Capitol Hill Housing opposes preserving first and only Black Bank in Pacific NW

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Africatown Central District is neither “Little Amsterdam” nor Lower Capitol Hill: Capitol Hill Housing opposes preserving first and only Black Bank in Pacific NW

-The Africatown News Digest Editors

The quasi-government Seattle NGO known as Capitol Hill Housing has recently announced on its website that it will actively oppose the preservation of Africatown history represented by the Liberty Bank building at 24th and Union, the only surviving commercial building in the CD to have been designed and built, from footing to roof, by Black people for Black people for the specific purpose of housing a Black institution.(1)

Liberty Bank was uniquely designed and completed by architect Mel Streeter in 1968, and opened its doors the same year. Streeter is known for leading in the construction of, and, in some cases, contributions to a number of landmark institutions in King County, such as: John Muir Elementary, City of Auburn City Hall, the regional Federal Aviation Administration Building and Beacon Hill Neighborhood’s former African American Academy Building (which is now Van Asselt Elementary School). Notably, he was integral in the construction of Seattle’s world-famous Qwest and Safeco Fields. Liberty Bank opened as the FIRST and ONLY African American bank in the Pacific Northwest region of the United Sates. Its founders included a number of people of historic note, and its design is reflective of the culture that characterized Seattle’s predominantly African American Central Area in the 1960s, a culture that Seattle’s mayor has acknowledged the need to protect and preserve against gentrification. The changing demographics of Seattle’s Central District, without protection of the neighborhood’s historical landmarks, portends an erasure of a rich cultural past and heritage created by Seattle’s African American community.(2)

Liberty Bank opened as a Black owned and operated Bank in Seattle at a time of tremendous national and regional Black upheaval. It was also a time when the African American community was actively creating sustainable institutions to combat racism in the forms of red-lining and economic exploitation, which went unchecked by the dominant culture leading up to, during and after the Black self-determination and institutional development era. The need for African American-owned and -run institutions that offered equitable opportunities for success was clear. Indeed, the absence of such an African American financial institution in Seattle today has long raised calls for the reestablishment of a Black bank. (3)

Liberty Bank would be one such key institution, used to expand the African American entrepreneurial class, and as an antidote to the refusals by enterprise capital of mainstream institutions to invest in that class despite comparably positive credit worthiness, relevance, and need. It was a natural outgrowth of the NAACP’s Sentinel Credit Union and soon became a source of needed capital and developmental loans to many African Americans whose entrepreneurial creations still exist today. The Bank was thriving enough after its opening to begin a second branch on 3rd Avenue in downtown Seattle in 1988. What the African American community experienced as economic “apartheid”, however, halted the effort. The bank regulator during this time was Thomas Oldfield, who aggressively seized both bank branches. Within four days Liberty was re-formed, with new and compliant owners, as Emerald City Bank. Very shortly thereafter, ECB was merged with Key Bank, which itself has now abandoned the Liberty building as a banking service location, and is seeking to liquidate it as a profitable real estate sale instead. In response, local neighbors have appealed to Seattle´s Historic Landmarks Nomination Board to protect the building. The hearing will be Wednesday, Feb 5th, 3:30 PM, in Room 1756 of the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Avenue, 17th Floor.(4)

Enter Captiol Hill Housing, a perspective buyer and developer, whose gentrification influence within the Central Area has steadily grown in the years since the City-Hall-led takeover and shutdown of its former neighbor and Black-controlled competitor, the Central Area Public Development Authority (1976 – 1994). The minutes of CHH’s January 2014 Board Meeting state “At that hearing, CHH and our consultants (DKA Architecture and Larry Johnson Partnership) will present our opinion that the building does not merit preservation, however, the history of Liberty Bank will be honored.” (1)

It is not surprising that CHH’s interests conflict with preserving Liberty Bank, and it is good diplomacy for them to hire both DKA Architecture and Larry Johnson Partnership to represent those interests, given Larry Johnson’s expertise in the historic designation process and Don King’s effective work in converting the African American Heritage Museum building into 36 allegedly affordable apartment condominiums, even if few Black residents of Africatown Central District could actually afford them. This is more diplomatic, for example, than developer Ian Eisenberg’s blunt proposal to install a cluster of marijuana shops nearby and to re-christen this part of Africatown-Central District as “Little Amsterdam”. (5) However, it is Black contractors and construction workers who will actually build and develop Africatown.

It is surprisingly presumptuous for CHH, in the very same breath in which they propose to tear it down, to authoritatively declare that “the history of Liberty Bank will be honored”, assuming for themselves the right define and verify such an alleged honoring. It is similar to the Roman general Manius Manilius politely “honoring” the city of Carthage with a few tears and verses from The Iliad as he carried out the utter destruction of that African city. (6)

Capitol Hill Housing’s quasi-government bankster board includes a former VP of Bank of America, an associate of HAL Real Estate Investments, an associate of Vulcan Real Estate, an agent of ShoreBank Pacific, the owner of Dunn & Hobbes LLC, a representative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a former chair of the South Lake Union/Queen Anne Design Review Board and a facility manager for Seattle U, but this board is notably lacking for African Americans. There is, of course, the one recently added exception to that rule, Pamela Banks, the President and CEO of none other than the dead anti-Black Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, which is fronting with CHH for this project, much like it has fronted for the Urban League Village/Housing Resource Group in years past. (7)

This is the same Urban League that was the single largest recipient in the Urban League/Seattle Public Schools Scandal of 2011, in which nearly two million dollars was reportedly misspent, and in the midst of which the former Urban League CEO James Kelly conspicuously resigned (The same James Kelley who, while still serving as CEO, brought a firearm onto Rainier Beach High School’s campus and threatened students with it in 2002)(8), the same Urban League that still claims it is innocent of any wrongdoing in that scandal.(9) This is the same Urban League that has received annual no-bid City contracts of approximately half a million per year, year-after-year until 2011, for youth violence prevention initiatives, while youth violence continued to mushroom, and community members kept asking what, if anything, the Urban League was doing about it.(10) This is the same Urban League that is now negotiating for a similar $400,000 contract, allegedly for creating job opportunities and reducing violence. And this is the same Pamela Banks who served as the UrbanLeague’s liaison to the City under the James Kelly administration while the previous no-bid contracts were negotiated. This is the same Urban League that helped both City Hall and the School District to illegally breach their 1997 signed contract with the African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center (a contract which is still a clear matter of record no matter how many prominent Seattle players wish it wasn’t), and turned most of that Museum’s building into not-so-affordable condos in what became known as the NAAM Scam.(11) This is the same Urban League that orchestrated the false arrest of AAHMCC founder Wyking Garrett for attempting to tell this story at the 2007 unveiling of the NAAM Scam, as proud former FBI Agent and NAAM officer Carver Gayton (who once claimed to possess privileged information on Lee Harvey Oswald(12) looked on and cheerfully gloated into the microphone. (13) It is therefore not surprising that this Urban League lacks substantial credibility among long time Central Area residents, and must still instead allow itself to be used as a front by forces and interests originating outside of the Africatown Central District. In fact, we continue to demand a federal RICO Racketeering investigation of the City of Seattle’s, King County’s and the State of Washington’s dealings with this Urban League.

Some of CHH’s apparent supporters, on various forums and blogs, are already attempting to falsely frame this issue as a choice between “affordable housing versus an ugly bank building”. Liberty Bank has never been ugly and never will be. But even if beauty was unilaterally defined by the followers of Oscar Niemeyer and Paul Andreu, it would be ridiculous to say that Liberty Bank’s supporters were against housing. Everyone knows and agrees that all humans need housing. The more obvious but less comfortable questions, concerning red-lining and reverse-red-lining, are about who shall be empowered to develop and administer housing, who shall be housed where, and who shall have to plead with whom in order to request a place to live in any certain area.

On January 18th at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, Mayor Murray recognized the importance of the Africatown Central District as no less than that of the Chinatown International District. He went so far as to say that the colonial relationship between Seattle and its African American population needs to change. Liberty Bank at 24th and Union is an excellent place for that change to begin.

We look forward to seeing you all on the 17th floor of Seattle Municipal Tower on February 5th!

Footnotes:

(1) http://capitolhillhousing.org/downloads/board/packets/2014_01-CHH-Board-Packet.pdf (ítem 6)

(2) http://centralareacomm.blogspot.com/2013/11/michelle-purnell-hepburn-vp-controller.html

(3) http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Seattle-s-black-community-needs-its-own-bank-1057400.php

(4) http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/preservation/documents/LPBCurrentNom_LibertyBank.pdf

(5) http://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2013/02/how-23rd-union-could-become-seattles-little-amsterdam/

(6) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Carthage_(c._149_BC)

(7) http://www.aahmcc.org/

(8) http://urbanleaguewatch.blogspot.com/2002/07/urban-leagues-kelly-charged-in-school.html

(9) http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Urban-League-on-school-scandal-We-did-nothing-1038299.php

(10) http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2022427215_urbanleaguexml.html

(11) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4-wx_Ti1Is

(12) http://www.acorn.net/jfkplace/03/JA/DR/.ja-ex15.html

(13) http://wyking411.blogspot.com/

Seattle Africatown News & Information

Seattle Africatown News & Information

AfricaTown-3

As Seattle celebrates the recent 4 grammys and the Nation of 12s prepares for the Seahawks in the Superbowl, it is a great time to talk about what’s happening with our presence and our future in Seattle.

Whether you agree with Macklemore grammy for Best Rap Album or not, we must understand that he would not be possible without African presence in Seattle, specifically the Central District. Furthermore we celebrate his our own Africatown ambassador, Kenyan Born Garfield High School graduate Ouwar Arunga who was on stage blowing his horn.

Mayor recognizes Africatown
In front of a full house at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute at the historic gathering, Mayor Ed Murray unequivoccally endorsed the Africatown Community Development Strategy saying “We should say Africatown-Central District the same way we say Chinatown-International District.” See coverage of the event by the Stranger here. Watch the full event video on Seattle Channel here.

This acknowledgement of was historical but we still have much work to do to advance the cause in light of the next wave of development planned particularly at 23rd & Union and 23rd & Jackson.

If we don’t write a place for our children into the future we won’t have one in Seattle.

We need to pack the house for the upcoming Historical Landmark hearing regarding Seattle’s first and only Black owned bank Liberty bank on 24th & Union on February 5th @ 3:30pm.

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Liberty Bank Historic Landmark Hearing

Wed. Feb. 5th @ 3:30PM

http://centralareacomm.blogspot.com/2013/11/michelle-purnell-hepburn-vp-controller.html

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On February 5th the Landmarks Preservation Board will consider the nomination for the former Liberty Bank building. The meeting will begin at 3:30 p.m. and will be held at Seattle Municipal Tower (700 – 5th Avenue, Suite 1756).

If you know anyone who is interested in providing public comment they can do so in person at the meeting, or by submitting written comments. Although the notice says to provide comments before 5:00pm the day prior to the meeting, people are encourage to do it early, even up to a week in advance. Whenever possible, Historic Preservation staff prefers to send comments to the Landmark Preservation Board members well in advance of the meeting so they have time to read them all.

All comments can be emailed to Erin Doherty at erin.doherty@seattle.gov. They also can be mailed or dropped off to Erin’s attention to:

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
Attn: Erin Doherty
700 5th Avenue, Suite 1700
PO Box 94649
Seattle, WA 98124

http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/preservation/designation_process.htm

For people who would like to offer verbal comment at the meeting, individuals will have three minutes to speak, and organizations will have five minutes to speak.

Here is a sample letter:
Here is a sample letter of support:

Dear Ms. Doherty and members of the Landmark Preservation Board:

I write in support of the Landmark Status Application filed by Omari Garrett for the Liberty Bank Building at 24th Avenue and Union Street.

Liberty Bank operated in our neighborhood at a significant time, addressing the needs of African Americans who had been denied access to banking and victimized by legalized practices of redlining and restrictive covenants. The founders of the bank recognized the importance of building an institution that would serve the community and invest in the community. Thebank was a pillar of the community during a time that bridged an era of segregation and discrimination to an era of increasing opportunities. It was unique during its time and today it retains a unique significance in the history of Seattle and American history.

The bank building is significant to the neighborhood vitality too. The Africatown Central District of today is more diverse than it was 40 years ago and many of the distinctly African American businesses are no longer part of the community. Yet I hear from major landlords and developers that the neighborhood’s African American cultural heritage remains an economic asset, a unique feature of the neighborhood that attracts residents of all races and increases the economic viability of their projects. Thus the neighborhood’s economic vitality depends on retaining the African American character of the neighborhood even as gentrification makes it more diverse and less distinctly African American.

While individual businesses may close or move, the history remains. It is up to us to remember it, to preserve it, and to pass it on to future generations. The Liberty Bank Building is a cornerstone of that history, a building that encapsulates the whole story of Africatown better that any other non-Church institution or building in the neighborhood. Please preserve it.

As we approach Black History Month it is vital that we remember that Sankofa of looking back to go forward. Learning and gaining inspiration from our past to light the path of our future. We know that the best way to honor our history is to make our history greater!

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Workparty at Africatown Center for Education & Innovation

In other good news. Africatown Center for Education & Innovation finalized the lease with the school district for interim use of the Columbia Annex.

We will be readying the space this Saturday Feb. 1st, 10am-2pm so please come help us get ready for our youth.

The Address is 3100 S. Alaska St. (@ MLK).

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Black History Month Film Screening for Youth & Families

Mighty Times:
The Children’s March
Saturday Feb. 1st 3pm & 5pm
Garfield Community Center

A must see for children and youth, so that they can witness the power they posess.

Mighty Times: The Children’s March tells the story of how the young people of Birmingham braved arrest, fire hoses, and police dogs in 1963 and brought segregation to its knees. In the spring of 1963, Birmingham, Alabama, was the “do-or-die” battleground for the Civil Rights Movement. Heavy intimidation by Birmingham authorities left the Movement floundering. Using word-of-mouth under a veil of secrecy, more than 4,000 African American schoolchildren organized to desert classrooms at exactly 11 a.m. on “D-Day,” May 2, 1963, touching off a week of mass demonstrations and rioting that shocked the nation. Police tried to stop them. Yet, the children prevailed.

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Through Eyes of Art Black History Month KickOff
Feb. 1st, 7pm at EMP
ART

In celebration of Black History Month, The EMP Museum, Ezell’s Chicken and Brandkings are taking out time this February 1, 2014 to bring people together to reflect on the causes and effects of gentrification for an event titled “Through the Eyes of Art.” The evening will feature an art exhibit, from local painters and photographers, a keynote address by Seattle City Councilmember, Bruce Harrell and a live performance and video presentation, from hip-hop artist Draze.

Visual Artists

There is a phenomenal lineup of visual artists that are displaying their talents at “Through the Eyes of Art” that range from painting, photography, sculpting and multimedia art. I’ve attached a flyer to this email with the visual artists. If you aren’t already aware, the following are the talented group of visual artists that will be present this Saturday:

Marcus Singleton
Lisa Brown
Troy Miles
Ernest Thomas
Shuvron Hayne
Ashby Reed
Melvin Freeman
Delton Mosby
Carol Williams
Kuddie Fresh

EVENT: Through The Eyes of Art
DATE: February 1, 2014 at 7:00pm (PDT)
LOCATION: The EMP Museum (JBL Theatre) – 325 5th Ave N,
PERFORMERS: Draze, painters and photographers

GUEST SPEAKER: Bruce Harrell, Seattle City Councilmember
TICKETS: Admission is free – tickets at Brown Paper Tickets
MORE INFO: draze206.com

Black History Month at
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute

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Omari Tahir-Garrett

Omari Tahir-Garrett
Baseball Coach

Background

African American Heritage Museum
Cultural Center

Board Memberships and Affiliations

Founder
African American Heritage Museum

Web References
RALLY 6/23/09! SEATTLE YOUTH AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS TO RALLY FOR RESPECTED ELDER | Hip Hop Congress

http://www.hiphopcongress.com, 23 June 2009

Members of the United For Youth Coalition, UmojaFest P.E.A.C.E. Center, Seattle Hip Hop Youth Council, Hip Hop Congress, Poor Peoples’ Economic Human Rights Campaign, Workers Economic Recovery Campaign, will hold a rally tomorrow, June 24th, at 10 AM in front of the King County Jail (5th & James) to support a respected elder and pillar of our community Omari Tahir-Garrett (Hon. James C. Garrett) who was arrested yesterday while observing Seattle Police Department officers near 23rd and Union in the Central District.

Omari is a 63 year resident of the Central District, founder of the African American Heritage Museum and Cultural Center, Elder of the UmojaFest P.E.A.C.E. Center, a Little League baseball coach for over 30 years, former High School educator, US Army Vietnam era disabled veteran, Garfield High School alumni and star quarterback, a grandfather, human rights advocate, and counselor to youth and fellow veterans alike. According to witness accounts, Omari was watching the police detain several young men near the bus stop when the police accused him of harassing them and placed him under arrest. He has since been charged with harassment, unlawful use of a weapon, and “obstruction”, according to the King County Jail. “I have known Omari for over nine years”, says Central District resident and waterfront stevedore Leith Kahl.”When I first came to this city, Omari welcomed me to his community…”

Members of the United For Youth …
http://www.hiphopcongress.com, 22 June 2009

Members of the United For Youth Coalition, UmojaFest P.E.A.C.E. Center, Seattle Hip Hop Youth Council, Hip Hop Congress, Poor Peoples’ Economic Human Rights Campaign, Workers Economic Recovery Campaign, will hold a rally tomorrow, June 24th, at 10 AM in front of the King County Jail (5th & James) to support a respected elder and pillar of our community Omari Tahir-Garrett (Hon. James C. Garrett) who was arrested yesterday while observing Seattle Police Department officers near 23rd and Union in the Central District.

Colors NW Magazine
http://www.colorsnw.com, 27 April 2001
Omari Tahir-Garrett, left, and Earl Debham during their bi-weekly protest at the Colman School.

Omari Tahir-Garrett, the legal head of the African American Heritage Museum, summed up his feelings about the league’s plan more succinctly, saying, “Beware the dream killers, they are here.” What makes the reactions of Tahir-Garrett and others so ironic is that no one really knows what the plan will be, not even Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle President James Kelly.

In fact, disagreement over condos and other issues are among the primary factors that prompted the initial rift in the museum board years ago, eventually leading to the ouster of Tahir-Garrett and Debnam.

Tahir-Garrett and another activist have filed suit against the School District and the City of Seattle for breach of contract on agreements both entities originally had with their organization.
Lowell Henderson.com

http://www.graphics.lowellhenderson.com, 11 Oct 2003

Proceeds from the party will benefit the Seattle Hip-Hop Youth Council, political prisoner Omari Tahir-Garrett, the African American Heritage Museum and Cultural Center, and community and youth development programs.

Wyking Garrett is the son of Omari Tahir-Garrett, former mayoral candidate and longtime advocate of founding an African-American Heritage Museum in the old Colman School-a cause which he worked on alongside Kwame and Allah. After two trials and many months of professing his innocence, Tahir-Garrett was convicted last week of assaulting Mayor Schell last year, leaving Garrett in a position of apparent leadership regarding the cause.

Omari Tahir-Garrett

Website: http://www.prison2president.blogspot.com

HOW DO WE MAKE REPARATIONS HAPPEN?

HOW DO WE MAKE REPARATIONS HAPPEN?

WInstonConyers
Rep. John Conyers has been introducing a Reparations Bill in the House for decades

[Reparations Moving Forward]

There is a lot of hatred against African Americans in the United States even though as a group, we have done little or nothing to earn it. Most of us were brought here against our will. This has been an odd way to act toward people you forced to be part of your population. An example of this hatred is easy to see in the irrational reaction of many toward the twice legally elected President of the United States, Barack Obama.

In my humble opinion, from a distance, he has been an almost perfect person, having a beautiful family, being extremely competent at his job and never striking back at his many tormentors, many of whom have conducted themselves at the level of sub-humans in their vitriolic comments about him, often to his face. He has taken this abuse in much the same way that Jackie Robinson, the first African American to make it in the then all white professional baseball league took it.

No American president has ever faced so much hostility and outright disrespect. The haters may be a minority, but there are still a lot of them, and as we have seen, they have power and they have little morality meaning they will sink to any level, no matter how low to achieve their objectives.

The damage done to Africans after their civilizations collapsed has been the worst ever inflicted on any peoples of the world. Their greatest accomplishments, the Egyptian Civilization for one example has been ripped from them by criminal societies who have tried for centuries to convince the world that Egypt was a European creation when in fact they came into possession of it only through invasions and criminal acts.

They have tried through various religions to convince the world that the Egyptians deserved to be enslaved claiming that enslaved Europeans, the Jews, were forced to build the Great Pyramids on the Giza Plateau. This has been proven to be a lie, but there are hundreds or even thousands of lies that these people live on as justification for murdering and enslaving millions of Africans then stealing and pillaging their rich lands. Africans are not alone in suffering these fates. The same has been done to others, including the American Indians. In the case of Africans brought to the Americas, we were stripped of not only our history but our language, our customs, our religions and even our appearance in an attempt to make us unrecognizable to the world. All of this damage must be made right.

Reparation is a principle of law that has existed for centuries, referring to the obligation of a wrongdoing party to redress the damage caused to the injured party. Under international law, reparation must, as far as possible, wipe out all the consequences of the illegal acts and re-establish the situation which would, in all probability, have existed if these acts had not been committed.

The Reparations situation between The Jews and Nazi Germany was fairly simple and a “Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany” was held by the Israelis. 
Around September 1951, the Chancellor of West Germany addressed his Parliament stating the need and desire of his government to agree on forms of compensation due the Jewish people. Despite some protests, an agreement was signed in September 1952 and West Germany paid Israel a total sum of $2,374,284,914 dollars (over Two billion three hundred million dollars). The payment was made to the State of Israel as heir to the victims who had no surviving family.

Read more FULL ARTICLE

How Malcolm X’s parents met in Montreal

How Malcolm X’s parents met in Montreal

malcolms mom and dad

There would surely never have been a Malcolm X had the great black-rights leader’s parents just stayed in Montreal.

Malcolm Little, aka Malcolm X’s parents met in Montreal in a sequence of events that began when Edgerton Langdon, described as a “labourer,” invited his niece Louise Norton to come from Grenada to stay with him at his home at 150 St. Martin (see map and illustration below) in 1918.

Louise was the light-skinned product of a union between a black mother and a white father. She looked and spoke like a white person, according to Malcolm X, who later clearly disapproved of the grandfather he never knew.

Louise didn’t know her white father and Malcolm, one of her seven children, described his maternal white grandpa as a “rapist” and said he was glad not to know him.

It probably wasn’t a ton of fun for Louise in Montreal, as her uncle Edgerton was considered a “mean, mean man,” according to Edgerton’s granddaughter Sylvia Langdon of Coursol St, who I interviewed in 2003.

Louise found herself attending meetings of the newly-formed Montreal branch of Marcus Garvey’s United Negro Improvement Association, where she met Earl in 1918.

Earl Little had recently moved to Montreal from Reynolds, Georgia.

malcolm little malcolm x

Malcolm X
Little, a father of three, was a dark skinned Baptist involved with Garvey’s group in Montreal.

Earl, 29, and Louise, 22, married here in Montreal on May 10, 1919, thus beginning a stormy, brutal and historical union.

Read more FULL ARTICLE

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X: Incompatible or Complementary?

martin and malcolm

Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X helped shape American black and white culture today. MLK and X seemingly preach two opposing futures for black politics. Martin’s call for nonviolent resistance and Malcolm’s insistence on “any means necessary” were often juxtaposed by society. Malcolm X is often misrepresented as the `black Klu Klux Klan” of racial extremists. Others often misrepresent Martin L. K. as a “religious Uncle Tom pacifist”.

These are both gross caricatures of both legendary men. Even decades after their deaths, Martin and Malcolm remain great American icons. However were they ideological opposites? What were the personal, social, and political factors that influenced their leaderships? Where do they differ and where do they converge? What did liberty and justice mean for both leaders? Did victory mean two different things for them? What ways do their ideas converge? What major events shaped their lives? Did their ideologies begin to converge? Church, enemies, allies, family, socioeconomic background, upbringing, faith, education, social environment, experiences with whites and blacks: these were all agents in the formation of their strong views. Through this paper, I posit that although their ideologies sometimes clashed, in the long run they were more conducive to one another than destructive.

Martin was a pastor and civil rights leader, later he became the spokesperson for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Martin was born January 15th, 1929 to Reverend Martin Luther King Sr. in Atlanta, Georgia. His love for the Christian faith was fostered in a black Baptist understanding. He was named Times “Man of the Year” in 1963 and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, as well as being the only American with a national holiday in to his name. “King’s practice and thought radically transformed America’s understanding of itself and inspired liberation movement around the world.”

Initially, his negative experiences with racial segregation was brought on early at the age five when a white friend’s father told Martin that his son was no longer allowed to play with Martin due to his skin colour. During his childhood, much like Malcolm, he was determined to hate all whites. This attitude changed through the influence of education, positive experience with moderate whites, and most importantly with a greater understanding of religion.

This, he experienced while studying at Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania and at Boston University School of theology. While studying he encountered Henry David Thoreau’s “Essay on Civil Disobedience”.

Read more from: Constant Moon

Bringing Regularity to African American Children

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bringing Regularity to African American Children

President Obama says African American people having a stake in this country is normal, “regular.” Something we do not even talk about any more. Having a stake and taking advantage of the stake are not one in the same.

Dr. Emma Jones, Director of Maxine Mimms Academy – Seattle, says that being regular is all there really is. When we are irregular we are suffering from disease. I am privileged to regularly be in the presence of African Americans who are finding answers to the problems presented by African American children who are not regular, out of rhythm with their natural selves and out of sync with a forward moving society. Just as any child who has a critical ailment, African American children in the collective are best revived to their most healthy existence when the parent is involved in the cure and sustained care of the child. Parents for Student Success, a parent directed non profit in Seattle, has established an Academy for developing Parent Practitioners. These parents see the world of raising and getting the best education for their children through the world view of a parent. They are fully engaged partners with any and all who make decisions about their children. Without this level of engagement of parents of African American children, the children go lacking, some have actually died, from violence, suffer from extreme traumas, that are never healed, or they wander through life never getting to their best purpose or becoming contributors to the societal good.

Fortunately, the majority of African American parents, have a sort of genetic memory that despite exposure to what makes children not function to their fullest, can keep them well. Genetic memory is passed on through culture. There is no culture that is not steeped in survival and well being. Violence is not an African American culture, resisting oppression and seeking self sufficiency is very much a part of African American culture.

Education is and has always been a major part of the African American culture. There is a legacy of 104 Historically established and sustained Colleges and Universities in the United States to support this. There are many family stories of learning in segregated schools being taught in church basements, even clandestine reading lessons during a time when southern states made it a crime to teach a slave to read. Fredrick Douglass, in his writings tells of hearing his master tell his wife that the reason for such a law was that it was not possible to enslave a person who is educated. He had been taught enough about reading to go on to continue to teach himself, and read every book in his master’s library. He, freed himself, went north and was the first African American to receive a PhD from Harvard. The possible for greatness is inextricably linked to an education that frees the mind, thus the person. African American lead and guided universities throughout the southern and border states are clear examples of our ability to bring about equity and excellence for our African American children. Helping them become more regular.

Students who were mediocre students in our school across the nation are accepted into these colleges and receive the rigor, and high expectations that has always been part of the African American view of education as a liberating tool. These children who were said to be failing or not teachable in schools created primarily for the well being of white children, do well when the education sees a value in them as contributors, not just consumers.

Failed children have for the past quarter century have been fodder for the economics of failed humanity. More money is placed in schools when the students are poor, not excelling and their families create new jobs for social service providers. These agencies for the parents, like the schools of the children are not administered to bring those served to full equity. In fact the problem proposed to be solved is exacerbated by inept problem solving, administration, and implementation. The victim becomes the perpetrator. African American children are not learning, families are not feeding them, housing them, being engaged we need to put more money into the solution, and this is just too hard we need higher salaries. The industry built around irregularity of black, brown and poor white children is a corporate levels. The former Community based organizations, are being swallowed up by mega organizations with corporate representation on the Boards of Director, and what were Directors from within communities are now replaced with Executive Directors, and the new practice is to give the title as that of corporate leaders; Chief Executive Director, and Chief Financial Officers. These are titles of huge industries.

Like the medical industry, there is little interest in getting patients well back to “regular” the drug industry finds its wealth in giving out pills that do not heal. They solve a problem, but does not solve “the” problem associated with many diseases, and irregularities of our bodies.

Back to the issue of African American children in Seattle, where I do the bulk of my work with parents, policy makers and educators, African American parents are becoming Practitioners and have called in specialists to bring about a healing for what plagues our children and their educational well being. Some of the procedures will appear to be radical to a more healthy observer, but as with what is life threatening, to not administer an extreme cure for an extreme life threatening illness might mean the death of the patient. An example is Saturday Math Academy and Early Morning Algebra. Parents asked Norman Alston a professional mathematician to teach their children. His methods are extreme, he teaches complex math to children as young as 6 years old, 8 year olds can identify a Unit Circle, which is calculus, and solve algebraic equations. They learn from this the elements of balance, and that algebra teaches equity.

African Americans do not discriminate or separate that these have been applied to us and our children. We were once separated based on our color and we know it is not natural. So when African Americans brought into being expanded math for our children it attracted others; The classes have Asian, white, hispanic, bilingual students and parents fully engaged with each other. We know that African American children are trend setters, what they think is cool, other children will follow. So it is in the best interest of all to create with African Americans trends of excellence, that comes from hard work and focused capacity building.

Africatown Education and Innovation Center is the recently established think tank and solution center for the education of African American children and the economic self sufficiency of their parents. Yes, African Americans like other families fall upon hard times. But when we are in charge of helping them out of these hard times and are funded to solve the problems, families do not have generational cycles of hardship. From the days following the emancipation of slaves, until the mid 1970’s a century later, each generation of African Americans did better then the prior in the same or greater numbers than the general population. Then, something happened and we have been sent on a path of failed policies, solutions, administration and implementations. Africatown, Parents for Student Success, Technology Access Foundation, Village Spirit, First Place, Fear No Number Math, Life Enrichment Institute, Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, are all clear examples of what can occur when African Americans take their own lead.

Each of these organized efforts work in sync with each other, and are growing to bring a healthier environment into being for our children. But the nature of the irregularity that our children and families are in requires capacity building to reverse the damage. So we work with whites and all people who can help us, there is no drawback in being help mates across all of the distinct populations.

I think that the regular President Obama speaks of is demonstrated in his campaigns and presidency. He is changing the image of America as a separatist nation to one where there is no majority or minority. We need that lesson to come more quickly to Washington State in the education and well being of African American children, their families and all children who are not experiencing excellence. But to heal one and and leave very ill others living in the same environments, only leads to the infection of all, thus creating an epidemic. This is being now reported by global media. The United States is now only mediocre in the education of our children. Well what did we expect. You can not have the amount of failed education heaped that is heaped upon African Americans so firmly established that it has created spin off economies and think that all the children would not be likewise touched in a negative way.

Whites who have the primary control of policy making, the processes that lead to the passage of policies, and the management of funds meant to bring equity and excellence. Changing this will require radical moves and changes. Unfortunately, much of what occurs to create what is in place, is system based, not individually. So, we have people with the best intentions, themselves falling prey to the system in place to separate by race, class and national origin. So while some immigrant groups are absorbed within one generation into the USA society, other are forever referred to as refugees and immigrants, even after receiving citizenship. I grew up during the days of the “civil defense drills,” the Russians were coming and they were are enemy. Yet, as immigrants and refugees, there was not one negative statement made against them. They are known to be much more violent and onerous in their gang activities in WA State but the system allows them the same respect that all whites get, their crimes are associated with the individual. African American crime is associated with the entire population and cast as our having a culture of violence.

New voices, added to new narratives can change the dynamics of what bring irregularity to African American children. I ask all who got to the end of this to work with us who are Taking a Leap With African American Children. Jumping over obstacles, and being strategic in how we leverage our human and fiscal resources to get past what plagues our children, our families and our village. Much of the work will occur internally among ourselves, but the major work is external to what we have controlled for the past quarter century. We must get back to schools and agencies being primarily centers of learning and capacity building. We watched them turn to what they are now, primarily economic centers. This does not detract for decent salaries, but accountability measures must be in place. Those who are not elevating African Americans should not be able to be funded year after year at the detriment of those the propose to be funded to educate and bring into self sufficiency.

Africatown Education and Innovation Center brought together a collaboration of African Americans and with little and no compensation in some areas, kept African Americans in daily high expectation environments. At the end of summer they out performed the children in every other summer program in Seattle. The Fashion Design class, kept students at design boards and sewing machines and resulting in a public fashion show, no less than any we see on television. The little preschoolers learned the languages of their peer, and were bilingual within two months. The parents were fully engaged and the teachers taught from love and determination. Those who devise, set policy and administer funds for the $237,000,000 Family and Eduction Levy showed little if any interest in these solutions and outcomes coming from within community and united the community. Where African Americans are funded they are rewarded for being in a silo.

So, we can and will bring about a more regulated life for African American children in Seattle and the nation. Our newly elected Mayor, Ed Murray has met with President Obama and other newly elected Mayors. He tells us that the issue of African Americans is a major part of the conversations he has had with these mayors. He has proclaimed an intent to make Seattle a model of ways a city can turn around downturns for African Americans. For this proclamation I applaud him, and commit to helping making this happen with support from the best of who we are aligned with our own action that will help him get us where we need to be.