annual Amherst Human Rights Youth Heroism Award Picnic, invites ticket-holders to eat, introduces MCs, Dr. Peters, Higher Help, & ACT SMART

5:00 – 5:05 PM Song by Higher Help

5:05 – 5:35 PM ACT SMART

5:35 – 5:45 PM MCs: HRC Commissioner Liam Brodigan and Sajo Jefferson bring on Guest Speaker – Madeline Peters [UMASS disability office is making the award to Zhuli]

5:45 – 5:50 PM Song by Higher Help

5:50 – 6:10 PM Youth Awards [approx. 2 minutes @]: Jenna and April Schilling at Fort River, Eva Ross- Perkins, Daudy Guerrero and Wesley Killough-Hill at Crocker Farm, and Xaq Kruezer- Land, Benjamin Thiessen, James Kirwan, Regina East, Dominik Doemer and Zhui Adams at the high school.

6:10 – 6:20 PM Thanks for Joining Us – Song by Higher Help

6:20 to 7PM – Sankofa Coalition’s closing piece

Rebirth Neo-Soul Set, 30 minutes Concluding Remarks and upcoming events

7PM:  Invite help with task force to clean up the Commons to be out before 8 pm.

Links for Further Study:

http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/lkj01

https://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ref/abouttx/juneteenth.html

Selected Presentations on Juneteenth by Amilcar Shabazz:

Justice for Charles Wilhite Juneteenth Celebration by Blackstonian (Springfield, MA). 6/23/2012

Juneteenth highlights pride in Fourth Ward.” By Mike Tolson for the Houston Chronicle | June 18, 2006. Quoting from my speech at  at Mount Horeb MSB (Houston, TX). 6/17/2006

“Educational Equality & the Heart of Texas’ Freedom Struggle: From Juneteenth to LBJ.” Sam Houston State University History Department Annual Lecture (Huntsville, TX). 3/30/2004

“On the Meaning of Juneteenth.” The Safehouse Historic Museum of Black Belt Cultural and Civil Rights History Juneteenth Freedom Festival (Greensboro, AL). 6/28/2003

“Juneteenth: Origins and Significance.” The Texas Emancipation Juneteenth Historical Commission’s History Symposium at the State Capitol; (Austin, TX). 12/11/1998

“The Pillars of Freedom: Constructing Community after Juneteenth.” University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures (San Antonio, TX). 1/26/1997

The actual Juneteenth proclamation went along these lines: 

Headquarters, District of Texas
Galveston, Texas, June 19, 1865

General Orders, No. 3.

The people are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them, becomes that between employer and hired labor. — The Freedmen are advised to remain at their present homes, and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts; and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere. By order of Major General Granger

(Signed,) F. W. Emery, Maj. & A.A.G.

As reported in The Galveston Daily News, June 21, 1865

Thus, the Emancipation Proclamation’s effective date of January 1, 1863, nor the end of the Civil War on April 9, 1865, mark the official end of African American enslavement in the U.S. It was June 19, 1865, when the end of slavery was enforced in Texas. Of course, the Thirteenth Amendment, effective December 1865, abolished slavery throughout the entire United States, including the Border states and the Indian territories. Juneteenth is celebrated with the conviction that slavery was abolished only when it was abolished for all.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress