A statue of the late Indian independence leader, Mahatma Gandhi was removed from the campus of University of Ghana, earlier last week after a backlash from student activists.
To many people, this may sound a little confusing to hear that student activists would demand that a statue of one of the world’s most famous peaceful protestors and activists be removed from campus grounds.
But to the people who knew of Gandhi’s racist history in apartheid South Africa, including the students who petitioned to have his statue removed, there was no doubt that they had to get the statue of the man who referred to Black Africans as “Savages” and “Kaffir” ( a South African version of the n-word) removed from school grounds.
According to the Washington Post:
Gandhi’s Indian empowerment argument, critics said in a petition to remove the statue, appeared to be that the British colonial government treated Indians a “little better, if at all, than the savages or the Natives of Africa.” He spoke of the “half-heathen Native” and said that treating Indians like Africans would “degrade us.” The sole occupation of “raw” natives is hunting, he said and their “sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with and, then, pass his life in indolence and nakedness.”
The Ghana University petition cited other protests against — and removal of — tributes to historical but controversial figures at universities around the globe, including the former slave-owning Royall family at Harvard University and apartheid founder Cecil Rhodes at the University of Cape Town.
The Marvel superhero film “Black Panther” has already broken Hollywood records in its first week. It has grossed more than $400 million worldwide, it also broke the record for a February opening, which was previously held by “Deadpool” and it is now the largest opening for a move with an African-American director.
Yet, that success of this movie, which could gross upwards to a billion dollars was not one hundred percent guaranteed.
Just as tens of millions of diverse people were exciting to see this movie about a fictional African kingdom called Wakanda, in which the film’s creators borrowed aspects from real African culture, like the Masai of Kenya and the ancient African empire of Mali. There were a lot of people; minor in comparison who were upset and fearful of this celebration of real African culture in this fictional kingdom. Some even took to social media and posted fake post about being attacked violently by angry black people.
Despite all the effort by many haters, naysayers and racists, this movie was an extreme success. I would rate this film a 9 and a half out of ten. A must see movie.
Proceeds from this 5k walk / run benefit the UNRWA’S Community Mental Health Program, for children in Palestine suffering from PTSD and other psychological trauma, due to the blockade and current conflict in the region.
The situation is so dire, the internationally-known scientist, historian, social critic and political activist, Noam Chomsky said the occupation in Palestine is worst than the Apartheid of the South African past.
Noam Chomsky on BDS and How the Israeli Occupation is “Much Worse Than Apartheid”
Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter was born in Los Angeles, California in 1942. In his earlier days, Carter was a member the Slauson street gang, he was so well-respected, he was nicknamed the “Mayor of the Ghetto” and was also a member of that gang’s extremely tough inner circle called the “Renegades”.
Carter would later be convicted of armed robbery and would be incarcerated at Soledad prison for four years. While in prison he was influenced by the teachings of the Nation of Islam and Malcolm X and would eventually convert to Islam.
He would later renounce Islam and focus his time and energy on the black Liberation movement.
After being released from prison, Carter would meet Huey Newton, one of the founders of the Black Panther Party (BPP) and would join the organization.
In the early part of 1968, Carter would form the Southern California chapter of the B.P.P and would be that chapter’s leader, like all chapters of the group, they studied politics, trained firearms, first aid and read party literature. They also had a free breakfast program for poor, economically-disenfranchised black youths. By April of that same year, the chapter was becoming so popular it was gaining between fifty to a hundred new members a week.
As the B.P.P continued to grow and popularity, they would become targets of Federal Bureau of Investigation ( FBI ) and it’s director J. Edgar Hoover. The FBI’s secret division known as the Counter Intelligence program ( cointelpro ) it would later be revealed in Senate Testimony, that they worked with local police to sabotage, intimidate and harass members of the party.
During the time between 1968-69, many warrantless searches, false arrests occurred and several members of the black organization would be killed.
Towards the end of 1969, J. Edgar Hoover sent out orders to FBI field offices to : “exploit all avenues of creating dissension within the ranks of the BPP”, and “submit imaginative and hard-hitting counterintelligence measures aimed at crippling the BPP” . In Southern California, the FBI would also work hard to exploit the rivalry between the BPP and the black nationalist organization called “US”, which was founded by Ron Karenga. The two groups had very different approaches about how they battled systematic white supremacy, and often times found themselves completing over the same potential recruits.
On January 17, 1969, Carter and fellow Black Panther named John Huggins were allegedly heard making uncomplimentary statements about the head of US, Ron Karenga. An altercation would ensued , which would lead to the murders of Carter and Huggins.
The Panthers would claim that it was an assassination on their leadership, while the US organization would claim that it was a spontaneous event. Claude Hubert, the man who allegedly killed Carter and Huggins would never be captured.
In 1975, during the Church Committee hearings, evidence was revealed that proved that the FBI’s Counter intelligence program, under the direction of Hoover, covertly sent out disinformation, fake death threats and humiliating cartoons to the Panthers and US organization, pretending they were from the other group with the hope of causing conflict and inciting violence between the two black Liberation groups.
Robert Smalls was born into the harsh and inhuman system of slavery on april 5, 1839, owned by Henry Mckee. He grew up in Beaufort, South Carolina and was heavily influenced by his mother, Lydia Polite’s Gullah culture and heritage.
As an adolescent, Smalls’ master had him hired out as a laborer, hotel worker and lamplighter for the streets of Charleston.
Smalls would go on to perform work as a dockworker, sailmaker, and wheelman, (pretty much a pilot ) but slaves were not allowed to be given the honored title of pilot.
On December 24, 1856, while still a teenager, Robert smalls married Hannah Jones, when he was 17, she was 23 and was a slave working as a maid at a hotel. She already had two kids and would go on to have two more kids with Smalls, unfortunately for the couple, Robert Jr., the second of their children together would die at age 2.
In the fall of 1861, Smalls was assigned to steer the css planter. A confederate military transport, that was under the command of Brigadier General Roswell S. Ripley. Their duties were to deliver troops and supplies, and to survey waterways and lay mines.
On May 12, 1862, the Planter was docked at a wharf below General Ripley’s headquarters. When the white officers left to have a night on the town, smalls and the rest of the slave crew escape to find their families, in the case of Smalls and to make their planned escape to union blockade ships.
Smalls would steer the planter safely through five Confederate harbor forts, as he gave the correct signals at the correct check points. Smalls would then head for the Union Navy Fleet, flying a white bed sheet as a surrender flag. He would surrender her cargo to the United States Navy, after escaping from slavery with his black crew.
Smalls at only 23, soon became known in the North as a hero. Newspapers reported on his exploits and the Congress passed a bill awarding Smalls and his crew prize money for the planter ship. Two weeks later Smalls would meet President Lincoln, where he would tell the president his amazing life story.
The courage of Smalls was an example that blacks were capable of fighting in the military. In August 1862, Smalls visited Washington D.C to convince President Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to allow black men to fight for the Union Army. He was successful and Stanton signed an order permitting up to 5,000 African-Americans to enlist in the Union Forces at Port Royal, Smalls would go on to serve as a pilot for the Union Navy.
In 1863, Smalls became the first black captain of a vessel of the United States. On December 1, the Planter (now part of the Union Navy) was caught in heavy confederate fire, the ship’s Commander, Captain Nickerson, decided to surrender to enemy forces, but Smalls refused to give up, fearing that escape slaves would be killed. Smalls would take control of the ship from Nickerson and pilot the planter out of Confederate gun range. For displaying such valor, smalls was named to replace Nickerson as the Planter’s Captain.
Soon after the war, Smalls returned to his hometown of Beaufort, where he would buy the home of his former master, his mother would live with him the remainder of his life.
In 1866, Smalls went into business with Richard Howell Gleaves, a businessman from Philadelphia, they opened a store to serve the needs of former slaves.
In 1868, Smalls served as a delegate in the South Carolina Constitutional Convention, where he took part in an effort to make compulsory school free for all children.
During the reconstruction era, Smalls served as the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1865 to 1870, later he would serve in the South Carolina State Senate between 1871 and 1874, Smalls would also bravely in the South Carolina militia until 1877, where he served a brief stint as its commander with the rank of Major General.
Smalls would be elected to the United States House of Representatives, where he served two terms from 1875 to 1879 and from 1882 to 1883 he represented South Carolina’s 5th Congressional district in the house.
After the compromise of 1877, the U.S. government withdrew its remaining forces from South Carolina and other southern states. White conservatives who called themselves the “Redeemers” resorted to violent tactics and election fraud to regain control of the state legislature, as an effort to reduce the power of the African-American community, Smalls was arrested and convicted on bribery, he was pardoned as part of an agreement by which charges would be dropped for Democrats accused of election fraud.
After his pardon, Smalls would get back into politics, he became a delegate to the 1895 South Carolina Constitutional Convention, with five other African-American politicians, he strongly opposed white Democrat efforts that year to disenfranchise black citizens.
Smalls would go on to serve as the U.S. Collector of Customs in Beaufort, serving from 1889 to 1911, after being appointed by the Republican National administration.
Smalls would die of malaria and diabetes in 1915, he was 75.
The legacy of Robert Smalls :
Fort Robert Smalls was named in his honor; it was built by free blacks in 1863 on McGuire’s Hill on the South Side of Pittsburgh during the American Civil War. It survived until the 1940s.
The Robert Smalls House in Beaufort, SC, has been designated a National Historic Landmark.
A monument and statue are dedicated to his memory where he is interred at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Beaufort.
During World War II, Camp Robert Smalls was established as a sub-facility of the Great Lakes Naval Training Center to train black sailors (the Navy was segregated in those years).
The desk that Smalls used as Collector of Customs is on display at the Verdier House museum in Beaufort.
In 2004, the U.S. named a ship for Robert Smalls. It is USAV Major General Robert Smalls (LSV-8), a Kuroda class logistics support vessel operated by the U.S. Army. It is the first Army ship named after an African American.
An exhibit at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum is dedicated to Robert Smalls’ contribution to the US Army.
Charleston held commemorative ceremonies in 2012 on the 150th anniversary of Robert Smalls’ escape on the Planter, with special programs on May 12 and 13.
The Oregon Civil War Sesquicentennial presented a special 150th Anniversary program on May 16, 2012 at the Kenton Public Library branch in Portland, honoring Robert Smalls’ epic voyage to freedom and his contributions to society.
Robert Smalls Parkway is a five-mile section of South Carolina Highway 170 that crosses Port Royal Island and leads into Beaufort.
Young women from a local public high school in Pretoria, South Africa take a stand against school authorities, who demand they “tame” their natural black hair. By straighten their hair to fit white or European standards. Decades after colonialism and the apartheid ended in South Africa , the perception of black inferiority still exists in the minds of many Black/African people.