Alabama brawl–Africans fight colonizers who attack African riverboat co-captain

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA—Africans fought back against colonizers who began physically attacking an African worker at a riverside dock in Montgomery, Alabama. When an African co-captain, Damien Pickett, was punched while doing his job, Africans rushed to his aid, in what became a massive brawl involving more than a dozen people.

On August 5 at 7:00 p.m., co-captain Pickett waited 45 minutes to dock a riverboat with 227 passengers, the Harriot II, by the river in Montgomery. A white family had docked their private boat at the pier reserved for the Harriot II.

Through speakers, the co-captain asked for the family to move their boat because a larger ship was coming in to dock there at its reserved spot. On the dock, the family repeatedly refused and responded with obscene gestures.

The co-captain and a 16-year-old helper rowed into shore on a smaller rowboat to try and resolve the situation quickly so that all the passengers could depart the ship and return home. On shore when they arrived, the white nationalist family instead began arguing with the co-captain and viciously insulting him. The family began physically attacking the African worker, with another man punching him. A witness said in a sworn statement later that one of the colonizers yelled “f*** that n*****” before throwing the first punch.

Straight after the first punch, co-captain Pickett threw off his hat and faced them with both fists ready. Then at least two more colonizers joined in on attacking him, dragging him to the ground and punching him. They attacked the 16-year-old helper as well.

Suddenly Africans ran in from everywhere, and even other white people, to fight back the colonizers and help the African co-captain. They punched the colonizers and pulled them away. The captain was able to get back up to his feet and get away.

An all-out brawl ensued, with more colonizers joining and Africans fighting back against them. A 16-year-old African even jumped into the water and swam to the pier to throw in some fists. A second round of fights began when the Harriott II was able to dock at shore. Another African picked up a folding chair and beat back the colonizers with it.

Later on, the colonial police arrived and began handcuffing people involved in the fight. They interviewed at least thirteen people in relation to the incident, during the following weekend. They have charged four colonizers so far with various degrees of assault.

Another African witness Christa Owen, who had recorded footage and sent it to the police, said to the media that “[the whites] were the antagonizers of the whole situation. Arrest them. ‘Cause unfortunately when things happen, people of color are the first to be put in handcuffs.” The African co-captain spent the night in hospital but was able to go home the next day.

From Montgomery to Mali, Africa will be free!

The brawl was filmed by many standing by on their phones on the pier and on the boat. It became viral online, with many cheering the Africans who supported each other.

This struggle happened in the context of growing anti-colonial resistance throughout the world. We are in a whole new period, where no one will tolerate the colonizer any longer. The history of slavery and colonialism, of white nationalist violence that saw Africans lynched in the U.S. south as part of this country’s national past-time, is the basis for the celebration that followed the fight. It was the bombing of a black church that murdered four African girls in Birmingham, Alabama on September 15, 1965 that informed the response of the Africans in Montgomery. It was the recent memory of the Black Power and Civil Rights eras, paired with this new period of the African Liberation struggle.

What we witnessed in Montgomery was the evidence of colonialism on its deathbed. Africans came together, fought back the colonizer, and won. African victory is certain!

Touch One, Touch All!

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