Friday, February 27, 2015

Out In The Black Liberation Night- The Black Panthers And The Struggle For The Ten-Point Program- Twelve -Sacramento, 1967     

…there is a famous picture of them, of the Black Panther core, Huey and the Bobbys, all black proud and black smart, not just street smart that day, but all the way smart, kind of  “turn whitey’s rules back on him” smart, in May 1967  over in Sacramento at the State Capitol, arms in hand, shotguns, serious business shotguns if the occasion arose, arms and shotguns uplifted away from any thought of placing anyone in harm’s way like whitey’s law book said was okay, just fine out in the cool blue-pink American West night. It might not have worked in Cambridge or Peoria but out when the cowboy lands ended, real and faux cowboys, anything went, went with whatever small uplift proviso the local government attached to it.

That day though all black proud, armed, berets tilted slightly showing a sign of determination and not just show, black leather jackets, sharp, yah, uniform sharp and leaving that same uniform sharp impression any serious uniform brings up (soda jerks, McDonald ‘s burger flippers, and gas jockeys step back, step way backs serious uniforms are in town). That day too those brothers evoked, evoked proud black manhood, evoked memories of Africa slave-catcher revolts, evoked memories of maroon fights down in Caribe islands, evoked old Nat Turner come and gone plantation fires, evoked old Captain Brown and his brave band at Harpers Ferry fight, evoked the memory of those two hundred thousand blue-capped, blue-uniformed, yes, uniformed, sable warriors who made Johnny Reb cringe and wish he had never been born. Evoked too, Africa freedom struggles, and desperate fights to break the down presser man’s will, his fortitude, and his hunger to keep what was never his. And evoked no more turning the other cheek stuff, no more waiting on whitey, even leftie, and more, much more, the great white fear…negros with guns, jesus.                

And they freaked, those whites guys freaked like they always did, like they always did when even the idea, no, even the thought of an idea of armed black men touched their radar. Hence death this and death that slave codes, hence Nat Turner brutal ashes, hence no quarter given, no respect, no  black honor respect before Fort Wagner fight when black men bled red for freedom and on a hundred other battlefields, hence Robert F. Williams flights. So that day, that freaked-out day a sort of cold (soon to be hot) civil war was a-brewing. And whitey, maybe not so smart but afraid of armed black men and ready to act forthwith on that decided that maybe, just maybe, the wild west needed a little taming, just in case the brothers decided to aim those guns straight at someone.       

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