Black August, Black Music and Black Power (From The Burning Spear newspaper’s Diasporic Music)

TORONTO–August is black and has been since Khatari Gaulden was murdered inside San Quentin on August 1, 1978.

Gaulden became the leader inside San Quentin after George Jackson was killed on August 21, 1971. Jonathan Jackson, George’s younger brother, attempted to negotiate the freedom of his brother in a San Rafael, California escape attempt on August 7, 1970.

Many have described Jonathan’s action as one of the boldest in U.S. history. The hit on the Louisiana born Gaulden was the spark that led to the Black August prairie fire. The hit on Africans “inside” and outside of the prison system continues in the 21st century.

The African Methodist Episcopal Church has been in the news since Dylann Roof’s shooting left nine dead in Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Few sources, however, have discussed the role that this historic black church played in the struggle for African liberation.

Among those slain at Mother Emanuel was Rev. Clementa Pinckney who was also a state senator.

Mother Emanuel was co-founded by Denmark Vesey (1767-July 2, 1822) aka Telemaque, the African martyr who led a rebellion in Charleston in 1822.

Vesey, a free man, was born in St. Thomas in the Caribbean. He planned an extensive slave rebellion.

Word of the rebellion was leaked to the state by the snitches of that period, and authorities arrested Vesey and other leaders before the uprising could begin.

Vesey planned to resettle those who revolted in the liberated black republic of Haiti. A colonial court in Charleston convicted and executed Vesey and others for the planned rebellion.

Duke Ellington commemorated Denmark Vesey

In 1944, the Washington D.C. born Duke Ellington composed works commemorating black freedom fighters: Denmark Vesey, Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman.

Ortiz M. Walton pointed out in his 1972 book, “Music: Black, White & Blue,” “None of the latter group has been recorded, since the record industry is not concerned with portraying black history as much as making a profit.”

Very little has changed since 1972. The actor Danny Glover was given money by Hugo Chavez, then President of Venezuela, to do a film on Haiti’s Toussaint L’Ouverture. It never saw the light of day.

The right wing forces within the Unity government of Venezuela sabotaged the effort and the money never got to Glover.

Ellington journeyed to Africa four years earlier than the Black Panther Party. He brought his orchestra to Dakar, Senegal to perform at the World Festival of Negro Arts in 1966. The Black Panther Party opened an office in Algeria on September 1, 1970.

There was, however, another segment of Africans in America who did not support this event in Senegal.

Penny M. Von Eschen pointed out in “Satchmo Blows Up The World,” “Novelist James Baldwin and singer Harry Belafonte boycotted the festival, criticizing the “approach” of Senghor, by which they meant everything from the concept of negritude to the U.S.-friendly politics of Senegal (Ralph Ellison and the actors Ossie Davis and Sidney Poitier also boycotted.)

Belafonte had visited Guinea several times as a cultural advisor to President Sekou Toure and had criticized Senegal for failing to break off relations with Britain over Rhodesia’s UDI, as Guinea had done.”

“Stingray” Davis tribute, George Clinton memoir

I paid tribute to Ray “Stingray” Davis who was a foundation member of the Parliaments with George Clinton, Fizzy Haskins, Calvin Simon and Grady Thomas also on Diasporic Music on Uhuru Radio.

Davis joined the Temptations replacing Melvin Franklin after he joined the ancestors. Davis was a member of Parliament/Funkadelic and Zapp.

I followed Davis’ career up until he reunited with the Original P. The last time I saw Davis was at the Silver Dollar in Toronto.

George Clinton tells his story in his memoir, “Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You?” Clinton spent many years in two suburbs of Toronto.

His five man vocal group, the Parliaments came out of Plainfield, New Jersey. Clinton himself lived in Newark. He always had entrepreneurial skills and actually took over a barber shop once the opportunity presented itself.

Gary Shider, Glen Goins and others were kids at that time who hung out at Clinton’s shop. He sent Shider and others to Toronto because they were afraid that they would wind up drug addicts if they stayed in New Jersey.

They stayed place in Toronto until 1972. In Toronto they made a name for themselves as United Soul playing at the Hank Nests and the Le Coq D’Or.

Regina Jones, Soul Magazine and the Watts Revolt

Regina Jones founded Soul Magazine along with her late husband Ken Jones. Jones was on my radio program Diasporic Music on Uhuru Radio recently.

The 50th anniversary of the Watts Revolt will be August 2015. The idea for Soul Magazine came from Ken watching Watts burn. The Los Angeles rebellion stopped the so-called gang activities.

Many gang members joined the Black Panther Party under the leadership of Bunchy Carter, the Nation of Islam with Minister John Shabazz, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) under the leadership of Ron Wilkins aka Brother Crook.


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