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I asked Sonia Sanchez if she remembered seeing me in Marcus Books in Oakland. 

Our sister is so nice and pleasant that she said yes and I asked if I could have a photo with her!

 Sonia Sanchez is one of our most beautiful African American Queens as well as a poet



Attending the Ninth National Black Writers Conference 

A Report by Larry Ukali Johnson-Redd


The great conference moment occurred when Ms. Sonia Sanchez, the Honoree Poet, passed my table. She caused a big commotion. Sonia Sanchez is one of the most important and productive poets throughout African-America. Sonia Sanchez wrote Homecoming in 1969 and since that time she has written sixteen more published books, winning many national awards. I stood up to greet our sister Sonia Sanchez because I had seen and met her many times in the San Francisco Bay Area 

I asked Sonia Sanchez if she remembered seeing me in Marcus Books in Oakland.  Our sister is so nice and pleasant that she said yes and I asked if I could have a photo with her!

Sonia Sanchez is one of our most beautiful African American Queens as well as a poet whose first book came out when I was a high school senior at San Francisco’s Balboa High School in 1969.

Leeolive Tucker, the Harlem Diva (a singer), and her brother Will I Am Tucker—a jazzstorian, writer and tour guide—sat at the table next to me selling African-American children’s books. They too rose up to greet Sonia and both embraced Sonia Sanchez. They had attended a seminar she presented. I snapped a picture with Sonia Sanchez and my new friends. I also snapped this picture of The Harlem Diva!

In addition to meeting the Harlem Diva and Sonia Sanchez, I met many beautiful brothers, sisters and I even met Africans from all over the world including a 6’3” brother who looked like he was from Mississippi, yet he was Dr. Abdul-Aziz Diop from a university in Delaware but from Mauritania, West Africa by birth! This Brother Diop is English and Foreign Language Dept. Chair at Delaware State University!

I had most of my meals from Puerto Rican Restaurant and there were more West Indian or Jamaican or even Caribbean restaurants all over Brooklyn!

New York City is the Metropolitan Community and Brooklyn too is definitely all that.  I had most of my meals outside the conference at a Puerto Rican Restaurant in Brooklyn a few blocks from my “Metro” Inn!

However, every time I entered the Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York, I was awe struck by the Medgar Evers College bust of its namesake!  In case you do not know Medgar Evers was a civil rights leader pushing for our African-American rights in Mississippi; KKK types assassinated Medgar Evers in the early 1960s.

The "A Man with a Vision" bust of Medgar Evers (1925-1963), slain African-American revolutionary and Southern civil rights leader, is the first thing one can see while entering Medgar Evers College of the City University Of New York!

However, as I walked down the halls that led to the historic founders auditorium on Thursday when I was going to perform Spoken Word at a pre-conference Film and Culture Series Event presented by Miles McAfee, I was awe struck by the tasteful displays of every Historic Arts/Black political/Cultural Musical contribution one could think of from Langston and every brother and sister in between!

Upon entering the Founders Auditorium one is struck by the huge pictures of Medgar Evers.

I made my 11-to-12 minute presentation after several MEC Dance students put on a spirited dance.  As an artist, I recited several of my favorite spoken words pieces from Loving Black Women including “Black Women Dear,” “Soul Truth,” “The Beauty of a Sister” and “Tribute to All African Women.”

A typical Brooklyn Brownstone Building!

I was about to do “The Blacker the Berry” and “Bring Back One Love” from one of the two of my new books, namely, The New Black Power: Why We African-Americans Should Love Each Other—Africa and African People Around the World. But my time ran out.  I thank all of those in the audience who gave me so much love.  

The Culture and Film series moved into the documentary film phase of the program!

The documentary film, The Great Race (DVD format), was shown. It was about the story of the Berkeley High School Black Studies Department. In the documentary, the late Richard Navies I  (died in 1991) was one of two central figures; the other was white constitutional law teacher Richard Eichorn.

A panel was assembled after the documentary. The son and daughter of the late Richard Davies I, Richard Davies II and his intelligent and beautiful sister Kelly Davies, were on the panel too. The other panel members were Elander Barnes; Patricia Canson (California); Carl Dix, RCP Brooklyn; Richard Greene, MEC Professor; and Michael Hooper, NY educator. Many audience members contributed significantly to the interesting discussion!

The discussion encouraged links between high school and university educators around the needs of African-American students in general and all students for meaningful African-American Studies in contemporary USA. The panelists also discussed interesting ways of developing and re-establishing African-American Studies, K-12, beyond the annual African- American Month programs.

Many thanks to Miles McAfee and the organizers of the Ninth Annual Black Writer’s Conference.

One final note:  I sat next to Mr. Louis Reyes Riveraauthor of Scattered Scripture, and a well connected NYC Poetand other members of the National Writers Union! I got to know Mr. Rivera, his beautiful wife—daughter of the late John Oliver Killens, the founder of the Conference and the Union members. Thank you for allowing me to share your table!

I am joining this Union for sure. I thank conference attendees of The Ninth Annual Black Writers Conference for buying so many copies my books Loving Black Women and Journey to the Motherland from San Francisco to Benin City –  as well as showing a West Coast brother love in New York City. If you missed out visit www.lovingblackwomen and order your copies!

posted 3 April 2008

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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The Last Holiday: A Memoir

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Shortly after we republished The Vulture and The Nigger Factory, Gil started to tell me about The Last Holiday, an account he was writing of a multi-city tour that he ended up doing with Stevie Wonder in late 1980 and early 1981. Originally Bob Marley was meant to be playing the tour that Stevie Wonder had conceived as a way of trying to force legislation to make Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday. At the time, Marley was dying of cancer, so Gil was asked to do the first six dates. He ended up doing all 41. And Dr King's birthday ended up becoming a national holiday ("The Last Holiday because America can't afford to have another national holiday"), but Gil always felt that Stevie never got the recognition he deserved and that his story needed to be told. The first chapters of this book were given to me in New York when Gil was living in the Chelsea Hotel. Among the pages was a chapter called Deadline that recounts the night they played Oakland, California, 8 December; it was also the night that John Lennon was murdered. Gil uses Lennon's violent end as a brilliant parallel to Dr King's assassination and as a biting commentary on the constraints that sometimes lead to newspapers getting things wrong. —Jamie Byng, Guardian / Gil_reads_"Deadline" (audio)  / Gil Scott-Heron & His Music  Gil Scott Heron Blue Collar  Remember Gil Scott- Heron

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The Warmth of Other Suns

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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update 11 April 2012




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