Another Hero Gone Home


It’s Friday, y’all!
Here’s to hoping your weeks have gone well as another weekend is at hand. Cold, wintry weather has taken over most of the North American continent while politicians continue to disrespect the very people who elected them! All of the issues that seem to be important to America simply become “talking points.” Could those issues be dealt with better … to make America a better place? How about making the WORLD a better place? Tall order! I focus on one soul at a time.
Do you know who once said, “God has been replaced, as he has all over the West, with respectability and air conditioning?” He was born in Newark, NJ as Everett LeRoi Jones on October 7, 1934. Newark was one of the hubs for African Americans at the beginning of the “Black Revolution” in the attempt to procure equal civil rights. Jones was 20 when the Brown vs. Board of Education case in 1954 made segregation in public schools illegal in this country. It must’ve been some tumultuous times, especially when a city like Newark’s “black” population sought to change the tide of ever present discrimination and prejudice. It was a time for activists like Jones and Stokely Carmichael, not to mention movements of groups like the Black Panthers and the Symbionese Liberation Army, to throw off the shackles of discrimination in ” … the land of the free, the home of the brave.” Jones changed his name to Amiri Baraka after the assassination of Malcolm X, another civil rights legend, and converted to Islam. Amiri also has a famous quote, “I am inside someone who hates me.” Can you imagine what could precipitate a human being to make such a statement?! What do you think his life was like there in Newark, which was later renamed “New Ark” while I attended Princeton University also there in New Jersey? “Imamu,” or ‘spiritual leader’, was a title he added to and later dropped from his Muslim name.
In his early years, Baraka embraced the symbols of “black pride” like the dashiki and wore it well as he spoke for numerous rallies and at a variety of events and public schools. The image of the “raised black clenched fist” and the “afro” were popularized during his lifetime, and was even displayed at the Olympics by a group of USA relay participants who were all African American. He was a hero to many young men, including myself, seeking an identity in a country where basic human rights were denied for the average African American then. It is said that he never abandoned “New Ark,” and, his son is currently in the midst of a campaign as he is running for mayor there. May we bid a fond adieu to ‘Imamu’ Amiri Baraka, R.I.P., my brother!
 Special thanks going out to Gordon Derouseau, Barrister Hodder, Stokely Gittens, as well as Maureen Shimmon Leon (her second contribution to the cause!) for their donations to helping build Educational Excellence even stronger! I will be adding a thermometer graph to note our progress soon. Feel free to use the Pay Pal link, if you so desire. As well, if you would like to be removed from the e-mail list, simply let me know!
John I. CookEmoji, Director

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