Author Archives: Shabazz

About Shabazz

Dr. Amilcar Shabazz is head of the W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and teaches in the area of historical studies with an emphasis on the political economy of social and cultural movements, education, and public history.

Once when we proudly honored public service and since…

From the Boston Daily Globe; Boston, Mass. March 8, 1893: p. 6.
It is claimed that the Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw & the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, a bronze relief sculpture by Augustus Saint-Gaudens at the edge of the Boston Common) that was unveiled on May 31, 1897, was the first civic monument to pay homage to the heroism of African American soldiers. In fact, our 1893 Memorial Tablets included the names of both soldiers of African and European descent. These tablets were displayed four years before the tribute to the 54th Regiment in Boston.
Amherst photographer Lincoln Barnes took the photo above of the Town Hall in September 1942. The Rutland VT marble tablets came to be displayed outside in the white encased structure shown here.
Except for a period during World War II, the tablets were displayed inside Town Hall until the building was renovated in 1962 and then moved to the basement before being set in storage in 1997. In 2000, Dudley J. Bridges* began working to have them restored and displayed. To begin raising money, he needed the town to establish a site for them. The then Select Board in 2001 approved the possibility of the Gates lot at the east end of Sweetser Park with the understanding that restoring and displaying them would be paid for privately. Bridges began raising money. But he got sick and died in 2004 at 80.

Today our Memorial Tablets are in the Department of Public Works’ Ruxton Storage Facility. Some members of our Memorial Tablets and Juneteenth Planning Group were to have visited the facility to look at the condition of the tablets but Planning Dept. staff canceled the mid-August visit citing the dirty and unsafe nature of the storage site.

“I went over to Ruxton yesterday afternoon and found the tablets stored in their crates leaning against the back wall of a very dusty and dirty garage bay. The space is full of large machinery and scattered DPW equipment making the tablets very hard and unsafe to access given the amount of obstacles and debris.” 

Call (413) 259-3002 or email townmanager@amherstma.gov and request that the Memorial Tablets be moved from the Ruxton Storage Facility to the Bangs Community Center, so that work may begin to inspect, assess and plan for the prominent public display of these tablets. Once they are moved we can begin to organize teachers to prepare curricular materials, grant applications, etc. to let these tablets “live” in the public eye for the foreseeable future.

To offer support or for more information, contact Amilcar Shabazz, W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of Afro-American Studies, at amilcarshabazz@gmail.com

NOTES

*Obituary for Dudley J. Bridges

June 3, 2004
Contact: Inside UMass

Dudley James Bridges Sr., 80, of Amherst, retired director of Building Operations in the Lincoln Campus Center, died unexpectedly May 28 in Baystate Medical Center in Springfield.

Born in Springfield, he moved to Amherst in 1948 after serving in the U.S. Army during World War II.

After working for General Electric in Springfield and the Springfield Armory, he came to UMass in 1973 as manager of Building Operations in the Lincoln Campus Center. In 1986, he was named director of Building Operations for Auxiliary Services, with responsibility for custodial services and maintenance for the Campus, dining commons and Conference Services. The following year, he was promoted to director of Building Services in the Campus Center. He retired in 1990.

He was a co-founder of the A Better Chance House in Amherst and a trustee of the Amherst Historical Society, where he initiated a program to display Civil War veteran memorial plaques. He helped establish a Black Historic District on Hazel Avenue in Amherst.

He was a member of American Legion Post 148 in Amherst and a board member of the UMass Retired Professional Staff Association.

His first wife, Doris (Roberts) Bridges, died earlier.

He leaves his wife, Dorothy L. (Morrison) Bridges; a son, Dudley James Bridges Jr., of Ayer; three daughters, Sharon Pariser, of Milton, Debora Bridges Henderson, of Amherst, and Lisa Rossetti, of Florence; two stepdaughters, Deborah Hawley and Carol Sheehy, both of Springfield; a brother, a sister, 12 grandchildren; a great-grandchild, and several nieces and nephews.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Town of Amherst West Cemetery Mural, or West Cemetery Improvements, Amherst Historical Commission, c/o Amherst Planning Dept., 4 Boltwood Ave., Amherst 01002, or to the Amherst Civil War Memorial Fund, Bank North N.A., 67 Amity St., Amherst 01002.

The National Council for Black Studies: Leading since 1975

National Council for Black Studies (NCBS) is an organization dedicated to the advancement of the field of Africana/African American/Black Studies. It is a not-for-profit organization established in 1975.[1] The National Council for Black Studies was founded and first housed at the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) by the UNC Charlotte Black Student Union. The following are the presidents of the Council over its history:

2018-present Amilcar Shabazz, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
 
2014-2018      Georgene Bess Montgomery, Clark Atlanta University
 
2010-2014      Sundiata Cha-Jua, University of Illinois
 
2006-2010      Charles Jones, Georgia State/University of Cincinnati 
 
1998-2002      James B. Stewart, Pennsylvania State University
 
1994-1998      Bill Little, California State Univ., Dominguez Hills [deceased]
 
1992-1994      Charles HenryUniversity of California, Berkeley
 
1988-1992      Selase WilliamsCalifornia State Univ., Dominguez Hills
 
1984 – 1988    Delores P. AldridgeEmory University 
 
1982-1984      Carlene Young, San Jose State University 
 
1980-1982      William E. Nelson, Jr., The Ohio State University [deceased]
 
1978-1980     William KingUniversity of Colorado 
 
1976-1978     Bertha Maxwell-Roddey, Univ. of North Carolina, Charlotte

A Brief History of the NCBS
Within the context of the Civil Rights Movement, a growing recognition of the need for the study of African-American world experience spurred student movements on several campuses for a more inclusive educational experience. The Black Studies movement (1968-1969) and the Black University concept (late 1960s) helped create more African & African diaspora-centered courses on various campuses. In April 1968, a national conference for Black teachers took place.[2]

Dr. Bertha Maxwell Roddey spearheaded NCBS in 1975 as part of this larger movement for African American studies.[3] However, before its inception, Dr. Maxwell Roddey’s pioneering work at UNC Charlotte included a Black Studies program[4] that served as the inspiration and backdrop for the NCBS’s structure, philosophy, and aims, in addition to the meetings and conferences that Dr. Maxwell Roddey organized.

Dr. Maxwell Roddey’s Pioneering Efforts at UNC Charlotte
Dr. Maxwell Roddey realized the need for Black Studies education at UNC Charlotte, and although not originally a program that conferred an undergraduate or graduate degree, the Black Studies program at UNC Charlotte was integral to the creation of NCBS. Dr. Maxwell Roddey was the first black teacher at UNC Charlotte and also a co-founder of the Afro-American Cultural Center in North Carolina, now the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. She was also the president of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority from 1992-1996.[5]

The Black Studies program at UNC Charlotte was conceptualized to address the “academic, intellectual, social, and economic life of the Black student.” This was realized through a series of phases, which were levels of academic courses through which students would complete; they are as follows:[6]

  • Phase I: Who Am I?
  • Phase II: Why Am I Here?
  • Phase III: Where Did I Come From?
  • Phase IV: Where Do I Go From Here?

Each phase included community service projects and the higher levels or phases also included research projects while the lower levels or phases were intro-level or survey classes concerning African American history and other disciplines. The Black Studies committee envisioned the program to both benefit the community and work in tandem with the entire university through an interdisciplinary approach.[6]

Several organizations were affiliated with the Black Studies program including: the Black Student Union, Black Gospel Choir, Basketball, Student Government, and various Black and historical Black sororities and fraternities.[6]

Early History of NCBS
The initial philosophy of the Council was that “Education should engender both academic excellence and social responsibility.”[7] The NCBS desired to expand and strengthen academic units and community programs concerned with African American studies. It originally operated as an organization for Black Studies professionals with the aim of developing the field as a respected academic discipline.

Mission & Philosophy
Members of NCBS are committed to the development of the discipline of Africana Studies. Their work has promoted and retained K-12, community college, and university curricula inclusive to the experience and contributions of African diaspora peoples and other marginalized peoples. NCBS actively:[7]

  • Facilitates, through consultation and other services, the recruitment of scholars of African descent for all levels of teaching and research in universities and colleges;
  • Assists in the creation and implementation of multicultural education programs and materials for K-12 schools and higher education institutions;
  • Promotes scholarly African-centered research on all aspects of the African World experience;
  • Increases and improves informational resources on Pan-African life and culture to be made available to the general public;
  • Provides professional advice to policymakers in education, government and community development;
  • Maintains international linkages among Africana Studies scholars; and
  • Works for the empowerment of African People.

Current Efforts
The California Bill ACR-71 Africana studies programs, led to success with the efforts of former NCBS member and president Dr. Shirley Weber, is a testament to the continuing need for the African studies academic disciplines’ support by state legislatures.[8]

Current NCBS board member and department chair of the Africana Studies program at California State University at Long Beach, Dr. Maulana Karenga is the founder of the Pan-African holiday Kwanzaa.[9]

NCBS also has a community grant available for members to apply for. The funding has helped new leaders and scholars bring Africana Studies to various communities.[10]

NCBS is currently housed at The University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio, with its previous base in Atlanta, Georgia.[1] It holds an annual conference in various cities across the country that features important plenary sessions, hundreds of paper presentations, a Student Luncheon and Du Bois Awards ceremony. The current President, Amilcar Shabazz is completing a book, The World of Africana Studies, that explores the growth of the discipline globally through organizations and initiatives like The Japan Black Studies Association, The International Symposium on Ethnic Literature in China, the Collegium for African American Research in Europe, and various projects in Latin America and on the African continent.

References

  1. “NCBS Online – About NCBS”. ncbsonline.org. Retrieved 2017-08-05.
  2. “Terms & Questions | 1968: A Global Year of Student Driven Change”. www.blackstudies.ucsb.edu. Retrieved 2017-08-05.
  3. Asante, Molefi Kete; Mazama, Ama (2005). Encyclopedia of Black Studies. SAGE. ISBN 9780761927624.
  4. “Bertha Maxwell-Roddey, PhD – SC African American”. SC African American. Retrieved 2017-08-05.
  5. “Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. – About Delta Sigma Theta”. 2007-10-28. Archived from the original on 2007-10-28. Retrieved 2017-08-05.
  6. Black Studies at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Black Studies Brochure (Charlotte, North Carolina: UNC Charlotte, 1975-1976). Currently housed in the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
  7. “NCBS Online – About NCBS”. www.ncbsonline.org. Retrieved 2017-08-05.
  8. “Bill Text – ACR-71 Africana studies programs”. leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved 2017-08-05.
  9. “The Official Kwanzaa Web Site – Kwanzaa African American Celebration of Family, Community and Culture by Maulana Karenga”. www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org. Retrieved 2017-08-05.
  10. “NCBS Online – NCBS Civic & Community Education & Engagement Grants Program”. www.ncbsonline.org. Retrieved 2017-08-05.

External links

Collabo Beatworx

Amilcar Shabazz II is the founder of Collabo Beatworx, a dynamic form of arts practice that encourages cultural democracy by engaging with people and communities to make exceptional art, especially music, film, video, and public art like murals & sculpture. 

Amilcar began this work as a member of the Youth Action Coalition, studying at Hampshire College with metal artist Kamil Peters. He also studied with Wendy Ewald when she was a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow and a visiting artist-in-residence at Amherst College. Ewald taught the class “Collaborative Art: The Practice and Theory of Working with Communities” at Amherst College in 2005, and brought in well-known collaborative artists to create art with Amilcar and other Five College students and the Amherst community. He has also studied at Greenfield Community College and the University of Massachusetts in media and Africana Studies.

For his Music go to https://collabobeatworx.bandcamp.com

Early samples of his creation of new,
multiversal soundscapes include https://soundcloud.com/collabobeatworx

Video projects and channels include:

YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOJRuS-YZ9o4J9Xx8zkcAvQ/videos

____________________

Also, Amilcar Shabazz II is a producer at Amherst Media and has credits as an editor, camera operator, and director on numerous programs, including:

Juneteenth in the Valley https://vimeo.com/channels/shabazzworldvideo/161409129

Difficult Dialogues https://amherstmedia.org/content/difficult-dialogues-dr-charles-w-mills-pt1

Africana Studies Today [links forthcoming]

Collaborative visual and public art projects that Amilcar led or contributed to include:

  • Inside Amherst Regional High School (YAC, 2009)

  • On the lawn outside the Jones Library of Amherst, MA (2011)

  • On the Amherst Coffee Building near Amherst Cinema (YAC, 2012)

The Accra Appeal for Worldwide DeNuclearization

<< “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” the lawyer, Lisa Page, wrote to Strzok. “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,” Strzok responded. >>

The DOJ, Department of Justice, through an Inspector General’s report, throws shade today on the operations of the FBI under Comey especially, and in the form of wannabee Deep State officers in the bureau itself. Consider the irony of a Russian-tainted operator in the form of an octarian (octogenarian)–W.E.B. Du Bois the anti-nuclear peace activist being arrested, put in cuffs by police officers, and prosecuted by DOJ attorneys over six decades ago.
The DOJ filed charges against Du Bois, who briefly chaired the Peace Information Center, on February 9, 1951Together with Elizabeth Moos, Kyrle Elkin, and clerical worker, Sylvia Soloff, Du Bois the radical intellectual faced the case U.S. v. Peace Information Center, et al. wherein the Deep State alleged Du Bois and his comrades had acted as agents of the World Peace Council, and thus for the Soviet Union itself. Du Bois and his partner Shirley Graham give their account  of the episode in the book–

In battle for peace [excerpt], ca. 1952

 Ironic bridges…

There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not? RFK/JFK/GBShaw

Anti-communism, anti-red, anti-Russia, against the Asians, Walls Up against the Mexicans and LatinX herman@s, Hands Up, Don’t Shoot the black African n-words, no, no, no, negation after negation.

The only response is to act with nia, with the purpose we repurpose as The Accra Appeal: 

“We demand the outlawing of atomic weapons as instruments of intimidation and mass murder of peoples. We demand strict international control to enforce this measure.

“We believe that any government which first uses atomic weapons against any other country whatsoever will be committing a crime against humanity and should be dealt with as a war criminal.

“We call on all men and women of good will throughout the world to sign this appeal.”

From where the bones of Du Bois commingle within African earth, we challenge and create the space for peace. The bare existence of nuclear weapons and potential military use is unacceptable to the future of humanity.

“Let all be one and one vast will Cry: Stop, Halt, Hold!” WEBD

IN BATTLE FOR PEACE

 

On Bill H.1789 in the 190th (Current) General Court of Massachusetts

With my partner, Demetria Shabazz, I have co-founded and worked to develop cultural and historical museums and research centers in cities as large as Houston, TX, and as rural as Hale County, Alabama. My work as an Africana Public Historian has found deep source material and practice here in Western Massachusetts since our arrival in 2007. It is part of my research, teaching and service duties at the University of Massachusetts that I engage in such work. Below I’d like to comment on the bill currently in the state legislature, H.1789. I hope it is generative of thought and actions consistent with the historic reparations of our people.

https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/H1789

http://www.masslive.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/10/rep_bud_williams_proposes_blac.html