1. Poet, activist, educator - June Jordan

    I Must Become a Menace to My Enemies

    by June Jordan

    Dedicated to the Poet Agostinho Neto,
    President of The People’s Republic of Angola: 1976

    1
    I will no longer lightly walk behind
    a one of you who fear me:
                                         Be afraid.
    I plan to give you reasons for your jumpy fits
    and facial tics
    I will not walk politely on the pavements anymore
    and this is dedicated in particular
    to those who hear my footsteps
    or the insubstantial rattling of my grocery
    cart
    then turn around
    see me
    and hurry on
    away from this impressive terror I must be:
    I plan to blossom bloody on an afternoon
    surrounded by my comrades singing
    terrible revenge in merciless
    accelerating
    rhythms
    But
    I have watched a blind man studying his face.
    I have set the table in the evening and sat down
    to eat the news.
    Regularly
    I have gone to sleep.
    There is no one to forgive me.
    The dead do not give a damn.
    I live like a lover
    who drops her dime into the phone
    just as the subway shakes into the station
    wasting her message
    canceling the question of her call:

    fulminating or forgetful but late
    and always after the fact that could save or 
    condemn me

    I must become the action of my fate.

    2
    How many of my brothers and my sisters
    will they kill
    before I teach myself
    retaliation?
    Shall we pick a number? 
    South Africa for instance:
    do we agree that more than ten thousand
    in less than a year but that less than
    five thousand slaughtered in more than six
    months will
    WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH ME?

    I must become a menace to my enemies.

    3
    And if I 
    if I ever let you slide
    who should be extirpated from my universe
    who should be cauterized from earth
    completely
    (lawandorder jerkoffs of the first the
    terrorist degree)
    then let my body fail my soul
    in its bedeviled lecheries

    And if I 
    if I ever let love go
    because the hatred and the whisperings
    become a phantom dictate I o-
    bey in lieu of impulse and realities
    (the blossoming flamingos of my
    wild mimosa trees)
    then let love freeze me
    out.

    I must become
    I must become a menace to my enemies.

    from Things That I Do in the Dark (1977)
    and from Directed by Desire. The Collected Poems of June Jordan.
    Copyright 2005 by the June M. Jordan Literary Estate Trust

  2. Remembering Aimé Césaire

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    Today we remember Aimé Césaire, a leading advocate in black consciousness and one of the founders of the literary and ideological movement of Negritude — black consciousness and pride.

    Poet, writer, politician and anti-colonial activist Aimé Césaire was born on June 26, 1913, in Basse-Pointe, Martinique. Mr. Césaire attended high school and college in France, and in 1937 he married another student from Martinique, Suzanne Roussi.

    The Caribbean island of Martinique is administratively and politically a region of France and its citizens are French citizens. Césaire served as mayor of Fort-de-France, the capital city, and was elected representative of Martinique from 1945-2001.

    Césaire’s contributions to Francophone literature are invaluable in the cultivation of awareness and pride in Black African/ African diaspora cultures. Césaire was a voice for the voiceless, and was considered as a mentor by many including the revolutionary writer, psychiatrist, and philosopher Frantz Fanon. Césaire’s works espoused on themes that are universal and humanizing such as this excerpt from his famous work, a surrealist poem entitled Cahier d’un retour au pays natal - translated as Notebook of a Return to the Native Land:

    "I would go to this land of mine and I would say to it:

    "Embrace me without fear …

    And if all I can do is speak, it is for you I should speak.”

    Aime Cesaire (1913-2008)


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  3. On January 1, 1804, Jean-Jacques Dessalines—who had assumed leadership of the revolution after Toussaint L’ouverture’s 1802 capture by the French army—declared Saint-Domingue’s independence. The new republic adopted the original pre-Columbian Arawak name of Haiti, meaning “mountainous land.” The black revolutionaries, who had been fighting since 1791, had crushed Napoleon’s 43,000-man army in December 1803. Within 12 years, they had fought against and defeated not only the French colonists but also the French, Spanish, and British armies. For an army of ex-slaves to turn their rebellion into a decade-long revolution, and to defeat an entire network of empires, is stunning. Add that to Haiti’s unprecedented title of first Black republic (a political anomaly of the time), and you have quite the victory. Take today to honor the freedom fighters and the history!

    On January 1, 1804, Jean-Jacques Dessalines—who had assumed leadership of the revolution after Toussaint L’ouverture’s 1802 capture by the French army—declared Saint-Domingue’s independence. The new republic adopted the original pre-Columbian Arawak name of Haiti, meaning “mountainous land.” The black revolutionaries, who had been fighting since 1791, had crushed Napoleon’s 43,000-man army in December 1803. Within 12 years, they had fought against and defeated not only the French colonists but also the French, Spanish, and British armies. For an army of ex-slaves to turn their rebellion into a decade-long revolution, and to defeat an entire network of empires, is stunning. Add that to Haiti’s unprecedented title of first Black republic (a political anomaly of the time), and you have quite the victory. Take today to honor the freedom fighters and the history!

  4. On this day, 50 years ago, Frantz Fanon passed away. A psychiatrist, Pan-Africanist, writer, and revolutionary, he was born in Martinique in 1925. In 1952 he published Black Skin, White Masks, which exposed the negative effects of colonization on the mental state of subjugated peoples, and in 1961 wrote his best-known piece The Wretched of the Earth, about  As a psychiatrist in Algeria, he joined the FLN (National Liberation Front), which waged a war of independence against France. In 1961, Fanon published The Wretched of the Earth, a book on decolonization that has remained a classic and influenced revolutionaries the world over, including Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, Che Guevara, and the South African Steve Biko, founder of the Black Consciousness movement. Fanon died in Maryland, where he had sought treatment for leukemia, and was buried in Algeria.

    On this day, 50 years ago, Frantz Fanon passed away. A psychiatrist, Pan-Africanist, writer, and revolutionary, he was born in Martinique in 1925. In 1952 he published Black Skin, White Masks, which exposed the negative effects of colonization on the mental state of subjugated peoples, and in 1961 wrote his best-known piece The Wretched of the Earth, about  As a psychiatrist in Algeria, he joined the FLN (National Liberation Front), which waged a war of independence against France. In 1961, Fanon published The Wretched of the Earth, a book on decolonization that has remained a classic and influenced revolutionaries the world over, including Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, Che Guevara, and the South African Steve Biko, founder of the Black Consciousness movement. Fanon died in Maryland, where he had sought treatment for leukemia, and was buried in Algeria.

  5. Kent State University’s Department of Pan-African Studies is hosting the conference “Slavery, Colonialism and African Identities in the Atlantic World” on April 26 and 27, 2012 in Oscar Ritchie Hall.
The keynote speaker is Sylviane Diouf, Ph.D., author of the renowned book Dreams of Africa in Alabama, which won the 2009 James F. Sulzby Award of the Alabama Historical Association, was a 2008 Finalist Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and won the 2007 Wesley-Logan Prize of the American Historical Association. She is also author of the acclaimed book Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas. Diouf is currently  Curator of Digital Collections  at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Her address is titled “Deconstructing and Reconstructing Africans’ Identities During Slavery.”
Conference registration is $20. Students and faculty are eligible to have the fee waived.For  more information, please visit: http://www.kent.edu/CAS/PAS/conference/schedule.cfm

    Kent State University’s Department of Pan-African Studies is hosting the conference “Slavery, Colonialism and African Identities in the Atlantic World” on April 26 and 27, 2012 in Oscar Ritchie Hall.

    The keynote speaker is Sylviane Diouf, Ph.D., author of the renowned book Dreams of Africa in Alabama, which won the 2009 James F. Sulzby Award of the Alabama Historical Association, was a 2008 Finalist Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and won the 2007 Wesley-Logan Prize of the American Historical Association. She is also author of the acclaimed book Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas. Diouf is currently  Curator of Digital Collections  at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Her address is titled “Deconstructing and Reconstructing Africans’ Identities During Slavery.”

    Conference registration is $20. Students and faculty are eligible to have the fee waived.For  more information, please visit: http://www.kent.edu/CAS/PAS/conference/schedule.cfm

    (Source: )